Invited to the Ontario Legislature

November 19th, 2019

Some of you will know that very early in my career I spent two years or so as the Legislative Assistant to the Honourable Robert Nixon, the Ontario Treasurer (now called the Finance Minister). I was in my mid-twenties then and had the time of my life on his political staff during the reign of the David Peterson Liberal Government. Leaping ahead to this past October, the current Speaker of the Legislature, the Honourable Ted Arnott, approached me at the Eden Mills Writers Festival. He and his wife have apparently enjoyed my humble novels and he kindly invited me to come back to the Ontario Legislature for a visit nearly thirty years after I first worked there. What an honour.

I arrived on a Wednesday morning in November and spent twenty minutes or so in the Speakers official boardroom, chatting with him. What a lovely guy with a clear-eyed view of politics and serving the public interest. I was then given a guided tour of the Legislature before heading to the chamber itself. I sat in the House in the Speakers Gallery and was introduced to the Assembly by the Speaker. I watched Question Period (QP) just as I used to do in 1985, but this time, just as an interested observer. Following QP there was a wonderful reception held in the Legislature where MPPs, political staffers, and civil servants alike arrived with books of mind in hand to be inscribed and signed. What a thrill. Finally, Mr. Speaker and I had lunch in the Legislative dining room. I’m grateful for the invitation and was reminded of how important the work of our elected and unelected public servants are. Deep thanks to the Honourable Ted Arnott and his staff (thanks Debi!) for organizing it all.

TF and Leg Speaker 2019

Literary Review of Canada Reviews Albatross

October 29th, 2019

I was pleased to see and then read this thoughtful review of Albatross in the Literary Review of Canada. Read on…

LRC Review 191029a

A nice piece in the London Free Press

October 28th, 2019

In anticipation of my visit to the London Words festival this coming weekend, veterans arts reporter Joe Belanger has written this very nice piece for the London Free Press.

Lonbdobn Free Press piece 191026

A thorn between two Atwood roses

September 12th, 2019

Now that The TestamentsMargaret Atwood’s much-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, has arrived, hot on the heels of Louise Penny’s latest blockbuster, I’m thrilled to be still in the bestseller mix. This is the top ten list of Canadian fiction bestsellers according to Bookmanager as of this day. It’s a veritable “who’s who” of CanLit with Margaret Atwood, Miriam Toews, Michael Ondaatje, Emma Donoghue, Esi Edugyan, Michael Crummy, Cherie Dimaline, and Louise Penny… and somehow I’m there, too. Surreal.

 

Bookmanager ranking 190912

 

Update on Albatross as a Bestseller

August 30th, 2019

Albatross continues to hang in there on most bestsellers’ lists. Any way you slice it, I’m one lucky novelist. There should be a shake-up next week with Louise Penny’s new book landing. I suspect she’ll be atop the charts very shortly. But it’s been very nice while it lasted! Anyway, here’s an Albatross bestseller update for the current week:

CBC Bestseller list 190829

Globe 190831

Toronto Star 190828

Winnipeg Bestsellers (McNR) 190828

Nice piece in several PostMedia papers

August 30th, 2019

Here’s nice interview I did with Jamie Portman, an arts reporter with PostMedia (National Post and many other papers across the country).

Post Media interview (smaller 3) 190825

Albatross now at #3 on Globe Bestseller List

August 23rd, 2019

Last week Albatross entered the Globe and Mail Bestsellers list at #10. One week later (and only two weeks since it was published) the novel has somehow risen to #3. This is very encouraging and I’m thankful for the work of my team at McClelland & Stewart and for the support of readers across the country who have so quickly snapped up Albatross. May it continue at least for a few more weeks!

Globe 190824

Number 3 on the Toronto Star Bestsellers List

August 22nd, 2019

Thank you all who have picked up Albatross already. You’re clearly moving the needle! The novel has opened at number three on the Toronto Star Bestseller list one week after launch. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful.

Toronto Star 190821

My interview on CBC-Radio’s q

August 20th, 2019

I had a great time this morning being interviewed on CBC Radio’s flagship arts and culture program, q, with guest host Ali Hassan. He did a wonderful job of making me feel relaxed. It was like we were just having a conversation over lunch except there was no lunch but there were headphones. My thanks to Emma, the talented producer at q, for helping make this happen.

Click here to listen to the interview.

q interview 2 190820

q interview 190820

Albatross is a CBC Books #1 Bestseller

August 20th, 2019

A tweet caught my eye as it flashed by in my Twitter stream. I took a closer look and was glad I did. Here’s the lovely tweet:

Tweet re #1 bestseller 190820a

What a thrill. Seems as if Albatross has taken flight (pun intended) and I couldn’t be happier. When I clicked through on the link in the tweet, it confirmed the unlikely but welcome news. Exactly one week after it was released, Albatross is the #1 bestseller in Canadian fiction, at least for the next seven days.

CBC Bestseller list 190820