MacLeod believes that the exchange is a great idea and is pleased to be taking part. He will be mentoring Lafrenière on her work-in-progress. "I'm very impressed with her writing" said the bestselling author. "It's precise, careful and nuanced."
MacLeod's debut collection of short stories, Light Lifting, received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to being shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor Award and the Commonwealth Prize, it received an Atlantic Canada Book Award. There's an emphasis on labour and physical exertion in this collection, but it also includes stories on parenting and boyhood friendships. The common thread throughout is the setting--Windsor, Ontario.
"My dad taught at the University of Windsor, so we spent most of our elementary and secondary school years there before heading back to our house in Cape Breton for the summers."
|Photo by H. Crosby|
Did this have an influence on the young MacLeod?
"Yes, I think it certainly did," said the author, who is a proud graduate of the same university program. "The great Eugene McNamara recruited my dad to come to the school in the early seventies and then that excellent group... Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Smith, W.0. Mitchell, John Ditsky, Adele Wiseman, Wanda Campbell, Ed Watson, Peter Stevens, and a whole host of year-long writers in residence came together to build this." The author said that he and his family knew what it was like to feel part of a vibrant literary community, attending readings and public events on both sides of the Canada-US border.
Alexander MacLeod will be in Montreal on Saturday, February 23, to give a one-day QWF workshop on fiction's position between the poles of poetry and raw journalistic narrative, with a focus on the micro- and macro-levels of storytelling. Unfortunately for many, the workshop was full within hours of being posted.
However, you can still catch the author's reading this Saturday at 7:30 pm at the independent Argo Books (1915 St. Catherine Street West).
MacLeod will be reading from Light Lifting and possibly something new....
This has been cross-posted at Rover Arts.
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