A bookstore in Guelph tweeted this photo earlier this week. I’m honoured that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose judgement I have always admired (now even more so!), decided to pick up two of my humble novels. Proud to be on the Premier’s nightstand.
Archive for the ‘Leacock Medal’ Category
I’ve been so fortunate to have received several very positive endorsements from writers I respect and admire. The latest is from the 2016 winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Susan Juby. I’m honoured. Here’s her lovely blurb that will appear somewhere on One Brother Shy when it appears in bookstores at the end of May.
“One Brother Shy is funny, heartbreaking, and sensitive, just like its reluctant semi-hero, Alex MacAskill. Terry Fallis has worked his magic again in this story of a young man battered by the fates and healed by his own courage and the kindness of an unlikely assortment of people. One Brother Shy is life-affirming and an absolute joy to read.”
Susan Juby, winner of the 2016 Leacock Medal for Republic of Dirt
I’m honoured that Joseph Kertes, the Leacock Medal-winning author of The Afterlife of Stars that just received a rave review in The New York Times Book Review has read One Brother Shy and offered up the head-swelling blurb below. As well, I’m also grateful that the hilarious Steve Patterson, host of CBC-Radio’s The Debaters and author of the very funny The Book of Letters I Didn’t Know Where to Send has also provided some wonderful endorsements for the novel. I’m grateful to them both.
“Mark Twain once observed that the “secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow.” In One Brother Shy, Terry Fallis locates this secret source in a very moving yet often funny story about a young man’s search for lost family, lost identity, lost confidence and lost time. In so doing, the author marries joy with sorrow. The result is a wonderful, powerful tale of pain and redemption. Treat yourself to One Brother Shy—you’ll get to see one of Canada’s finest storytellers at the top of his game.”
Joseph Kertes, Author of The Afterlife of Stars
“One Brother Shy is what I would describe as “classic Terry Fallis”. A story that you don’t ‘read’ so much as LIVE along with thanks to sparkling dialogue full of so much wit you don’t realize how damn reasonable it is. I recommend this book for everyone who has a twin or wishes that they did.
To me, the magic of Terry Fallis is dialogue that allows you to eavesdrop on the conversations we all wish we could overhear rather than the ones that are actually inflicted on us in daily society. What Terry writes isn’t just worth reading, it’s worth LISTENING to. [so try to read this where you can read out loud. Which for me meant alone in hotel rooms. Although it’s so good I’m sure the other people on the plane wouldn’t have minded one bit.]
One Brother Shy is another wonderful example of the great gift of Terry Fallis: To make us laugh just enough we don’t realize we’re also learning. My only complaint with his novels is that he can’t write them as quickly as I can devour them.”
Steve Patterson, host of CBC-Radio’s The Debaters and author of The Book of Letters I Didn’t Know Where to send
It’s certainly a sad day in the humour-writing world after learning that Stuart McLean, the three-time Leacock Medal winner, wonderful storyteller, and creator of the Vinyl Cafe had passed away. To me, he reflected, and perfected, a very Canadian sense of humour that was gentler, often self-deprecating, never mean, frequently moving, and always funny. He explored that terrain where tears meet laughter, and he did it very, very well. When I somehow won the Leacock Medal in 2008 for my first novel, I remember giving thanks in my impromptu acceptance speech for Dave and Morley’s quiet and uneventful year. You see, Stuart McLean did not have a Vinyl Cafe book out that year or I suspect he would have won the Leacock, not I. His legions of devoted readers and listeners are bereft today. I’m one of them.
Early January is traditionally when I take a reflective look back across the preceding year and give thanks for all the good fortune that still seems to be trailing me around in my now ten year old life as a novelist. I do find it hard to believe that a decade has elapsed since I started this blog and began podcasting my first novel, The Best Laid Plans. A decade! If you’d told me back in 2007 that ten years later McClelland & Stewart would be publishing my sixth novel, One Brother Shy, I’d at least have scoffed if not collapsed in hysterics. Yet here we are.
2016 was another eventful year in my writerly life:
- I slowed down a bit more on the readings, signings, and talks front. I logged 75 appearances, down from over a hundred in 2015. This wasn’t really a conscious decrease, but just seemed to work out that way. (It’s of course possible that people are growing tired of me.) However, I did seem to travel to a few more exotic locales including visits to Whitehorse, Galiano and Pender Islands, Cape Breton Island, and, of all places, the United Arab Emirates.
- A new edition of No Relation with a new cover, was released in January, 2016.
- In March, after months of planning, plotting, and other outlining alchemy, I started writing the manuscript for my sixth novel, One Brother Shy. (I’ve just reviewed the final galleys and the novel will be released on May 30, 2017.)
- In May, Margaret Atwood (yes, that Margaret Atwood) invited me to be the dinner speaker at a gala she and her husband, Graeme Gibson, host every year to raise funds for the Pelee Island Bird Observatory. It was a great honour to have dinner with Margaret, to be introduced by her, and then to sign books alongside her afterwards.
- In the spring, I was honoured that Poles Apart was long listed, and then named a finalist for the 2016 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. In June, my friend Susan Juby justly won the Leacock Medal. I was thrilled for her and to be among the finalists.
- In June, I signed another two-book deal with McClelland & Stewart to cover One Brother Shy and whatever my seventh novel will be called (the leading title contender right now is If at First You Succeed). I’m very happy to be with the M&S family at Penguin Random House.
- In July, I finished writing the manuscript for One Brother Shy. There followed a few months of editing, copy-editing, and proofreading to get it ready for release this May.
