Oh Canada

Last night I was invited by the Canadian High Commission, along with two wonderful Canadian writers, to share perspective and inspiration on writing for young people.

Her Marvellousness Nancy Campbell (standing) hosts us at the Official Residence

Her Marvellousness Nancy Campbell (standing) hosts us at the Official Residence.  L to R: Robert Paul Weston, Jeff Norton, Moira Young, and Julia Eccleshare.

I’ve noticed that in the UK people don’t tend to think of Canadians in literature. Sure, we’ve got Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, but beyond the big prize winners there’s actually a robust literary scene both within Canada and among the diaspora.

Julia Eccleshare, children’s book editor from The Guardian, was our literary hostess for the evening, and she delved into the creative process and the influence of Canada on us three expat authors.

Robert Paul Weston read from his touching new YA novel, Blues For Zoey.  It’s in equal parts funny and poignant and Rob spotlighted its unique Canadianness in that its characters are multicultural because they are. It’s not token diversity or lamp shading race as an issue, his characters come from mixed backgrounds because they just do.  With the current #WeNeedDiverseBooks debate raging on and off line, I think Rob’s perspective is well worth embracing.  And, since Blues for Zoey is getting such a warm reception in Canada, but not yet a UK publisher, it’ll be a great shame if his book doesn’t find a home in his now adopted UK home.

Pick up Blues For Zoey

Pick up Blues For Zoey

The fabulous Moira Young shared the winding story of writing her Dustlands trilogy, and read from the final instalment – Raging Star.  Moira’s prose reads like poetry, but she also masterfully tells a tall tale in the process.  It’s a rare artist who can match poetic prose with gripping storytelling.  Moira leaves for Canada in a few days to do a big U.S. and Canadian book tour for Raging Star.


You can follow the tour on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BloodRedRoadBook.

With exactly 3 months to go before ‘Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie‘ publishes from Faber, I read aloud the introduction to Adam Meltzer, a twelve year old boy with OCD who rises from the grave to solve his own murder…with the help of a vegan vampire and reluctant chupacabra.  It’s aimed more at middle-grade readers, a very funny romp about those awkward middle school years; a nice break from the intense relentlessness of the MetaWars universe.

Life in a virtual reality.

Not for the faint of heart.

This very special evening was part of Social Book Week (#SWB14), in support of a wonderful and important organisation called The Reading Agency.

It was a great night, and hopefully gave people a glimpse into Canadian creativity.

Standing in the Oval Room (a perfect reproduction of the White House Oval Office)

Standing in the Oval Room (a perfect reproduction of the White House Oval Office)

Of course, there are some other fantastic writers playing in this sandbox…

Vikki VanSickle (http://vikkivansickle.wordpress.com/books/) is a Toronto based author of middle-grade / young YA novels about life, love, and friendship.


Teri Terry (http://teriterry.jimdo.com) is a UK based author of the Slated trilogy. Her final instalment, Shattered, is out now.



Amy McCulloch (http://amymcculloch.wordpress.com) is a UK based, Canadian author.  Amy’s  debut novel is the epic fantasy yarn the OathBreaker’s Shadow.


And Gordon Korman (http://gordonkorman.com) is the first Canadian author I ever read! A prolific writer, Korman  wrote his first book at 13…

No title

…and hasn’t stopped since.  His new book is called Ungifted and it just won BC’s Red Cedar award.


UPDATE:  Big thanks to Vikki VanSickle for introducing me to these fab Canadian authors…

Rachelle Delaney (http://rachelledelaney.com) is the author of  Metro Dogs of Moscow and it’s new sequel The Circus Dogs of Prauge.



Meg Tilly (www.officalmegtilly.com) is the author of numerous books including the acclaimed A Taste Of Heaven and its upcoming follow-up, Behind the Scenes.


Suzanne Sutherland (http://suzannesutherland.blogspot.co.uk) has a new book just out called When We Were Good and it sounds amazing.



Tanya Lloyd Kyi (www.tanyalloydkyi.com) is BC based and has a fantastic looking new book called Anywhere But Here.


Joanna Levy (www.joannelevy.com) is an Ontario based author published by Bloomsbury.  Her book Small Medium At Large looks wonderful.


Helene Boudreau (www.heleneboudreau.com) is also based in Ontario (transplanted from the Maritimes) and she’s a prolific author from picture books on up, and her tween novel Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings looks fantastic.



And BC based, YA book blogger Lindsay (me-on-books.blogspot.com) shared this amazing list of Canadian authors: http://me-on-books.blogspot.ca/p/list-of-canadian-ya-authors.html.  It captures far more talent than even I knew was working today.

Canada is hitting above its weight in fiction for young people, and it was an honour and a pleasure to share some of our literary mojo with the London lit scene!  It’s about time the rest of the world knows about our amazing authors.

Go Canada!

And happy reading!!

, , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to Oh Canada

  1. Barbara Band May 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    Interesting comments. I don’t really think about the nationality of an author when I read a book, the main consideration is whether it’s something that’s been recommended or that I think I’d enjoy. What I do think having books written by authors from other countries does is expose readers to different cultures and attitudes, almost stealthily as an integral part of the story. So, to me, diversity amongst writers is more a case of what they can bring as an individual to a story.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.