Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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In today’s Guardian newspaper MARGARET ATWOOD explains what’s up with the Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature, in Dubai. She recently withdrew from the festival because another author’s book had apparently been banned, but has since reconsidered. Is she going? Ain’t she going? Turns out, she’s still not sure.

Meanwhile VIT WAGNER, publishing reporter for the Toronto Star, reminds us that this is Freedom to Read Week in Canada with an article about an upcoming PEN Canada event featuring a panel discussion about the intersection between environmentalism and the freedom of expression. Canadian authors TREVOR HERRIOT, TARAS GRESCOE and KEN MCGOOGAN are featured. (Herriot also writes about such issues on Globe Books this weekend.)

In a humourous piece for the Telegraph, NIGEL FARNDALE postulates that e-book reading devices like the Sony Reader and Kindle are doomed to fail because people like to show off their books on their coffee tables too much.

Over on The Bookseller’s site you can vote for Oddest Title of the Year. Is it Baboon Metaphysics, or Curbside Consultation of the Colon, or some other oddity? You choose. The shortlist was assembled by HORACE BENT.

Tonight is OSCAR night and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has mounted an exhibit from Italian film director FEDERICO FELLINI’s The Book of Dreams in the gallery space of their Los Angeles headquarters. The book, published by Rizzoli, collects paintings Fellini made from images in his own dreams. An image gallery is also available for view on their website.

On their profoundly annoying Flash-driven site, the National Post has published the third installment in “a monthly series examining the ecology of books, the complex interrelationships that, taken together, form Canada's publishing industry - from small-press proprietors to the country's biggest houses, from booksellers to book bloggers to book reviewers.” The first installment looked at the role of the literary agent, the second looked at literary journals, the third, by MARK MEDLEY, looks at the role of the editor with a profile of McClelland & Stewart’s ELLEN SELIGMAN. (Medley’s attempt to compare Seligman to Tina Fey wins the overreach of the week award.)

Finally, The New Yorker has been running (since December 2008, it seems) one of the strangest lit-themed blogs I’ve yet to encounter. Called Lit Spirits, it is a weekly feature by the mixologist MICHAEL CECCONI, comparing cocktails with characters from literature. Holden Caulfield, apparently, is a Sparkling Sunset (o.j./grenadine/tequila/Champagne). Pooh Bear is a Honeysuckle Rose (red wine/citrus/honey/tequila). And this week P.D. James’ Theodore Faron, from Children of Men, is vintage Bourbon straight up. Uh, huh. Makes me think of that TV ad where a rather flaky woman says “chocolate reminds me of jazz”. (Or did jazz remind her of chocolate? I can’t remember.) Anyway, let’s play along, shall we? Aside from Pooh, Cecconi doesn’t have any Canadian characters up there yet, so I’ll nominate a few. Feel free to post your opinions--just remember, the question is what drink are they, not what would they drink. I’ll post my answers before the end of the month.

Duddy Kravitz (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz)

Robert Ross (The Wars)

Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)

Hagar Shipley (The Stone Angel)

Andy Palmer (Generation X)


Duddy Kravitz - I would say he is a dirty martini. The martini represents a cocktail of the nouveau riche of 20th century America, with it's gin hearkening back to England, but of course gin was originally a drink of the working class in England and Kravitz is constantly trying to separate himself from his own blue-collar past. Still, it is a delicious drink, somewhat sinful and a lot of fun. The dirty aspect reflects both the nasty side of Kravitz's character and his social ineptness, as though the brine got spilled into the mix.

Robert Ross - I would have to say he is a very robust single malt scotch, straight up. The lack of ice or water makes him far too strong and forceful. It is a drink that can disappear in a shot and catch up with you very quickly. Brazen to a fault, it is the drink of youthful heroics.

Anne Shirley - I'll agree with calisaurus' Shirley Temple on this one: "They both have that red hair and delightful innocence." (Though I hope not to find a hair in my drink!)

Hagar Shipley - To me she is an ice cold shot of aquavit - unforgiving, misguidedly remedial, yet also warming.

Andy Palmer - Despite the fact that Andy is a bartender, he himself is a glass of the sort of "jungle juice" we used to steal from our parents' bars as teenagers--a blend of whatever was available: gin, rum, whiskey, vodka, etc... all drunk down with an unhealthy mix of coke to hide the taste. A confused attempt at adulthood.

Anne Shirley = Shirley Temple? They both have that red hair and delightful innocence. :)

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page