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Canada Re-Writes

Canada Re-Writes: 5-Minute Mystery—"Eldorado" by Gail Bowen

featuredb-1yearCW.jpgTo celebrate our first anniversary, we're going back through a year's worth of features, writing tips, stories, and more, to pull out some of our most memorable posts. If you missed them the first time around, why not catch up now? And if you loved them once, we bet you'll love them even more after the second read.

Check back every day for our next Re-Writes selection!

Re-Writes: 5-Minute Mystery—"Eldorado" by Gail Bowen

We look forward to commissioning original stories at Canada Writes. Although we don’t record all of them, sometimes we do get to prepare them for broadcast - adding an extra layer of atmosphere as we do. We were able to do this for some of our “5 Minute Mysteries”. During Crime Month on Canada Writes we asked several of our country’s leading crime writers to pen some very short crime stories. We wanted to see what they could pull off in 600 words. We were not disappointed.

The first story that we heard complete with its sound effects was “Eldorado” by Gail Bowen. We remember being so captivated by this unique crime story whose hero is an old woman with a walker in a nursing home. Read the full entry »

In the Brief Encounters series, we asked 10 authors to write short fiction based on a vivid meeting or confrontation, and the resulting stories—by authors like Johanna Skibsrud, Kathleen Winter and Todd Babiak—are astoundingly rich and diverse.
Sarah Selecky's story, "The Guest Room," still leaves us shivery in the best way. In revolves around an antique bed, and the conversation that ensues between the prospective buyer and seller of said bed. It's Munro-esque, taking a seemingly mundane exchange and ratcheting it up to such a level of significance for the main character that we're left stunned by the depths of what lies beneath the conversation. At the bottom of the story, you'll be linked to the rest of the series—it makes for a compelling read. 
Read the full entry »

Check back tomorrow for our next Re-Writes highlight. 

Re-Writes: Winter Tales—"Cup of Tea" by Peter Behrens

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Commissioning writers is an exciting part of what we do at Canada Writes. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of both the Governor General’s Award and the CBC, we commissioned ten past winners of the Governor General’s Award to write a story about winter.  

All were brilliant reads, but one that particularly stands out is “Cup of Tea” by Peter Behrens thanks to the narrator’s unapologetic distaste for the season. Behrens highlights not the shimmering snowfall, but the “greyness” of a Montreal winter. You can’t help feeling sorry for the narrator—dealing with the impending death of a father in the middle of a season he hates—but with such compelling visual descriptions, the story remains playful. Most vivid is the “great white grizzled sea captain” who, though withering away in his hospital room, is still waiting to cross the sea again. In one short story, the reader’s taken through a frigid Montreal winter, Californian sun and European naval ports—just the journey we needed in the middle of winter. Read the full entry »

Re-Writes: David McGimpsey—10 myths about poets

This fun, listy feature from the author of Li'l Bastard bunks the theory that poets have no sense of humour. Just in time to kick off National Poetry Month, David McGimpsey riffed on some absurd truisms about poets—using lines that still leave us giggling. (To wit: "a pie plate of wonder" and "some weird homemade broth out of a thermos.") Unsurprisingly, like Heather O'Neill's great feature on dating a writer, this hilarious blog went viral fast. (Oh, and David—you're invited to next year's "PoMo Taco Jam.") Read the full entry »

Re-Writes: Heather O'Neill on how to date a writer

We had a lot of fun with this one.

Heather O’Neill is such a gifted writer. We love her dry and quirky sense of humour. And because there is so much truth to be found in humour, we thought to ask her to pen a tongue-in-cheek guide to dating a writer for Valentine’s Day. The result was this funny and spot-on list of 10 tips for those who are (or who are considering) dating one of us. 
Read the full entry »

Re-Writes: Smackdown—Russell Smith vs. Lynn Coady: Let's write about sex! No, let's not!


One of our favourite series from the past year and a great partnership with The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers, the Literary Smackdowns were a chance to hear authors sound off on different sides of writing issues from the sublime (write what you know or write what you don't?) to the ridiculous (write during the day or all night?). Russell Smith and Lynn Coady's smackdown, about whether or not to include sex scenes in your novels, is honest and—like many sex scenes—both provocative and a little cringe-worthy. Read the full entry »

Re-Writes: Crime Month—advice from Louise Penny

Thumbnail image for image-penny3.jpgCrime Month was a highlight for us this year, and the icing on the cake was having Louise Penny in the driver’s seat. The award-winning crime writer was our master class leader throughout the month of May, and she provided us with several inspiring posts about the writing life.

What was particularly wonderful about Louise’s columns was that her advice was applicable to all writers, regardless of genre. One of our favourite posts was “Writing to the next corner” in which she spoke about the one thing common to all writers: insecurity. From time to time we all hear that little voice that tells us we can’t do something. With bravery and honesty, Louise told her about her own struggle with that voice, demonstrating how perseverance can lead to some great rewards. Read the full entry »

Writing Tips

Some of the year's most provocative, poignant and—at times—tough-loving writing tips from Canadian authors. Flip through the gallery to see our top picks.


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