The Anansi Blog

Original Artwork from The Outside Circle – Guest Post by Kelly Mellings June 21 2016

Throughout National Aboriginal History Month we’ll be highlighting works about Aboriginal history, including book excerpts, illustrator interviews, and author guests posts. The following is a guest post from Kelly Mellings, who illustrated The Outside Circle. Mellings has provided stunning original artwork, including 4 rough versions of the cover, as well as two mockups of the final cover. … Read More

Bay of Exploits with Ed Riche: Memo to Bennett June 10 2016

I have a regular column, “Bay of Exploits” (where I was born and a description of the writing) in the St. John’s Arts and Entertainment monthly, The Overcast.  June’s offering was in response to a severe Provincial Budget which, among other things, did the unthinkable in taxing books and closing over half the public libraries … Read More

How Writing a Book About the Psychology of Money Has Changed the Way I See Money – Guest Post by Claudia Hammond May 25 2016

  I wasn’t someone who chose a career based on the probability of earning lots of money. If I had wanted to make money, then going into broadcasting, writing and lecturing wasn’t the way to go. Much as I enjoy spending it when I can afford to, the topic of money isn’t something that particularly … Read More

Double Dutch at Paul Phillips Hall – Guest Post by Laura Trunkey May 19 2016

Double Dutch was launched at the Paul Phillips Hall in Victoria this April. For the launch, and two weeks afterwards, work by artist Mike Andrew McLean filled the foyer of the hall – The Little Fernwood Gallery. These pieces were made in response to the stories of Double Dutch. Below is some documentation of the … Read More

The Pleasure of Poetry – Guest post by Nadia Bozak May 18 2016

The first time I met a real writer – a poet – I wanted to be just like him. Not because I liked poetry, Alligator Pie excluded, of course, but because he got to eat Hostess potato chips—a large bag, all to himself, salt-and-vinegar flavor. I grew up in London , Ontario in the 1970s … Read More

A Bad Singer Playlist—Guest Post by Tim Falconer May 03 2016

  “Writing about music,” Martin Mull quipped, “is like dancing about architecture.” Part of the problem, of course, is that the reader wants to hear what the writer is going on about. And, inevitably, I refer to many, many songs in Bad Singer: The Surprising Science of Tone Deafness and How We Hear Music. So … Read More

The ultimate anti-hero, and yet a literary idol of mine: Patricia Highsmith March 29 2016

Patricia Highsmith hated her mother. And dogs. (I can hear you gasping. Who hates dogs? Nobody hates dogs! Well, Patricia Highsmith did.) When I set out to write about an author that inspired me, I instantly thought of Highsmith. Her dark, beautiful, twisted novels are truly unique, I think. They have been captivating readers for … Read More

Writing: The Early Years – Guest Post by Nazneen Sheikh January 14 2016

Somewhere in the mid-eighties I had a prescribed and sweet life. I was raising two little girls, playing two hours of tennis daily, volunteering at their school, and rapidly becoming a seasoned hostess. A friend of mine who was churning out a literary review, M.G Vassanjee, called me and said there was a children’s publisher … Read More

Things About Canada: Claire Fuller Remembers 1982 Montreal March 05 2015

Me and Karen In the summer of 1982, when I was fifteen, I went on an exchange with a girl called Karen, spending two weeks with her and her family in Montreal; afterwards she came to stay with me in England. Two weeks isn’t a very long time and thirty-three years is quite a while … Read More

The Best Mother’s Day: Being Present — Guest post by Lynn Thomson May 01 2014

For the last five years I’ve spent Mother’s Day birdwatching with my teenaged son, Yeats. We drive to Point Pelee to look for migrating birds, birds that are on their way to build nests and become parents themselves. It is one of those cycles of life. We all know that Mother Nature wears many guises, … Read More

My Yorkville: a guide by Ava Lee April 22 2014

I know that with its glitz and international corporate residents it may seem strange that I refer to Yorkville as a neighbourhood. But it’s always been one. Originally it was the self-governing Yorkville Village until it was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1883, and it has somehow retained at least some of that … Read More

Minds at Work: Frontier College’s Labourer-Teacher Program Loses Funding [guest post by Nadia Bozak] April 17 2014

