Hardcastle at the Writers’ Trust Awards & Gala – Also, New Novels and Other Things…

I didn’t really get a chance to say what all went down over the last couple of weeks, what with work and writing stuff and punching things at the gym. But now that the big Writers’ Trust Gala is over, I figured I’ll get something on here.

Alex Pugsley won The Journey Prize for his story “Crisis on Earth-X,” published in The Dalhousie Review. I got a chance to meet Pugsley doing a short interview for The National Post, and he is a genuinely nice guy and a good writer, so I congratulate him on the win. Afterword, me and the other finalist, Andrew Hood, hung out at the pub and had a couple twenty drinks. He was a cool guy too, so there were no hard feelings nor chairs thrown. The bottom line is that the whole experience of being included in The Journey Prize Anthology, and especially being named as a finalist, gave us all a lot of opportunity to put ourselves out there and get some visibility while we all try to make a living at this fairly goddamned difficult way to make a living. I was definitely the least published and least known writer in those rooms, but almost everybody I talked to had something decent to say and they made you feel very welcome for just some guy. Writing is a pretty solitary thing for me, so when you get to see that there is actually a community out there that gives a shit it is an awful positive experience.

The highlight of the whole series of events for me was getting to meet and talk with Tamas Dobozy, who rightfully won the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for his short story collection “Siege 13.” If you ain’t read it yet, get it, read it, and tell somebody. That guy can write like hell. We are very different kinds of writers but we got along great and he was extraordinarily kind about my story, “To Have To Wait,” and even got into some of my other stuff that can be found online. Tamas is a prof at Laurier, and has a wife and kids and a lot on his plate, so having him take any time out of his day to put up with my crap is unbelievable, and I won’t soon forget it. I got that guy’s back forever.

Otherwise, I went home and licked my wounds (by which I mean I drank everything) after the Writers’ Trust Awards on the 7th, and then spent a good four hours that next night doing the final corrections on my second novel. I sent it to my agent, Meggie Macdonald, and she is figuring out what to do with it now. I think it’s pretty good, but we’ll see what happens. I met some publishers and shook some hands, and some of them have agreed to read the book. That’s about all you can ask for, is someone to give good work an honest reading. If there’s any weight to it someone will hopefully publish the stuff. So thanks to everyone I met for getting ready to give it a go and see if I am any good or not.

I had to suit up for the Writers’ Trust Gala on Thursday, the 15th, and got to hang out with a bunch of other “emerging” writers at the Apple iBookstore table, put together by Christopher Jackson, who had the misfortune of sitting beside me all night. He was an excellent fellow and I gotta thank him for letting me sit there and talk his ear off. All the fancy shit isn’t quite my bread and butter, but nobody threw me out or anything. I got a chance to talk to Amanda Hopkins, and the other Writers’ Trust staff and helped me out through the last couple of weeks, and who put on all of these amazing events. They bust their asses for writers, even for guys like me, and they deserve to be recognized for it. Also, Becky Toyne, Elizabeth Cameron, Anita Chong, and everybody else who was part of the process, you are all heroes. I appreciate all you do. Seriously.

That’s about all I got for now. I’m gonna get back into some short stories while I wait to get notes on the novel and fix it up for submission. I might have took about ten years off my life with all the booze and tie wearing, but I certainly feel like there was a fire lit under my ass to get to work on new writing and to plough ahead. Keep your head on a swivel. There is a lot more to come.

Anyway, thanks to my friends and family for all the support. Sorry I couldn’t take the big prize home for you guys, but I ain’t going nowhere. I feel like I’ve gone a long way in a couple of years, and we are just getting started here. So thanks again and keep on reading.

Take care everybody. Happy Saturday. I’m gonna get into a tallboy or twelve and watch the fights. Also, young’uns at work have convinced me to get Twitter going again. And I guess I’ll see what I can do before I get booted from the internet. So here you go. Prepare for pure nonsense.




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