Today on The Chat, we continue our special interview series with this year’s English-language Governor General’s award winners. I’m pleased to speak to Mark L. Winston, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction for his book Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, published by Harvard University Press.
Recognized as one of the world’s leading expert on bees and pollination, Mark L. Winston has had an illustrious career researching, teaching, writing and commenting on bees and agriculture, environmental issues and science policy. A widely respected educator, he directed Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue for 12 years and has shared his expertise in columns in the Vancouver Sun, New York Times, The Sciences, Orion, and in radio and TV for the CBC and the U.S. National Public Radio. He’s the author of six books on subjects related to bees.
In Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, said the jury, “Mark L. Winston distills a life’s devotion to the study of bees into a powerful and lyrical meditation on humanity. This compelling book inspires us to reevaluate our own relationships both with each other and the natural world. Vital reading for our time.”
Following on the heels of our special Giller edition of The Chat, I’m pleased to announce that over the next few weeks we’ll be interviewing the English-language winners of this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards.
First up, I’m pleased to talk to Robyn Sarah, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Poetry for her collection My Shoes Are Killing Me. Robyn Sarah is the author of ten poetry collections, two short story collections, and a book of essays on poetry. She was born in New York City to Canadian parents, and grew up in Montréal, where she still lives.
In My Shoes Are Killing Me, according to publisher Biblioasis, Sarah “reflects on the passing of time, the fleetingness of dreams, and the bittersweet pleasure of thinking on the 'hazardous … treasurehouse' that is the past."
From the Montreal Gazette:
"Simply put, we can place ourselves in Sarah’s work with ease. Yes, her details are personal, but they are so well chosen, so real, that they make the leap into the universal with a smoothness that can only be the result of much hidden craft."
Thank you again to Publishing@SFU for sponsoring this special Governor General's Literary Awards installment of The Chat.
Welcome to the final post of our 2015 Giller Prize spotlight. It was a pleasure interviewing Anakana Schofield, André Alexis, Heather O'Neill, and Samuel Archibald and now I'm pleased to present my chat with Rachel Cusk. Rachel is nominated for her book Outline (HarperCollins Canada), "a novel in ten conversations ... [that] follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during one oppressively hot summer in Athens."
From the New York Times review of Outline:
"By freeing the narrator of a body, the novel allows readers to accept a more complex portrait of a person — a self instead of a set of gender stereotypes. The result is a heartbreaking portrait of poise, sympathy, regret and rage, and with this book, Cusk suggests a powerful alternate route for the autobiographical novel."
Thank you again to Publishing@SFU for sponsoring this special Giller Prize installment of The Chat.
What did you immediately do when you found out you’d made it onto this year’s Giller shortlist?
I’m not sure I remember exactly what …
Fresh off great interviews with Giller finalists Anakana Schofield, André Alexis, and Heather O'Neill, I'm pleased to turn the spotlight to Samuel Archibald, author of Arvida, a book of short stories that was originally published to great acclaim in French in 2011, then translated into English by Donald Winkler and published this year by Biblioasis. Arvida is actually a town in Quebec, and Archibald is from there. The Biblioasis team describe the book as follows:
"Samuel Archibald’s portrait of his hometown is filled with innocent children and wild beasts, attempted murder and ritual mutilation, haunted houses and road trips to nowhere, bad men and mysterious women. Gothic, fantastical, and incandescent, filled with stories of everyday wonder and terror, longing and love, Arvida explores the line which separates memory from story."
I shouted and screamed like my favorite football team had just won the Superbowl on a H …
Last week I was thrilled to introduce readers to the new interview series I'm doing with 49th Shelf—The Chat—through a special focus on the 2015 Giller Prize finalists. The first two interviews in this series were with Anakana Schofield (Martin John) and André Alexis (Fifteen Dogs). This week I'll be interviewing Heather O'Neill (Daydreams of Angels), Samuel Archibald (Arvida), and Rachel Cusk (Outline).
From a review in the Toronto Star of Daydreams of Angels:
"O’Neill is a wondrous writer whose clean declarative sentences push the stories forward. The strength of this collection is not just the stories’ delectable absurdity but also their wisdom. O’Neill reflects on the identity of artists, who she says cannot fully live in our world, but must dwell in a place apart to nourish their imaginations."
Immediately after, let’s see. I had to sit with my head between my knees for a bit. I had eaten a lot of birthday …
Hello! Trevor Corkum here again with the second installment of our spotlight on the 2015 Giller Prize finalists: each of the five finalists has been gracious enough to answer five questions about their award-nominated books (Ed: also see our interviews with Anakana Schofield, Rachel Cusk, Heather O'Neill, and Samuel Archibald). 49th Shelf will be featuring one Giller interview per day up until October 20th, accompanied by the first few pages of each book and also a chance to win the entire shortlist (see up top).
Fifteen Dogs has the most unlikely of premises: "A bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto veterinary clinic." The Globe and Mail's Mark Medley calls it "A remarkable book. Insightful, wildly original and beautiful."
Hello! I'm Trevor Corkum, and I'm pleased to join the 49th Shelf team to spearhead a new interview series, The Chat, which is generously sponsored by Publishing@SFU. To find out a little more about me, you can check out my website, but in a nutshell, I'm an author who's written fiction, essays, and creative non-fiction, and I have a new book forthcoming called The Electric Boy (Doubleday).
I'm thrilled to be kicking off the series with a spotlight on the 2015 Giller Prize finalists: each of the five finalists has been gracious enough to answer five questions about their award-nominated books (Ed: also see our interviews with André Alexis, Rachel Cusk, Heather O'Neill, and Samuel Archibald). The Giller shortlist this year (and for that matter, the longlist) is being called one of the best in the 22-year history of the prize.
49th Shelf will be featuring one Giller interview per day up until October 20th, accompanied by the first few pages of each book and also a chance to win the entire shortlist (see up top). We'll start with Anakana Schofield, author of Martin John—a book described by its publisher, Biblioasis, as "a darkly comic novel circuiting through the mind, motivations and preoccupations of a character many women have experienced but few have understo …