In the acknowledgements section of my new novel, El Niño, I state that a portion of the sales will be donated, in perpetuity, to Frontier College’s Labourer-Teacher (LT) program, which strives to assist migrant labourers in this country through literacy initiatives. “In perpetuity” might have to be adjusted: I just learned that this long-standing program … Read More

The Inconvenient Giraffe – guest post by Sarah Boston February 11 2014

I’m trying to understand why they killed Marius, the two-year-old giraffe from the Copenhagen Zoo. I am a scientist and veterinarian, and I thought there must be an explanation that makes sense. Maybe the general public wouldn’t understand, but with my extensive training in the ways we exploit, dominate, and kill animals, I believed I … Read More

Listen to this while you read Serafim & Claire – guest post by Mark Lavorato February 09 2014

Aside from my writing, I’ve also done work composing music for a few film projects over the years. While doing so I came to realize that I loved the process, and that mixing images with my music felt like a really good fit. So I recorded an album that would act as a kind of … Read More

The Not Just Chick Lit Book Club – a fly-on-the-wall guest post by Jane Ozkowski February 06 2014

“Reading week is in February, so we’ll read February at the start of March.” “Ok, what book?” “February.” “Yes, but what were we supposed to read in February?” “The book is called February.” “Oh.” “And we’re reading it in March.” And so begins my afternoon with the Not Just Chick Lit Book Club, five ESL … Read More

Learning how to steal – guest post by Mark Lavorato January 20 2014

Unlike the piece of advice forever handed down to would-be authors, I almost never write what I know. I’d much rather learn something new, considering how much research and discipline is required to finish a novel anyway. So I approach subjects that I haven’t the faintest idea about and read everything I can (non-fiction, fiction, … Read More

THE DRAGON HEAD OF HONG KONG: The Ava Lee Prequel [guest post by Ian Hamilton] November 08 2013

I’m not sure who had the idea of offering the serialized version free for a limited time. I do know I embraced it. The concept of the prequel had come, after all, from a reader, and without him and the support of other readers the opportunity to write it in the first place wouldn’t have existed.

Fugitive pieces – guest post by Rupert Thomson October 31 2013

How the macabre works of Gaetano Giulio Zumbo, a mysterious 17th-century Sicilian wax modeller, inspired Rupert Thomson’s new novel ‘Secrecy’ I spent the winter of 1999-2000 in a large cold farmhouse in Tuscany with my pregnant girlfriend. While there, we met an Australian called Jan, who was a nurse and a photographer. On January 16 she … Read More

Nicole Chin on Shooting the Bitch September 13 2013

I began writing Shooting the Bitch last year on an especially long train ride from Oakville to Ottawa. It was summer, and I was on my way to visit my boyfriend at the time. He lived in the rural area of Ottawa on a farm with his parents and their two dogs. I was raised … Read More

Marie-Louise Gay on her first day of school September 12 2013

I was gripping my mother’s hand when we arrived at the door to the kindergarten. My baby sister held on to my mother’s other hand, sobbing loudly and dragging her feet. She had been scared to death by the smiling crossing guard who said hello to her. You would have thought he had bitten her. … Read More

On safari suits and true friends – the first day of sixth grade by Fanny Britt September 03 2013

Of all my first days of school, the one in sixth grade is probably the one I remember most vividly. I had been busy that summer, swimming and eating corn on the cob, slathering clay on my face that we had dug from the lake up at our cabin north of Ottawa, walking to the … Read More

Deborah Ellis on her first day of school August 29 2013

To get to kindergarten, I had to walk across a bridge that spanned the Grand River in Paris, Ontario. The footbridge was a rusty old train trestle with a long stretch of corrugated iron for foot traffic. The sides were barred but open — a glance down in any direction led to the sight of the … Read More

The End and the Beginning — Jean E. Pendziwol August 27 2013

The first day of school — the thrill of seeing friends again; dressing in a carefully chosen outfit, debated and assessed endlessly in consultation with sisters and friends; a book bag filled with binders, pages empty in anticipation, pencils sharpened, erasers intact; a nervous, fluttering heart. It is the beginning. The chilly tang of an … Read More

First days of School. Ugh. — Ian Wallace August 22 2013

I never looked forward to the first day of school, it always made me anxious. A new school year meant a new teacher to contemplate. Given that I attended the same school from kindergarten to grade seven, and there was only one class of each grade, and several teachers had taught the parents of my … Read More