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