Friday, June 28, 2013

Michaelle Jean leads 50 Canadians across Canada

50 Canadians Who Changed the World. My new book will not turn up in bookstores until autumn. But you can read an excerpt in the July-August issue of VIA Rail's Destinations magazine. You guessed it: the excerpt focuses on Michaelle Jean. Even if you are NOT exploring the country by train, you can get a sense of the book by going here. Click through to page 42. One more thing: hats off to the folks at HarperCollins Canada. They're the ones who made this happen. Trust me, when you are bringing out a book, nothing beats having a great team around you.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Hero Meets JFK in Ireland

So the big celebration happened: the 50th anniversary of JFK's 1963 visit to Ireland. They gave it a day-long street party in New Ross, County Wexford. Several members of te Kennedy clan were there. And the Irish prime minister. Not to forget Michael Flatley, the Lord of Dance, and folk singer Judy Collins. You can read all about it here. The photo above, shot a few weeks ago, is the closest I ever came to meeting JFK. As it happens, one of his great-grandfathers came from New Ross: Patrick Kennedy. And so did one of mine, his near contemporary: Michael Byrne (to get the spelling straight). So that's why I was poking around.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Would you take a writing workshop with this man?

In case you missed yesterday's Globe and Mail, where this slightly doctored photo turned up in the Books Section, Our Hero will soon teach Narrative Non-Fiction at the University of Toronto Summer Writing School. It's an intensive, one-week, multi-genre program that runs this year July 15 to 19. Other instructors include Dennis Bock, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Marina Nemat, John Bemrose, Ken Babstock, Norman Snider, Alissa York, Joy Fielding, and Mariko Tamaki. They're teaching everything from historical fiction to screenwriting and writing a bestselling novel. If you're interested, you might be wise to act ASAP. The photo is courtesy of Matthew Plexman, who is secretly a magician.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Writers' Union of Canada moves to admit self-published authors

Hats off to Merilyn Simonds! She not only runs an amazing meeting. But, with the help of Ottawa writer Eric Enno Tamm, she has pointed the way to a renaissance for The Writers' Union of Canada. In response to revolutionary changes in the publishing landscape, TWUC members at their 40th AGM voted unanimously to admit self-published authors. There WILL be an approval process. And the measure must win the approval of the membership in a referendum. Simonds, the outgoing chair of TWUC, called it "a landmark decision . . . that addresses our sincere desire for inclusion and innovation, while maintaining our tradition of defining and upholding professional standards for writers in Canada.” She noted that in "an increasingly fractured literary landscape, others in our sector are looking to TWUC to define what it means to be a professional book author." If the move wins approval of the general membership, she said, "we hope that granting agencies, festivals, residencies and other support programs for writers will follow TWUC’s lead and expand their own definitions to welcome what is becoming an increasingly important practice among professional writers.” And here's a link to the official release.