Quill and Quire

Writing Life

Tanis MacDonald: surviving as an “out-of-line” artist in a smaller community

Do you live in a major urban centre? Take this short test. You are giving a reading from your latest book at your local bookstore, and you invite a friend who lives an hour’s travel away. If your friend says instantly, “Awesome, I’ll be there,” chances are you live in a Big City. If your friend says, “What? Come all that way? On the highway?” then you probably live in a smaller city or town and belong to a group I call “out-of-line” artists.

“Jaw-dropping” setting for crime-writing workshop on B.C.’s Pender Island

At the inaugural Crime Writing on Pender weekend workshop, running Oct. 12 – 14, up to 12 strangers will gather on B.C.’s Pender Island in a secluded inn built atop a 200-foot cliff, where Arthur Ellis Award–winning crime writer William Deverall will coach them in plotting sinister (fictional) deeds.

Andrea Dorfman’s message of self-acceptance resonates in the graphic-novel adaptation of her film Flawed

Writer and illustrator Andrea Dorfman ends Flawed, her story of overcoming adolescent awkwardness, with a photo of herself at age 14. “With the wisdom of an older person looking back, I look at that picture now and I just love that girl so much,” Dorfman, 49, says. “As we get older we realize these differences that make us stand out are what make us unique.”

Joshua Whitehead: “I created the character of Jonny Appleseed because he would not let me be”

Jonny is the embodiment of the type of world I want to see: one that has no qualms with 2SQness; one that has elders, mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and kin that are able to push beyond their westernized understandings of binaries; and one where Indigenous femmes, women, and 2SQ (including bisexual) are centred.

Alanna Mitchell: “We do not live in a post-truth world, but one that needs science more than ever”

About a year ago, while I was passionately immersed in getting the manuscript of my latest book, The Spinning Magnet: The Force That Created the Modern World and Could Destroy It, to my publisher, I found myself with a brief moment to surface and take the temperature of the times.