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Archive for the ‘Writers’ Category

The Winner of Scotiabank Giller Prize is…

In Canada, Women, Writers on November 9, 2011 at 10:20

Just a tad…


Congrats to Victoria-based author Esi Edugyan.  She has won the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her sophomore novel, Half-Blood Blues.

CBC Books

This year, 17 Canadian authors made it to the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the country’s richest literary award for fiction. To get some further insight into their work and their inspirations, CBC Books asked the longlisted authors a series of questions. As the prize jury debates which books will be named to the shortlist, we’ll be posting our Q&As for you to enjoy.

Here we have Esi Edugyan, author of Half-Blood Blues.

Q: Pitch Canada your novel in three lines or less.

Esi Edugyan: Jazz. Nazis. Betrayal.

Q: Which Giller-longlisted book (other than your own!) would you like to see take home the prize?

EE: There are so many wonderful books I couldn’t begin to narrow it down. I feel sorry for the jury!

Q: What’s your favourite bookish place in Canada?

EE: Russell Books in Victoria is a great place to while away an afternoon.

Q: Which Canadian author (alive or dead) would you most like to meet? Why?

EE: Mordecai Richler. Wouldn’t be a dull evening.

Q: Who is your favourite fictional character and why? 

EE: Dorothea Brooke from Middlemarch. She is wonderfully good without being sentimental or boring.

Q: What would you be if you weren’t a writer?

EE: An asbestos-cement pipe machine setter.

Q: What book has moved or affected you most in the past year?

EE: 2666 by Roberto Bolano affected me greatly. It’s edgy and breaks a lot of rules, while at the same time reminding me of the resonance and value of serious literature.


Edugyan will join CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi (who also hosted the Giller gala) on Q this morning, and CBC Books will make the livestream broadcast available online tomorrow, too.



Doug Ford and Margaret Atwood… together at last

In Authors, Government, Have to Laugh, Pictures, Toronto, Women, Writers on September 21, 2011 at 11:01

Just a tad…

Margaret Atwood and Doug Ford arm in arm farewell party for the mayor’s arts advisor Jeff Melanson.

@margaretatwood posted”

“T-pals, UnBLeevAbul! I just met D. Ford! At a NotTimmies Arts Party! (He knows what I look like now! :D) Sez #libraries will not be cut! :D”


The Top 100 Canadian Singles by Bob Mersereau

In Authors, Business, Canada, East Coast, Entertainment, Media, Music, People that Matter, The CBC, Writers on September 30, 2010 at 08:37

Bob Mersereau also wrote The Top 100 Canadian Albums in 2007.

You can purchase either book

here and


An open letter to Christie Blatchford by Scaachi Koul

In G8 & G20, Media, The Social, Toronto, Writers on July 11, 2010 at 11:59

Just a tad…

It’s Sunday, you should be watching the World Cup and drinking Bacon Beer courtesy of The Drake Hotel.  Can’t we all just get over the G20 crap.  Probably not.  I came across this retweet from Elena Yunusov @communicable (originally from Antonia Zerbisias @AntoniaZ)  Say what you will about the political aspect, the protesters or the police during the 48hours of G20 in Toronto, one thing is clear; The media’s coverage of what happened wasn’t so clear.  But is that media Cp24, the CBC and the New York Times or is it Twitter and every other iPhone and Flip Camera on Queen Street.  Is there a blend or a separation of old and new.  The truth of what was covered may not have been the issue.  The speed of which that information came to us the viewer or reader and the credibility of the person giving us that information may have been.

An open letter to Christie Blatchford

Dear Ms. Blatchford,

On my first day at Ryerson’s School of Journalism a few years back, we were told that from that day forward, we were to consider ourselves journalists. No, we weren’t “journalists-in-training,” nor we were just students. From then on, we were working journalists, looking for ideas and trying to be intrepid. They could have just as easily told us to start smoking unfiltered cigarettes and to keep a flask at our desks for those tough days.

For me and my colleagues in the field, nothing solidified our fire quite like covering the G20 protests. Some of us had press passes, most of us didn’t, but we all had an eagerness (the kind typically found in young idiots like ourselves – you know, the 20-something crowd). With a little help from the social networking sites we know so well, we helped deliver the news in our small way. We posted pictures, we Tweeted details about where we were and what was happening. Our information was picked up by outlets like the National Post and the CBC. We swelled, just a little, to think that seedlings like ourselves were somehow going to be part of this big thing.

