Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Edward Riche

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Edward Riche

Edward Riche has established a reputation as one of Canada's wittiest writers with a string of bitingly comic novels, including 2011's Easy to Like. His newest book, Today I Learned It Was You (House of Anansi) adds to that tradition, knocking sacred cows left and right as it tells a story of dysfunctional local politics and outrage culture in St. John's. A send-up of political machinations, religious doublespeak and online advocacy, Today I Learned it Was You is tongue-in-cheek timely.

Today we learn a lot as Ed 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.

He tells us about laughing with The Metamorphosis, excellent reading picks for 17-year olds and reading his fellow Newfoundland writers.

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The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:


We had the Encyclopaedia Britannica and I remember reading almost random entries in it so long as there were accompanying photos or maps. It wasn’t that I was precocious only there was so little else for diversion, there were only two dreary TV channels, my parents’ records, Johnny Horton and The Singing Nun, and the out of doors.

The first adult book I read:

I must have read children’s books of a sort but the first novel I read on my own that I remember was Call of the Wild, can still see the cover.

A book that made me cry:


I cried on finishing William Boyd’s Any Human Heart. Boyd brilliantly made a life, a full one, and its loss was felt. Well-earned tears.

A book that made me laugh out loud:

Eric Newby’s A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush made me laugh out loud. I cannot read Kafka’s The Metamorphosis without howling.

The book I have re-read many times:

Beyond going back to the Shakespeare plays ceaselessly I haven’t re-read any book “many” times. I twice read The Sheltering Sky, Under The Volcano and Master Georgie.

The book I would give my 17-year old self, if I could:

My 17-year old self was reading Kurt Vonnegut and I would let him be.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:

I feel I should have read Don Quixote by now. So many other titles too.

The best book I read in the past six months:

Best books I have read in the last six months were Ben Lerner’s 10:04 and Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways.

The book I plan on reading next:

I plan on soon reading Michael Crummey’s Sweetland. I deliberately avoided reading anything by fellow Newfoundland writers when I was writing my own and now, between, books I am eager to read Michael’s most recent. He always writes well.

A possible title for my autobiography:

My life doesn’t (yet?) merit an autobiography so I cannot imagine a title.


Edward Riche, , an award-winning writer for page, stage, and screen, was born in Botwood on the Bay of Exploits on the northeast coast of Newfoundland. His first novel, Rare Birds, was adapted into a major motion picture starring William Hurt and Molly Parker, and his second novel, The Nine Planets, was a Globe and Mail Best Book and won the Thomas Raddall Head Award. Edward Riche lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

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