Kim's Canlit-news round-up
A love of the arts is something communicated in the culture of a family, perhaps also in the genes, so it is not surprising that mine is not the only literary offspring of TNQ. Poetry editor John Vardon (you can read his interview with poet Marilyn Bowering in our upcoming winter issue) tells me his daughter Elena—a freelance editor, poet, and fiction writer—has just been awarded second prize in the Canada-wide Sheldon Currie Fiction Contest for her first-published story, “La Fin du Monde,” featured in the fall edition of Antigonish Review.
Elena has worked as an editor for Flaming Fingers Word Processing, the on-line magazine Gasoline, and for various lone writers. She has also written for Gasoline. (Read Elena's interview with singer Bif Naked in Issue 25.) Elena is currently working on a novel that, in her words, “chronicles the life of an immigrant to Canada plagued by a troubled past and his love for an inappropriate partner.”
On other fronts, the ever-prolific poet, editor, and determinedly lower-case rob mclennan has just sent us a link to his choice of the year’s top poetry books, compiled for the Swiss online journal Dusie and posted on their blog. Amongst his picks are collections by two TNQ alum: long-time favourite Stephanie Bolster for the wonderfully-titled A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth and Sandra Ridley, first published in our Lists issue, for Post-Apothecary. Rob’s list is nicely annotated and illustrated if you want to get a snapshot of each poet and her work.
Quill & Quire, the magazine of the Canadian book trade, is also in a prognosticating mood. They’ve just published their list of highlights for the coming spring, including a new novel by Emily Schultz whose richly atmospheric story “A Talent for Sleep” we published in issue 118. They call her a “rising star” in the fiction firmament. We’ve hitched our wagon to that star, nominating her story in our recent National Magazine Awards submission, in what was a very rich year for fiction in TNQ’s pages.
Still, with two bright, capable, true blonde daughters and as a blonde myself (okay, currently moving towards grey), I was a little unnerved by the description of the upcoming novel:
With her third novel, Schultz has moved to Doubleday Canada. The Blondes ($32.95 cl., May), about a mysterious illness that turns blonde women into vicious killers, looks to be an extension of the author’s signature mix of quirky postmodernism and biting satire.
What! It’s not enough we’ve had to endure a lifetime of blonde jokes??!!
I was also interested to see one of my favourite American writers, Richard Ford, on Q & Q’s list. Turns out his upcoming novel is not only set in Canada, it’s called Canada. They bill it (and, after my own heart, Ford himself) as follows:
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/Faulkner Award for Independence Day, Richard Ford is the author of one of the great American novels of the past two decades. He turns his attention to a different nation for his seventh novel, Canada (Ecco/HarperCollins, $26.99 cl., June), which tells the story of 15-year-old Del Parson, abandoned first by his bank-robbing parents and later by his runaway twin sister. Whisked away from Montana to a sleepy corner of Saskatchewan, Del is taken in by an enigmatic Canadian and develops a new sense of self as he comes to terms with his unfamiliar surroundings. Themes such as broken families and rootlessness follow from Ford’s other novels, but the focus on landscape and identity seemingly connects the book to the Canadian canon. The cross-border story promises to chart new territory for Ford, who has said he’s been drawn to Canada since he visited as a teenager.