An essay called “The Arsonist’s Revenge”

My essay on David Helwig‘s novella The Stand-in will shortly appear in David Helwig: Essays on his Works edited by the inimitable Ingrid Ruthig (pub date is September 1 2018, but you can pre-order on or Indigo). Ingrid invited me to write the essay, which I was happy to do because David Helwig is an old, old friend (also inimitable). Coincidentally (or not), the estimable and inimitable publishing house Biblioasis re-issued a splendid new version of Helwig’s novella The Stand-in, a truly brilliant book. You can buy a copy on the Biblioasis site or Indigo.

From the essay:

“It’s a dramatic monologue, three lectures delivered extemporaneously by an unnamed retired humanities professor, a last minute replacement for the famous Denman Tarrington who has mysteriously succumbed the week before on the green-tiled floor of a hotel bathroom in New York. Our narrator has gone over the edge, abandoned circumspection and control; he has the podium, his ancient rival is dead (he and Tarrington were, for years, colleagues at the hosting institution), he will joyfully and maliciously set the record straight. Tarrington goes up in flames, demonstrated to be a plagiarist (he wrote his essays off the narrator’s ideas), a wife-beater, a compulsive and boastful seducer (the narrator’s wife ended up running away with him), and a flawed badminton player.”




The Cursed Hunter in the Red Lands

The Brooklyn Rail published the first couple of chapters of a novel called Doom (April 2018 issue,click here to read it), which is about my childhood infatuation with Davy Crockett, who, it turns out, was a writer. Who knew?


October 2-9, 2017: Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

I was teaching nonfiction in the Emerging Writers Intensive program at the legendary Banff Centre.




Excerpt from Work in Progress published in Matrix

Four chapters from the opening of a novel called After Grace were just published in the Montreal print magazine Matrix (Issue 109). After Grace is an entertainment set in Ragged Point, Alabama. If you follow these sorts of things, Ragged Point is a fictional place on the Gulf Coast wherein several of my stories have arisen: “Story Carved in Stone” in A Guide to Animal Behaviour and “Sixteen Categories of Desire” and “The Left Ladies Club” in 16 Categories of Desire.


“Crown of Thorns” Translated into Swedish

“Crown of Thorns” appeared in my book Savage Love (2013) and prior to that in The Brooklyn Rail (April, 2011). It was translated into Swedish by Magdalena Sørensen and published in an anthology of Canadian short stories called Kanada berättar: Minne av vatten by the Stockholm publishing house Bokförlaget Tranans in 2015. Some of the other writers included: Sheila Heti, Barbara Gowdy, Marie-Claire Blais, Mavis Gallant, and Lynn Coady (but there are many more). It has taken this long for me to get a copy. Sheesh.



Audible releases Elle: a novel as an audiobook

The actress Severn Thompson, who adapted Elle for the stage, has done a lovely reading of my novel, now available through Audible. Release date: September 13, 2o17.


pte-logoFebruary 23 – March 12 2017, at Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg

Severn Thompson’s stage adaptation of my novel Elle concludes its 2017 winter tour at Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg. Schedule and tickets here.


The Erotics of Restraint, or the Angel in the Novel: Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park”

— published in the March (2017) issue of The Brooklyn Rail.

From the essay:

“This speech reads like a feminist call to arms; those sentiments certainly existed. It asserts Fanny’s right of self-determination, and in the context of the novel, this radical selfhood stands against the ubiquitous dogma of property, propriety, income, estates, inheritance, class, and rank. By extension, it claims for any individual the right of refusal in the face of what the world offers. The basis of self is apophatic: the ability to say, I am not that, and I am not that either. What the world offers is contingent, mired in circumstance, calculation, and history, rated by pre-existing discourses (habits, traditions, forms). The soul proceeds by denial. Its struggle is less a matter of knowing itself as essence than of knowing when it is not itself. Sorting and discarding the trivia of life is the existential duty of the modern.”


Capture-3February 8 – 18 2017, at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver

Severn Thompson’s stage adaptation of my novel Elle continues its 2017 winter tour at the Old Firehall Theatre in Vancouver. Schedule and tickets here.


