Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Word on the Street interview series: Susan Swan

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Susan Swan

Today's edition of our The Word On The Street interview series features CanLit powerhouse Susan Swan.

Susan's most recent novel is The Western Light (Cormorant Books), a prequel to her wildly successful 1993 offering, The Wives of Bath.

Susan talks with us about a murderous hockey player, her favourite memories of The Word on the Street and how Ontario writers are like corn.

Open Book:

Tell us a about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Susan Swan:

I will be reading from my new novel, The Western Light, which is a prequel to The Wives of Bath, my international bestseller which was made into the movie Lost and Delirious. But you don't have to read Wives to understand The Western Light, which is about young Mouse Bradford being torn between love for her father and the charismatic asylum inmate John Pilkie, an ex Red Wings hockey player who was incarcerated for murdering his family after he suffered a concussion.

OB:

Have you attended The Word On The Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?

SS:

Yes I attended before. Reading under the tent from my last novel What Casanova Told Me with radio personality Jaymz Bee dressed as Casanova.

OB:

The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book.

SS:

I have lots of favorite Ontario authors. There are so many good ones it's hard to single one out. Let's just say Ontario grows writers like delicious peaches and cream corn.

OB:

What’s the best advice about public readings you have ever received?

SS:

The best advice about giving a public reading was to look the audience in the eye.

OB:

Word on the Street is happening simultaneously in Toronto, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener and Halifax this year as well as in Vancouver from September 28-30. If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival (in addition to Toronto) would you attend?

SS:

Saskatoon would be my next The Word on the Street choice. Unlike the other places, I've never been to Saskatoon, and I hear it is a hub of creativity and excellent writing.

OB:

What can you tell us about your next project?

SS:

My next novel is the story of a financier charged with fraud who goes through a spiritual change in prison. It's inspired by CEOs like Bernie Madoff and Conrad Black.


Susan Swan's critically acclaimed fiction has been published in twenty countries and her impact on the Canadian literary and political scene has been far-reaching. Swan’s last novel, What Casanova Told Me, was published in the US, Canada, Spain, Russia, Serbia and Portugal and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Swan’s other novels include The Wives of Bath (which was made into the feature film Lost and Delirious, shown in 34 countries), The Biggest Modern Woman in the World (Finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction),The Last of the Golden Girls, and the short story collection Stupid Boys are Good to Relax With.

For more information about The Western Light please visit the Cormorant website.

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

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