Many of these friends were inevitably detained and arrested. Some were peaceful protesters and some were fellow journalists. This morning, I heard from a few more of them, letting me know they were released and mad as hell. I followed these conversations by readingyour column in The Globe and Mail about how members of the media shouldn’t receive preferential treatment simply by flashing a press pass. You went on to say that those who were detained for taking pictures, filming or spreading information shouldn’t be considered anything close to journalists, since they are not held to the same ethical code “working journalists” are.

I agree with you that a press pass is not a shield from a rubber bullet during a riot. G20 reporters, in reality, had no special rights when it came to where they wanted to go and certainly couldn’t avoid arrest simply by saying, “But wait! I have this laminated piece of paper!”

What I can’t get behind is your claim that those who disseminated information but have no degree in journalism cannot be considered journalists, even briefly. Where would we be if we didn’t have amateur footage of the tsunami wave hitting hotel rooms and washing over people? Where would we be if we didn’t have the legendary “Don’t tase me, bro!” clip? And moreover, where would we be if we didn’t have all that footage of rioters burning down Toronto’s trendiest streets, and the overreaction of police the following day?

Do not discredit what these people did. Certainly, they aren’t held to any corporate ethical code. When you work for The Globe full-time, I’m sure you have to sign the same things any American Apparel employee needs to sign: sexual harassment policy, loss prevention policy and the like. Certainly, their information needs to be fact-checked by another media member (like The Globe), thus giving it credibility. But without that “apparently endless stream of unfiltered, unedited consciousness,” we wouldn’t have the amazing pictures of riot police, the footage of the peaceful protests getting ugly or the images of stores destroyed by Black Bloc tactics.

Besides, I’ve only been in journalism school for two years, but I’ve been published for the past six. If I don’t have a degree, does that make me any less of a journalist or any less credible? You say of the shotgun reporters, that their work “isn’t subject to editing or lawyering or the ethical code which binds, for example, the writers at The Globe.”

Journalists lie every day. They make bad calls every day. They humiliate the rest of us every day. Just because your press pass says “The Globe and Mail” and mine says “Student reporter” doesn’t make you any less prone to lying, editing or slanting your reporting to fit your world view.

I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that in my journalism classes, you are consistently held up as an example. When we started our reporting unit and were sent on assignment, you were who many of our professors would point out as what not to do. And yet, you have the gall to judge the journalists around you because they lack a degree or corporate footing?

“Christie Blatchford gets The Globe a lot of readers,” said one of my professors. “But you shouldn’t write like her.” You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t take my cues on journalistic integrity from someone who makes judgments so black and white, it’s like she’s flipping a coin and depositing all her moral outrage on whichever side it lands on.

It’s not about how some police treated journalists despite a press pass. It’s about how some police treated the citizens of Toronto. When protesters rallied again at Queen’s Park on Canada Day against how some police treated detainees with violence, rape threats and sexual assault, journalists who spoke never said, “I shouldn’t have been treated like this because I had a press pass.” They said they shouldn’t have been treated like that because they weren’t committing a crime.

Maybe you know more about this than I do. After all, I’m just a self-anointed journalist. I write for myself, no publication knocks down my door asking for my work and I’m not nearly attractive or wooden enough to be a Sunshine Girl. But during the G20 protests, I had a notepad, a pen and my cell phone. My friends and I delivered real-time information, pictures, and quotes without real journalist credentials, but our details were immediate, truthful, spell-checked and unbiased. We self-edited.

By your definition, Ms. Blatchford, I am no journalist. But I was at the rallies on Sunday and Thursday and I heard the voices of thousands against police brutality, against the terrorism in downtown and against the G20.

Did you?


You’re reading Ms. Koul letter on my blog but please make sure to check out the real thing and the rest of her blog “Big Fists” here.  Some really good stuff!

A nice article on the power of Twitterati and how the “Media” better learn or step aside.  You can read Antonia Zerbisias’ full article in The Toronto Star here

Coverage of the G20 proved Twitter’s news edge

The twipping point came late on the Saturday night of the G20 weekend, when a peaceful group of protesters was surrounded by police in riot gear.

