It’s a pleasure to be in conversation this week with Vancouver writer Zoey Leigh Peterson. Her sublime first novel, Next Year, For Sure, is out this month with Doubleday Canada.
Kirkus Reviews calls the book “a crisp, exciting exploration of love, friendship, and everything in between” and says “Peterson’s one to watch”.
Zoey Leigh Peterson was born in England, grew up all over the United States, and now lives in Canada. Her fiction has appeared in The Walrus, EVENT, Grain, and PRISM international and has been anthologized in The Journey Prize Stories and Best Canadian Stories. She is the recipient of the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction (The Malahat Review) and the Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award (The New Quarterly). Next Year, For Sure is her first novel.
Trevor Corkum: Your novel Next …
Our next interview in this year’s Giller Prize special, generously sponsored by Publishing@SFU, is with Zoe Whittall, author of the shortlisted title The Best Kind of People. Her spellbinding novel bravely and lucidly explores the lives of the family members of a popular small-town teacher accused of sexual assault.
Zoe Whittall's debut novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. She was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Literature in 2016.
Author photo credit: Vivek Shraya
How was The Best Kind of People born?
I was trying to write another book and was having a hard time of it, and I was listening to The Current. It was around the time of the Russell Williams case. There was a lot of talk about his wife and how could she not have known. They were interviewing a therapist who …
Listen, do you hear that?
That’s the sound of hearts breaking across the country as another summer comes to a close. I know, you don’t want to talk about it, or acknowledge the reality of the situation, but it’s time. The leaves have already started to turn here in Victoria, and the nights are growing cool. There might be a renewed blast in September, but the truth is undeniable: the summer is on the wane. Fall is upon us, and winter (forgive me, Tyrion Lannister) is coming.
For some, though, the end of summer is a blessing. Yes, I’m talking about readers.
With the cooling of the year comes the fall book season, a treasure trove of new releases and prize shortlists, award ceremonies, and new favourites. But what are you to do? How will you possibly navigate the torrents of new releases flooding into the world?
Well, you should ask an expert. Perhaps one of our celebrated independent booksellers, custodians of the printed page. But why stop at one? Why not look to a number of these heroic readers from across the country?
Here, with their first recommendations of the fall, a selection of hot new reads for kids and adults (and those in between), along with a timely old favourite, are some of Canada’s finest booksellers. Spring, summer, fall, winter, they’re here for all of us, constantly reading, and eager to share what they’ve found.
The Bookseller: Kim Ferguson, Kaleidescope Kids’ Books (Ottawa, ON)
Twitter lit? Facebook fiction? Here at 49th Shelf, we use the online realm to bring books and readers together. A new book, Friend. Follow. Text. #storiesFromLivingOnline, really takes this idea to heart. It consists of stories where the ways we connect online—chat sessions, Facebook status updates, website comment threads—are incorporated directly into the narrative. We asked editor Shawn Syms to talk about some of the stories in the book and the ways in which contemporary writing is being increasingly enhanced by the language and format of social media.
How we meet each other, talk to one another, experience our lives together: it’s all changing. The possibility of being constantly online—while dancing in a big, sweaty crowd or standing alone on a quiet, snowy mountaintop—has started to permanently alter how we communicate as a culture. Whether we’re talking about sharing photos, trading tweets or texting exes, some find this delightful, others disconcerting.
This shift has affected us as readers. Curled up in bed reading 1984 on a tablet or getting breaking news while sitting on the bus, our eyes scan more information of myriad types in many different ways now. And it’s starting to affect how authors construct their works, too. Is there a plac …
To celebrate Pride this week, we're pleased to feature Zoe Whittall's Contempory Queer Fiction List:
Skim: a graphic novel with words by Mariko Tamaki, illustrations by Jillian Tamaki: A story about a lesbian student-teacher affair at a thinly fictionalized Havergal College.
Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion: a YA novel about young punk rock queers.
Missed Her by Ivan Coyote: This is the most recent book I've read by Ivan and it had me weeping and I'm *really* not easily moved but actually I would urge you to buy all of Ivan's books of stories, or Bow Grip, Ivan's novel, which was excellent.
Six Metres of Pavement by F …