Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A major television series

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My first two novels, Choke Hold and The Garneau Block, were nominated for literary prizes. Both won a prize.

I was thrilled, of course. Thrilled!

Only other writers were impressed by these prizes, and they were probably being sarcastic. After all, we aren't talking about the Giller or the GGs here.

With the actual reading public, the most important measure of success seems to be film and television adaptation.

The Book of Stanley is in the process of being optioned for film and television. Of course, the whole thing could either fall apart or come to nothing, which is the pattern in the Canadian film and television industry. But who knows? Maybe the novel will inspire a film, or a television series, or a snide collection of YouTube broadcasts.

Since novels and films are such different media, it's impossible to tell the same story in the same way. The Shining, arguably the best adaptation of all time, is wildly different from the novel. Stephen King was so angry about this, apparently, that he collaborated on an inferior television mini-series that was designed to be the definitive adaptation. But it ain't so easy to top Stanley Kubrick.

I have screenwriting ambitions, so I'd love to be involved in the adaptation of The Book of Stanley, if possible. But I'd never get in the way of the thing for reasons of pride or grumpiness. I'm too curious. I'm also too poor.

Besides, imagine my enhanced reputation at literary readings and family gatherings. Yes, yes, my novel has become a television series. No, it's nothing like the novel, in the end. Yes, Stanley is played by a woman from Anne of Green Gables, and it takes place in Kingston instead of Banff. No, it's not about religion anymore. It's about architecture as metaphor, and memory and multiculturalism. But, BUT, it's on television. And you've heard of it.

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