Tag Archives: HarperCollins

Ep. #158: Bruce McCulloch

Bruce McCulloch is a tremendously influential and iconic comedic writer, performer, and director from Alberta who currently lives in the Hollywood Hills. He has written for Saturday Night Live, directed films like Stealing Harvard and Superstar, and released two excellent comedy records, Shame-Based Man and Drunk Baby Project. McCulloch is best known as a member of the beloved and edgy troupe, Kids in the Hall, who produced one of the greatest sketch comedy shows ever. Some of his adventures with the Kids have been documented in his excellent new memoir, Let’s Start a Riot, which is out now via HarperCollins, and has been partially adapted for a new series called Young Drunk Punk, which premieres Wednesday January 21 on CityTV. Here, Bruce and I discuss editing Young Drunk Punk in Toronto, how the Hollywood machine inspired him to write a book, revisiting himself, his Pretty Wife, what to write about, growing up in Calgary and Edmonton, One Yellow Rabbit and Sled Island, loving music but being saved by comedy, knowing thyself, self-identifying as a punk, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and the den mother that was Don Pyle, wisdom and caution, celebrity and humility and explaining your creative life to your children, what the Kids in the Hall think of Bruce’s book, what Young Drunk Punk is about, Ian McKay not Ian MacKaye or even Ian McKay, upcoming North American Kids in the Hall live dates, playing characters on shows like Arrested Development, “Tired of Waking Up Tired” by the Diodes, and then it was time for happiness pie.

Related links: brucio.com vishkhanna.com


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Ep. #140: John Darnielle

John Darnielle is one of the most esteemed songwriters working today. Currently based in Durham, North Carolina, he is the founder and leader of a beloved contemporary folk and rock band called the Mountain Goats who have been prolific over the past 25 years and praised for their infectious, impassioned, and vivid songs. In 2008, Darnielle’s first book, Black Sabbath: Master of Reality, was published as a unique, fictional entry in Bloomsbury’s 33 ⅓ music series and he has also contributed a regular column called “South Pole Dispatch” in the American heavy metal magazine, Decibel. This past September, HarperCollins published Darnielle’s second book, Wolf in White Van, a dark, dizzying novel about isolation and connection and interpersonal impact that was promptly longlisted for a National Book Award. Here, John and I discuss active, entertaining three year-olds that don’t always sleep so well, parent partiality, the unique temporal structure of Wolf in White Van, mapping out the characters and getting to know them and the story, the famous case of Judas Priest being taken to court by parents after their children shot themselves, heavy metal, the fictional role-playing game Trace Italian, sci-fi and D&D, playing games with Jason Morningstar, trying on new identities, collective creative engagement and the life of the mind, typification and sub-genres, formulating the Trace Italian game that’s depicted in the book, why Sean Phillips created this role-playing game while he was in the hospital for doing an inexplicable thing, playing a game where you can only advance via mail order instructions, life and limitations, generating questions, the role music may or may not play in this book, not leaving music behind, Laurel & Hardy get chased by the alphabet, getting a typewriter at six years old, whether or not he might be good at most things, the book not the song, what’s coming up next for him and the Mountain Goats, a book tour might be more exhausting than a music tour, going dancing or seeing Robert Plant live, dad clocks, cooking on the road, coming to Canada and why crossing the border can be an unpleasant experience, how Propagandhi is the best, border guard mind games, other people have it worse, the song “Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes” by Propagandhi, and that was it.      

Related links: mountain-goats.com vishkhanna.com

John Darnielle

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Ep. #126: Carrie Snyder

Carrie Snyder lives in Waterloo, Ontario and is the author of two story collections, including The Juliet Stories, which was a finalist for Canada’s 2012 Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Her debut novel, Girl Runner will be published in Canada by House of Anansi on September 6 and in the United States via HarperCollins and in the U.K. via Two Roads in 2015. Snyder is also a dedicated recreational athlete, the mother of four children, and the author of the popular literary blog Obscure CanLit Mama. Ahead of her appearance at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival on Sunday September 14, Snyder and I discuss her lovely home in Waterloo and its century-long history, a ghost house, oh, the places Carrie has lived in, birthday to birthday, the inspiration behind Girl Runner, running, writing a story collection like The Juliet Stories that reads like a novel, melding the present with the past in a double narrative structure, figuring out who characters are after you’ve written them, sibling couples and confusing spaces, the tangled and large Smart family tree, emotional conflict, whether or not we’re supposed to like Cora, Aganetha, womanhood and gender and sexual dynamics in sports and marketing, David Beckham, the shelf-life of athletes as competitors and public figures, amateur versus poor Olympians, athlete’s bodies, Aggie’s comfort with her own being and intellect, the parallels between Aganetha and Carrie, getting into running mid-life after thinking it was kinda dumb, the 25 KM Run for the Toad, hot yoga, learning how to swim when you’re not buoyant and in your mid-30s and then doing a triathlon within like a year of that, panicking in the pool, dredging up a near-drowning experience from your childhood, a fear of bicycling, bouncing between brief samples of the present and huge sections of historical memoir, the biological powers of women, the impact of child-rearing on artistic creativity and output, telling this quasi-fictional story about people who do special, unconventional things with their lives, the mystery and history of Girl Runner, always wanting to be a writer, sending letters to authors as a kid, learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry, if you want to write you have to keep doing it no matter what, responding to one’s calling, competing with yourself rather than your colleagues, Glad versus Aggie, American versus Canadian editors, House of Anansi and HarperCollins and Two Roads, researching for the next book, writing every day, My Struggle, book reviews, Obscure CanLit Mama, and then the finish line.

Related links: carriesnyder.com edenmillswritersfestival.ca vishkhanna.com


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