Tag Archives: Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

Ep. #130: Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is a gifted writer and poet who lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Her 2012 short story collection How to Get Along with Women is extraordinarily moving, emotionally jarring, texturally precise, and it was longlisted for the 2013 Giller Prize with good reason. Of her work, author Michael Winter once astutely said, “She’s alive to what disturbs, and she’s dead to cliche.” Elisabeth’s work has been featured in prominent periodicals and her story “Kiss Me Like I’m The Last Man On Earth” was nominated for a 2013 National Magazine Award. She is also one of the founders of Toronto Poetry Vendors, a small press that sells single poems by established Canadian poets through toonie vending machines. De Mariaffi has a new novel coming out this January via HarperCollins Canada called The Devil You Know and she’s appearing at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival on Sunday Sept. 14. Here, she and I talk about the weather in St. John’s, living between Toronto and Guelph and Newfoundland, meeting St. John’s current poet laureate George Murray, Book Ninja, working for an airline during a long distance relationship, just married, working at Ed Video Media Arts Centre and learning about video editing, writing poetry under the tutelage of Dionne Brand and short stories with Michael Winter, flying together, finding the time and resources to write the stories in How To Get Along With Women, short stories versus long stories, travelling to Hungary a lot as a kid, learning several languages, politics and perception and the tangible impact of the Cold War, how I thought How To Get Along With Women would be funny but it was actually very heavy, the politics of our day-to-day existence, relationships and power dynamics, fear, the whole literary prize nomination deal, writing a novel while the iron was hot, Invisible Publishing, working at Breakwater Books, having four kids and jobs as writers, NO, her new novel The Devil You Know and its relation to fear, February 1993 in the weeks that Paul Bernardo was being pursued by police, darkness, writing more short stories or another novel, sending wedding thank yous, the future, and then the end.

Related links: invisiblepublishing.com twitter.com/ElisabethdeM edenmillswritersfestival.ca

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Ep. #129: Scott Merritt

Scott Merritt is a very talented songwriter, musician, singer, and producer who lives in Guelph, Ontario. He has been creating and occasionally releasing inventive pop music for close to 35 years and has collaborated with people like Daniel Lanois, Adrian Belew, Willie P. Bennett, and Fred Eaglesmith among others. He also keeps himself busy on other people’s projects in his studio, the Cottage, which might be one reason why he hasn’t released a new album since 2002’s stunning The Detour Home. On Thursday September 11, Scott headlines an Eden Mills Writers’ Festival event dubbed ‘Taste and Transmission’ at the Ebar in Guelph. On his back deck a couple of days ago, Scott and I talked about the Cottage, leaving Brantford for Guelph for his son/my friend John, the Barmitzvah Brothers, ages and grades, John’s Cafe at the top of the stairs, imaginary worlds, banning kids’ music in favour of the music you actually like, Van Morrison, the Beatles, Dean Martin, Ramones, my parents put me in tennis lessons, pie plates and elastic bands, his first musical mentor Stanley, “Foxy Lady” and “Manic Depression” by Jimi Hendrix, fantastical and observational lyrics, strange sounds, if you can say what it is, don’t do it, fussy exploration, my obsession with Wayne Gretzky’s Brantford and sprinklers at the Woolco, Alexander Graham Bell, the manufacturing sector of the 1970s and 1980s, seeing Rush, Max Webster, and Breathless play at his high school, Spalding might’ve made basketballs in Brantford, giving music a try instead of going to school, parental guidance, playing better, garage bands and blood donor clinics, Max Rat, Leo Kottke, the record store in the mall, Bitter Grounds in Kingston and other coffee houses for songwriters, pay or play in Hamilton and a life-changing night, making Desperate Cosmetics, Duke Street Records, labels and DIY hardship, I.R.S. Records and Miles Copeland, making Violet and Black, making Gravity is Mutual with Roma Baran, Adrian Belew’s chaos management in the studio, Scott’s first new album since 2002, which he finished just last Friday, the new song “Everwill” and the idea of a parade that has no beginning or end, and then this podcast with a beginning also has its end.

Related links: maplemusic.com/artists/sco/default.asp edenmillswritersfestival.ca vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #128: Nicholas Ruddock

Nicholas Ruddock is a Guelph-based doctor and a critically acclaimed poet and author whose 2010 novel, The Parabolist, was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award. His latest work is the compelling, funny How Loveta Got Her Baby, a linked story collection that was published by Breakwater Books this past March. Ruddock will be reading at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival on Sunday Sept. 14 and we met in an empty house the other day to talk about his long road to living in Guelph, secret doctors, not writing about medicine, my weak eye, linking on a shady dance floor, living in Newfoundland, purposefully heading east instead of west, the profundity of ‘the Rock,’ daring me to move to Newfoundland, Elisabeth de Mariaffi, perceptions of Newfoundland, going from a novel to a short story collection, Butterpot and Not Butterpot, courage and writing, his first novel The Parabolist, the story of the soccer players, black humour and death, whether or not doctors can have fun with their jobs, lighten up British Columbia, Dawson City in 1976, writing about the nobility of human nature, plotting and scheming characters, babies and Camaros, seeing your story altered in a short film adaptation, avoiding Bruce Springsteen, the next novel, the very, very short stories in How Loveta Got Her Baby, the next 25 short stories, writing tips, twitter, Nick’s wife, visual artist Cheryl Ruddock and his daughter Koko Bonaparte, inspiring a new story, and then our appointment is over.

Related links: nicholasruddock.com breakwaterbooks.com edenmillswritersfestival.ca vishkhanna.com

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