All posts by Debra Martens

author, editor

In the words of

Don’t we all love quotations? A thought seems to sound better in the words of a professional. Apart from sticking one into a speech, we can’t just type up a […]

Smith's surroundings

Devon Inspires Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith started writing about 15 years ago, publishing her first poems in Canadian literary journals (Room, Grain, and The New Quarterly, for example). Her life as an academic in […]

Thomas’s Local Customs

Charlotte Stein is a long-time bookseller. Her first bookstore job, while a highschool student, was in the NAAFI Bookshop on the NATO military base in Rheindahlen, West Germany. In 1988 […]

Fun at Foyles

There was a bookstore on Charing Cross Road in which you could get lost. Because the space was two buildings joined together, the books were to be discovered in cubbies […]

Are Writers Unfun?

It’s Canada Day, and I am thinking about that poet at the Vancouver Olympics: Shane Koyczan, spoken word performer. I think that was brilliant, figuring out a way to put a […]

© James Lahey www.shovelclub.com

Charlie and Xixi

Who is Charles Foran? From our talk this spring at his office on Yonge Street just south of St Clair, I learned that this prolific award-winning writer is passionate about […]

Talent… Hustle

On April 28, I met Charlie Foran at his new office in Toronto, to talk about his book, Planet Lolita, and about his biography of Mordecai Richler —  Mordecai:The Life […]

Mordecai Richler

Mordecai Richler (1931-2001) left Canada on the Franconia in September 1950 for reasons both cultural and personal. In Charles Foran’s biography of Richler, Mordecai: the Life and Times, Foran suggests […]

Sampson Sad Peninsula

At the beginning of May I was in Toronto shedding hard-won grams on the long subway trip to the archives at York University, and at my sister’s memorial, and happily […]

41 Commonwealth

41 of 53 Commonwealth countries criminalize homosexuality. This statistic led Commonwealth Writers, an initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, to organize an event to open discussion on this issue: panellists included […]

grey skies St Ives

Light and Levine

The sandy beaches in St Ives, Cornwall, are supposedly the cause of a pink light that glows over the town in early morning and late afternoon. That and the sea air. […]

West London Air Terminal

Isabel Huggan’s piece (Footloose) about living in London in 1966 and travelling around the Continent mentioned the West London Air Terminal.

Isabel Huggan London 1966

During a visit to London in 2013, Isabel Huggan mentioned having had diesel flavoured coffee at the West London Air Terminal. CWA asked if she would write about that time, and she has.

Going Ashore

I’ve been reading some of Mavis Gallant’s early stories, collected in Going Ashore (McClelland & Stewart 2009) with an introduction by Alberto Manguel. Manguel praises several of the stories: “brilliant, […]

Marvellous Mavis, Great Gallant

Mavis Leslie Gallant, née de Trafford Young (1922-2014), died yesterday in Paris at the age of 91. Gallant was famed for her short stories, which were, from her first publication, […]

Chava Rosenfarb

Chava Rosenfarb (1923-2011) is a Canadian writer you should know about. An award-winning poet and novelist, she wrote in Yiddish. While living in Montreal, she began translating her own work […]

Sonia Saikaley's Lebanon

Of Goats and the Lyrical

Sonia Saikaley interviews Irene Marques (PhD Comparative Literature). Marques writes in English and Portuguese and teaches at Ryerson and York universities. In 2007 she spent a year in South Africa […]

photo: Sheila Coutts

Paris

During the Christmas holiday we went to Paris for a couple of days. There is much for a Canadian literary tourist to see in Paris, but I limited myself to […]

Elm Cottage, Penn, continued

We got back in the car and drove to the other end of Penn. We turned onto Beacon Hill (Margaret Laurence is pictured walking up it in the James King’s […]

Elm Cottage

Our search for the house where Margaret Laurence and her children lived for ten years in England began in a car on the A4 under a sky pregnant with water. […]