Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Shannon Maguire

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Shannon Maguire (photo credit: Ralph Kolewe)

Today we speak with Shannon Maguire, the author of fur(l) parachute (BookThug) as part of The WAR Series: Writers As Readers, which gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

After three chapbooks, fur(l) parachute is Shannon's first full length poetry collection. Though inspired by Old English poetic forms, its playful treatment of everything from fly fishing to knot tying will have poetry enthusiasts hooked.

Read on to hear from Shannon about the book that kept her housebound, a desire to follow in Indiana Jones' footsteps and an enviable line up of books to read.
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The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
The Wizard of Oz in French translation in grade 1 is the first regular-sized book I remember reading cover-to-cover by myself. I know I did this because my parents and grandparents don’t speak French. I remember it took a long time but I was determined to get all the way through it. (And I seem to have been able to recount the plot sufficiently when asked.) There were many picture books before that, though I couldn’t tell you which first. And I remember making my own “books” before going to school.

A book that made me cry:
Ossuaries by Dionne Brand. I was devastated by my first reading of it in April 2010. Unable to leave my apartment for a whole weekend.

The first adult book I read:
Does Alice In Wonderland count? Otherwise, a non-fiction book about archaeology — can’t remember the title but still remember the burnt-orange cover (I used to think I wanted to grow up to be an archaeologist).

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Leonora Carrington’s The Hearing Trumpet, narrated by wonderfully lucid, if unconventional 92-year-old British ex-pat living in Mexico, Marian Leatherby (the name is a giveaway), whose son Galahad has deemed her senile and sent her to a senior’s complex that is run in a manner totally bonkers. It’s a feminist surrealist novel and still has the ability to make me spew coffee from my nose in public.

Also Jenny Sampirisi’s Croak. And David Bateman’s ‘Tis Pity.

The book I have re-read many times:
So many. All my favourite poets (too many to name in the allotted space) but one that I want to single out because I think it needs to be read more widely is Trish Salah’s Wanting in Arabic.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:
Melissa Scott’s Shadow Man and Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl, both sci-fi gender-bender books that I wish I had read back then.

The best book I read in the past six months:
Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature. Eds. Qwo-Li Driskill, Chris Finley, Brian Joseph Gilley and Scott Lauria Morgensen. I am all for being omnivorous as a reader, and promoting essay reading for general readers. These are voices to listen to.

The book I plan on reading next:
It’s spring. I have a stack of books on my desk for comp exams and a stack of newly published books by friends by my bed. I think I might toss a coin! But then I might just go ahead and read Adichie….

A possible title for my autobiography:
Imagine that….: Misreadings of a post-absurdist chronicle kept by someone I think I might have heard of


Shannon Maguire grew up on the mouth of Lake Superior and now lives in Guelph, Ontario. Her poetry has appeared in CV2, Ditch, Gultch: An Assemblage of Poetry and Prose (2009), as well as other places. She is the author of three chapbooks: Vowel Wolves & Other Knots (2011), Fruit Machine (2012), and A Web of Holes (2012). A selection of poems from Fur(l) Parachute was a finalist for the Manitoba Magazine Awards in the category of Best Poem or Suite of Poems (2012) and it was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry (2011).

For more information about fur(l) parachute please visit the BookThug website.

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

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