Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Read Ontario, with Steve Paikin

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Steve Paikin

Ontario boasts a wealth of fantastic writers and amazing stories, and this October the Ontario Book Publishers Organization is highlighting a selection of the province's finest writing from great Ontario publishers. There's no better time to “Read Ontario”!

Visit the Open Book: Toronto and Open Book: Ontario websites over the next few weeks to find out how living in Ontario has influenced some of our best authors.

We couldn't ask for a more appropriate person to launch our series than Steve Paikin, host of the wildly popular current affairs program "The Agenda" on TVO. As one of Canada's most respected political commentators, Steve brought his experience and balanced viewpoint to bear in his newest book Paikin and the Premiers (Dundurn) where he digs into Ontario's fortunes and future and how our experiences as Ontarians are shaped by the province's highest office.

Today he talks with Open Book about the unspoiled Ontario spot that best fuels his writing, cottage terminology and the perfect alchemical combination of factors that gets the writing flowing.

Visit a participating Read Ontario independent bookstore to get a copy of Paikin and the Premiers, or click here for details on how you can enter to win Steve's book and 41 other Read Ontario books.
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Read Ontario: Steve Paikin — Where Do You Write in Ontario?

The short answer to the question is: almost everywhere. Because hosting “The Agenda” on TVO is a very full-time job, I find myself writing in many locations, wherever and whenever I can find the time: at my office at work; at my office at home; on the train; in the car (no, not while driving); in hotel rooms while on the road; in the basement while watching the Red Sox play.

But my favourite place to write is at my wife’s family’s cottage on a very remote part of Manitoulin Island on the North Channel of Lake Huron. I’ve had the misfortune to write five books, and most of each of those books was written there.

There’s something about the Island that seems to make the creative juices flow more easily. It’s just so peaceful. It’s incredibly remote — more than a seven hour drive from Toronto. The nearest town has a population of 150 people, and we’re 15 minutes away from that booming metropolis. There are other cottages nearby (or “camps” as we call them in Northern Ontario), but I never see the neighbours. Everyone just does their own thing.

It’s actually a combination of things that seems to work. I’d start the day jogging along the dirt roads with not a soul in sight. That seems to get the brain in gear and ideas just start popping into my head. An hour later, after a refreshing jump in the lake, I’m ready to go. With my trusty laptop, I sit either on the dock right on the water, or the picnic table near the cottage, and I just start hammering it out.

The scenery is simple, but beautiful. There are no motorboats whizzing by to disturb the peace (Muskoka this ain’t). In fact, one can go days without seeing any sign of other people.

There’s something about peaceful, beautiful, Manitoulin Island that seems to provide a wonderfully tonic environment in which to write.

Steve Paikin is anchor and senior editor of "The Agenda with Steve Paikin", TVO's flagship current affairs program since 2006. He has written three previous books on politics and one on hockey. Paikin has spent 30 years in journalism, 20 of them at Ontario's provincial broadcaster. He lives in Toronto.

For more information about Paikin and the Premiers please visit the Dundurn website.

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

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