Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Dalton Higgins

Share |

October 29, 2009 -

Open Book: Toronto:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

Dalton Higgins:

My first book was Much Master T (ECW Press), a mini-comprehensive history of MuchMusic, as seen through the eyes of its most prominent long serving VJ Master T. It's for anyone interested in the history of VJ culture, MuchMusic, and there are pieces in there on everyone from Moses Znaimer, JD Roberts (CNN) and Denise Donlon to Michael Williams (Soul In The City!) and a heartfelt homage to Ed The Sock! My first written piece appeared in Now Magazine, where I enjoyed over a decade plus writing relationship with the news department there, most of the emphasis of my stories revolving around popular culture, with a counter cultural, racially diverse, youth-ey twist.

OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

DH:

Being based in Toronto, arguably the world's most multi-cultural city on the planet, and attending bushels of bookish events, to include readings and observe their extreme insularity and homogeneity is something that fascinates me. Thus, Hip Hop World, my new book, was written to document the most inclusive art form in the world for posterity and to celebrate hip hop in all of its multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-everything glory. Hip Hop is one of the few music cultures that genuinely reflects the demographic realties of cosmo & metro-politan living (been to the Opera recently?).

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

DH:

Dany Laferrière’s Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex, George Elliott Clarke’s George and Rue and Christian Lander’s Stuff White People Like.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

DH:

One in which I can bounce my ideas off of my wife Karen and kids Solomon and Shiloh Bell Higgins. They are my sounding boards and the arbiters of Dalton Higgins’ literary tastes. Okay, well, maybe not so much Solomon, he’s three-years-old, but work with me - his toddlerese is inspiring!

OBT:

William Faulkner was once asked what book he wished he had written; he chose Moby-Dick (with Winnie-the-Pooh as a close second). Is there a book that you wish you had written?

DH:

I’d be a cartoonist actually and write and illustrate something along the lines of Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks: Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper. It’s witty and unrepentantly brilliant how he takes shots at bill collectors, BET, your employers, The Man.

OBT:

Is there a book that you think you should have read by now but haven’t?

DH:

The Bible (both old and new testaments).

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

DH:

They Call Me Chief by Don Marks, it covers the history of Aboriginal hockey players in the NHL and other iconoclasts who made a dent as coaches, spiritual leaders.

OBT:

Do you have a specific readership in mind when you write?

DH:

Like hip hop and Islam (I’m not Muslim), my audience is global, progressive and inclusive, and my readership is growing at a much faster pace than that of traditional book networks or whatever we call these antiquated gatherings of people who I bump into at Toronto-area book launches.

OBT:

What are you working on right now?

DH:

An anthology that I have to produce and edit out of choice and necessity. And a collection of my musings on growing up in Canada and being equally versed on everything from hip hop to hockey. Babylonia is the title that’s registered.

OBT:

Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to get published?

DH:

Writers are a strange breed, myself included, so I wouldn’t know where to begin. The publishing business is mutating and evolving into something else as I type this, and I take pride in my literary ability to spot trends before they happen, to be prescient, so I might say to tie-in any of your literary ambitions to that of the digital (hip hop) world.

Related item from our archives