Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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"Hi, can you please excerpt a book by one of our authors on your website?" asks S&S publicity monkey.
"Yeah, sure," says guy, who then posts the excerpt (two, actually).
"Oh hey," says monkey after seeing excerpts, "we actually only wanted you to excerpt the excerpt."
"Screw you," says guy.
"Speak to our lawyers," says monkey.

Degrees of depredations
According to a CBC article, Indigo’s Heather Reisman is to receive an honorary degree from New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University tomorrow. The article goes on to say that some profs at the school are unhappy about this because of Reisman’s and her husband Gerry Schwartz’s support of the Israeli military. But it seems those profs are not the only unhappy staffers at Mt Allison. Last week, Bookninja reproduced a letter to the President of the university from poet and part-time Mount Allison English instructor, Amanda Jernigan, which added a second prong of opposition to the protest. Why does Jernigan oppose Reisman receiving the degree? It’s nothing to do with Israel. It’s because of “the depredations of Chapters/Indigo in the Canadian book trade.”

These words may be rotting your brain
Laura Miller at Salon has a fascinating and somewhat chilling review of Nicholas Carr's new book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Ever try to read a really long piece of writing on the web? Difficult, isn’t it? That’s because, as Carr explains in his new book, using the Internet is so different than reading a book or magazine that it physically changes your brain — and not in a good way, or not at least if you care about the act of reading.

Dummies for dummies
Just for fun, if you are writing a kids picture book, here’s how to make a dummy of the book to make sure it conforms to industry specifications.

I guess it runs counter to the spirit of the thing, but I really wish that the British Library's site for The Michael Marks Awards For Poetry Pamphlets had some better graphics of the pamphlets that have been shortlisted for this year's prize. Oh well, we'll have to make due with the Guardian's gallery of images. If you are at all like me, you'll wish you could reach into the screen and grab these pamphlets and hold them in your hand, but then, that tidily sums up the shortcomings of the digital, doesn't it?

Getting out of the slush
Most of this has been said over and over again elsewhere, but it stands repeating, and it stands re-reading if you are trying to get a book published. Here are’s Top 5 Secrets to Landing a Book Deal (by Alan Rinzler an editor at at John Wiley & Sons).

That's one bigass burger
Canuck cookbook author Ted Reader grilled up what looks to be the world's largest hamburger in Toronto recently. Ted tells me that he is waiting to hear from the Guinness Book of World records people for official confirmation of the title. But the previous record holder was "just" 84 kilos, so that record should be smashed by Ted's mamoth 268 Kilo burger (which was sold to raise money for Camp Bucko, a camp program for children with burn injuries)

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page