This fall I went to Telling Tales, to Lethbridge's Word on the Street -- the best little fest in the West -- and into the schools as part of the Authors in Schools program of Kingston WritersFest. And now I'm home!
Telling Tales broke its 10-year streak of being blazing hot and sunny by being cold and rainy. I wore my black rain coat and one of my Mongolian scarves and my step-dads' black wool hat and didn't realize that the general effect was Gay Lesser Pratchett.
Telling Tales was packed with soggy happy reading families. I hung out with readers and other authors.
In Lethbridge I got to talk with Waubgeshig rice Rice, who wrote the best thing I've read this year: Moon of Crusted Snow. Plus he confirmed my private theory about the book!
And in Kingston I read to a tiny country school which had never had an author visit, and a gymful of 250 4 -6 graders, who acted as if they'd never had an author visit -- they were all so exci...
So far, I'm lined up for Telling Tales in Rockton, Ontario (a big outdoor family reading festival near Hamilton -- also in easy reach of Toronto, KW, etc), Word on the Street in Lethbridge, Alberta, and the Kingston Writersfest in Kingston, Ontario. I am booking school visits for October - December.
Margaret Atwood was very nice. I sent her a book a while back and she brought it along so I could sign it.
The stage was very big
Poets normally read to six people, one of whom is nappign and two of whom are waiting for the mic.
And I was, frankly, a rock star. I read three poems, one framed around Fritz Haber (written for the occasion), one about Pavlovsk Station (the one from Best Canadian Poetry) and one about General Relativity (always a barn burner poetry topic). And I very nearly got a standing ovation.
This was. A thing.
Many people asked me afterward to post the Fritz Haber poem, so I will, soon.
September: In the evening of September 29th , I'll be at the Lumen Festival, an open air festival of lights, arts, and technology in uptown Waterloo Ontario. I don't have any specific appearances, but I have a poetry-in-lights installation in Zone 3, and I'll be around.
October: On October 19th and 20th I'll be at the Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers in Tulsa Oklahoma. (Nimrod, if you don't know it, is a venerable and lively literary magazine that lives at the University of Tulsa.) I'll be attending the kickoff on Friday evening (which is free and open to the public) and teaching a "Choose Your Own Disaster" course on world-building on Saturday.
November: On November 2nd and 3rd, I'll be at the Wild Writers Literary Festival, again in Waterloo Ontario. I'm teaching a Young Creators Masterclass on Saturday morning, on where, why, and how to use details to make your writing snap, not bog.
Local friends! Join me on September 8th at our local library for a loquacious and lettered literary trivia smackdown, the Reading Rumble! Teams have read three books (mine is one of them) and will compete in a live trivia contest. Spectators welcome, but please hurl only epithets, not chairs. The whole thing is in support of Adult Literacy in Waterloo Region, and it's not too late to back a team of your choice.
KPL Downtown, from 1 - 4, on September 8th. I'll be there from at least 3:00 on.
My local library, the Kitchener Public Library, and several of our local literacy organizations are throwing the doors open on a new fun fundraiser called the Reading Rumble. To participate, supporters read three books, then compete in a live trivia knockdown about them come September. One of the books is mine: The Scorpion Rules. Teams can sign up here!
So excited I helped make a video for them:
(Also featuring my kid. And the book about my kid that she hasn't forgiven me for.)
Children's book writers and illustrators living in Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Stratford, London, Hamilton: HEADS UP!
CANSCAIP is a great organization, but I have to admit I don't get to their meetings much. For those of us in the hinterland of the 519, it's hard to manage getting into Toronto for a weekday evening. This is our big chance: a meeting in Guelph next Wednesday night. This meeting is open to the public, meaning you don't have to be a CANSCAIP member. I will be one of the featured panelists. There's no charge to attend. It should be fun, and there may be Robert Munch sightings.
This is part of a report I just submitted to the TD Book Week organizers, wrapping up the tour. I thought it was enough fun to share.
TD Book Week is a program that gets authors to places that authors can't get to -- Toronto authors to Vancouver Island, Calgary Authors to Newfoundland, and things like that. It also boosts places that can't usually get authors at all, like the Northwest Territories or Labrador, or in my case, Southern Saskatchewan, centered on Moose Jaw. It's a week long and it's jammed packed: known affectionately among authors as the TD death march. I did fifteen school and library visits in one week, and put almost 2000 kilometres on a rental car.
I took my daughter, known online as Ninja Princess Scientist, with me on this tour. She is in sixth grade and we recently made the decision to home school her because she was being bullied at her local school. She had never seen the Canadian prairies – or...
It's fall and I've got a book out, so I am on the road! I'm honoured to be part of this amazing lineup of writers At Calgary Wordfest. Look at this!
I am especially thrilled to have the chance to present alongside Mariko Tamaki.
Mariko and Jillian Tamaki are a pair of cousins and a writer illustrator team. They are jointly responsible for two of my favourite graphic novels: Skim, and This One Summer. Until these books, I hadn’t read a graphic novel since my superhero kick in the 80s — The Watchmen, anyone? — and so I’m really not sure how Skim landed on my shelf, but I am so glad it did. Reading it was like learning to read another language, or learning to fall in love with stories, again, and for the first time. The interplay between text and visuals, between what’s said and unsaid, between interior and exterior is absolutely stunning. They feel so real and so tender, as if they were about my teenaged self, who I just want to love up and rescue....
Halfway through my last book tour I went -- very oddly -- home. Home to Omaha, the city where I grew up. And having gone back to Omaha was almost like going back in time for me -- or like that weird lurch in time when you relize the baby you haven't seen in a bit now has a driver's license.
I ended up in Omaha because my old university, Creighton, has a new MFA program, and they invited me to give a public reading, and to address the students. I also volunteered to pop into the physics department and chat about science writing. (I actually studied physics, not English, and still work as a science writer.) It was lovely to see my old mentors, in both poetry and physics, to whom I owe so so much. Dr. Cherney, Dr. Spencer -- thank you. I don't think I ever did say that enough.