We all know what a New Year's resolution is, but what about a literary resolution? We asked writers and publishers across the country to share their hopes and aspirations for 2023 in the realm of reading and writing – from finishing projects to broadening horizons. Maybe this is the year you put together a workshop group to get and give feedback, or the year you make an effort to read more works in translation, or buy all your books from independently-owned shops. Whatever your goal is, you can get inspired by the resolutions shared below by our friends in the writing and publishing world.
2023 Literary Resolutions from Canadian Writers and Publishers:
Suzanne Alyssa Andrew, author and book coach:
I’ve been writing new stories for a long stretch, so my resolution is to share them and see some of them published. I’m also keen to enjoy more in-person literary events again in addition to the ones online!
Heather Babcock, author of Filthy Sugar:
I am looking forward to hunkering down by the faux fireplace at my local public library as I begin putting the bones together of my next novel.
Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli, award-winning author of La Brigantessa and Pigeon Soup & Other Stories:
My resolution is to keep writing every day, and to keep believing that my big, crazy dreams about my books will come true.
Ann Birch, author of The Secret Life of Roberta Greaves and three Upper Canada historical novels:
I always resolve to buy at indie bookstores, and this is an easy resolution to keep. Far more difficult is my resolve to finish my current historical novel by the end of 2023.
Becky Blake, author of Proof I Was Here:
In 2022, I read 75% nonfiction and 25% fiction. I'd like to flip that ratio around for 2023 as I move deeper into the draft of my new novel.
Kirsten Brassard, Publicist, Groundwood Books:
My literary resolution for 2023 is to finish the oldest book on my TBR pile – The Fellowship of the Ring. I’m hoping that committing to it here will give me the persistence I need to finally to journey past the Shire.
Janet Calceterra, author of The Burden of Memories:
Despite still being in the midst of promoting my first novel The Burden of Memories, I resolve to apply to do a summer residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. There, I hope to get started on a new novel, the subject of which I won't disclose. Before going, I intend to finish the first draft of my middle grade novel.
Marc Côté, Publisher, Cormorant Books:
My New Year’s resolution for 2023: To read all the books on my bedside table. Seems reasonable? They would stock the shelves of a small town library.
Jacqueline Davis, Publicist, McGill-Queen’s University Press:
My literary resolution is to read more books by alpinists, in preparation for a birthday trip the Rockies.
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Terri Favro, author of The Sisters Sputnik (2022), Sputnik’s Children (2017), and Generation Robot (2018/2020):
In 2023, I want to savour the process of writing, without worrying about word counts, markets, deadlines, blurbs or pitches. I’ve been on a literary marathon since 2015, getting two speculative fiction novels and a pop science book about robots out into the world…which has been great, but in doing research, meeting deadlines, working with editors and publicists, and all the stuff you do when a book comes out, I feel like I’ve lost sight of the pure fun of writing. So my resolution this year is to complete a “nouvelle steampunk” novel (The False Queen’s Archive) but slow down and enjoy the journey.
Keith Garebian, author of In the Bowl of My Eye and Finger to Finger:
My hope is that my two new poetry collections—one about American sexual renegade Samuel Steward, the other about celebrated Japanese-American sculptor Ruth Asawa—will find appropriate publishers next year, the same year that my autobiography (Pieces of My Self) is to be published by Guernica Editions.
Rachel Gerry, Publishing Assistant, Book*hug Press:
To read lots of new Canadian poetry!
Annie Gibson, Publisher, Playwrights Canada Press:
My book-related new year's resolution is to dedicate more time to reading! I read a lot on the go – while commuting, in short spurts, and I'd like to just sit down sometimes and read a whole bunch at once.
Susan Glickman, author of Cathedral/Grove (forthcoming 2023):
My resolution is to finish my work in progress, The Sweet Particulars (prose appreciations of things I love with accompanying drawings) so that I can relinquish myself to the undertow pulling me towards writing another novel. This is how projects always begin for me, as a sort of subliminal rhythm that I keep trying to ignore... until I cannot.
Lesley Krueger, author of Far Creek Road (forthcoming fall 2023):
I have a new novel coming out this fall, and I'm resolved to work so hard with the cover designer that our brains start to steam. Resolved that we'll come up with a cover you'll see in a bookstore and think, I've got to get that.
