Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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Earthquake out, Riots in
How quickly a few riots can sweep aside memories of an earthquake. Yes, although Toronto is currently caught in the grip of the G20 riots, it was just a few days ago that we experienced an earthquake (well, tremors from a magnitude 5.0 quake that was centered up near Ottawa, actually, but still a very, very rare occurrence). In the wake of the quake, I thought of an excellent essay written by Alex Boyd for the Globe & Mail recently, about how the novelist John Wyndham "wrote from the point of view that mankind is subject to forces beyond our control."

"The report of my death etc, etc...."
Lee Siegel, writing in the New York Observer, raised a few hackles this week by asserting that "Fiction has become culturally irrelevant." To boil it down, Siegel is simply stating the obvious: when it comes to consuming fiction, for regular folk, novels and short stories have seriously declined in popularity since around WWII. (Thank you Hollywood.) However unoriginal, I don't think anyone can argue that point. Nonetheless, Carolyn Kellogg got all schoolmarm on Siegel's ass and did a pretty fine job of picking apart his essay the next day on the LA Times blog.

Slush Tsunami
Laura Miller, writing on Salon, has published a very entertaining piece about the demise of the slush pile and the rise of digital self-publishing. Apparently there is a veritable tsunami of crap coming to an internet bookseller near you, very soon.

Careful what you ask for
For those who want to go the traditional route and find a publisher for their masterpiece, Susan Orlean has a humorous little cautionary tale in The New Yorker about her experience being shunted from one editor to the next, and to the next, and to the next, and to the next, and to the...well, you get the point. It went on for a really long time before her book was finally done.

The AIGI has chosen its top-50 book and top-50 book cover designs for 2009.

"Live for your listening pleasure"
This is a bit old, but it is nonetheless a hoot. David Sedaris, speaking about the bunnies that populate his yard.

This Ain't ain't no more
It is looking like the venerable Toronto indie bookstore This Ain't The Rosedale Library is nearly kaput, or so write proprietors Jesse and Charlie Huskien on their blog. As someone said to me this week, "Christ, it's like watching the last Buffalo get shot."

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