Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Canzine Countdown: An Interview with Teri Vlassopoulos

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Canzine Countdown: An Interview with Teri Vlassopoulos

Canzine 2010 is this Sunday October 24th at The Great Hall in Toronto. Open Book: Toronto is a proud sponsor, and we had the chance to chat with one of the authors reading as part of the annual radical reading series which begins at 6 p.m. Teri Vlassopoulos is the author of the debut collection of fiction Bats or Swallows, published by Invisible Publishing this month.

Open Book: Toronto:

Welcome to Toronto! Tell us about yourself in a few sentences, for example, we heard you started out in zines and then delved into fiction.

Teri Vlassopoulos:

I made my first zine, melt the snow, when I was in high school. It started off as an Eric’s Trip fanzine masquerading as a personal zine, and then became increasingly more personal. As I got older, I also included short stories. I stopped making zines regularly when I started working full time and decided that I’d rather concentrate on fiction. I took some writing workshops and wrote stories on a one-off basis and eventually realized I’d assembled enough to compile into a collection. I cleaned them up and the book was born. I now make zines sporadically, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop completely.

OBT:

What are you excited most about in regard to Canzine?

TV:

I was 18 the first time I went to Canzine and then attended pretty much every year after that, either tabling or browsing, until I moved to Montreal a few years ago at the age of 27. The fact that I’m going this year to read from my first book feels satisfyingly full circle.

OBT:

How long have you been working on your new book?

TV:

Some of the stories were initially drafted five or six years ago and have been rewritten many, many times and some were only written in the past year. When I started I was just writing to teach myself about writing and didn’t really know if I’d have enough for a book — I think this is often the case for first short story collections.

OBT:

What was it like working with Invisible?

TV:

Really, really great. They’re supportive publishers who listen closely to their authors. For instance, I was given many choices for the book cover. Most people tell you that you’ll have no input into what your book will look like, but it was the opposite for me, and I'm grateful for that (and as a result won’t stop posting pictures of the book online because it’s really pretty.) The Invisible crew are basically just all-around awesome folks who care a lot about making good books.

OBT:

What do you like about the Montreal literary scene?

TV:

One of my favourite things about Montreal is that there’s always something going on, but not so much that you get overwhelmed. And there are a few solid series that make it easy to drop in regularly and learn about new writers. For instance, I’ve spent many Sunday nights at The Pilot, and there are consistently good readings going on at the Drawn & Quarterly store.

OBT:

What do you do all day?

TV:

During the week I work in accounting, which is pretty much as far from fiction writing as you can get. On the weekend I’m mostly trying to find the best place for brunch.

OBT:

What are your promo plans for your new book?

TV:

I have a launch in Toronto on Monday November 8th, and I’ll be doing launches in Montreal too, and some other cities in Ontario. They’ll likely be co-launches for another Invisible book, Rememberer (which I also have a story in). I’m also hoping to do something in New York City at the end of November. It’s kind of nebulous now, but I’ll have details on my site at http://bibliographic.net/book.

OBT:

Since you are a Montreal person, what about Expozine? Are you going to be going to that?

TV:

Expozine is held around the corner from where I live, so there’s no way that I won’t be there. I’ll definitely have stuff for sale — the book and I’ve also just finished a zine called Places and Things, so that will be available too. The zine will also be ready for Canzine in October.


For more information about Bats or Swallows please visit the Invisible Publishing website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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