November 4, 2009

Readings, readings, readings!

We've been wonderfully fortunate in our literary events lately in Montreal. Thanks to the Concordia Writers Read series, George Saunders was in town two weeks ago to give a reading, which I can honestly say was the best reading I've ever attended (a close second being Yann Martel reading from Life of Pi at a free event at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, the same morning he found it was shortlisted for the Booker). Saunders read from his recent story in The New Yorker, "Victory Lap." It's a classic Saunders story -- I'm not sure anybody does tragicomedy better than he does. He did different voices for the characters, including a Mickey Mouse-type voice for the imaginary baby deer (read the story, you'll understand) that is still cracking me up whenever I think about it. He answered the questions generously and interestingly and humbly. Everyone I went with was equally impressed.

Then this past Monday was the Biblioasis Metcalfe-Rooke reading at Drawn and Quarterly, where Kathleen Winter, Rebecca Rosenblum, and Amy Jones read from their winning short-story collections (actually, in Rebecca's case, she read a new story, which was a treat). They were all excellent and inspiring readers, and there were some yummy snacks there to boot. Kathleen very nicely sent me home with some of the leftover blue cheese. I'm pretty sure that living off of literary reading leavings means that I'm a REAL writer now.

And tonight at Arts Cafe is a poetry and prose reading, with a lineup including Alice Zorn, who will be reading from her wonderful book Ruins & Relics. The collection is deservedly shortlisted for the Quebec Writers' Federation McAuslan First Book Prize, and I'm rooting for it to win. And on the subject of the QWF Awards, why don't you come to the gala? As always, it promises to be a great event, and at just $10 a ticket, I suspect it is the most affordable (yet still glitzy) literary gala in the country.

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