News and Interviews

September 2017 writer-in-residence Andrew Kaufman on His Favourite Books


Andrew Kaufman's writing is utterly unique. Incorporating humour, magic realism, and his own brand of tight, brainy prose, his books (including acclaimed novels like The Waterproof Bible and All My Friends are Superheroes) have earned him dedicated fans and wide acclaim. In his newest offering, Small Claims (Invisible Publishing), Kaufman continues to hone and develop his blend of wild creativity and emotional impact, telling the story of a man who uses an unexpected avenue to deal with his hovering midlife crisis: the titular court. Tender and strange, Small Claims is great storytelling from one of Canada's most innovative writers. 

Given that we're fans of his work, we're thrilled to announce that Andrew Kaufman is Open Book's September 2017 writer-in-residence. We're introducing him today via our WAR Series: Writers as Readers. 

Andrew shares with us about his early reading of a CanCon X-Men comic, riffs on everyone's favourite The Outsiders quotation, and offers a shoutout to an under-appreciated CanLit great.

Stay tuned to Open book throughout the month of September for fresh, funny posts from Andrew!

The first book I remember reading on my own:

X-Men Vol 1 120. That’s the one where they came to Canada and Pierre Elliot Trudeau has a cameo in.

A book that made me cry:

The Outsiders. We should all stay golden.

The first adult book I read:

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Debatable if that’s really an adult book but I still love it so! 42!

A book that made me laugh out loud:

How to Make Love to A Negro. Dany LaFerriere’s novel doesn’t get the respect it deserves. A true Can-Lit classic.

The book I have re-read many times:

Every winter I try to read Gravity’s Rainbow. I haven’t gotten to the end yet.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:

Crime and Punishment. The main reason for this being all the Law and Order repeats I’m addicted to watching time and time again. 

The book I would give my seventeen-year-old self, if I could:

I love Salinger but I honestly feel like The Catcher in the Rye is his worst book. I often wonder if I feel this way because I didn’t read it until I was in my late twenties and it was just too late. So I think I’d give my seventeen-year-old self a battered beat-up second-hand copy of The Catcher in the Rye

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:

As embarrassing as this is, I’m gonna have to go with In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan. It really opened me up to the possibilities of telling a story outside of a realistic structure. 

The best book I read in the past six months:

Lincoln in the Bardo. I am no longer jealous of Saunders. He is a hundred floors above me.

The book I plan on reading next:

Roberto Bolano’s 2666. Winter is coming and winter is long.

A possible title for my autobiography:

You Have Been Chosen as an Extra in the Movie Adaptation to the Sequel to Your Life.


Andrew Kaufman lives and writes in Toronto. He was born in Wingham, Ontario, making him the second-most-famous Canadian writer to come from Wingham. He is the author of international bestseller All My Friends are SuperheroesThe Waterproof Bible, ReLit Award–winner The Tiny Wife, and Born Weird, which was named a Best Book of the Year by The Globe and Mail and was shortlisted for the Leacock award.

Buy the Book

Small Claims

Canada’s favourite magic realist tells the straight story

In this new novel by ReLit award–winning, Leacock-nominated writer Andrew Kaufman, the narrator eschews the usual avenues of mid-life crisis—sportscars, mistresses—and instead seeks meaning in the least likely of places: small claims court. There, he struggles to understand what’s gone wrong in his marriage, his career as a writer, and his relationship with his two young children. With small observations, subtle investigations, and the pursuit of small-scale justice, he attempts to rebuild his faith in humanity through the framework of a court system that won’t let you sue for damages above twenty thousand dollars. Small Claims is a big dose of tenderness for the frailties of the heart.