Smells Like Heaven had a swell launch this week in Hamilton at Bryan Prince Bookseller’s new community space. We had standing room only with guests from as far away as Haliburton, Owen Sound, Midland, Brampton and Toronto. Wendy O’Brien, a former colleague and all-around smart lady, interviewed me. The interview was nerve-wracking, vulnerable, funny and wide-ranging. My eight-year-old daughter filmed us from the front row. Adding to the atmosphere, art hung on the walls and from the ceiling–all created by children at my daughters’ school. I couldn’t have asked for more and am beyond grateful to all who came by or sent kind words. I’m thankful for the writer-friends over the years who put in time at writers’ groups and over cafe tables. I was lucky enough to share the night with a few, especially Krista Foss (of Hamilton) and John Miller and Elizabeth Ruth (of Toronto). I must also mention how much I appreciate Kerry-Cranston Reimer of Bryan Prince Bookseller for hosting the event, and my publisher Todd Besant and the staff of ARP Books, without whom the book would still be a file in my MacBook Pro.
A List of News
The Toronto launch is coming up on Wed. June 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Another Story Books.
A Goodreads giveaway has started up today for Smells Like Heaven. It ends June 30.
My interview with GetLit’s Jamie Tennant is up on Jamie’s blog. Listen to it here.
My essay “How Not to Drown” is on TNQ’s 2017 Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest longlist.
*Photo credits: Daniel Hill
Buy More Art
This week I visited some neighbours’ studios on a local artists’ tour and found the above sign propped on the kitchen counter at a house around the corner from me. My mom bought me a resonant work of art made of found objects (including linoleum from the city where I went to university). We would have bought much more art if we could have. My 8-year-old daughter has committed herself to saving up to buy art and was inspired to make this piece out of Battleship pieces, paper clips, earrings and buttons. (Oh, and a piece of wood which may or may not be part of our disassembled sauna):
The weeks leading up to a book’s launch into the world can be heady and weird. Suddenly people are talking about your book instead of wondering why you never leave the house or answer the door during the day. Smells Like Heaven is lucky to have two launches on the horizon: one in Hamilton, the city I now call home, and one in Toronto where I lived and worked for over a decade. The Hamilton launch takes place on June 20. Here’s a poster for the Toronto launch:
Speaking of launches, our magazine Hamilton Review of Books has not only just released its second issue but is hosting a panel and fundraiser next week called “It’s Great and I Like It.” Why are we fundraising? So we can pay our writers!
Last week this stack of postcards came, a precursor to the thrill of holding the book for the first time, a moment which is now mere weeks away.
The postcards were great swag to hand out at the Hamilton Public Library reading on April 22. Every reader was strong and distinct and I was thrilled and grateful to see some friends in the audience as well as some of the Hamilton Review of Books editors. The turn-out was strong considering it was a super-sunny day and Monster-jammers had crammed the downtown streets.
Speaking of Hamilton Review of Books, the second issue, which went live this week, is jam-packed with fantastic content, including my review of Rachel Cusk’s novel, Transit here.
Events are lining up: I’ll be on a panel about self-promotion at the Paris branch of the Brantford Public Library on May 13, on a panel about writers’ contracts and a reading at the CCWWP conference at UNB on June 11, interviewed on GetLit on June 15, and launching Smells Like Heaven at Bryan Prince Bookseller on June 20 at 6 p.m.. More details to follow. All are welcome.
It’s book launch season all over, and I’ve been lucky enough to make it out to a couple this week, for Gary Barwin’s No TV for Woodpeckers and John Terptra’s Mischief and for my friend and former colleague Antanas Sileika’s memoir, The Barefoot Bingo Caller, a launch which was especially fun for me as it offered the chance to connect with lots of people from my teaching days at Humber College (and involved bingo calling!) Though I’d allowed myself two hours, I made the QEW Hamilton-Toronto trek in less than 45 minutes, so I had time to see the famous High Park cherry blossoms and meet the incomparable Haggis, a recent Mexican rescue who’s so famous now he has his own Facebook page, The Haggis Report.
One of my long-held dreams is about to come true. For one day only, I’ll be a bookseller. As part of an exciting new initiative, authors across Canada will turn into booksellers on Saturday, May 2 at their favourite local independents. I’ll be at Bryan Prince Bookseller and Epic Books along with a stunning mix of authors including Krista Foss, Ross Pennie, Gillian Chan, David Collier, Aimee Reid, John Lawrence Reynolds, Bonnie Lendrum and Jill Downie. Details to follow. Do check it out: http://www.authorsforindies.com/