Archive for the ‘One Book One Community Waterloo Region’ Category

Great TBLP Book Club gathering in September

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

My good friend and fellow book club member, Peter Nosalik, has colloborated with the organizers of One Book, One Community to organize a wonderful gathering of book clubs in Waterloo this September. Peter is hosting the event at his Waterloo home on the evening of Monday, September 20th, calling it “our region’s biggest book club meeting.”

If you’re in a book club in the Waterloo Region, and are interested in attending, check out the details here.

Here’s a peek at the poster that’s been developed for it. My deep gratitude to Peter for conceiving of this idea and providing the leadership to make it happen.

OBOC contest tests your knowledge of TBLP

Friday, May 28th, 2010

One Book, One Community announced a contest yesterday testing your knowledge of TBLP and offering two tickets to an upcoming taping of the hilarious Rick Mercer Report. Check out the contest here and good luck!

Radio interview re One Book, One Community

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The Chair of the One Book, One Community initiative in the Waterloo Region, Katherine Seredynska, was recently interviewed on FM 98.5 CKWR about the program and the selection of The Best Laid Plans as this year’s OBOC choice. She does a great job promoting OBOC and I’m happy to post the interview here. I’m really looking forward to all of the OBOC-related events coming up in June and September.

Just click on the image, or on the link below it, to listen to Katherine’s great interview.


Here’s a shot of Katherine at the OBOC launch a few weeks ago presenting Woolwich Township Mayor Bill Strauss with a copy of The Best Laid Plans. This photograph is from OBOC’s flickr stream.

Thanks for the plug, McClelland & Stewart

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

I just noticed that my publisher, McClelland & Stewart, has given TBLP a plug on their homepage in the “Books in the News” section. Very nice!

TBLP sales up in Waterloo thanks to OBOC

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

A good friend in our book club was sauntering through a mall in Waterloo the other day and came upon what I’m told is called an “end cap” display in a local bookstore. He immediately snapped a photo and sent it to me. It seems that the One Book, One Community choice of TBLP as its 2010 selection is having a very positive impact. The novel seldom gets this kind of profile in bookstores.

Hang gliders & hovercraft: Tracing my roots

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

About a month ago, I was approached to write an essay for The New Quarterly, a well-established Canadian literary journal, as part of their “Magazine as Muse” series. Writers are invited to reflect on what magazine captured their imagination in their early teenage years and perhaps shaped their future in some way. I was delighted to be asked by Bruce Johnstone and Editor, Kim Jernigan, in connection with the selection of TBLP as this year’s choice for the Waterloo Region’s One Book, One Community program. I’ve now submitted the essay and it will appear in TNQ #115, the summer issue, due out in mid-July. The TNQ blog is here.

Choosing the magazine that influenced me as a 13 year old was relatively straight forward. At that age, I only read one magazine with any regularity after discovering stacks of back issues of Popular Science in my primary school library, when I was in Grade 8. I was captivated. There’s little doubt in my mind that being such an avid reader of Popular Science actually played a role in my decision to study engineering at university.  But long before I headed off to McMaster in the fall of 1978, there were a few Popular Science inspired adventures that I chronicled in the essay. Without going into too much detail, PopSci often featured garage inventors who built something that flew, or went fast, or baffled the experts in some way. PopSci somehow made it seem possible for dreamers to bring their inventions to life. I wanted some of that.

So while in Grade 8, my twin brother Tim, my friend Geoff Elmer, and I built three hang gliders. We called them the Falcon series. (We had to have a name for them, didn’t we?) You can read about my hang glider phase in the essay when it comes out, but I thought you  might like this photo of the (attempted) launch of Falcon 3 down the park hill at the end of our street. Yes, that is I, at 13, trying to take flight in June 1973. In hindsight, there was never any hope of me soaring anywhere that day, but still, I’ll never forget it.

Our second Popular Science-fueled foray was the design and construction of a full-sized hovercraft. You’ll know if you’ve read The Best Laid Plans, that a hovercraft figures in the story. That’s because of my abiding interest in them. We were 15 when we built the hovercraft below. This grainy photo was taken in 1975 when I was still months away from earning my driver’s licence.

I think Popular Science magazine may even have played a role in turning me into a writer. Just as its pages made it seem possible for us to build a hang glider or hovercraft way back then, perhaps it also made it seem possible that I might one day actually write a novel, let alone two.  PopSci seemed to engender a sense that all things were possible. Even a novel. That might be a stretch. But I still have my subscription to Popular Science and still look forward to it each month.

