Archives for posts with tag: book

More than half a century after modern classic To Kill a Mockingbird was published, a new manuscript by its reclusive and media-shy author came to light under mysterious circumstances. Mystery or not, the world went mad for it, and on July 14, 2015, it landed.

The new novel is called Go Set a Watchman. It has raised many, many questions, and spawned many, many reviews. It has an initial North American print run of 2 million copies.

I’ve been doing a segment called “Should I Read It?” on CBC Radio One’s Day 6 for the past five years. We review high-profile, much-talked-about books. We’ve never done one quite as talked about as this.

Go Set a Watchman: should you read it? Here’s my review.

Prize juror Merrily Weisbord announces a nominee for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

A brand new book shopping list was announced this morning at Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto: the 2014 shortlist for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

The nominees were announced at a press conference attended by 75 guests representing the publishing community, arts and entertainment media, and our prize partners. Guests were welcomed by the Hon. Hilary M. Weston, and the five nominees were announced by jurors Charles Foran, Priscila Uppal, Merrily Weisbord and Peter Mansbridge.

The nominees are:

  • Susan Delacourt for Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them
  • Naomi Klein for This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs the Climate
  • Charles Montgomery for Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
  • Paula Todd for Extreme Mean: Trolls, Bullies and Predators Online
  • Kathleen Winter for Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage

Media coverage from the event included:

Information about the nominees and their books is available at




image: shovel ready


A writer publishes his debut novel. The writer has a toe hold in the literary establishment on both sides of the Canada/US border. The novel has a toe hold on both sides of the noir/sci-fi genre border. The setting of the novel is almost borderless; near-future New York functioning as everyplace and no place, a Gotham or Metropolis, a metaphor for where society has gone wrong. The protagonist is an assassin with a code: one foot on either side of the moral fence.

The review is not like the novel. The review has to pick a single side.

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh. Should you read it?

Listen to the segment on CBC Day 6.


image: shaughnessy cohen prize shortlist


The shortlist for the 2013 Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing was announced this morning.

The nominees are:

  • Margaret MacMillan for The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914
  • Charles Montgomery for Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
  • Donald J. Savoie for Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher? How Government Decides and Why
  • Graeme Smith for The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan
  • Paul Wells for The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006 —

Media coverage for the shortlist included:

Canadian Press

Globe and Mail

National Post

Quill & Quire

Toronto Star

The winner will be announced at the Politics & the Pen Gala in Ottawa on April 2.

image: The Luminaries


On Tuesday night, Canadian-born Kiwi Eleanor Catton became the youngest author ever to win the Man Booker Prize. She won for The Luminaries, which, at 830-odd pages, is also the longest book ever to have won, and will forever be the last book to have won before the prize changed its entry rules to include writers beyond the Commonwealth and Ireland.

But should you read it?

I did – more quickly than I’d suggest you do. Here’s my conversation with Brent Bambury on CBC Day 6.




The NYT Magazine said it’s the best book you’ll read in 2013. High praise for a book that was published on January 10, a pub. date that I’m guessing will have amused the author considering the book’s title.

I discussed George Sunders’ heatbreaking and hilarious new story collection on Day 6 with Brent Bambury

Should you read it? Here’s the audio.


Shelagh Rogers hosts the 12th annual Writers' Trust Awards

On November 7, at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto, the Writers’ Trust of Canada presented six of the country’s most prestigious literary prizes at the 12th annual Writers’ Trust Awards.

The winners were:

Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize: Tamas Dobozy for Siege 13. Dobozy, who won $25,000,  was shocked and delighted, and dedicated the award to his father.

Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize: Alex Pugsley, who won $10,000 for his short story “Crisis on Earth-X.”

Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for a writer in mid-career: Nino Ricci won $25,000 and delivered a poignant speech about the writer’s lot that was subsequently printed in the Toronto Star.

The real purpose of award ceremonies like this one,” he said, “is not so much to honour particular individuals as to raise all boats, and to remind us that literature is still here, alive and kicking, for all the announcements of its impending demise.”

Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life: Jean Little, beloved author of more than 50 books for children, won $20,000. Jean’s seeing-eye dog, Honey, stood faithfully by her side as she accepted the award.

Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature: Paul Yee, the Chinese-Canadian Children’s author of Ghost Train and Tales from Gold Mountain, won $20,000. This year marked the 50th awarding of the Vicky Metcalf.

The Writers’ Trust Distinguished Contribution Award this year went to the Metcalf Foundation for their sponsorship, since its inception, of the Vicky Metcalf Award.

In total, $114 000 in prizes were given out to Canadian writers. To see what the media had to say about the event, check out the links below:

National Post

Toronto Star


Globe and Mail (video c/o Canadian Press)

Quill & Quire



I found Karen Thompson Walker’s much hyped debut to be a slightly flawed but overall impressive and tightly wrought feat of the imagination. And it absolutely screams “summer read.”

Read my review in the Globe and Mail.

This month’s column on Open Book: Toronto is about book design, dipped edges, and the pleasure (and incidental advertising spillover) of snooping on what strangers are reading.



One of the great American novelists has published his first novel in 6 years and called it CANADA.

Cue excitement in literary circles everywhere, but most especially north of the border.

So … should you read it?

On CBC Day 6 this morning I said … probably not, no.