Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Sheniz J's blog

Bringing Literature Home

As a child, the library was my haven. A space where I could quietly read and let my imagination run free. Every summer, my mom would take us to our local library in Unionville, where we were allowed to choose a handful of books to take home. The library was a safe place, a sacred place, a place where if you spoke above a whisper, you'd get a stern look. It taught me to love reading. It taught me discipline. It taught me to care for possessions that were not my own. My book bag became a portal to a world of quirky characters, colourful illustrations, silly puns and magical lands.

The Art of Finding Things

When I was a kid, I wasn't interested in taking care of my toys- even my favourite ones. I used to carry around a purple Cabbage Patch Kids bag filled with plastic bangles. It would accompany me on family dinners, road trips and walks.

It was left behind at a restaurant.

I didn't miss it.

There were other things: a velvet sparkly bean bag frog (I have to admit that I do miss him sometimes, he was a beautiful frog), a clown doll (now the idea of me sleeping with a clown doll freaks me out), a necklace with multicoloured plastic hearts...the list goes on.

Objects to Inspire IV

What these gentlemen keep (or do not keep) on their desks:

"I don't keep any objects when I write beyond a hand-written and electronic plethora of notes, in my effort to write electronically rather than in a notebook. I have memos that I conjure and capture at incredibly odd moments - watching my children at a swimming lesson, mid-way brushing my teeth - that I then elaborate at my desk in a near-windowless basement."

- Nitin Deckha, author of Shopping for Sabzi (TSAR Publications)

Kuldip Kaur Gill

Yesterday's events saddened and shocked me. It was impossible for me to understand how a place of worship became a place of carnage within only a few minutes.

I knew I wanted to write about it, but instead of focusing on how angry and frustrated I am, I have decided to celebrate my relationship with Canadian Sikhs and my encounters with Sikhism.

The Journey Ends

And so my residency has come to an end. It has been an interesting journey...I've made new friends along the way and discovered things about myself and the Toronto lit scene in the process.

Here are some of the things I've learned:

1. Writers, despite their competitiveness, take comfort in each other.

2. More people read your work than the comment boxes suggest.

3. It's okay not to know what you're going to write about until you write it.

4. There are still opportunities out there for those of us who refuse to give up.

5. Missed opportunities give us more reasons to create our own.

6. Sometimes it's necessary to talk about writing.

7. Sometimes it's not.

8. Humour can be the greatest asset a writer possesses. (coffee helps too)

Objects to Inspire III

"Having a bulletin board, inspiration board style, above my desk is hugely helpful to me. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of writing, I’ll read a magazine, or see an image somewhere, or read a phrase, and it excites me because it’s a concrete version of something in my head- an idea, an emotion, a character that I’m trying to express. It always feels so serendipitous, and it’s always inspiring.

10 Questions with Sonia Saikaley

Sonia Saikaley's Turkish Delight, Montreal Winter takes the reader from Lebanon’s olive groves to Montreal’s frigid winters and underground malls. These closely connected poems present a narrative threaded with the rich traditions of the Middle East, from its dazzling varied food to its bustling Arabian marketplaces and passionate politics.

A lover longs to be reunited with his beloved. A woman mourns the loss of her father and must find her place in a male-dominated culture, while another must relinquish her unborn child. Honest, accessible, and humane, Turkish Delight, Montreal Winter is a strikingly moving and powerful sequence of poems exploring themes of alienation, intergenerational disconnection, love, and loss.

Objects To Inspire II

Objects to Inspire II:

More lovely tidbits on what local authors keep on their desks & around them while they write...

Second Book Woes

The wonderful thing about writing your first book is that you're clueless. You have no idea what the reception to your book will be, you can write (at least your first draft) with freedom and abandon, you aren't looking to critics or book reviewers to give you better reviews this time around.

Ignorance truly is bliss.

The second book is a little tougher. You have a readership, a publisher, an agent (if you're lucky...or in some cases, unlucky) and some haters. You want to trump your first book. You have to prove your critics wrong. Or do you?

It's a constant battle between sticking to your vision and predicting how your readership/critics will respond.

Over the last few months, I've been trying to write my next book.

Objects to Inspire

One Object of Inspiration

I asked authors to describe one object of inspiration on their writing desks and briefly explain the significance of the object. Here are the first responses for the series:

"I have a tiny glass pig on my desk; she wears an optimistic expression and sports two bodacious pink wings. I tell myself that if I work hard enough, and she shares a dash of her magic, I can achieve my wildest writing dreams."

-Lisa de Nikolits, author of The Hungry Mirror and West of Wawa (Inanna).

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