Here’s the cover of PopSci from March 1970 that sparked a lifelong fascination with air cushion vehicles and led directly to Angus McLintock’s Baddeck 1 in TBLP.

Will Ferguson wins the Leacock…again!

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Will Ferguson won the 2010 Leacock Medal last Thursday, his third. He is now the fourth writer in the history of the award to earn a trio of Leaocks. Very impressive. I would have been in Orillia for the announcement had I not been so fortunate to be in Cambridge for the announcement that TBLP had been selected for the Waterloo Region’s One Book, One Community program. Will won for his new book, Beyond Belfast. I’ve not read it yet, but it’s near the top of my list.

Writing and winning Leacocks run in the Ferguson family. Will’s brother Ian, won in 2004 for his wonderful book Village of Small Houses. I met Ian at last year’s Leacock Luncheon and have kept up an email coresspondence ever since. As well, Ian has provided a wonderful quotation that will appear on the back cover of The High Road (stay tuned to see the back cover design). I look forward to seeing him again soon. In June, I’ll get to meet Will as I’m the master of ceremonies for the Leacock Gala dinner.  Congratulations, Will, and I’ll see you in June to shake your hand!

Waterloo Record OBOC editorial

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

I met Lynn Haddrall, the Editor-in-chief of the Waterloo Record at the One Book, One Community launch last week. She is funny, smart, and charming and spoke very well at the event. The Record has always been a big a supporter of OBOC. The Record ran a great article the day after the launch.

Here’s a photo from the launch.

You can even watch and listen to a brief reading I was asked to give during the launch announcement.

Finally, here is Lynn’s editorial that ran yesterday. Very kind words.

One Book, One Community = one thrilled writer

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Waterloo Region chooses The Best Laid Plans as its 2010 selection for One Book, One Community

My cup runneth over. For the last two years, after what I have come to call my “Leacock shock,” I’ve noted on several occasions that I surely have exhausted my lifetime supply of good fortune. Clearly, I was wrong. Learning that The Best Laid Plans, my first novel, has been chosen as the Waterloo Region‘s One Book, One Community selection for 2010, has left me feeling elated and humbled at one and the same time. Okay, with this glorious news, surely now my lucky streak has come to an end. It must have. I’ll certainly be very careful crossing the street in the coming months. What a thrill this is. I am extraordinarily grateful for this unexpected honour. When I see the names of the other distinguished writers who have gone before me in OBOC’s eight year history, including Alistair MacLeod, Jane Urquhart, Nino Ricci, Joseph Boyden, and Lawrence Hill, you can imagine how that makes a rookie writer feel. I see my name on that list, and it immediately brings to mind the lyrics of that classic Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong.” etc., etc. I hummed that tune all the way home from the Leacock luncheon two years ago, and I’ll be humming it on the drive down to Cambridge for the OBOC announcement. In short, I am floored.  Of course, as a new writer, ever hopeful that great swaths of the population will somehow find, buy, and read my book, being the 2010 OBOC selection is a very big deal in my fledgling writerly life. I’m told that an estimated 17,000 people read Larry Hill’s great work, The Book of Negroes, last year. While I know that doesn’t translate into 17,000 sales (I’m a big supporter of the public library!), needless to say, my publisher is very excited at the prospect of an unanticipated spike in demand for The Best Laid Plans in the local bookstores and library branches of the Greater Waterloo Area.

But this wonderful news brings an added measure of pleasure and satisfaction. You see, books and reading have been among the greatest joys in my life. I’ve collected funny novels for more than 20 years and have amassed a modest but personally fulfilling library, including every Leacock-winning book since the award was inaugurated in 1947. Seriously, I don’t know where I would be, or even who I would be, were I not such an ardent reader. So, the idea that my novel might play some minor role in either rekindling a lapsed reader’s love of books, or sparking a newfound joy in the written word in one who doesn’t read much at all, leaves me feeling warm all over. There are many noble community causes, but encouraging reading has got to be right up there near the top. That, to me, is the real triumph of One Book, One Community, and why I’m so thankful to be a part of it.

For this unique recognition, I can only offer my deepest gratitude, and as much of me as you can bear during the OBOC celebrations.  I’ll be there in April, June, and in September, and am already scheduled to read at Word on the Street in Kitchener. With the sequel to The Best Laid Plans coming out in September, called The High Road, my dance card will be quite full, but I will always find room in it for visits to the Waterloo Region. Who knows, I may even move there! I am just so pleased, surprised, and honoured that I think I’m about to break down in a fit of uncontrolled reading. I’m in your hands and at your service.

Here’s the shot from the Waterloo Region Record from the launch held this morning at Cambridge City Hall. It was a great day.