Archive for June, 2012

An Open Mind

Hi guys,

So I’m not too proud of how my summer of writing has been going so far – although all other areas are pretty sweet, especially with Matrix Magazine’s Litpop Awards and scuba diving. I wrote an abortive distopian future-type thing – I might type up the beginning so you can see it.

My workshop group (which is another summer project) is workshopping An Open Mind (the retitled Brancusi’s Golden Bird), so I’m reworking it and writing some new scenes. You can expect to see it get a lot longer.

Just thought I’d let you know what’s going on!

P.S: my apologies to Lukas Rowland from Echoes for not keeping up with our writing schedule for the summer! You should check him out, by the way. He’s writing a fantasy novel right nao.

P.P.S: THERE’S STILL TIME TO ENTER LITPOP – the contest deadline has been extended to July 5th because of the long weekend.

Matrix Magazine and Pop Montreal present the Litpop Awards

Hey everyone,

So as you probably already know, I’m this year’s managing editor at Matrix Magazine. We’re having a contest with Pop Montreal that’s pretty awesome and I figured that, with only a few days left to submit, I should try to let as many people as possible know about it. Want to come to Montreal and be treated like a rockstar? Read on!

Only 12 days left to enter the most innovative literary contest in North America!

“Cool is a bit of an understatement. How many writers get to open for a band at the now-legendary POP Montreal festival?”
– Canada Arts Connect Magazine

“Basically if you win, you receive a round-trip ticket to POP Montreal, accommodation, a VIP pass to POP, AND the winner/winning poem will open for a rock band during the festival. Madness!”
– Drawn and Quarterly 211 Blog

“This just may be the most unique contest and prize in contemporary literature.”
– Open Book Toronto

“If you like to write poetry/fiction and you’re awesome at it, enter this contest.
-Toronto Standard

“Submit poetry or short fiction for the chance to snag round-trip airfare to what is arguably the best music festival on the continent, plus a VIP pass, accommodation, and publication in Matrix. This year’s judges are Ken Babstock and Melanie Little and it’s all a stunner of a deal, a grand opportunity, a thing you should do.”
-Said the Gramophone

Past Litpop Winners Speak!

“The Matrix Litpop Award is the premier literary magazine prize in Canada. You would think that nothing could beat the feeling of having your work chosen by a writer you admire to receive a healthy monetary reward and to appear in a first-rate magazine alongside the work of a writer you admire. But what beats that feeling is having all that happen plus you are flown to one of the world’s most vibrant cities to enjoy a mind-meltingly awesome music festival. You will leave with enough musical discoveries and memories of wondrous and strange happenings to inspire another award-winning story or suite of poems.”

– Daniel Scott Tysdal, 2010 winner.

“Winning the Matrix LitPop award was amazing. I was flown to Montreal, picked up at the airport like a star, given money, and set loose. I ate at Schwartz’s, got to see Burt Bacharach one day and Nick Cave the next, and ate poutine in a historical porn theatre while some guy covered every song on a entire Neil Young album. That, and a bunch of other stuff and shows, was the prize. They gave me a “prize certificate” that was a hand-made collage. It was the coolest thing next to a penguin astronaut with a Slurpee on Titan.”
– Jonathan Ball, 2008 winner

“I saw a zillion free shows including The Dears and Timber Timbre and also ate my weight in poutine. Most fun literary award in Canada.”
– Alex Leslie, 2010 winner

“My experience of Pop Montreal was one of the best experiences of 2011. Everyone treated me like a pal, I got an illustrated plaque with my cartoon noggin on it, I got to open up for the tUnE-yArDs show, and then I ended up in some french speaking orgiastic dance party until 5 in the morning. I seriously could not have asked for more! LitPop forever!”

– Chris Urquhart, 2011 winner

The POP Montreal International Music Festival and Matrix Magazine have joined forces to melt your face and scare your parents with Canada’s most innovative and exciting literary competition. We are looking for writing that makes ears ring and throats hoarse. So if you can bring the rock heat with poetry and/or short fiction, it’s time to break some hearts and/or scare some parents. If you have what it takes, you will get your work published in Matrix, and get free travel to POP Montreal for a night in your honour.

The winners, one from each category, will receive a round-trip ticket to POP Montreal from September 19-23, 2012, a VIP pass to the Pop Montreal Festival, free accommodation at a bed and breakfast, fall publication in Matrix Magazine with full honorarium, and presentation at a special Matrix Litpop event during the festival.

The deadline for all submissions is July 1, 2012. Winners will be notified in August. Poets are asked to send no more than 5 poems; fiction and non-fiction writers should send stories of no more than 3000 words. Each entry is 25$ and entries and entry fees should be mailed to Matrix Publications, 1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd W., LB 658, Montreal QC, H3G 1M8. Please include your email address. Cheques or money orders should be made out to “Matrix Publications.” PayPal is also available. Multiple entries are welcome. Entries can also be emailed and will be considered valid once payment is verified. Full contest rules and regulations can be found at and

The POETRY judge is Ken Babstock the author of Methodist Hatchet (Anansi 2011) and Airstream Land Yacht (Anansi, 2006) winner of The Trillium Prize for Poetry, finalist for the Governor General’s Award, The Griffin Prize for Poetry, and The Winterset Award. Earlier collections include Mean, winner of The Atlantic Poetry Prize and The Milton Acorn Award, and Days into Flatspin, winner of a K.M. Hunter Award and finalist for the Winterset Prize. All three books were listed in The Globe and Mail‘s Books of the Year. His poems have won Gold at the National Magazine Awards, appeared widely in anthologies in Canada, The US, and Ireland, and have been translated into French, German, Dutch, Serbo-Croatian and Czech.

The FICTION judge is Melanie Little. Her debut book, the story collection Confidence, was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award and named one of the Globe and Mail’s Top 100 books of 2003. Her writing has appeared in the anthologies Scribner’s Best of the Fiction Workshops,Outskirts: Women Writing from Small PlacesCertain Things About My Mother, and Nerves Out Loud, as well as in magazines including The Malahat Reviewsub-TERRAINPrairie FireEventThe Fiddlehead, and Books in Canada. Her essays and reviews have appeared in theGlobe and MailOttawa CitizenGeorgia StraightVancouver Sun, and National Post. She is a past winner of the Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition and the Periodical Writers’ Association of Canada Journalism Award. Little holds a Masters of Arts in English Literature from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of British Columbia, where she served as an editor of PRISM International. She is now the Senior Editor with Anansi Press.

An anecdote

Just something to tide you over since I’ve been a bad fiction blogger. 

An Anecdote With A Strong Moral Message

Let me tell you an anecdote. Last Wednesday, I had a horrible pain in my foot but couldn’t see anything like a splinter or an injury. The pain got worse and worse throughout the evening and I was at a loss. I had my boyfriend take a look and he couldn’t find anything any more than I could. But the pain wouldn’t go away, and my boyfriend had another look. Finally, he ran his finger gently over one area of skin and I winced in pain, drawing my foot away. He told me that he knew what the problem was, and got the tweezers. As I braced myself, he drew out a fine hair that was parallel to the bottom of my foot, stuck just inside the first layer of skin. It was just a flimsy little hair, no more than a centimeter long. My boyfriend concluded that it must have been placed just on top of a nerve for it to cause so much pain. That tiny hair, so flimsy and insignificant, so small and so delicate, caused me hours of irritation and anguish. The moral of the story is this: Even though you, too, are tiny and insignificant, you are on my last nerve. Don’t make me set my boyfriend on you. Yes – with tweezers.