Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

ssmith's blog



In today’s Guardian newspaper MARGARET ATWOOD explains what’s up with the Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature, in Dubai. She recently withdrew from the festival because another author’s book had apparently been banned, but has since reconsidered. Is she going? Ain’t she going? Turns out, she’s still not sure.



Over on I have a new article about pancakes. I used to be a chef and I do a lot of food writing. Years ago a Vietnamese cook asked me for some examples of Canadian food. Agh! That is such a difficult question. To me, it is another vein of that seemingly unanswerable "What is Canada?" question. That cook could give me all kinds of examples of Vietnamese food and she was really puzzled when I couldn't come up with much of an answer to her question. I think she thought there was something wrong with me, because to her, the idea of "a cuisine" was integral to national identity. What is Canadian food? Lobster? Blueberry pie? Rye whisky? Baked beans?

Colonial Daydreams

Over on Globe Books, Cormorant Books owner and publisher Marc Côté (the Globe erroneously leaves off the circumflex in his name) offers some very passionate, astute and sobering thoughts on why the average Canadian will buy an American or British novel long before they’ll buy a Canadian one.

Writes Côté:

Pimp my YA

I see over on Quillblog today there's a link to a NYTs article about Scholastic’s practice of weaseling toys and “bookproduct” (as such stuff is called in the publishing industry) into classrooms under the guise of its book-club program.

In the future all books will be blank

The Globe & Mail today has posted a gallery of images from Robert Bringhurst’s recent book The Surface of Meaning. Bringhurst, an American expat living in British Columbia, is one of the world’s leading authorities on book design and this volume is his loving ode to the history of book and letterform design in Canada.

I'm not making this up... (part 3)

I have been writing (in posts 1 & 2) about the effect coincidence can have on fiction and about the role it played while I was writing my YA novel Snakes & Ladders. In my first post I wrote about discovering the eastern hognose snake. In my second, I wrote about how I learned that my depictions of the moon’s transits were off by less than a week, as compared to the moon’s actual transits during the week in which my novel is set in 1971. In this post, I want to tell you about how that discovery about the moon led to the third, final, and strangest coincidence I encountered while writing Snakes & Ladders.

I'm not making this up... (part 2)

In my last post I wrote about the strange coincidence of stumbling upon information about the eastern hognose snake while I was researching my YA novel Snakes & Ladders. This time, I want to tell you about a second strange coincidence that took place while I was writing Snakes & Ladders, one which came from a highly scientific source.

I'm not making this up... (part 1)

Something I’ve discovered as a writer is that in creating a piece of fiction, sometimes happenstance can be as important as the ability to invent and tell a story. Sometimes you just stumble on things that simply must be put into the story and there's no explaining why you encountered that thing at that time. I had three such strange coincidences while writing my young adult novel Snakes & Ladders. Each brought crucial story elements to the novel, and each seemed like a gift from an unknown hand.

I’ll write about them over my first three posts.

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