Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

speacock's blog

Are Literary Awards Worthwhile?

On the heels of the announcement of the shortlists for the Governor General's Literary Awards, complete with the possibility of $25,000 prizes for the eventual winners, it is interesting to take a look at what such purses and recognition do for authors and for the reading public. Are they worthwhile? Is it money well spent?

"North Words," The Muskoka Literary Festival

"North Words," the Muskoka Literary Festival, came into existence this Thanksgiving Weekend in Huntsville, Ontario. Until then, there had been no literary festivals north of Orilla and south of Thunder Bay, a considerable stretch of the Canadian landscape. So, it was about time, and considering the roaring start it had and the calibre of writers on its stages, one can assume (and hope) that this event will become a regular on the Canadian literary scene, one that writers will line up to take part in, and that readers from the Muskokas and elsewhere will be excited to attend.

Is RDJ's Sherlock Holmes Any Good?

Since I created the world's first series of novels about Sherlock Holmes's childhood, I often get asked for my opinion of the Robert Downey Jr. version of the Master that hit the big screen last year. Word is that RDJ will reprise the role at least one more time, perhaps with a big name Moriarty in opposition - some rumours claim it will be Brad Pitt.

Sherlock Holmes, I've heard it said, has been portrayed more times on film than any other character in history. And Robert Downey Jr. is unquestionably a compelling actor with a long list of stellar turns on the screen. With Jude Law as his Watson and Guy Ritchie behind the cameras, and such famous roles to toy with, one would think this was a match made in heaven. But it wasn't. At least not for me. It was a match made in Hollywood.

Boys and reading

During the early part of my career I wrote solely for adults but a fascinating kayaking trip to a ghost town on an island off the coast of Newfoundland a number of years ago changed that, stimulating my first book for kids. When "The Mystery of Ireland's Eye" appeared the following year perhaps the thing that surprised me most about its reception was the fact that I kept receiving congratulations for writing a "great novel for boys."

Montreal, eh?

Montreal is an amazing city. Anyone who has been there knows that. But it seems to me that lately it has ascended to an even higher state of attractiveness, and it has nothing to do with the night life, the cafes, or even the resurgence of Les Canadiens. Montreal has become a truly cosmopolitan city, a gloriously Canadian city, a wonderfully FRENCH Canadian city.

Breaking Our Legs for Lit ... and the Kids

I've just returned from several days speaking in Montreal, followed by a stint on the stages of the Thin Air International Writers Festival in Winnipeg, and a few readings at libraries in Kitchener, Ontario. Before this month is out, I'll be at the Muskoka Literary Festival in Huntsville, Ontario, at libraries in Kingston and Ottawa, in Richmond Hill, Ontario, at schools in London, and then in Calgary before finishing things off with a week entertaining students in Regina. I feel tired already.

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