Annabel Lyon

annabel_lyon By Nathan Smith

Annabel Lyon is a Canadian novelist and short story writer, born in Brampton, Ontario, but raised in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Her short story collection, Oxygen, was published in 2000. Since then, she has published a second short collection, two young adult novels, and two historical novels.

The Golden Mean, published by Random House in 2009, was the only novel that year to be nominated for the three major Canadian fiction prizes: the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Governor General’s award for English Language Fiction, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize–the first of which it won. Her most recent novel, a sequel to The Golden Mean, is The Sweet Girl.

Annabel currently teaches in the Creative Writing department at UBC.

What did you do before you were a writer?

My very first ambition as a child was to become a musician. I studied piano intensively and taught it for years, but to make another sports analogy, I was like someone who was 5’5″ and wanted to be in the NBA. It just wasn’t going to happen. I studied philosophy in my undergraduate program with English and French literature minors. I also did a year in the Law program. I initially didn’t think I would be able to sustain myself as a professional writer, so I thought I’d better have a backup. It seemed like the logical next step. After a year I was miserable and I dropped out.

Eventually it just came down to finding the confidence to say, “Okay, I’m going to throw myself into fiction writing wholeheartedly and work as hard at it as with any other profession.” The next day, I woke up at six in the morning and decided to start writing a novel. [Read more…]

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Stacey May Fowles

SMFowlesBy Ginny Monaco

Stacey May Fowles has published two novels, Be Good and Fear of Fighting – which was later adapted for the stage. Her third novel, Infidelity, is due from ECW later in 2013.  She is a regular contributor to the National Post and her writing has appeared in Taddle Creek, Prism, and Maisonneuve.

In July of 2012, she was accepted into the Banff Writers Centre. She had taken time off from her job as the Director of Circulation and Marketing for The Walrus and intended to write a memoir “about coming of age in serial rapist and murderer Paul Bernardo’s hometown during his crimes as the Scarborough Rapist.”

Fowles was forced to confront her own assault in ways that left her “a walking open wound, telling stories I never intended to tell.” Her National Post essay  “What can’t be published”  is a thoughtful exploration of what it means to write about assault. Like most of her work, the essay is informed by two of Fowles’ major titles: writer and woman.

I recently spoke to her about what it means to be a female writer in Canada, how she deals with rejection, and her new obsession with sports writing.

Can you give me a quick rundown of your career path as a writer? How did you come to work at The Walrus?

I always wanted to write – knew that for most of my life. I was just never sure if that meant it would be my “job,” or something I just had to make time for. Early on I was writing fiction exclusively, and it was pretty clear there wasn’t going to be a living wage in that, certainly not for a long time.  In my early twenties I was working on a novel and got a part time job with a literary journal as their circulation manager. I think initially I had hoped that it would be a door to becoming an editor, but instead I fell in love with magazine circulation and how well it compliments a writing life.  I’ve been doing it for about a decade now, and have been with The Walrus for five years. It’s really helped me fund my writing projects while remaining connected to a writing community. I’ve paralleled my work there with writing more non-fiction – book reviews, essays, and more journalism-style work. [Read more…]