As the year winds down, and with all of my duties done for now, I’m going to make this final post for 2015 with the last few things related to this book I wrote and writing in general. I’ve got no more interviews or reviews or anything that I have any hand in, and no more scheduled readings until at least March 2016. So, I’ll close it up with these…
- I did an interview for The Puritan, the great online literary journal out of Toronto that originally published my story, Bandits. It was done by Jason Freure, who has endured my writing for a long while, as well as about a year-long process of getting this interview figured out.
Read the interview, Simcoe County Noir, by clicking this line right here.
Read the story, Bandits, by clicking on this one.
- A profile I wrote on John Irving, for the National Post and outgoing, excellent-human books editor Emily Keeler, got published in November. On the heels of Irving’s new book, Avenue of Mysteries. In this piece I talk about the book, and his writing process, and his wrestling, and I tried to come at it a little different from the other write-ups out there (given that I got to know Irving magically last year, and he was gracious enough to talk to me at length about a lot of things). I since saw John, and he supposed it was not terrible. In fact, he liked it. So that is alright.
- Debris ended up on some year-end best-of lists, including Quill & Quire, along with a number of other books from Biblioasis, as a best book of the year. And, very importantly, as one of the best covers. I did not create this (Kate Hargreaves did and she is a hero), so I can say it is flat-out the best cover of the year if you have eyes. I was very lucky there…
It also got on the 49th Shelf best books of the year, and into the All Lit Up Super Secret Literary Festival list of best story collections. Over at The Walrus, one of the most popular stories from Debris (Montana Border), was on their Year In Review.
And, just recently, the publisher of Freight Books (out of Scotland), Adrian Searle, put it up as one of his picks for 2015. Any of these objective, foreign market mentions are nice, as I whiffed on many of the other large Canadian prizes and lists, and will probably need to explore new territories if I want to make an actual career out of this. By and large, they have never really liked people who write like me where I’m from. But I knew that going in.
As always, I was fortunate to have other writers go to bat for me, and support my work, as they have since I first started getting stories out there. Without them, who knows what would’ve happened to this book. I’d at least have a lot of holes in my drywall by now. I know that much…
- I talked too much for a whole month at Open Book Toronto, and you can find the complete list of those posts by clicking this line. It was a fair bit of work, and got a little heavy in that this was a very hard year for my family, and I talked about that some. But I tried to be honest and tell readers what I really thought, and about what you go through to get your writing out there. Thanks to everyone for reading those, and to the folks at Open Book and the OBPO for giving me a shot as Writer In Residence for November.
I also just spoke to a lot of secondary school students at David Suzuki Secondary School in Brampton, as part of an initiative by The Fold (Festival of Literary Diversity), called the Human Lit Library. I’ve done a talk for The Writers’ Trust of Canada this year, to students in Toronto, and have been on a panel at the Wild Writers Festival in Waterloo (run by Pamela Mulloy and The New Quarterly), and all of these things have got me to openly try to articulate how and why I write. In the process, it has helped me articulate it better to myself. Much of this has been new to me, but I think the talks and panels have gone alright and I probably didn’t ruin too many lives in the process. Sincere thanks to everyone who let me participate and risked their reputations by it. I hope that I can do more of that kind of thing in the future.
I will be taking Debris on the road again in the spring. To Vancouver on March 2nd, as part of the Incite Reading Series, and hopefully I’ll get a ferry to Victoria for some other shenanigans. Then I’ll be heading inland to Edmonton and Calgary, and maybe elsewhere if we can muster it. I will get all the information out there as soon as I have it. But it is very good to have a publisher that will travel a cellar-dwelling poor person around the land for a book, that is for sure.
The US launch date of Debris is February 9th, 2016, and I am not sure what that will entail. I know what short stories do in the US, especially from Canadian writers, but I do have some friends and allies down there, and will try to make some inroads south of the 49th parallel in the new year. It’ll be a better go when the novel is published, but I will still travel and read where I can, if the opportunity is there. And I will tell everyone if I am going anywhere.
Until then, I’m working on that novel, In the Cage, to be published in fall 2016. My editor, John Metcalf, is happy with the way it’s going. So am I, but there is work to do. There’s a very good book in there if I can build it right. I keep hearing this sentiment about people waiting for your novel, as if the story collections are a warm-up. Well, I know how that all works (at least in business terms), but, this novel is more of the same shit that was in my stories, so I hope those same people aren’t expecting coming-of-age, escaping-small-town, self reflective CanLit. As I’ve said before, the story Montana Border was mined from the novel, and, if you liked that story, this book might ring your bell more than a little…
That all the 2015 this Hardcastle can answer for. I will see you in the new year. To all my readers and friends and fellow writers, sincere thanks for everything. There’s much more to come in 2016 and thereafter.
So long for now.