Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Dirty Dozen, with Brian Panhuyzen

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Brian Panhuyzen is a short story writer and novelist and is Open Book: Toronto's March 2014 Writer-in-Residence.

Stay tuned throughout the month to hear from Brian on subject literary and otherwise, and read on to get a peek into the author's mind as Brian tackles our Dirty Dozen interview, where authors are invited to share twelve unexpected facts about themselves. From airplanes to bicycles to swimming pools, Brian's Dirty Dozen will make you want to get up and move!

March 1, 2014 -

  1. I type using the Dvorak keyboard layout. I originally learned to type using the QWERTY layout, taught myself Dvorak by keeping my eyes of the keyboard and looking at a Dvorak layout I had taped to the wall beside me. I can still touch-type on QWERTY in a pinch, which makes me bi-typual.
  2. I’ve cycled over 60,000 kilometres in the last dozen years. While I now work from home, my previous day job could be reached on transit only though a series of time-consuming transfers (and those interruptions were wretched while trying to read). It turned out a pleasant and direct bike route, a ride of 13 kilometres, would bring me through the paved trails of the Don Valley to my workplace. I got addicted to the endorphin rush, and on days I couldn’t ride (usually related to weather — though I would ride through everything but deep snow), I was miserable!
  3. I like audiobooks. During the aforementioned commutes, I listened to hundreds of recorded books, everything from the entire Harry Potter series, to much of Bill Bryson’s works (best when he reads!), to classics like Moby Dick and On The Road.
  4. I swim 5000m per week. Last year I participated in my first triathlon — more this year.
  5. I do comedy. I actually started writing sketch comedy in my teens with a friend; we wrote some screenplays, spec television scripts, and I wrote gala intros for the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Recently I started doing stand-up comedy. It’s terrifying and exciting.
  6. I've flown an airplane alone, all by myself. This was some time ago, while I was getting my pilot’s license. Though I never completed it (I still might — though I may first have to become independently wealthy), I did solo several times, including a cross-country flight from Toronto Island to Muskoka to Peterborough and back again. The scariest part of flying solo: using the radio. Yup: embarrassment trumps death.
  7. I’m a self-taught tech-head. My dad worked for IBM. When I was 16, I built an Apple II from a box of parts. For years I did tech support for Macs, Windows PCs, servers, and networks. I recently became a certified FileMaker Pro database developer, and I earn my living through development of databases. My clients include: a film festival, a printing company, a guide-dog registry, a university department that tracks body parts for medical students (ew!), and a rescue worker training organization.
  8. I have a dog. Well, he has me. His name is Spencer, a rescue, black lab for sure, and probably the rest is Border collie. He's a tool user. When I stuff a kong or ball with treats, he'll carry it to the top of the stairs and drop it down, following in its path, eating the bits as they fall out from the bounces on each step. Then he brings it back to the top and repeats the process.
  9. I play piano and guitar. Poorly. I sing. Wretchedly. Look for my first album of gothic lounge music in 2015.
  10. I'm a typesetter. I used to typeset for the House of Anansi. Lisa Moore, Erin Mouré, Michael Winter, Adam Sol, Albert Moritz, Margaret Atwood — a few of the authors whose work I've set. A bunch of Massey Lectures, too.
  11. My favourite apple is the Empire. It's a lovely, tart, crisp apple, which does not bruise easily (perfect for the bike pannier when you’re cycling to work). It's a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious.
  12. I have kids! Two boys. They rock. No really, they do.


Brian Panhuyzen is the author of the short-story collection The Death of the Moon (Cormorant, 1999). He has written for the Just for Laughs International Comedy Festival, worked as a typesetter and designer, and is a developer of databases. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

For more information about The Sky Manifest please visit the ECW Press website.

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