"Edson’s vivid portrayal of the urban area, as well as the working class and underclass, creates a vision of Saint John that highlights the discrepancy between the pre-modern idyllic notion of life in Atlantic Canada and the more complicated reality of the region."

-The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the winter ahead...

I've been off Facebook, Twitter, and this blog lately because I'm not a writer who feels the need to tell everyone what I'm up to, especially in between books--which for me lasts a couple years at a time. Nonetheless, here's an update...After winning the Richards Prize for The Moon is Real, I'm planning on reworking the entire manuscript. I've been very fortunate to acquire the services of none other than Bethany Gibson, one of the finest editors out there. Beginning in January, she is going to work with me to get this novel to where it should be and I'm thrilled. Until then, I'm stepping away from it and continuing to work on finishing a first draft of Dogs in Heat--a weird, twisted tale I've mentioned on this blog a time or two. So that's it for now. It should be a busy winter writing and, more importantly, learning how to be better.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe's grave, Baltimore

Poe's original burial site,
at the rear of the cemetery.
He was later moved here,
to the front of the cemetery.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A farewell to one of the great artists of our time...

Yesterday Alex Colville died at age 92. He's one of the truly cool artists out there, and the fact that he was a Maritimer makes him all the more special to me. He'll be missed, and remembered always.
To Prince Edward Island (my favourite Colville work)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Writerly advice from Mordecai Richler...

When I was in university I was frustrated with my lack of success in writing and so I wrote Mordecai Richler, asking if he felt he was doing it all for nothing when he first started out. Here was his reply...

More pics from WFNB Wordspring 2013...

One hand in pocket, other
on face; not exactly proper
form for public speaking.
(photo by Lee Thompson)

Chatting with Beth Powning
(Photo by Lee Thompson)

Friday night reading
(Photo by Lee Thompson)

Saturday night, with Richards


WFNB Wordspring 2013

Me and David Adams Richards (Photo by Lee Thompson)
I traveled to NB the weekend of May 10 2013 to accept the David Adams Richards Prize for my manuscript of The Moon is Real. I met lots of writers, including Riel Nason, Beth Powning, Lee Thompson, and old friends and fellow writers Sue White and Thomas Hodd. David Adams Richards came and presented the award--what a special thing that was for me to see him again. The last time we met was back in 2011 in Hamilton where he was reading from God Is. His wife Peg came along too. I hadn't seen her since 2005. It was great seeing them and to read for them and my friends and family.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Judge's comments on THE MOON IS REAL ...

The 2013 Richards Prize was judged by Halifax novelist Ian Colford. Here is what he had to say about the story:

This is an accomplished piece of fiction by an author who knows how to create morally complex characters, give them credible motives, and place them in situations that are dramatically compelling. A narrative told from multiple points of view, it patiently builds tension and suspense, forcing the reader to turn the page. The writing is carefully crafted to appear simple, but it is rich in metaphor and flows in a seemingly effortless fashion. This is smart, polished work that deserves an audience.

Check out Colford's latest novel by clicking HERE.

Friday, April 26, 2013

THE MOON IS REAL wins 2013 Richards Prize

The manuscript for The Moon is Real has won the 2013 David Adams Richards Prize. The annual award is handed out by the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick. An earlier version of the manuscript earned an Honourable Mention last year, but I was smack in the middle of a major rewrite and so I'd sent a version that has since been much improved. The work has paid off.
My fourth novel, The Goon, was shorlisted for the ReLit Prize in 2011, but this is the first award I've won, and it's special not only because of that, but that it has the name David Adams Richards attached to it. Richards has been one of my literary heroes for quite a few years and it's cool to me that this is the first thing I win.
I'm not big into prizes, or least I try not to be. My editor, the brilliant Dilshad Engineer, recently summed up why I write: 

You're writing for you, first and foremost, and anything else, whether it's being published or finding an audience, is a bonus. You write because you want to, because you have to. You write because you must. You write in the same way people (like you and me) read: because it's unthinkable not to, because it's like eating or breathing. You know that. If you had no hope of anyone other than yourself reading what you write, you would still write, because it's who you are. Don't get hung up on what happens at the other end of the writing because it'll get in your way. You know you're going to write until you run out of stories and even then, you'll go on writing and someone like me will tell you when you're 90 that it's time to stop, and you won't because you can't. It's as simple as that.
Nonetheless, I'm pretty happy about winning. Thanks go to the WFNB for putting on this competition every year, and congratulations to the winners in the other categories.    

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hemingway at his peak

Smile Please: Hemingway having fun with the camera

I love this photo. Here is Hemingway at his peak, mentally and physically; it's my favorite time period for him. He's somewhere in Spain in the late 1930s. He was there covering the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance. But what he was really doing (whether he knew it or not) was filling his mind with what he needed to write For Whom the Bell Tolls, my favorite novel and I think the very best ever written.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Writers' Federation of New Brunswick

Well I've gone and done it--I've joined WFNB...I've been reluctant to join any sort of writers' union, wanting to remain on the outside of things. But I figure at this point in my career it will be nice to be part of a community of writers, especially since it is based in New Brunswick. I've chatted a bit with Director Lee Thompson and under his guidance it sounds like WFNB is heading in the right direction in its efforts to promote the NB Lit scene. Could there possibly be New Brunswick Literary Awards in the near future? Let's only hope so. I use the model of Newfoundland and how wonderful a job this province does with promoting its writers; I'm hopeful NB gets there one day too.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The brilliance of Ken Follett

I recently finished reading World Without End, the 1,000 page follow-up to The Pillars of the Earth, and it has changed me. I've blogged on here already about The Pillars of the Earth and how magnificent it is. The second one isn't quite as good as the first, but it's still amazing.
I must confess that I was somewhat of a book snob--I wouldn't go near mass market books (exception: Frederick Forsyth), thinking they were below the more literary titles out there. Man, was I wrong. Ken Follett is a genius storyteller. While I couldn't get past the first 30 pages of Life of Pi (sorry Yann Martel) which won the Booker Prize, Follett has held me for 2,000 pages in two books. There's something to be said about that. It was the most fun I've had reading. I went out last night and bought a few mystery titles for some more fun.
So why do we read? Is it to learn something new? Is it to lose ourselves? I think it's both. And let me say that there are many literary books that put me to sleep, while their so-called lesser mass market cousins have me gripped from beginning to end.  

So Ken Follett has made me realize what a fool I've been as both a reader and a writer. As a reader he has opened my eyes to a whole new world. As a writer, I could only dream of telling a story with characters as vivid as his; or of a plot that keeps me up late at night, turning page after page wondering what will happen next.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm a better writer for having read Ken Follett. If you're a writer, make him part of your essential reading list.