So it’s been one year since Sweet Affliction came out, and I’ve been thinking about and trying to quantify what the significance of that is. It’s been an amazing year, truly, in ways I would never have expected. Highlights include meeting strangers from the internet; hearing people like my book; the amount of people who sent me pictures of my book in exotic locales; getting to visit and read in independent bookstores in Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, and New York; and not one but TWO goddamn fucking cakes. Serious major THANK YOU to everyone who’s been a part of this year.
I’m sometimes asked for my thoughts on why Montreal seems to be a hotbed of literary activity. My way of thinking about it centres on the conditions of possibility–what makes it possible to be a writer here? And what makes it worthwhile?
There’s obviously no single answer, but a big part of it comes down to the support of local indepedant bookstores. I had my launch at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, and I can easily say that they are 87.5% of what makes being a writer in this city not only possible but, like, fun. They host excellent events, carry beautiful stock, and are generally the kindest, most accomodating lit nerds you could imagine. Other spots like Paragraphe, Argo, SW Welch’s, and The Word make me feel like I’m living in a place that cares about writing, which is a really important feeling, especially when I’m alone at my computer wondering what the point of it all is. (I gave Welch’s a shout-out in one of my stories.) These places are the fabric of a literary community. They’re invaluable, for people that read books and people that write them. I can’t imagine trying to do my work without them.
On May 2nd, I’m celebrating independent bookstores by participating in Authors for Indies, an initiative where writers act as booksellers for a day, recommending our favourite books at independent bookstores across Canada. I’m going to be at Librairie Carcajou from 1-3, which will be a first for me–not just at this bookstore, but in Rosemere. I’m looking forward to seeing a new part of Quebec and meeting the people who live and read there, and talking books with them. If you’re anywhere on the north shore, please come visit! And if not, check the Authors for Indies listings to see who’s going to be at your local bookstore.