Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

I am a blurber. I blurb now.

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I am in the midst of writing a blurb.

It's the first time I've been asked to write a blurb, so of course I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. I'm trying to slip it into conversations at dinner parties.

For example:

Guest A: This is excellent paella.
Guest B: Thank you. I marinated the meat.
Guest C: Is there saffron in the rice?
Guest A: Oooh, saffron is expensive.
Guest B: You're all very important to me, and therefore worth the expense.
Babiak: Someone asked me to blurb his MF book!

Yes, it's an important step, moving from non-blurber to blurber. The agent and the publisher can say anything they like about you. Awards shmawards. Until someone, preferably someone awesome, asks you to review his or her book, you're nobody.

For my last novel, The Garneau Block, I stalked one of my favourite authors, Richard Ford, hoping he might blurb it. But he was ensconced in his writing studio, protected by his literary agent. I tried to contact him surreptitiously, through e-mail and even an almost-trip to Portland, Maine, but I failed.

I told the pathetic and possibly illegal tale of my blurb-stalking on the now-defunct The Arts Tonight, on CBC. When Richard Ford came through town to promote his last novel, the scamps at our national broadcaster played my little essay for him and he declared he would seek a restraining order.

But Richard Ford knew I wouldn't be stopped. He heard the mania in my voice. So he read, and blurbed, The Book of Stanley. A wise choice on his part, I think, and not least because I know several martial arts. From Asia.

Now that I am a blurber, I ask myself if I should merely compliment the work or if I should compare the writer to a past, or present, master. Joyce Carol Oates, for instance, or Richard Russo.

We shall see. For now, I will continue to weave my new status into random conversations.

Stranger A: Excuse me, do you have the time?
Babiak: I'm a blurber. Did you know that?
Stranger A: Actually, I —
Babiak: I've been asked to blurb a book. I am a blurber now. I blurb.

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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Todd Babiak

Todd Babiak is the author of the bestselling novel The Garneau Block (McClelland & Stewart, 2006) and the award-winning novel Choke Hold (Turnstone, 2000). His latest novel is The Book of Stanley (McClelland & Stewart, 2007).

Go to Todd Babiak’s Author Page