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The Chat: Trevor Corkum Interviews Farzana Doctor

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This week on The Chat, I’m pleased to speak to award-winning author Farzana Doctor about her fantastic new novel, All Inclusive. The book in part tells the story of twenty-something Ameera, a Canadian expat living and working in a Mexican all-inclusive resort community. While balancing the demands of her resort job, Ameera explores her growing interest in the swinging scene and her complicated desire to connect with her unknown birth father.

The Globe and Mail calls All Inclusive “an ambitious and thematically voracious novel on love and the wounds we didn’t know we had.”

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Farzana Doctor is a Toronto-based author of three novels: Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement (which won a Lambda Literary Award in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award) and the recently released All Inclusive. She was named as one of CBC Books’ “Ten Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now” and was the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Grant (2011). She curates the popular Brockton Writers Series and was recently vot …

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Great Characters in CanLit

Chances are, when you think about a book you loved, it's not the sublime descriptions of architecture that come to mind. More likely, it's the characters—fictional, but in terms of impact, not. Characters happen to us, we care about them, love them, cringe at their foibles, laugh at their antics, and cry at their defeats. We want things for them, and we often flip pages faster and faster as our investment in them deepens.

Today some avid readers—Steph VanderMeulen, Léonicka Valcius, Dee Hopkins, Jaclyn Qua-Hiansen, Vicki Ziegler, and me (Kiley Turner)—talk about the CanLit characters that have most affected us and stayed with us. We all wanted to name at least twenty more, and on Twitter over the next week we'll be asking you to name some of your favourites (please use #bestcharacters). We'll then create a nice big list, with your picks included.

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Steph VanderMuelen picks Patrick deWitt's barman and Trevor Cole's Jean Horemarsh

"Patrick deWitt’s Ablutions is chock-full of well-imagined, strange, and funny people, but the whiskey-loving barm …

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Vivek Shraya on the online self-promo that makes for a successful offline author road tour.

Authors have always been expected to self-promote to some degree, but occasionally an author — or, in this case, two authors — comes along who seems almost born for the task at hand.

Vivek Shraya has just finished a road tour with Farzana Doctorinterviewed here this past summer. The "God Loves Pavement" tour, a mash up of the titles of the books they were promoting, Vivek's God Loves Hair and Doctor's Six Degrees of Pavement, spanned seven cities in Canada and the U.S.

 

Shraya and Doctor also started an entertaining tour Tumblr where they posted regular updates, images, event details and a series of delightful short videos called "Brown Moments." (More on that below.) On one level, the blog functions as it should, to keep readers informed of their whereabouts and as a charming memoir of their time together. But it's also a helpful tutorial for other authors seeking a case study on what it means to report from the road, engage an audience and which tools work best.

Julie Wilson: How did you and Farzana decide that it would be feasible (and survivable) to road tour together?

Vivek Shraya: Farzana and I were both invited to do a reading at London Pride last summer that involved a five hour drive. Farzana offered to do the driving on one condition: I was to entertain her with my entire life story. I clearly wasn’t able to satiate her desire, as shortly after that reading, she approached me with the idea for the tour.

Touring together was a bit of a no-brainer because we ar …

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In Conversation With: Farzana Doctor on Queer, South Asian Identity and Being a Psychotherapist

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Farzana Doctor, author of Six Metres of Pavement and Stealing Nasreen.

On one of the last summery days of early fall, I met up with Farzana Doctor in Trinity Bellwoods Park to record a short excerpt from her second novel, Six Metres of Pavement, and to eat soft cheeses and drink fermented grape juice. We were visited regularly by dogs and the threat of the odd softball. Enjoy the chat!

Julie Wilson: This past summer, you received the $4,000 Dayne Ogilvie Grant for Emerging LGBT Writer from the Writers' Trust of Canada. While the writing itself doesn't necessarily have to feature LBGT themes, the writer must identify as LGBT to be eligible. LGBT teen suicide has been in the news of late—I'll point to a Globe and Mail editorial by Melissa Carroll and Rick Mercer's recent video address, which calls foul on the It Gets Better campaign, saying it needs to be better now—so I want to ask you how important it is for you to identify openly as a queer woman. And how does it impact your craft as a writer?

Farzana Doctor: It’s always felt important for me to identify as an openly queer woman. Queer identities are still oppressed ones (and this explains why it still hasn’t “gotten better”, or at least not “better enough” for queer youth). I agree with Rick M …

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