Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Winner: $25,000; Finalists: $2,500
André Alexis (Toronto)
Published by Coach House Books
Elizabeth Hay (Ottawa)
His Whole Life
Published by McClelland & Stewart
Pamela Mordecai (Kitchener, ON)
Russell Smith (Toronto)
Published by Biblioasis
John Vaillant (Vancouver)
The Jaguar’s Children
Published by Knopf Canada
IFOA: Finish this sentence: “When I’m not writing or reading, you can find me…”
Smith: Mixing techno in my basement on my Traktor S4 controller.
Read the other four answers here
Sept 13. Eden Mills Writers Festival
Oct. 17 Windsor Bookfest
Oct. 24 2 pm, Toronto International Festival of Authors (IFOA)
Oct 29 7:30 pm, Toronto IFOA.
Nov 7 Either London (for IFOA) or Waterloo
In his own words, here is Russell Smith’s Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection Confidence:
Confidence is a suite of stories set in a large North American city (it looks like Toronto but it could be a few others too). The people in the stories tend to be educated. They are universally anxious and distracted, and yet also often struck by intimations of poignancy or pangs of yearning. I think their mood is best illustrated by modernist music: sophisticated, witty, but agitated, nervous, with moments of clanging dissonance.
If I’m not listening to this while writing, I tend to listen to minimal techno music – quite hard stuff, mostly – because it blocks the noise of coffee-shop or neighbourly stereo without the distraction of singing and words. Its repetitiveness is a kind of silence, as is white noise. Besides, I just love techno and industrial and used to go to dark clubs and do ecstasy; I loved the otherworldliness of the experience, and I still do an all-nighter about once a year. I DJ myself, in my basement, and put my menacing one-hour mixes online for Europeans to listen to. (Canadians do not like it much.) I don’t listen to any other kind of popular music.
So here are some pieces of music that I think best illuminate the mood of the modern city, and my own esthetic preferences. If I had a theme song, it would be one of these:
You’ll have to get a copy of the September issue to read (or get very good glasses!) but if your eyesight is good give this a go.