Amanda West Lewis, Author of These Are Not the Words and Focus. Click. Wind (forthcoming fall 2023):
I am on the verge of starting to conceive a new YA novel. Given the number of re-writes that my last novels have required, I am resolving to try to do a brief outline before I write this one. I’m going to research it first and then see if I can imagine the shape of it before I start writing. This goes entirely against my “pantsing” nature! But I resolve to give it a try, if only because I think the exercise will give me new creative energy and insights.
Irene Marques, author of Daria:
My writing resolution? What a silly question! To write from the soul, the heart, the body and what lies between, beyond, above, below those realms. Write from all dimensions within me, all dimensions within the world, the universe, the universes—if I am lucky enough for them to sing, whisper, murmur to me—and think less about writing resolutions, about audiences, about selling, about methods of writing that our society seems so obsessed with, so keen that it is on teaching you The Method, a method that sells. As if the creative gem, the magic, the fundamental source of the inking river that runs wild within us, could ever be bought, tamed in careful, frigid, rigid, uncaring, dead sentences. My writing resolution? What a silly question. Simply write and stop writing about resolutions. But today I was weak: I gave in...
Melanie Mitzner, author of Slow Reveal:
To expand my literary horizons, read new authors, communicate more with the literary community and most of all, tell that inner critic to shut up!
Pamela Mordecai, author of A Fierce Green Place and De Book of Joseph:
I resolve to keep turning up every day to struggle with the Muses, who have been intransigent this last little while, perhaps because they are unaccustomed to seeing me every day. They shall simply have to accommodate, as I have become imperious in my old age. So, Calliope. Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene (love your name!), Polymnia, and Thalia, do expect Pamela for coffee with a slice of banana bread, as we fuss.
Flora Pan, Chinese-Canadian contemporary fiction writer:
I hope to finish my novel about a Chinese-Canadian woman finding community in an Ontario small town (tentatively titled Party of the Decade) and send it out for consideration!
Mariam Pirbhai, author of Isolated Incident and Outside People and Other Stories:
To finish writing the last chapter of my first book of creative nonfiction (nature writing and memoir through a decolonial lens), and to getting out to more readings and festivals with my recently published first novel, Isolated Incident. And to put aside more time to read memoirs and CNF, since I've learned so much from works such as Madhur Anand's This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart, Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass, Jenny Heijun Wills' Older Sister, Not Related, Tanis MacDonald's Out of Line, Alicia Elliott's A Mind Spread Out on the Ground...).
Laila Re, author of Nila the Bleeding Garden:
My literary resolution for 2023 is to finish writing my second novel and hopefully have it picked up by a major publisher!
Emma Rhodes, Associate Publicist, House of Anansi Press:
Working in publishing, it’s easy for my own writing to take a backseat. My resolution is to prioritize making space for my own writing practice. Twice a month I plan to either write, edit, or submit one single poem
María Helena Auerbach Rykov, author of some conditions apply:
As volunteer mentor with the PEN Canada Writers in Exile program, I resolve to grow the volunteer mentor pool to better support our writers to integrate into the Canadian writing community.
Mark David Smith, author of the Weird Sisters Detective Agency series from Owlkids Books:
To successfully pitch a fourth Weird Sisters Detective Agency book to my publisher, Owlkids Books, in the hopes of a 2025 publication date. With the second book coming out this spring and the third in production for 2024, I have to get started now to keep the momentum of the series!
Salimah Valiani, award-winning author of the poetry collection, 29 leads to love (Inanna Publications 2021):
To put out 29 more.
Vanessa Winn, author of Trappings and The Chief Factor’s Daughter:
In 2023, I aspire to re-read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, searching for allusions to Queen Victoria’s family, who will be the focus of my third historical novel. Since Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) met several Royals at Oxford, as did the original Alice, it puts a different slant on “Off with her head.”
A collective resolution from everyone at Wolsak & Wynn:
To catch up on our reading and whittle down those piles of books we keep adding to all the time. Of course, we all know this is impossible.
Alissa York, author of Far Cry (forthcoming 2023):
I resolve to read with my heart as my compass — to seek out the lines that shake me, that make me grateful to be alive.
Lindsay Zier-Vogel, author of Letters to Amelia:
My writing goal is to plan and go on a research trip to see dance classes in New York and finish a draft of a new novel!
Maria Zuppardi, Marketing Coordinator & Community Manager, Dundurn Press:
To read more diverse CanLit and independent presses throughout 2023
And from all of us at Open Book: Happy Holidays and best wishes for a great year of books to come. We are grateful for your readership and your support for our goal – to keep sharing incredible writing from talented Canadian authors. See you in 2023.