Ep. #124: Claire Cameron

Claire Cameron is an acclaimed writer from Toronto whose first novel, The Line Painter, won the Northern Lit Award from the Ontario Library Service and was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Crime Writing Award for ‘best first novel.’ Her latest book is a harrowingly devastating one called The Bear, which is told from the perspective of a six year-old girl named Anna who must take care of her younger brother in the wilds of Algonquin Park after a horrible, incomprehensible tragedy strikes her family’s camping trip. The Bear is available now via Random House of Canada and Cameron is a participating author at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, where she’ll read on Sunday September 14. Here Claire and I discuss Toronto the cold and the hot and people in the city who complain, what inspired The Bear, how no one knows why bears attack, making other parents cry and laugh, reading and writing a six year-old’s perspective, how kids can stay in the moment, researching what kids say and think, how we understand death, how Stick might be comic relief, when Anna was a boy, coping with grief, Claire’s role in the story of The Bear, seeing things from her late father’s perspective, bears in society, demystifying bear attacks, Jaws and The Bear, the inspirational and tragic attack at Algonquin Park and basically living with black bears in Hearst, Ontario, Steven Herrero’s research on patterns and prevention of bear attacks, mothers with cubs might not be as dangerous lone, hungry males, collecting bear stories, don’t be a chicken turn musician, trying to teach one’s self to make hard-edged electronic music, how The Line Painter was inspired by a song Cameron wrote, loving Neil Young’s quiet/loud dynamic and seeing him in London, England, the Greendale tour, how Claire is working on at least three ‘dead books’ and at least one ‘live one,’ how people weirdly classify Claire’s writing in crime and horror categories, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, reading at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, and that’s all we could bear.

Related links: claire-cameron.com edenmillswritersfestival.ca vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #123: Bahamas

Afie Jurvanen is a gifted musician and songwriter who works under the tropical moniker Bahamas. Jurvanen has been an in-demand guitarist who has worked with Feist, the Weather Station, and Zeus among others. He has released three records of his signature folk-tinged rock over the past five years, earning a broad fanbase and award nominations and critical acclaim along the way. His latest album is called Bahamas is Afie, which is out now via Universal Music Canada, and it’s prompted him to tour across the U.S. and Canada over the coming months including a stop at Riverfest Elora on Friday August 22. Here, Afie and I discuss wearing shorts on stage (S.O.S.), Thrush Hermit rules and Joel Plaskett’s legs, the assertively explanatory title of his new album, the lush production of Bahamas is Afie, Don Kerr and the Rooster, distinctive musical chameleons like Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and Beck, that moment where you think of an idea, hope in sad songs, Willie Nelson, wanting to name your hypothetical unborn child Owen, choosing music over sports, social hobbies, going your own way when pushed by your parents, moving to Toronto from Barrie and making friends in a music community, grade 13/OAC, the Miami Heat, Chris Bosh, Fantastic Pop festival in Windsor, Afie’s early band Paso Mino with members of Zeus, Jason Collett, competition and ambition in music, contemporary cultural consumption and metrics, how artists are adapting to the new face of the music business, we are the product, Peter Elkas is under-appreciated, the Aretha Franklin chugging Diet Coke in a golf cart before kicking ass at the Grammys story, playing in a rainstorm at a festival in PEI, the pros and cons of making and promoting music, opening up a laundromat, how to do your laundry, Michael P. Clive’s cooking show and Afie’s unreleased instrumental music for it, making the Weather Station’s new album in France, being added to Riverfest Elora at the last minute, Jason Tait of the Weakerthans, the song “Waves,” and then the heat is off.

Related links: bahamasmusic.net riverfestelora.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #122: Heather O’Neill

Heather O’Neill is a talented and provocative novelist based in Montreal. Her first book was the celebrated Lullabies for Little Criminals, which won Canada Reads in 2007 and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel is The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, which was published by HarperCollins Canada this past April and tells the compelling story of a pair of directionless fraternal twins in Montreal, Noushcka and Nicolas Tremblay, who live in the shadow of their has-been folk-singer of a neglectful father and bare certain emotional scars as a result. Young Quebecois coming of age in 1995, they are separatists on one hand, but unwitting sovereignists on the other. Their creator is bringing their story with her as a participating author at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, where she’ll read on Sunday September 14. Here, Heather and I discuss how to pronounce Nicolas, why it’s difficult to describe what The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is about, the magic in the mundane, having an amicable break-up with a book you wrote, separatism, separating, and needing people you need to get away from, establishing boundaries to become your own person, why we’re reading this world from Noushcka’s perspective, what this book might say about the separatism/sovereignty debate, class divides, promiscuous has-been folk-singer daddy issues, embittered former child stars, Raphael the sexy bad boy, fame might be a drag, people who think authors are their characters, how Heather relates to her characters, how Quebec today relates to Quebec of the mid-1990s, how a teacher’s encouragement drew Heather to write a story about shrinking machines and a cockroach, needing to write, delving into creative non-fiction and how it intertwines with a novel like The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, the political folk music of Montreal that’s conjured in this book via Etienne Tremblay, Heather’s thoughts on film treatments of her works, Wes Anderson and The Royal Tenenbaums, her forthcoming book of short stories Dear Piglet out this spring, writing more than one story at a time, what Heather will be doing at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, @lethal_heroine, weird turns, and the end.

Related links: harpercollins.ca twitter.com/lethal_heroine vishkhanna.com

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