I’m starting my MFA at the University of British Columbia this fall, but I’ll still be writing reviews fairly frequently. I’m working on four of them right now in fact, so expect to see a lot of my opinions this fall. Also on deck is a piece on Katherena Vermette for the Literary Review of Canada, new fiction in Matrix and subTerrain, and the launch of my first book, Bad Endings, in spring 2017.
In creative writing your Master’s thesis is your book, which is a very practical use of time. My constantly evolving project about the Peel River trip will be the subject, natch. I figured I needed a committee for this one. In addition to my writing course load I’m taking classes in Indigenous representation, and even though class hasn’t started yet, I’ve already benefitted from the reading lists!
This is going to be great.
Though the setting will feel familiar to local readers, I kept imagining Jocelyn Tennant’s L.O.R. playing out at the resort from Dirty Dancing– all the shit going down in the background while those rich bitches navigated their coming of age. Somebody’s got to strip the beds. Wash the champagne flutes.
This writing is honest, clean, and economical. It catches hold of a moment, gives you something to chew on, and takes its leave before you’ve even swallowed. L.O.R. is proof that we could use 1000% more stories by female authors about the intricacies of female relationships, not for some kind of affirmative action head count, but because we do it better. Jocelyn certainly nails it here.
Read L.O.R. on Joyland Vancouver
A very exciting week. Dinner With The Vittrekwas was selected for Best Canadian Essays 2016. The essay was originally published in PRISM 54:1 under the guidance of Christopher Evans, and also benefitted significantly from the editing expertise of Gary Ross. It was nominated by PRISM for a National Magazine Award for personal journalism. Many thanks to all, and to Tightrope Books, publisher of Best Canadian Essays, and editors Joseph Kertes and Christopher Doda.
Most of all, thanks to Margaret, Alice and Ernest Vittrekwa, and the people of Fort McPherson.
What a tremendous honour to be selected as a contributor to this year’s Journey Prize Anthology. The story, Chins and Elbows, was nominated by subTerrain Magazine, and originally appeared in issue 70 (May 2015). Many thanks to Brian and Karen!
Chins and Elbows started off as a poem nearly five years ago, and has been swimming upstream ever since. I’m very proud of it, and thankful to the Writer’s Trust and McClelland & Stewart.
It’s usually my style to be sassy and irreverent at times like this, when I’m feeling all the feels, but I’ve got nothing but love today.
New cover art by Katie Green for Bad Endings (That’s a link to Chapters, but I highly recommend pre-ordering through your friendly neighbourhood bookseller), my short story collection. Katie is so talented, and she was one of my co-travellers on the Peel Watershed trip! I’m lucky to know her, and so happy that she agreed to do the art for my first book. Forthcoming, spring 2017.
Soili Smith’s Your Children Are Not Your Own pours out thick and slow. “Like molasses in winter” my mother would say, quoting her mother, and a million other mothers. Take your time with this story about mothers and fathers and siblings. Family, in all its aching imperfection. Its brutality will make you catch your breath, as will its pathos.
And speaking of breath, I suggest reading this story aloud. Your Children Are Not Your Own feels influenced by the oral storytelling tradition—something to be presented around a communal fire or, if it’s all you’ve got, the cold glow of your iPhone. I think Michael and Cherie would appreciate the contradiction.
Read Your Children Are Not Your Own on Joyland Vancouver
Enjoy, and many thanks to Soili Smith. Follow Soili on Twitter
In the introduction to the 20th anniversary edition, Van Camp reminisces about the first time he held the book in his hands: “There it was and I couldn’t take it back: I had fired an arrow of flaming light into the world and I had no idea who it would find.”
Read my review of Richard Van Camp’s The Lesser Blessed 20th Anniversary ed. in The Rusty Toque.