January 26 – February 4 2017, at Old Town Hall Theatre

Severn Thompson’s stage adaptation of my novel Elle will prep its winter tour with performances at the Old Town Hall Theatre in Waterford, Ontario, before heading to Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Best Canadian Stories 2016 cover

“Money,” a short story,

…published in the Best Canadian Stories (Oberon Press), edited by John Metcalf (first appeared in the July-August, 2015, issue of The Brooklyn Rail).

From the story:

“Drebel bought a third trailer park and began investigating a down-at-heel seniors home sponsored by the Church of the Twelve Mercies. It helped that he was on the church board. He converted the first trailer park into a sex offenders-only operation and jacked the rents up. The sex offenders were perfect tenants, scared to death they’d be evicted and never find another home. The sex offenders arranged Bingo nights and taxi-pooled for groceries. Drebel put a menu board up in front the trailer park with the names of the sex offenders and what they had done. He was elected selectman for the ward on an anti-tax, anti-abortion, anti-muslim, anti-education platform. He was for home-schooling and posse comitatus. He made headlines talking about what he called “zero footprint government.” Most everyone ignored what he said and voted for him because God had clearly blessed him with superior business acumen. He audited online MBA courses from Liberty University. He was caught drawing Food Stamp benefits on seniors who had already died but was able to convince investigators that this was an accounting screwup. He was ordered to make restitution but since it was the government he owed, he let it slide.”


CNQ-98-Front-Cover_smallAn essay about revisiting Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger

…in Canadian Notes & Queries, No. 98, Winter 2017.

From the essay:

“Derrida said he always saw L’Étranger as an Algerian novel, before all the absurdist claptrap got loaded onto the text. The suppressed plot of the novel is about an Arab whose sister is seduced into prostitution by a white man who lives off her earnings and beats her up. The brother protests, so the white man beats him up, too. The brother and his friends follow the white people to the beach and there’s a fight. Naturally, the white men win; they are used to dealing with coloured people. Then, mysteriously, as if in a dream, the novel dream, Meursault and the Arab meet again at the spring (source). Never mind why Meursault is there (the sun made him do it). Why is the Arab there? Even more mysterious. Waiting to be killed.”


Alice Munro CompanionA new essay called “The Style of Alice Munro”

…just out in the Cambridge Companion to Alice Munro, edited by David Staines.

This Companion is a thorough introduction to the writings of the Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro. Uniting the talents of distinguished creative writers and noted academics, David Staines has put together a comprehensive, exploratory account of Munro’s biography, her position as a feminist, her evocation of life in small-town Ontario, her non-fictional writings as well as her short stories, and her artistic achievement. Considering a wide range of topics – including Munro’s style, life writing, her personal development, and her use of Greek myths, Celtic ballads, Norse sagas, and popular songs – this volume will appeal to keen readers of Munro’s fiction as well as students and scholars of literature and Canadian and gender studies.

From the essay:

“We have here to speak of style in a double sense: style as the basket of syntactic moves habitual to an author, but also style as tilt, the characteristic lean or bearing of the author as she represents herself through her writing. Call the latter personality, power, or panache. Alice Munro comes from a part of the world that challenges both eccentricity and ambition (and is not necessarily able to tell the two apart). Who do you think you are? the townspeople of her fictional southwestern Ontario town ask. As if in response to this challenge, Munro forges her style in the furnace of opposition. She plays with expectation and denial of expectation; she insists upon difference. My sense is that she doesn’t compose so much by reference (to a notional reality) as by dramatic antithesis. A statement provokes a counter-statement or a counter-construct, subversion, or complication, and the sentences, paragraphs and stories advance by the accumulation of such contraventions. The initial statement, the facticity of the story, then, by steps and counter-steps, implicates itself in a series of deferrals that render it less unequivocal and more inflected as it progresses. The truth is never the truth but a truth with codicils, conditions, caveats, perorations, and contradictions.”


Photographs below were taken by Douglas Glover except for the ones in which he appears, which were taken by Jacob Glover (Nova Scotia beach pictures), Katharine Abbott (father & son photo), and Melissa Fisher (British Columbia beach picture).

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 “And I thought how Proust teaches us that all love resides
in anticipation and not the beloved,
that love achieved is only on loan,
that we are martyrs to our desires, which are endless.”

Douglas Glover, Savage Love