- In September, under the heading of “cool things I only ever got to do because I decided to write novels,” I sat down for coffee with Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter, the Academy Award nominated actor, Mariel Hemingway. She was lovely in every way. I look like a complete idiot in the photo but console myself with the knowledge that no one will be looking at me for long in that shot.
- November was an unprecedented month of travel for me, though only one stint of the voyage was book-related. I happily spent time in New York, Orlando, Paris, and the aforementioned United Arab Emirates. I was in UAE for the Sharjah International Book Fair. I spoke at the American University of Sharjah and then, likely for the one and only time in my life, sat on a panel at the book fair where the language was Arabic and I was given headphones for simultaneous translation. It was a fascinating experience.
I think that about wraps up the highlights of another busy year. I’m hard at work planning my seventh novel as we head into 2017 and hope to be writing the manuscript by the time One Brother Shy is released in May. In March, I’ll be starting to podcast One Brother Shy, chapter-by-chapter, as is my practice. It’ll be available as a free download on iTunes and this blog. I also have some travel coming up later in the spring with a seven day reading tour of the Gulf Islands off BC’s west coast. I’ll also likely be teaching my Humour Writing course at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies starting later this month.
Happy New Year!
A week or so ago I received an email from Linda Leatherdale, the former Business Editor at the Toronto Sun who is now running marketing for Cambria Canada, a major international supplier of natural stone surfaces for kitchens. Linda kindly wrote that she’d read and loved all my novels and had an interesting opportunity to propose. Mariel Hemingway, the Oscar nominated actor who took Hollywood by storm in Woody Allen’s classic film, Manhattan, is a spokesperson for Cambria and was coming to Toronto on a media tour. Linda then suggested that I join the two of them for coffee and that I bring a copy of my Hemingway-themed novel, No Relation for Mariel. I gave her kind invitation careful thought and due consideration and then, four nanoseconds later, responded with “Where and when?”
Given my longstanding fascination with Ernest Hemingway as a literary titan of the last century, it was an incredible thrill to spend time with his granddaughter (Yes, Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter!). I did my best to simulate a calm and collected demeanour and we had a wonderful time in the restaurant of the Four Seasons Hotel. Mariel was lovely in every way possible. She was down-to-earth and thoughtful and seemed genuinely interested in my writing and me. We talked about the audio versions of our respective books as both she and I recorded them. She kindly inscribed a copy of her memoir for me and I signed No Relation for her. Then we took photos. As you can see, I look a little like a starstruck idiot, but then again, I doubt people will spend much time looking at me in the photo.
She seemed interested to learn that No Relation is currently in development as a feature film. Wouldn’t it be cool to have Hemingway’s granddaughter appear in a film driven, in large measure, by the iconic writer’s life. Hmmm…
What a weekend we just had in Orillia. For the first time in the 69 year history of the Leacock Medal, the winner was not announced until the night of the annual Leacock Gala this past Saturday. The three finalists, Susan Juby, Sarah Mian, and I, were stressing out the entire evening as the crowd leisurely enjoyed their dinner. Then after about 34 speeches (I’m kidding… well, a bit, anyway) Leacock Associates President, Nathan Taylor, announced the winner, Susan Juby. I regained normal respiration and heart rate a short time later and rose to join in the standing ovation for Susan’s victory.
Susan is a great and worthy winner. It was her third time shortlisted. Her book, Republic of Dirt is hilarious and poignant. I’m just thrilled for her. We all hung out after the big event and helped Susan come to terms with her newfound and well-earned status as a Leacock Medalist. I congratulate Sarah Mian on her brilliant first novel, When the Saints. It is so assured and so funny, too. We’ll be hearing more from both of these writers in the years ahead. I suspect it will not be the last time either of them will be attending a Leacock Medal announcement. I was honoured to be in their company.
Congratulations Susan and hope to see more of you on the circuit. Sarah, I’ll see you in Cape Breton in the fall.
I’m having trouble breathing right now. I just discovered that Poles Apart is one of three finalists for the 2016 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. I can hardly believe it. I was thrilled to be on the long list unveiled last week, but had convinced myself that I would not be among the finalists this year. (I think it’s a natural self-defence mechanism that just kicks in.)
The Leacock Medal changed my life as a writer back in 2008, so this means a great deal to me. My pal from out west, Susan Juby, is also a finalist for her hysterical novel, Republic of Dirt. She’s on a roll having just won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. I’ve read Susan’s novel and loved it. In fact, when I finished it, I remember visualizing Susan accepting the Leacock Medal. And Sarah Mian is the other finalist for her debut novel, When the Saints. I haven’t read it yet but it sure made a splash when it hit bookstores last year. I’ll be reading Sarah’s novel next. I look forward to seeing, and laughing with, both Susan and Sarah in June. Wonderful, wonderful…
I was thrilled to learn yesterday that Poles Apart has been long listed for the 2016 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. I’m in great company this year with Patrick DeWitt, Charlie Demers, Stuart McLean, and Susan Juby all in the running, along with some other fine writers. The short list of three will be unveiled on Friday, May 6th, with the winner to be announced at the annual Leacock gala in June. With all these other wonderful writers in the play, I’m truly grateful to have made the long list.
As for what may lie ahead, I’m studiously not thinking about it. What will be, will be…
I just received a few copies of the new edition of No Relation. It’s due to hit bookstores in the next couple of weeks. I’ll miss the bears on the front cover of the original edition, but it seems the folks at McClelland & Stewart are trying to create a common look for my novels as this cover matches in general format of the cover of Poles Apart. Looks good to me!