Steve Paikin, host of TVO’s The Agenda, had been following the crowd as it made its way through the desolate streets of downtown Toronto, tweeting as he went along.”…

…”While news channels — which would later boast of capturing huge numbers of eyeballs — endlessly looped that afternoon’s footage of burning police cars, the news had moved on, to The Esplanade and, later still, to the east end detention centre where yet another group of protesters was encircled and rounded up in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

All of it was available via an iPhone webcast, distributed via Twitter, viewed by hundreds.

“Anybody who had a smart phone using Twitter had a real-time intelligence feed of everything that was going on,” says Internet strategist Jesse Hirsh, who describes the experience that night as “transcendent.”

Suddenly, casual usual users of Twitter, those had been previously only signalling their personal thoughts and daily activities, discovered an entirely new way to get news. That was evidenced by the hundreds of new followers gained by Paikin, Hirsh and other journalists using Twitter that night.

That the latest media — whether newspapers, radio, TV or telephones — fuel political and cultural revolutions is not a new idea, of course.”

Nice Guys Do Finish Last

In Canada, Hockey, Saskatchewan, Sports, Women, Writers, YouTube on April 30, 2010 at 09:38

Just a tad…

Brooks Laich lost his chance to go to the Stanley Cup, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t able to help a family in need.  Apologies to Courtney Wagner for lifting this story in full, it was just too good to not show it in full.


Saskatchewan’s Brooks Laich helps Capitals fans change flat tire



This is a fantastic story about a Saskatchewan boy (Wawota to be exact) helping some fans in need.

Washington Capitals’ Brooks Laich stopped to help a woman and her daughter change a flat tire after the Caps lost Game 7 of their first round series against Montreal last night. Mary Ann Wangemann and her daughter were waiting on the side of the road for help from Triple A when Laich showed up.

Finally, an SUV slowed down ahead of them and pulled over. And then Brooks Laich got out and asked if he could help.  Since the Triple A folks were already on the way, Mary Ann asked Brooks — whom she immediately recognized — if he’d just wait with them by the side of the road. Instead, he asked whether they had a spare. Mary Ann said they did.   So he took off his jacket — he was still wearing his post-game suit — got out the tire, and started jacking up the car.

“He was like an angel, I’m telling you,” Mary Ann told (Dan Steinberg, who writes D.C. Sports Bog). “Can’t say enough nice things about him.”

The last thing most athletes would probably want to do after a major loss like the one the Caps suffered is talk to fans — but Laich went over and above that.

The whole thing lasted maybe 40 minutes. Laich got the tire changed, and cautioned Mary Ann to drive slowly on the way home, to listen closely for any rattling sounds. She agreed, and said she didn’t know how she could possibly thank him.

“I’m sure you’ll do something nice for someone in the future,” Laich responded. He hugged them and drove off.  I don’t know Laich but was lucky enough to meet him myself while down in Buffalo earlier this year, and just like the woman he changed the tire for I have nothing but nice things to say. I also briefly met Alex Ovechkin and I can tell you Laich was a lot more pleasant. Knowing Laich was from Saskatchewan, I called him over to get a photo. After I said I was from Regina he had a big smile and moved a gate I was behind to pose for a few pictures with me.

He may not have won the Stanley Cup this season, but he has a lot of fans cheering him on here and elsewhere because of the kind of person he is.

You can read Courtney Wagner full article and see her picture in the Leader-Post here

Is it alright to Kill Shakespeare?

In Canada, Media, Toronto, Writers, YouTube on April 23, 2010 at 09:01

Just a tad…

“To be or not to be”, was never the real question.  “Why oh why hast my teacher forced me to read that stuff”, is.  Until now.

Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col have created a new world for Shakespeare to play in.  Think of it as a modern day version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and err women. After getting a group of investors to put in $350,000, the Toronto duo set forth to join with California’s IDW to do a 6,000 print run.  Of this isn’t a replacement for reading true Shakespeare, but it could be the “gateway drug” to get young girls and boy interested in world most famous story teller.


Nice write up in Wired Magazine’s Underwire about Kill Shakespeare here