Authors for Indies 2016

I’m excited to participate in the second year of Authors for Indies. Last year was the inaugural run in Canada, and it’s so great that Authors for Indies will now happen yearly, celebrating the independent booksellers who do so much for book publishing and for writers. Many thanks to the devoted volunteers running AFI, and of course to the bookstores who are participating.

This year I’ll be at Another Story from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at Book City (Yonge and St. Clair) from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. I’m pumped to promote my favorite books, and to just chat with other readers and writers about what they’re reading and what they’re interested in. Hope to see you there!

Another Story: 315 Roncesvalles Avenue

Book City (Yonge and St. Clair): 1430 Yonge Street

 

afi poster

 

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Reading at Rowers in Toronto

The fall was a flurry of travel and readings. Since I’ve been home, things have been pretty quiet, so I’m excited to read at the Rowers Reading Series this Monday. Also reading are Gary Barwin, Shauntay Grant, and Carrie Snyder — what a night! Please come out!

When: Monday, March 7
Where: The Central, 603 Markham Street, Toronto
Time: 6:30

More info: https://rowerspubreadingseries.wordpress.com

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Interviews

The talented Rob Taylor and Ariel Gordon interviewed me about first books, writing processes, and zombie deer, among other things. It’s so nice when fellow writers help promote your book and ask some really good questions! My thanks to both of them.

Interview with Rob Taylor on Spread It Like a Roll of Nickels

Interview with Ariel Gordon on Jane Day Reader

 

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First review

Well, it’s finally happened, and, thank goodness, it wasn’t “…torture worse than being staked to the ground over a nest of fire-ants.” I’m honoured that Ottawa poet Michael Dennis selected Kingdom to be Today’s Book of Poetry, and that he gave it such a warm hearted review:

“These poems are instantly recognizable as true.  Poetry true.  Real life true.  Ross has a way of knowing more and saying it in less that is heartbreakingly sweet.  Not sugar sweet — but Patsy Cline sweet.  Honesty always goes a long way and Ross has that covered.  These poems absolutely beat the crap out of coy.”

The entire post is available here. Many thanks to Michael, especially for comparing my work to Cline and Van Morrison.

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Fall readings

My tour out west was lovely. Now that I’m back home, the readings continue. I’ve returned from a panel at BookFest in Windsor just to turn around and head back to the Pillette Reading Series. Pillette is run by Aimee Parent Dunn and Dawn Kresan from Palimpsest Press. It’s a new readings series, and, from what I hear, is in a cool part of town. If you want, you can follow Pillette on Facebook.

And as a new member of the League of Canadian Poets, I’m also reading in Toronto the following week with some other poets who have just joined. Should be fun.

Sunday afternoons and poetry: a good way to end two weekends in a row.

Details:

Pillette Reading Series
Sunday, November 8
Nancy Johns Gallery: 4755 Wyandotte Street E., Windsor
2-4 p.m.
With Darryl Whetter, Melanie Janisse Barlow, and Susan Holbrook
Free

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Turning a New Leaf — LCP reading
Sunday, November 15
CSI Annex: 720 Bathurst Street, Room 6
2-4 p.m.
With new League members
Free

New Members Reading

 

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Kingdom is west coast bound

I’m excited to announce the following west coast launches and readings this fall for Kingdom. It’s going to be amazing to head back to the coast and to read with writers Kate Braid, Bren Simmers, Kevin Spenst, Elena Johnson, Steve Noyes, and Kayla Czaga. (And, despite a summer of assembling burgers in the Georgia Strait, I’m also dying to ride the ferry — and, strangely, to eat one of the aforementioned burgers.) Hope to see you at a reading or three!

Thursday, September 10, 2015: Reading

Russell Books
734 Fort Street
Victoria, BC
7:30 p.m.
With Steve Noyes

Friday, September 18, 2015: Victoria Launch

Greater Victoria Public Library
Nellie McClung Branch, Community Meeting Room
7 p.m.
Light refreshments will be served.

Monday, September 21, 2015: Vancouver Launch

Pulp Fiction Books
7 p.m.
With Elena Johnson and Kevin Spenst, hosted by Dina Del Bucchia
Light refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015: Reading

Vancouver Public Library
6:30 – 8 p.m.
Firehall Branch Library
1455 W. 10th Ave.
With Kate Braid

Wednesday, September 23, 2015: Reading

Carnegie Branch Library
401 Main Street
6 – 7:30 p.m.
With Kate Braid and Bren Simmers

Thursday, September 24, 2o15: Reading

Undergrad class poetry reading and discussion
UBC Creative Writing Program
1 p.m.

Friday, September 25, 2015: Reading

Grad class poetry reading and discussion
UBC Creative Writing Program
1 p.m.

Saturday, September 26, 2015: Reading

People’s Co-Op Bookstore
1391 Commercial Drive
With Kayla Czaga
7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015: Reading

Writers-on-Campus Series at Vancouver Island University
Duncan Campus, Room 225
1:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 1: Reading

Salt Spring Island Public Library
129 McPhillips Ave
7 p.m.
With an open mic

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Support Authors for Indies @ Book City St. Clair

Spring is in the air! I’m excited to support Authors for Indies and to try my hand as an indie bookseller: the world’s sexiest profession.

