Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writers at Night: The Writers' Trust Gala Series with Craig Davidson

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Craig Davidson

Writers spend most of their time alone, at a desk or perhaps a kitchen table, doing the quiet work of filling pages, re-writing, polishing and editing. But in the literary season, we bring our writers out into the light and celebrate them!

The Writers' Trust of Canada, a charitable organization that provides more support for Canadian writers than any other non-governmental organization, raises money every year with their annual gala. Supporters and donors purchase tables and tickets, and each table features one guest writer. Past attendees include Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and John Irving.

Each year we speak to a handful of the gala's guest authors to get the scoop on the big event from the writers' point of view. We're used to talking to authors about their days — this week and next, we're talking about Writers at Night!

Today we speak with Craig Davidson, Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlisted author of Cataract City (Doubleday Canada).

The 28th annual Writers' Trust Gala takes place on November 14, 2013. Stay tuned for more interviews this week!

Open Book:

Is this your first time attending the Writers' Trust Gala? If so, to what aspect of the event are you most looking forward? If you've attended before, what is one of your favourite gala memories?

Craig Davidson:

Yes, it is. I think it’ll be nice to meet the other writers and guests. Plus it’s for a good cause, so it’s an honour to be included.

OB:

Each guest at your table receives a copy of your most recent book as a gift. Tell us a bit about your book.

CD:

The story of Duncan Diggs and Owen Stuckey, aka “Dunk” and “Owe,” two boys from very different economic and family circumstances who meet and become friends in the scratch-ass and often forlorn city of Niagara Falls (nickname: Cataract City).

The novel charts them from roughly ten years of age to their late thirties, in 4 sections: Dogs In Space (concerning their abduction at 12 years old by an alcoholic ex-professional wrestler); Dolly Express (concerning their adoption of two greyhounds as 15-year-olds and their experiences racing them at the local dog track); 5 Million Cigarettes (concerning the boy’s evolving lives in relation to the cigarette smuggling racket that is rampant on the local River, from the US to Canadian side; at this point one of the boys is a policeman and the other is mixed up in smuggling); and Lions in Winter, concerning the boys getting lost again, as adults, in the same stretch of woods, this time in pursuit of a man responsible for ruining their lives. It includes such subjects and interests as professional wrestling, dog racing, smuggling operations, dog fighting, demolition derbies, the methods of embalming a body and boxing. But primarily it’s about friendship: between two boys specifically, but ultimately about the way we change, how our lives take us in different directions and the strain it puts on those old expectations and allegiances that we’d always hoped would be rock-solid for our entire lives.

OB:

What will you be wearing to the gala?

CD:

A suit, I very much hope! If not, sackcloth and ashes might be a neat look.

OB:

What Canadian writer, living or dead, would you most like to sit next to at dinner? What might you ask him or her?

CD:

I think Mordecai Richler or Douglas Coupland. Either one would certainly add a certain liveliness, irascibility, daring and fun to any conversation. Very likely I wouldn’t be able to hold my own and would soon bore them, but until such point I’m sure it would be a lot of fun.


Craig Davidson Craig Davidson is the author of four books: Rust and Bone, The Fighter, Sarah Court and Cataract City. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Esquire, GQ, The Walrus, the Washington Post, the Observer and elsewhere. His first book was made into a film starring Marion Cotillard.

For more information about Cataract City please visit the Doubleday Canada website.

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

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