Writer. Editor. Teacher. Public speaker and professional cheerleader to writers of all stripes.
|Posted on October 14, 2011 at 3:55 PM||comments ()|
NEW! UPDATED OCTOBER 18:
Had a lovely chat with Barry Link over at the Courier yesterday, and here's what he told me. Because the Courier is now owned by Toronto-based newspaper giant Postmedia, they were required to add a bunch of legal whatnots to a contest that had quite happily run for years with a set of rules about "five sentences long."
We can probably chalk this up to a series of unfortunate events: some dork in Postmedia's legal department adapted a boilerplate from a sweepstakes and sent it along, then it got overlooked at the Courier office (which Barry admits was a pretty big oversight) and was uploaded to their website, and then Jenn Farrell, cub reporter, totally freaked out.
The good news? Barry assures me that the old rules still apply, that there are "no prohibitions" on the content of stories, and that there is, in fact, a panel of judges selecting the top three entries. Whew! I think the only main difference from previous years is that there is NOT a cap on the number of entries received, as in years past. Barry said this was because they've had to turn away writers at the Courier office and they don't want to do that.
The Courier will be updating the rules online very shortly, if they haven't as of this reading, and will be posting a correction in this Wednesday's edition of the newspaper. So there you have it! Will you be entering this year?
I was really looking forward to entering the Vancouver Courier fiction contest this year for a number of reasons:
On or about November 14, 2011 in Vancouver, BC, three (3) entrants will be selected by a random draw from all eligible entries received during the Contest Period. Each entrant shall be eligible to win only one (1) Prize. The odds of being selected as a potential winner are dependent upon the number of eligible entries received by the Sponsors. Before being declared a Winner, the selected entrant shall be required to correctly answer, without assistance of any kind, whether mechanical or otherwise, a time-limited mathematical skill-testing question to be administered during a pre- arranged telephone call or by e-mail, to comply with the Contest Rules and sign and return the Release (described below).(b) The judges, in their absolute discretion, shall select the Winners based upon the above criteria. The decisions of the judges shall be final and binding and may not be challenged in any way.
Why even bother having the contest anymore? (Yeah, I know the answer is "money".) So I guess the real question is, why bother entering? I'm sure many people who have entered before will enter again this year, with the (perfectly reasonable) expectation that their work will be evaluated on its merits by a group of qualified judges. And they are being misled. I was almost one of them. Sure, it's all there in the legal document, but if all you have is the registration form, you'll find no mention of how the winners are selected. Presumably, at least some of this year's "competitors" are going to print and sign their happy little form and drop off their entry without ever knowing they've been had.
|Posted on June 22, 2011 at 12:24 AM||comments ()|
There’s nothing better than a book with good legs. Nearly a year after its publication, The Devil You Know is still being talked about, reviewed, and presumably, even read on occasion. That makes me sigh with delight. After all, you work on something for a few years, and then this weird thing happens where the “official” book press is only allowed to talk about it for a few weeks before and after its release. So, thanks, readers and reviewers!
First up: The long and thoughtful review by Joyce Nickel over at Belletrista. Gotta love someone who picks up a title on the recommendation of BC Bookworld! I’m really glad this review exists, not just for the usual selfish reasons, but because now I’ve got Belletrista in my bookmarks.
Next, an oldie but a goodie. It took me a while to find this one, but I don’t feel so bad, since the site is called Backlisted. See, everyone’s playing catch-up!
And then, I get paired up with boys. I’m cool with that, especially since they’re awesome. My pal Dennis E. Bolen (author of Anticipated Results) is the star of the show in Quentin Mills-Fenn’s review at Uptown. And over at The Malahat Review, I share the stage with the heavy-hitting author of Light Lifting, Alexander MacLeod, thanks to reviewer June Halliday.
Much later this summer, I'll be bringing my book to Hamilton, St. John's, and whoever else will have me. Stay tuned.
|Posted on May 23, 2011 at 3:46 PM||comments ()|
Hey, you should totally go bookmark That Shakespearean Rag. It's a damn good blog, and Steven W. Beattie is my new best friend, because he chose "Soft Limits", one of the stories in The Devil You Know, as a selection for his "31 Days of Stories" series. Very cool! Don't just read mine, though, cos every entry is great and will most definitely turn you on to some terrific new short-story writers and reacquaint you with old favourites.
|Posted on February 1, 2011 at 1:43 AM||comments ()|
It’s so rewarding when you read a review that is complimentary, but, more importantly, is also an interesting and thoughtful perspective on your work. I liked this a lot—I mean, “mastery of sexualized prose”? Yow!
|Posted on September 13, 2010 at 8:40 PM||comments ()|
An amazing review in the Georgia Straight for The Devil You Know! The link is here, but it’s also below.
By Jennifer Croll, August 24, 2010
The Devil You Know is Vancouver writer Jenn Farrell’s second collection of short fiction, following 2006’s Sugar Bush and Other Stories. With these two successive books, Farrell effectively forges her image as a bad-ass version of Alice Munro. Like Munro, she’s a short-story writer who focuses on the lives of girls and women in small-town Canada, but Farrell’s characters get high on mushrooms and dabble in BDSM.
The title story in Devil centres on Cynthia, a teenager we meet at a debauched house party. Like many of the book’s characters, Cynthia likes to drink, swear, and fuck, and she does it all underage. But for all her wild behaviour, she’s no victim. Cynthia tires of her drug-dealing older beau, leading to a breakup where, instead of begging for her love, her boyfriend asks for “one last blowjob”. Cynthia denies him and walks off, expressing her ambivalence with words that are particularly evocative in their teenage inarticulateness: “I feel kind of sick, but also very tall. It’s weird.” For the women in this book, it’s a recurring sentiment when it comes to their relationships with men (and other women, too).
The least developed characters in Devil are all male. They’re mostly incidental to the plot, so this isn’t much of a problem—the only story told from a male perspective is “Pen Pal”, a twisted confessional where an anonymous man fetishizes a convicted killer unmistakably modelled on Kelly Ellard. There’s a disturbing satisfaction for the reader when the creepy protagonist ultimately envisions the Ellard clone asphyxiating him in a prison trailer.
Throughout the book, Farrell excels at capturing uncomfortable realities and mixed feelings; for this reason, most of her characters feel real. In “Grimsby Girls”, a series of short interview-style excerpts about how girls lost their virginity, mostly in totally underwhelming or awful ways, the narrator pointedly answers the question critics might have about how much of this is really fiction: “What if I had made some of them up? Would you be able to tell the difference? Would it matter?”
Probably not. What Farrell has created here will ring true for any girl who’s ever faked an orgasm or thrown up at a house party and continued on with life, undeterred—which is probably more of them than you’d think.
|Posted on September 13, 2010 at 8:25 PM||comments ()|
The Devil You Know got picked as one of Stuart Derdeyn’s Weekly Fun Five!
I’m honoured to be in the same ranks as the PNE, and delighted that someone out there considers TDYK to be great beach reading….