Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

irinakovalyova's blog

on the benefits of not writing (surfing)

It isn’t (usually) wise to blame other people for things that happen to you, but I blame Dr. Kary Banks Mullis for everything.

Dr. Mullis is a Novel Prize-winning biochemist who devised paradigm-shifting improvements to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), for which he shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Canadian Dr. Michael Smith.


Last summer, I made chilled noodle soup.

Why? I was writing a short story that took place in North Korea, and I was stuck. The plot, for some reason, had twisted into a Gordian knot (if you know what I’m talking about, than you know how Alexander the Great dealt with it).

It was clear to me that in order to become unstuck I would have to take decisive action. I would have to either: 1) completely restructure my story or 2) give my characters something to eat.

The Sisyphean task of of restructuring something I’d been writing for almost two years petrified me. I was, therefore, left with food.

on making sausages

June is the month of graduation. On campus, SFU students seem happier, despite impending midterms. Relatives in high heels are carrying peonies. All parking lots are full.

As I pass by the Convocation Mall this morning, the weeping of bagpipes is suddenly cut off. The crowd hushes. Someone is going to make a speech.

And maybe because I’ve been reading Harry Potter to my daughter (we’re on book 5), I start thinking about the commencement speech J.K. Rowling gave at Harvard on June 5, 2008.

A terrific speech. J.K. Rowling knows how to make a rhetorical impact, and she does it right from the start.

and then they were upon her...

If you’ve never heard of Shirley Jackson or read her sensational short story "The Lottery," you should stop doing whatever you’re doing and read it at once.


Last Saturday, on a beautiful, cloudy morning in Vancouver, I went for a run on the Seawall. It was no ordinary run, mind you, but day 20 of my 16-week marathon-training schedule. I was to run 14 miles: the longest distance I’ve run in my life.

What possessed me to train for a marathon? Who can tell? But perhaps the fact that my debut collection of short stories (Specimen) will be released on June 6 had something to do with it.


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