With two hours to go to the end of 2018, I just wanted to say to family and friends that it has been a banner year for my writing and literary activities. At the top of the list is finishing my second novel, Quill of the Dove, and finding a publisher, Guernica Editions, for it :) To all of the 25 fellow writers who generously read my early drafts and offered great advice, I offer you my sincerest gratitude. This baby belongs to all of us.
I took a sabbatical from my writers collective, Deux Voiliers Publishing, for all of 2017 and much of 2018 in order to work on my own writing, but I am pleased to say that we still managed to close off this year with two outstanding translations from French: This Country of Mine by the brilliant Rwandan-Canadian novelist, Didier Leclair, (translated by Elaine Kennedy) and Pretenders by Haiti's literary trailblazer, Fernand Hibbert, (translated by Matt Robertshaw).
We already have on our plate two new DVP books for 2019: David Menear's short story collection, Swallows Playing Chicken, and DVP's first anthology, The Marginal Ride. I am particularly looking forward to contributing to and editing this new anthology, which welcomes to the DVP family, acclaimed writers Michael Mirolla, Ursula Pflug, Sang Kim and Jerry Levy, and back to the fold Caroline Vu, Geza Tatrallay, Tim Niedermann.
The Ottawa Review of Books celebrated last September four years of providing readers with insights on some great Canadian fiction and non-fiction. We are now up to 275 book reviews :) With more reviewers joining our ORB team, 2019 is definitely looking up!
2018 was the year to hang up my spurs, after three years, as the President of the Ottawa Independent Writers. But my OIW responsibilities were not yet over as the second annual Frank Hegyi Award still had to be organized. Congrats to Sharon Butala for being our 2018 winner!
My publisher, Guernica Editions, also roped me in 2018 into organizing the first Guernica Prize. Congrats for Kevin Wilson, the award's first winner, and kudos to Guernica Editions for offering this opportunity to emerging writers
Wow, did I really do that much work while keeping my day job?
Anyway, it is all just an appetizer for 2019 when Quill of the Dove will be launched. Friends in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, be sure to come out to the book launches already planned for your cities. And yes, Ottawa, there will be a launch for you! P.S. if you are going to the Creative Ink Festival in B.C., be sure to look me up and if you can, come on out to my presentation on writing fiction against political backdrops on March 31. I love meeting other writers :)
So farewell 2018, let 2019 come in like a lion!
On a sadder note, my brother Mark passed to the other side last January, but his many anecdotes from his fourteen years in Peru still live on in my memories, and, if I can manage it, those Andean days will be the subject of my next novel. Thank you, brother, for your support and encouragement on my literary journey, thank you for sharing your life journey with me, te amo.
Vamos al rincón oscuro,
donde yo siempre te quiera,
que no me importe la gente,
ni el veneno que nos echa.
(Bodas de Sangre - Federico García Lorca)
Ian Thomas Shaw