The Amateurs by Liz Harmer

World rights to Liz Harmer’s debut novel THE AMATEURS, a post-apocalyptic examination of nostalgia, loss and the possibility of starting over in a future where one-way time-travel ports have become as common as TVs, resulting in the disappearance of the majority of the world’s population—reminiscent of Margaret Atwood and Karen Thompson Walker, to Amanda Lewis of Knopf Canada in a two-book deal, arranged without an agent.

I am very happy to (finally!) announce this deal. I’ve been working with Liz on her first novel for about a year, and it’s mind-blowingly good, one of the best novels I have read in recent years. After I spoke about it at spring 2017 launch two weeks ago, sales reps came up to me demanding to see a manuscript. It will be one of our New Face of Fiction titles for 2017.

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Celebrating Jane Jacobs

I would like it to be understood, and increasingly understood as time passes, that all our human economic achievements have been done by ordinary people, not by exceptionally educated people, or by elites, or by supernatural forces, for heaven’s sake. Yet without understanding this, people are all too willing to fall for the idea that they can’t do this, they themselves, or anybody they know, because they’re too ordinary.

This week, in Toronto and around the world, individuals and organizations are celebrating the legacy of Jane Jacobs. The writer, activist, urban theorist, and under-acknowledged economist encouraged us to “get out and walk,” to experience the city around us. Jane’s Walk, which was started ten years ago as a way to carry Jane’s ideas forward, will be culminating in three days of city exploration this weekend.

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Jane Jacobs in her New York City backyard in the 1960s, before she and her family moved to Toronto. Credit: Jim Jacobs.

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Startle and Illuminate

I love writing guides. Even if I don’t accept all the advice, I love how they offer us insights into the creative process, techniques for approaching an idea or text, and biographical details. Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird are two of my favourites. I think I was set on this path when my medieval studies professor in undergrad recommended a book on writing creative non-fiction, “to help us with our essays.” Continue reading “Startle and Illuminate”

“A scene with Jewish pirates”

Whew! I cannot believe April is almost over. I’ve been working away on books for fall 2016, spring 2017, and spring 2018 (today I wrote the year 2026, and paused to reflect on its utter impossibility). I’ve also been preparing a large veggie plot and herb patch in the backyard…there’s nothing quite like weeding and tending to the soil for clearing the mind. On a related note, seasonal allergies are rearing their scratchy, snotty head, and I learned that sniffing peppermint oil can help relieve the symptoms…naturally, I lost my little bottle of essential oil while biking to the Danforth for a piratical book launch. Continue reading ““A scene with Jewish pirates””

End of the Rope

I have another exciting acquisition to announce.

Jan Redford’s debut, END OF THE ROPE: A Mountain Memoir, in the tradition of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, set in the Rockies, starting as a rash young climber bouncing from mountain to mountain and relationship to relationship, to losing the love of her life in a climbing accident, then becoming pregnant with his friend’s baby and struggling in a stormy marriage, to finally breaking free to make her own way in life and graduate from UBC’s MFA program in Creative Writing. Canada English rights to Amanda Lewis at Random House Canada for Spring 2018 by Samantha Haywood of Transatlantic Agency.

I first met Jan over email in 2012, and was impressed by her spirit and her immense work ethic. I had the pleasure of meeting Jan in person when I was in Vancouver in March. We’re working away on the revisions now.

“Never protest the same way twice.”

The End of Protest went on sale on Tuesday, and Micah White has had a whirlwind week of media and events. You can check out his Twitter feed for links to interviews and reviews. On Wednesday we took Micah out for dinner, to celebrate his book and his 34th birthday.

Last night’s event at the Toronto Reference Library capped off his time here. The discussion with Susan G. Cole of NOW magazine was sold out, with 500+ ticketholders plus a number of rush seats. Micah was electric and eloquent when he explained why we urgently need a revolution of how we practice activism.

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Toronto Reference Library. Credit: Milan Ilnyckyj.

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