Growing up in Victoria, B.C., I bought my books from either Munro’s or Bolen Books. If I had a good report card, my dad would give me some cash to splurge on books, which I faithfully blew on Babysitter Clubs. In grade seven I won a winter reading contest and my teacher gave me a copy of Lorna Crozier’s Inventing the Hawk. As a thirteen-year-girl who had mostly been subjected to terrible haikus, I needed more of this not-haiku poetry business. I bought all of Crozier’s work, discovered she was married to this guy Patrick Lane, bought his books, then…the reading never ended. And it was Munro’s and Bolens who kept me reading — and later that summer, writing — by stocking poetry written by real, honest-to-god poets who were alive and writing about breasts and severed hands and all sorts of intriguing subjects.

On Saturday, May 2, I’ll be at the Yonge and St. Clair location of Book City from 1-2:30. Please stop by and support this event and Book City, a Toronto institution with reading for everyone of all ages. Kingdom will be available for purchase, as well as other tantalizing spring releases. Hope to see you there!

 

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Launch of Kingdom: May 28, 2015

I’m so pleased to announce that Kingdom is co-launching with The Secrets Men Keep (Now or Never), a collection of stories by Mark Sampson, a fine friend and writer.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Another Story Bookstore: 315 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto

7:00 p.m.

Please join us — all are welcome! And if you can’t make the launch, you can pre-order copies from Palimpsest, Now or Never, or your bookseller. 

Liz_Toronto_launch2

 

 

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Featured in Journey Magazine

I was honored this past year to be featured in the spring/summer edition of Journey, Vancouver Island University’s alumni magazine. To download the article, click the thumbnail.

Journey

 

 

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RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman

The internet is abuzz with people sharing their grief over Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death.  Usually “R.I.P.” is one of those abbreviations that irritates me: an easy token, almost meaningless, possessing the same spiritual oomph as those cheap foam headstones littering suburban lawns at Halloween – ironically, the type of instantly-recognizable milieu from the set of a movie Hoffman would have starred in.

And the acronym – rip – is eerily appropriate to describe how many of us feel after learning about his death. Torn – even despairing – it does indeed feel as though he’s been ripped away from us. To put this feeling in perspective, I’ve never written about a celebrity death before out of the simple reason that I’ve never felt moved enough to. But when my phone dinged innocuously on the kitchen counter and I read the terrible headline, I had to read it three times before my brain would accept his death as fact.

I’ve spent the last day thinking about why I feel such a loss. Certainly, Hoffman was imperfect and a rare specimen of Hollywood celebrity. But that’s obvious. The Globe and Mail’s Geoff Pevere has compared him to “prickly” character actors like De Niro and Keitel. I see the similarity, but those actors were almost always typecast. So, too, was Hoffman, you might say. And yes, he was – but he was invariably cast in roles that were always diverse and surprising.

I first saw him in Happiness almost fifteen years ago when, browsing the shelves at the video store (remember that?) the movie’s title seemed too good to pass up. His portrayal of Allen, the neighbour obsessed with the pedophile’s sister-in-law, was mesmerizing. Hoffman’s acting was complex and intimate – and to say that the masturbation scenes were uncomfortable doesn’t do his acting justice. He was comic, tragic, and embarrassing, jerking up the come, eyes clenched shut in helplessness and pathos. My roommate was revolted; I was entranced.

Hoffman always took roles that were challenging.  He achieved what all good artists do: through his work, we saw ourselves, flawed, magnificent, human. His range was monumental – a defeated coach in Moneyball, hyper-anxious assistant in The Big Lebowski, and, as a colleague put it today, more Capote than Capote. He made me interested in acting as an art form, and able to recognize talent like Ryan Gosling — but only because I had seen it before in Hoffman. And those were only the movies – I wish I had seen him on Broadway.

He was devoted to acting. The antithesis of a star actor, he appeared in interviews as part bear, part caveman. Capote was the most groomed I’ve ever seen him. A friend who used to work in Toronto’s movie industry described him as the guy in the disheveled tuxedo with the grease stain on his belly. He seemed unapologetically himself, and perhaps to his detriment.

I’ll be honest; as someone who doesn’t follow celebrities closely, I didn’t know Hoffman battled addiction. And I don’t like correlating artistry with addiction, which is a disease. But I wasn’t, however, surprised to learn about his struggles. One can only imagine that the kind of empathy and recognition Hoffman evoked in us must have felt exponentially stronger to him.

Selfishly, I want more from him; many of us do. I want another thirty years of movies, to be able, at the end of the week, to snuggle into my favorite corner of the sectional, turn on the television, see a movie with his name on the cast list, and to watch it without hesitation. I want him to show me more of my world and myself. Even his death, sadly, has held up a mirror: the conflicted narcissist, self-admirer.

I heard tonight that Broadway has dimmed its lights. It’s going to take considerable time for us to let Hoffman go. As we do, I hope he truly rests in peace.

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