Warrior masks

Outside+Circle+2Hello again. It’s been a while.

This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Patti LaBoucane-Benson and Kelly Mellings, the author-illustrator duo behind The Outside Circle (Anansi, 2015), for the Town Crier.

Throughout February, contributors are focused on graphic novels. What is the place of graphic novels in Canadian literary culture? How should we talk about them, write about them?

I was excited to interview LaBoucane-Benson and Mellings after reading The Outside Circle over Christmas. It tells the story of an Aboriginal man named Pete who exchanges a mask of hatred for a Warrior mask. Pete’s story is inspired by many real-life stories of grads from the Stan Daniels Healing Centre’s In Search of Your Warrior program. To prepare for his work on the book, Mellings spent time at the Centre. Says Mellings:

Pete’s true mask, the bear mask, and the other warrior masks that are portrayed [in the novel] were influenced by the masks that were created by actual Warrior program grads. The masks in the book have the same sense of connectedness and individuality that I saw in those masks. There is a confidence in who they are.

Read the full interview here.


Chasing books news

I’m covering the Winnipeg Free Press’ PAPER CHASE column until January 16 while Bob Armstrong is away on holiday.

I expected to enjoy catching up on books news and industry gossip, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it quite this much…

Here’s my first post.


A coterie of smooth-talking seriously evil heavies

Loved reading Robert Galbraith‘s latest Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil, for The Winnipeg Free Press’ weekend edition. Galbraith’s novels are extremely readable, if not “literary.” But I suspect all reviewers sometimes get a little tired of “serious” novels and need to mix it up.

Still debating whether or not I was within my rights as a reviewer to “heartily endorse” this novel. But listen, sometimes you just need a break. What’s a better break than a classic tale of likeable, relatable protagonists versus a clan of terrifically awful bad guys?

Crime fiction fans unite!