Archive for January, 2010

My article runs in Writers’ Union of Canada mag

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Early in the fall, I was asked to write a piece for the fall/winter edition of WRITE, the official magazine of the Writers’ Union of Canada (WUC). The magazine is now out there, with Paul Quarrington on the cover, and focuses on Canadian humour. I was only too happy to oblige. I joined the WUC in the fall, figuring a contributor to the magazine better be a member. I wish I could actually reproduce the article here, but the magazine is only available to WUC members, and I wouldn’t want to be drummed out of the organization within a few months of joining! After all, membership has its privileges! Other contributors to this humour edition include my friend and fellow Leacock Medal winner, Mark Leiren-Young, the hilarious Drew Hayden Taylor (whose new novel I’ve recently blurbed), and the very funny Erika Ritter, among others. The magazine is great, and well worth reading, even with my piece! (Psst! The article I contributed is quite like the essay that ran on the Globe and Mail books site last spring.)

TBLP on “Biased Best Books” of the decade list

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Wow, what an honour! In an article in today’s Orillia Packet & Times, TBLP was noted as the “funniest Leacock winner” of the decade. The list was compiled by the staff of the Manticore Books, a wonderful independent bookstore in downtown Orillia, home of the Stephen Leacock Museum. I’ve spent several hours in the last year or so browsing through this great store. Don Ross runs the show and is always on hand at Leacock-related events as the designated bookseller.

Writing Update: Final manuscript submitted

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

My editor, Doug Gibson, dropped by yesterday morning with the final version of the manuscript for The High Road. He’d wanted me to see and approve a couple of dozen or so added commas and other punctuation changes to put the book to bed. It took me less than an hour last night to walk through the entire manuscript, searching for Doug’s modest pencil edits. So it’s really done now. Well, you think it’s finally done, but it’s never really done until it’s sitting on a bookstore shelf. But the final manuscript is now handed over to one of McClelland & Stewart’s skilled copy editors. As Doug describes it, it’s the copy editor’s job to make Doug and me look like idiots by discovering many errors in syntax, grammar, spelling, and continuity that neither Doug nor I caught the first 47 times we’d reviewed the manuscript. And rest assured, additional minor edits will arise as we wend our way towards publication. That’s just how this works. But, it feels good to have reached this stage, and before our deadline too. The manuscript isn’t contractually due to M&S until January 11th.

This copy editing phase apparently should not take too long. Then they’ll format and lay out the book block, as it’s called. This is how the inside of the book will look when it’s finally published. We’ll then print out several copies on 8.5 x 11 inch paper and send them around to literary luminaries who might read it and pass favourable judgement on the novel. Ultimately, we’re looking for endorsements that can be quoted in publicity materials, and even on the book itself. Finally, they’ll move into cover design. Doug Gibson’s idea is that The High Road should look like a companion novel to TBLP. So there will almost certainly be graphic and thematic elements from TBLP’s cover that will be found in the cover design for its sequel. I find the publishing process to be endlessly fascinating, so I’m looking forward to what comes next. Still, we’re at least eight months away from the release of The High Road. That’s just how long it all takes. Sigh.

This has all gotten me thinking about what may come next. So I spent this past Friday mapping out novel #3. (And that’s what it’s called at this stage, Novel #3.) It’s not part of the Angus canon, but is something new. I’m enjoying plotting the story, but it still needs more time just steeping in my head before I’m ready to start the formal outlining and chapter notes, let alone the actual writing. Strange not to have Angus in my head, but I’m sure he’ll return…

It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet…

Friday, January 1st, 2010

A friend just pointed me to this image on the Internet. I’d never seen it before. Believe it or not, it’s from a cool photoblog, called PICPU, that focuses on eyewear. Clarence Johnson is the photo buff behind the blog. I can’t tell for certain where this shot was taken. If the date on the photo means anything, I was either doing a reading at Word on the Street in Toronto, or reading at the Headwaters Arts Festival in Caledon. Note that the photo has been tagged “Ray-Ban.” I’d forgotten that I wear Ray-Ban glasses, but the spectacle expert Clarence seemed to know. I just glad he cropped out my ever-expanding forehead! Thanks Clarence.

Stellar entry list for 2010 Leacock Medal

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Now that entries have closed for the 2010 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, I decided to check out the list. Wow! Sixty-one books entered this year. That’s a larger field than usual. It may well be the largest field since the award was established in 1947. There are some really big names in the running this year, including three-time winners Stuart McLean and Arthur Black, two-time winner Will Ferguson, 2009 Leacock finalist William Deverell, CODCO founder Greg Malone, CBC Radio personality Jonathan Goldstein, National Post gossip columnist Shinan Govani, and the very funny travel writer Jane Christmas. I would not want to be deciding from among these hilarious authors.

The next step is the unveiling of the short list, usually in late March. Then, the winner is announced, usually in late April at a wonderful luncheon in Swanmore Hall in Orillia, just next door to Stephen Leacock’s home. Time to start reading some of these great and funny books!

Trust me. Winning this medal can change your life: