The Sunburst Award – Literature of the Fantastic

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By Rebecca Simkin As great as it is that so many books are published every year, it can be difficult to choose what to read. We hope that one of the unintended side-benefits of the Sunburst Awards is that it makes these decisions easier—especially if you like your reading to be fantastic and written by Canadians. The Sunburst Awards showcase literature of the fantastic written by Canadians. Of course, as typical Canadians, we use the broadest definitions of Canadian and literature of the fantastic: If you are born in Canada—no matter where you currently live—then you are Canadian. Congratulations! It's a wonderful thing to be!  Literatures of the fantastic include fabulism, fantasy, magic realism, science fiction, speculative fiction, and supernatural horror. We list as many of … [Read more...]

My Writing Life: James Calbraith

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When did you first discover a love of writing? Is there a particular book that made you want to become a writer? I'd have to find my old notebooks to tell for sure, but I think I was about 10 when I started writing short stories. I never really stopped. I’ve wanted to be many things since then—a theoretical physicist, an archaeologist, a programmer, a lazy layabout—but it always comes back to writing stories. I read whatever I could get my hands on, and most of the names are now obscure to all but the most devoted fans: Robert Sheckley, Harry Harrison, Gordon Dickson. I didn't try to write a proper novel until I was much older, and the transition from short to long form took me ages. Where do you get your story ideas? For the past few years, almost all of my ideas come from … [Read more...]

Is Your Funny Flabby? Better Hit the Comedy Gym

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By Jefferson Smith Humor is one of the most powerful implements in the writer's tool kit. A quick wit can be a spark of light to balance dark times; shared laughter can unite uncertain allies against insurmountable oppressions; the quality and content of a joke, and the reactions to it, can illuminate the character and intellect of every hero, villain, or bystander who hears it. Yet authors rarely wield this weapon with any facility, and even fewer attempt a conscious study of it, which is a shame. Because even if you write more like Tennessee Williams than Robin Williams, you can beef up your funny muscle. All you need to do is find the right gym. I found my gym entirely by accident. Like most writers, I started young, developing my chops on short stories in high school and then … [Read more...]

New Zealand Society of Authors – Contest Winner – Robin Sisley

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The New Zealand Society of Authors established a print publishing prize in order to create a great opportunity for a New Zealand writer. This unique award was for an unpublished manuscript to be taken through to a published form and offered for sale in print form throughout New Zealand. The NZ Authors were delighted to be able to offer the award again this year via a sponsorship from Kobo that helped to create a print book made available for sale in New Zealand and the e-book published to Kobo's global catalog through Kobo Writing Life platform. The award, administered by the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZ Authors) aims to recognize excellence in creative writing and create a launching pad for writers’ careers. Kobo would like to congratulate all of the contestants on … [Read more...]

The Role of an Editor – Interview with Lucy Cuthew

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Lucy Cuthew, an editor specialising in children’s and young adult fiction, became a freelancer in 2011 having spent several years as a commissioning editor at Meadowside Children’s Books. She edited the English translation of Andrea Atzori’s recently released fantasy YA novel, The Amulet of Sleep. We talked to her about the role of an editor, being a freelancer, and how self published authors can get ahead. Firstly, could you explain the role that a copyeditor has in preparing a manuscript for a book such as Andrea’s? What other types of editor are there and what do they do? When a book goes through the traditional route with a publisher, many eyes will see the text, critique it and work on it to polish it up before it is published. The usual editing stages are a substantive edit, … [Read more...]

Star Reporter Kevin Donovan Publishes Murder Mystery

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Two murder cases I covered for the Toronto Star quite early in my career were the inspiration for the plot of The Dead Times, my new mystery thriller. There was heartbreak and mystery in both killings and I wondered: what if these crimes were linked? What would be a reason to commit these seemingly random murders? This is the mystery I charged my creation, Jack Temple, with solving. Temple is a homicide cop turned reporter, struggling to live a life on the other side of the yellow police tape. In my thirty years as an investigative reporter I have had my share of scrapes, failures and victories. I have been shot at, punched, yelled at and threatened with death. I have dined with killers and royalty, tracked an axe murderer and stray wolves through the bush. I have been woken up in the … [Read more...]

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