It was in 1996 when I read a glowing review in the Globe and Mail on what was at the time William Trevor’s latest collection of stories, After Rain. Already a fan of short fiction, I ran out, got the hard cover, and devoured it. That collection, which I still have and still refer to from time to time, contains some of what I consider to be Trevor’s finest stories: “A Friendship,” “Timothy’s Birthday,” “A Bit of Business,” “Gilbert’s Mother,” and “Lost Ground.” Since then I have gone on to read the rest of Trevor’s short fiction (of which there is a prodigious amount), everything he’s written before and since, thus beginning a life-long admiration for a man who, until his death in 2016, was widely considered one of the greatest living short story writers in English. So when I recently learned of the posthumously published Last Stories, I immediately ordered it online.
I’m excited to announce that my story “The Magazine” was accepted for publication in Plenitude Magazine, Canada’s online queer literary magazine. I’m thankful to the people at Moosemeat, my writing group, for the insightful feedback and criticism I got when I first presented the story to the group. Without their valuable responses I wouldn’t have been able to find a home for this story.
I get like this every now and then: I get a hankering for a good, solid collection of stories. So it was very fortuitous, while recently browsing in a second-hand bookshop, that I noticed the spine of a book called Nine Inches by Tom Perrotta. Sounds like the name of a story collection, I thought, and indeed it was—an exceptionally good one at that.
In the same way that it had become an enjoyable habit to read another volume of Proust’s massive novel every few months, so it has also become a pleasure to intermittently return to Anthony Powell’s twelve-part novel A Dance to the Music of Time. His dry, subtle humour, his inimitable style, not to mention all those marvellous sentences, is always a treat to come back to. So it is with the sixth volume, The Kindly Ones.
This past summer a friend of mine went to Ireland on vacation, so I asked him to bring me back a novel or story collection by some up-and-coming Irish writer I might not have heard of here in Canada. What he returned with was Donal Ryan’s 2012 debut novel, The Spinning Heart. For a long time I put off reading it for one reason alone: the title; I feared sentimentality. But this past week I gave it a go, and I’m glad that I did.
Please join me Wednesday, August 8th, at Another Story Bookshop. I'll be reading from my collection of stories and discussing the value of writing groups alongside Mary Lou Dickinson, Ele Pawelski, and Heather J. Wood, all members of Moosemeat, the writing group I belong to. Another Story is located at 315 Roncesvalles Avenue in Toronto, and the event starts at 7. For more information, click here. Hope to see you there!
For a brief period, my story "Stunts" is up online on the TNQ website and available to be read for free. (Subscribers to the magazine can access the story online anytime.) So check it out, though I should tell you it's a bit of a lengthy piece. Oh, and I love the graphic they've chosen to go with the story. It's the perfect image! Enjoy!
Just a reminder that I'll be reading this coming Monday, May 7th, at 8 pm at the Words at the Wise reading series. I'm especially excited because I'll be reading alongside Dan Perry (who has a brand new book out called Nobody Looks that Young Here), plus Alice Pelot, as well as our host, Andrew J. Simpson. Wise Bar is located at 1007 Bloor St. West, and for more details click here. Hope to see you there!
Super excited to see my story "Stunts" out now in the latest issue (#146) of The New Quarterly. Thanks to the people at Moosemeat, my writing group, for their thoughtful feedback when the story was first workshopped, and to Pamela Mulloy, Editor of TNQ, for accepting the story. Check it out!