Writer in Residence

Well, hi.

By Jess Taylor

Well, hi. How’s it going? What you up to? Are you having a good evening?

I’m talking to you from Open Book: Toronto as the Writer-In-Residence for the month of February. I’ll be taking you through the month of love with some interviews, a few ideas that I’m turning over, and my ambitious reading program that will probably never be started or completed.

February, in general, is a month of waiting. We’re waiting to get through the last bit of terrible winter and into some brighter months. In the literary scene, not all that much is really happening: Reading series begin their new seasons in January with a bang, and then everyone is just pretty much hanging around till launch season. Rather than just hanging around here on Open Book feeling stir-crazy and talking to myself, I’m going to be looking forward.

More immediately, I’ll be looking at the upcoming launch season, chatting with Andrew F. Sullivan about his forthcoming novel, Waste; Malcolm Sutton about his debut novel, Job Shadowing; and Stephen Thomas about The Jokes. Perhaps I’ll dig up some more people from the deep trenches of the earth who are willing to talk with me. I’m focusing on books that really excite me, that I’ve been hoping to read since I heard about them. Having read a few of these ARCs now, I want the final versions in my hands! Right this moment! Take my money and give me those books!

I’ll also be talking to publishers of Desert Pets Press, Catriona Wright and Emma Dolan, about their upcoming season of chapbooks. This press was founded just this past year and has already put out two chapbooks that combine fantastic design and content. Wright and Dolan will tell you their origin stories and let all the attractive and lively readers of Open Book: Toronto know about what to expect from their new chapbooks this season.

The Toronto Poetry Talks on Racism and Sexism in Poetry will take place this June, and I’ll be chatting with poet and organizer Jacqueline Valencia about this project.

Outside of discussing upcoming highlights of this year in Toronto’s literary community, I want to focus on some questions, ideas, and concerns I’ve been having about Canadian literature in general, on writing in the 21st century, and on how to make everything better. I want to identify the reason people write - or at least why I write - and whether or not we're all coming close to fulfilling whatever goal or dream we're pursuing.

I’m mostly interested in starting some discussions with these non-interview posts, so please comment and please please please talk to me (I live a life of despair and loneliness and need you to ease the alienation even if it’s just for a moment).

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Jess Taylor is a writer and poet based in Toronto, Ontario. She is the host and founder of the Emerging Writers Reading Series and is the fiction editor of Little Brother Magazine. Her work has been published in a variety of journals, magazines, and newspapers, including Little Fiction, Little Brother, This Magazine, The National Post, Emerge Literary Journal, Great Lakes Review, Zouch Magazine, and offSIDE Zine. Her pamphlet chapbook, And Then Everyone, was released by Picture Window Press in the spring of 2014. In October 2014, Anstruther Press released her first full-length chapbook, Never Stop. Recently, she was named “one of the best alt- lit reads coming out of Canada” by Dazed and Confused Magazine. She also received the Gold 2013 National Magazine Award in Fiction for her short story, “Paul.” Pauls is her first book (BookThug). Connect with Taylor at www.jesstaywriter.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jesstaywriter), on Twitter @jesstaylorwriter, or on Tumblr (www.jesstaywriter.tumblr.com).