Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

eruth's blog

Ever Wonder What Our Children Think about Toronto? (I do, so I asked. Perhaps the mayor should take note)

What's the best thing about your city, Toronto?

That there's not a lot of pollution. (Sara, age 6)

Toronto has more hardware stores than some other cities. (Matthew, age 4)

The multiculturalism and how it's a city where people from all over can come together. (Hanna, age 14)

Having a big park right near my house. (Violet, age 5)

One of my favorite things about living in Toronto is...Canada's Wonderland! Because there is lots of rides and games and it is really, really fun and I get to bring a friend. I always go on the last day of school. (Isa, age 8)

The parks and the island system. Nature. Harry's Run in High Park. The communities and farmers' markets and activities. (Isak, age 12)

On Holding Your Book For The Very First Time

Holding one’s printed and bound book for the first time is an unforgettable moment. There’s nothing like it: the smooth feel of a pristine cover. The tangible weight of all those words in your hand, every one of them hard won. The smell of fresh ink from the printing press. The satisfaction of finally seeing years of work materialize into a form that can be shared with others.

Today I came home with my five-year-old daughter and found a box from my publisher on the porch. I’d been impatiently waiting for the box since last week when my publicist let me know the book was back from the printer. I’d been hoping my ten author copies would arrive and my daughter knew that. We looked at the box and then at each other and then we squealed, “the book!”

4 Questions 4 Different Writers

For fun, I decided to approach four very different writers with diverse literary preoccupations and writing styles. I asked them each to answer a short series of questions. Their answers reveal something of their individual personalities and perhaps lend insight into why they write what they do.

The writers are:
Sally Cooper (
Susan Goldberg (
John Miller (
Jackie Goutor (

Question #1 Which writer, dead or alive, would you most want to sleep with?

Sally Cooper: Keats for his simmering, shimmering passion or a young, unleashed. Kerouac, circa 1953. (Sally Cooper)

Susan Goldberg: Given that she's still alive, I will demur.

John Miller: John Irving

Why I Love Our Public Libraries

When I was growing up our family didn’t have much money. The public library was our cheapest and best form of entertainment. My mother and I visited our local branch often, and my mother took me around the city to other branches for special events. As a child, having a library card in my own name was a badge of honour and a sign of respect, and probably the reason I took my own daughter to the library when she was only one and insisted she have her own card too. The first authors I met in person when I was child, Jean Little and Beverly Cleary, left me star-stuck as I had never been before – nor have I been since. Listening to writers whose work I enjoyed read aloud was magical. Being able to speak with them and realize they were real people did a lot to demystify the role of The Writer.

Ten Tips for Fiction Writers on How to Writer-Proof Your Life

1. If you’re writing full time, treat it like the job it is. Show up at your desk at 9:am, dressed, (ok, pajamas will do) ready to work. Work from 9-5, with a break for lunch. If you are not able to write full time, rise two hours early, before everyone else in your home. Or, stay up two hours after everyone else has gone to bed. Set a daily word limit for yourself. For example, 500-1000 words.

2. If you have a habit of keeping a diary or writing in a journal, break it. These activities eat into precious fiction writing hours. If you’re wedded to the idea of journaling I suggested you relegate it to after your fiction writing hours. Keep your fresh brain for the hard work of fiction. You’re going to need at the help you can get.

Mentoring Aspiring Writers

A few months ago a former student who was looking for ongoing support around her writing project approached me. This student, let’s call her S, was in a class I taught at a community college many years ago. Subsequently she took a private workshop that I ran. Now she wanted to know whether I would be willing to receive her work, in installments, then read and comment on it?

Birthday Lessons

I sat down next to a man in transit a couple of days ago, and we struck up a conversation. He was in his mid-50’s. His eyes were a shade of dark green and suggested seriousness. He spoke with a degree of resignation and, I thought, an edge of anger. His skin looked a bit yellow. Soon enough I learned he’d just completed his second round of radiation treatment for an inoperable brain tumor. This man told me a little about the career from which he’d had to “retire” early, and of his famous brother, and his wife and their travels. He had won a major award in his field last year. He also told me he was dying.

Politics & The Pen

Politics & The Pen

Yesterday I flew to Ottawa to attend the fundraising event billed as “Ottawa’s Great Literary Dinner” – Politics and the Pen. It was the first time I’d been invited as guest author. Talk about going from rags to riches (the rags being me at home in TO in my Mom-sweatpants trying to figure out how to cover both rent and daycare costs this month. The riches being me in my lace dress, high heels and good earrings, wandering through the ball room of the Chateau Laurier with the country’s most powerful politicians and some of our greatest writers.)

Adventures in Making a Book Trailer

Adventures in Making a Book Trailer

Let’s be honest; there are some really fantastic book trailers out there. There are also some dreadfully dull ones. When I decided to create a trailer for my forthcoming novel, Matadora, I gave some serious thought as to what choices I did, and didn’t, want to make through the process. After researching trailers online and taking notes, I set some ground rules for myself:

#1 Don’t “star” in your book trailer. There are numerous examples where the author is filmed reading from whatever work s/he wants to promote. Even when a writer is a great reader (a different set of skills is required for these two roles) the result is usually too earnest. If the writer is a weak reader the trailer is doomed.

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