Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Bruce McDougall

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The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Bruce McDougall

Part mystery, part family story and part coming-of-age tale, Bruce McDougall's newest book is the short story collection Every Minute is a Suicide (Porcupine's Quill). The collection revolves around a father's disappearance and his son's attempt to find answers over the long years that follow. Eventually, the now-grown son finds himself — in more ways than one — in the darkness of a brutal Yukon winter.

A witty, clear-eyed take on the struggle to find one's place in the world, Every Minute is a Suicide is a great addition to any short fiction reading list.

Today Bruce joins us to take on the The WAR Series: Writers As Readers questionnaire, which gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Bruce tells us about the CanLit titan who made him cry, the books he keeps returning to and the one book he feels influenced his writing above all others.
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The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
Dorothy Dixon Wins Her Wings, by Dorothy Wayne (1933!).

A book that made me cry:
Lives of Girl and Women, by Alice Munro.

The first adult book I read:
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson.

The books I have re-read many times:
Parade’s End, by Ford Madox Ford; The Sunlight Dialogues, by John Gardner; The Last Gentleman, by Walker Percy.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
Ulysses, by James Joyce.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:
Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:
The Sunlight Dialogues, by John Gardner: Set in a conventional but relatively obscure location around Batavia, New York, it presents a rich, absorbing and compelling story about characters of no exceptional achievement or distinction confronted by a world of infinite possibility and mystery.

The best book I read in the past six months:
Stoner, by John Williams.

The books I plan on reading next:
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.

A possible title for my autobiography:
How can I say what I mean till I see what I’ve said?


Bruce McDougallhas been a freelance writer for more than 25 years. He has written or co-written sixteen non-fiction books, including biographies of Charles Mair, the Canadian poet; John Wilson Murray, Canada’s first detective; and Ted Rogers. He has published essays in The Antigonish Review and short stories in Geist, subTerrain and Scrivener. His non-fiction novel, The Last Hockey Game, will be published in 2014 by Goose Lane Editions. He is a graduate of Harvard College, where he was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon, and attended the University of Toronto Law School before becoming a full-time writer. He lives in Toronto.

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