The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Whole Lot More Than Me

by Tricia Dower

I’m part of a promotional campaign called “Fiery First Fiction,” sponsored by publishers that market through The Literary Press Group - one of fourteen authors across Canada who are publishing first works of fiction. Seven of us are reading on May 12th in Toronto. Six others like me, you might assume: first book; wet between the ears; not sure what page to sign at a book signing.

Not quite. Talk about intimidating.

Chinese Knot (Tsar Publications) may be Lien Chao’s first work of fiction but it’s her sixth book. She’s published two volumes of poetry, a creative memoir, and a book of literary criticism. She has co-edited an anthology of contemporary Chinese Canadian fiction, and she’s got a Ph.D. I imagine she’ll be able to find her way to the podium.

Nathan Whitlock (A Week of This, ECW Press) is the review editor of Quill & Quire. He has an honest to goodness agent and a website with a much more dramatic photo than my jacket shot. Plus, he’s won two emerging artist awards.

Claudia Dey’s website has even more dramatic photos, including one in a bowler hat. (I have a Mao hat from a trip to China in 1996 and a Toronto Bluejay cap with bells on it. Where’s the camera?) Although Stunt (Coach House Books) is her first novel, Dey writes the “Group Therapy” column for the Globe and Mail and three of her plays have been widely produced.

Former lawyer and English teacher, Shari Lapeña, is at work on her second novel. She’ll read from Things Go Flying (Brindle & Glass Publishing). She won the Globe and Mail’s Great Toronto Literary Project contest in 2004.

The Sherpa and Other Fictions (Sumach Press) is Nila Gupta’s first short story collection but she has film and video credits. She won the Ontario Arts Council K.M. Hunter Award for Literature in 2004 and is working on her MFA.

Pamela Stewart, whose short story collection Elysium seems to be her first book, might be as green as I am. (Not a photo or web site to be found.) However the twenty years she spent as a private investigator makes her tons more interesting.

So how does a boring, literary slug muster the courage to appear in a line-up like that? I mean what’s interesting about thirty years in the corporate minefields? And, I’ve been writing fiction for a mere six years. I can only hope they skip the introductions. With seven of us, we have only a few minutes each, so if I’m painfully inadequate in comparison, no one will suffer too long. The really good thing for those of you who show up to hear me read is you’re gonna get a whole lot more than me.

Reading on May 12, 2008, at the Victory Café, 581 Markham Street, Toronto (clockwise from far left): Claudia Dey, Tricia Dower, Nathan Whitlock, Lien Chao, Nila Gupta, and Shari Lapeña. (Pamela Stewart not pictured.) The party starts at 6:30 p.m., with readings beginning at around 7:00 p.m.


Blogger Anne C. said...

I'm not worried for you, Tricia. Excited, yes, worried, no.

Hope I get to see this exciting lineup in TO!

Thu Mar 13, 07:35:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger jsnider said...

I understand what you mean. It is daunting to be surrounded by your peers, especially if they have long lists of accomplishments. However, you are not them, they are not you and you have just as much right to be there as they do.

Why do I say that? Because you are there!

Thu Mar 13, 09:30:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Hey, thanks, you two. You're right, J, I'm me and I'll be there.

Thu Mar 13, 01:36:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Anne C. said...

"I'm me and I'll be there."

Can I borrow that as a mantra?

Thu Mar 13, 03:02:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Be my guest, Anne! Whatever works.

Thu Mar 13, 03:34:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger T. Lee said...

People rarely think their own lives are interesting, but as writers we can remind ourselves that that's what we do: recognize that everyone's life has a fascinating turn. You're perfectly suited to be on that stage, Ms I'll-give-up-corporate-life-for-adventure-out-west-and-start-a writing-career. Phew. That's quite a handle ;)

Mon Mar 17, 03:50:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Hey, thanks, Tamara. Maybe I'll try the Grandma Moses of Writing approach.

Thu Mar 20, 01:12:00 am GMT-4  

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