Don DeLillo has a new novel out. And after a few teeny tinies in recent years, this one is, say his publishers, his greatest work since 1997’s Underworld.

So … should you read it?

I reviewed it for CBC Day 6, here.

 

Every year, the Politics & the Pen gala gathers 500 guests from Canada’s literary and political circles to dress up, put party politics aside for the night, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing.

A fundraiser for the Writers’ Trust of Canada, the event has, to date, raised more than $3 million to support Canada’s writers. The highlight of the night is the announcement of the winner of the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

This year’s gala, held at Ottawa’s Fairmont Chateau Laurier, was hosted by Catherine Clark and Ben Mulroney, who had the crowd in stitches with their schtick (heavy on the “kids of former PMs” jokes, obviously). The evening concluded with the presentation of the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing to John Ibbitson for Stephen Harper.

In all, more than $365,000 was raised to support Canada’s writers.

Here are some fabulous photos.

And here is one of many fabulous write-ups.

Congratulations to all of this year’s prize nominees. In addition to eventual winner John Ibbitson, they were:

Greg Donaghy for Grit: The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr.

Norman Hillmer for O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition

Andrew Nikiforuk for Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry

Sheila Watt-Cloutier for The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic, and the Whole Planet

 

Don’t panic…but there are only five shopping days left until Christmas. Listen here for my annual Holiday Gift Guide for CBC’s Day 6, a selection of six great books for a variety of readers on your list (hint: said books are stacked in my arms right up there /\. Look how happy I am to be recommending them!). Remember, folks: books are easy to wrap. Happy Holidays!

 

(l to r) Karen Solie, Deirdre Dore, André Alexis, Richard Wagamese, Jan Thornhill, Annabel Lyon. Photo credit: Tom Sandler

The Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony is easily one of my favourite literary events of the year. Over the course of an hour, the Writers’ Trust gives out six prizes for literary merit and $139,000 to Canadian writers. There are always some surprises and there are always some very excellent acceptance speeches. The 300-strong crowd is a who’s who of emerging writers, entry-level publishing staff, and the most experienced and respected publishers in the land.

Without a doubt, one of this years’ most memorable moments was the acceptance speech delivered by Richard Wagamese on accepting the Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life. Don’t believe me? Watch it here. It is well worth 4 minutes of your time.

The award recipients were:

Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize ($25,000)
André Alexis for Fifteen Dogs, published by Coach House Books

Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize ($10,000)
Deirdre Dore for “The Wise Baby,” published in Geist

Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People ($20,000)
Jan Thornhill

Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize ($25,000)
Karen Solie

Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award ($25,000)
Annabel Lyon

Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life ($20,000)
Richard Wagamese

 


It’s IFOA! (that’s the International Festival of Authors, for the uninitiated), and squillions of authors are in town to talk about their books. On Sunday afternoon, I had the great good fortune to sit up on stage and chat to four of them:

  • Samuel Archibald, whose story collection Arvida was recently shortlisted for the Giller Prize
  • Nick Cutter, whose latest novel is The Deep
  • Benjamin Percy, whose latest novel is The Dead Lands
  • Andrew Pyper, whose latest novel is The Damned

We talked about putting the things that scare you into words and story (hint: all four authors have young children), whether it’s scarier to spell it out or to keep it vague, and whether genre is dead, among other things.

Oh, and Stephen King came up quite a bit.

They were all thoroughly excellent chaps who have written thoroughly excellent books. All in all, a thoroughly excellent way to spend a late-October afternoon.

 

*Photo (l to r) Samuel Archibald, Nick Cutter, Becky Toyne, Andrew Pyper, Benjamin Percy
Pphotographer credit: ifoa.org / Tom Bilenkey