Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Michael Kelly

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Michael Kelly

Chilling Tales: In Words, Alas, Drown I (EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) features 21 tales that promise to perturb and torment. If spine-tingling is what you're looking for, you won't want to miss this collection.

Contributing writers include Robert J. Wiersema and , and Chilling Tales is edited by Michael Kelly, who joins us today to take on the The WAR Series: Writers As Readers, an unconventional interview which gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Michael tells us about about early encounters with Steinbeck, troubles with Joyce and a brilliant short story debut.
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The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
It was Tootle, one of those Little Golden Books? Tootle was a mischievous little train that strayed from the tracks. I can still emphasize.

A book that made me cry:
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Never has a book moved me as much.

The first adult book I read:

East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I was in grade 7 and we could do a book report on a book of our choosing. Our local library had multiple copies of the book, so I checked it out, read it and wrote my report. I’m sure, at age 12, that I missed the relevant themes of the book.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Silverlock by John Myers Myers. It’s a heady, madcap stew in which the author throws in appearances by Faust, Don Quixote, Puck, The Mad Hatter, and many more. Everyone should read it.

The book I have re-read many times:
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. It’s beautiful, elegant, and poetic. It wrecks me each time, but I still return to it.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I’ve heard so many great things about it, yet haven’t gotten around to reading it. Also, anything by James Joyce. I’ve tried Dubliners, and Ulysses, but they just defeat me.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:
Just An Ordinary Day: The Uncollected Stories of Shirley Jackson. The tales are arranged chronologically, so we witness Jackson’s growth as a writer. Each tale is better than the last. Her range is incredible. Sadly, she’s very much under-appreciated.

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:
Charles Beaumont’s The Howling Man. Beaumont showed me economy — he has such a facile way with language — and empathy. This book is full of soul.

The best book I read in the past six months:
Shall I mention The Road again? No? Okay, then it was Nathan Ballingrud’s North American Lake Monsters. One of the best debut short story collections I’ve ever read.

The book I plan on reading next:
The one on the top of my very tall ‘To-be-Read’ pile, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, by Laird Barron.

A possible title for my autobiography:
Just Another Boring Book.


Michael Kelly is a Toronto-based author, editor and publisher. He’s been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the British Fantasy Society Award. His fiction has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Carleton Arts Review, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, The Literary Journal and Postscripts. His most recent book (as editor) is Chilling Tales: In Words, Alas, Drown I (EDGE).

For more information about Chilling Tales please visit the EDGE Publishing website.

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

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