Yesterday the long shortlist for the ReLit Awards was announced, and Debris ended up in the category for collections of short fiction. On that same list was fellow Biblioasis author Russell Smith (Confidence), and my friend and hilarious book tour veteran Jess Taylor (Pauls – BookThug). There were also excellent writers like Cherie Dimaline (A Gentle Habit – Kegedonce), Richard Van Camp (Night Moves – Enfield & Wizenty), Rhonda Douglas (Welcome to the Circus – Freehand), and Mark Anthony Jarman (Knife Party at the Hotel Europa – Goose Lane).
In the novel category there was another fellow book tour person in Anakana Schofield (Martin John – Biblioasis), and folks I know like Jon Chan Simpson (Chinkstar – Coach House Books), and Danila Botha (Too Much on the Inside – Quattro). For poetry, the likes of friend and weirdo Daniel Scott Tysdal (Fauxccasional Poems – icehouse), Damian Rogers (Dear Leader – Coach House), David McGimpsey (Asbestos Heights – Coach House), and Liz Worth (No Work Finished Here – BookThug).
The ReLit Award was founded by Kenneth J. Harvey, an acclaimed writer and filmmaker from Newfoundland, who wrote a goddamn good book called Inside, that I actually included in a column for 49th Shelf, during the lead-up to my book being published. The column was about essential Canadian books, in my opinion, most of which were concerned with the theme of endurance. Mr. Harvey has been running the ReLit Award for nearly twenty years now, and the prize is not money, but rather a magical gold ring. The idea is that it focuses on recognizing the work for its merit without getting swallowed up in the delirium of prize culture. Fair enough.
Hopefully I get to be Gollum, but, either way, it is a nice honour to be in the running.
This next bit is the link to a video of the Wordsfest London event that I participated in back in November, a conversation with me and André Alexis, moderated by the great Joel Burton of Western University. Joel sent this clip along not too far back, and, if you like seeing Giller Prize winner André Alexis share a couch with a flannel-clad buffoon who actually pleas for a Budweiser sponsorship on-stage, this might be worth an hour or so of your life.
Thanks again to Josh Lambier, and Joel, and all the other Wordsfest people. Hopefully I’ll get down there again with In the Cage as well. I’ll leave you with a nice set of images on how that novel is going, during final revisions based on notes from friend and colleague and enemy Kris Bertin…
So long for now…