Seen Reading shortlisted for 2013 ReLit Award

The ReLit Ring.I was thrilled to learn that Seen Reading has been shortlisted for the 2013 ReLit Award for best collection of stories published by an independent Canadian press (in this case, Freehand Books).

Congratulations to my fellow nominees and all the books, authors, and presses in the mix. It’s a pleasure.

The awards will be announced December 11, 2013. Winners receive the very cool ReLit Ring, designed by Christopher Kearney of Newfoundland. The ring, pictured above, features four moveable dials, each one struck with the full alphabet.

All finalists in the short story category are:

Tracie’s Revenge & Other Stories, Wade Bell (Guernica)
Seen Reading, Julie Wilson (Freehand)
People Who Disappear, Alex Leslie (Freehand)
Escape and Other Stories, Trevor Clark (Now or Never)
Dibidalen, Sean Virgo (Thistledown)
The Weeping Chair, Donald Ward (Thistledown)
Subtitles, Domenico Capilongo (Guernica)
How to Get Along with Women, Elisabeth De Mariaffi (Invisible)
Every House is Haunted, Ian Rogers (CZP)

See all the categories here.

Coffee Shop Culture Inspires San Diego Writer

The Espresso mastheadRight up my alley, John Rippo has been capturing snapshots of coffee shop culture in The Espresso, his independent newspaper for cafe society. Heard in the Houses is a collection of vignettes based on Rippo’s observations of cafe patrons.

Rippo spoke with NPR’s “Morning Edition” about a predilection close to my heart. LISTEN, or READ the full transcript.

Now, enjoy this scene from Coffee & Cigarettes featuring Bill Murray, RZA and GZA from Wutang Clan.

Seen Reading Nominated for Two Alberta Literary Awards

Writers Guild of Alberta logo

This news gon’ put a little spring in my step. Seen Reading is nominated for two Alberta Literary Awards: Trade Fiction and Book Design, for Natalie Olsen of Kisscut Design.

The little book that could is thrilled to be among such great company!

Read the full list of nominees.

Hosted by Todd Babiak, with a keynote speech from Shelagh Rogers, the awards will be announced Saturday, May 25, 2013 at the Alberta Book Awards Gala, co-hosted by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta and The Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

To celebrate, here’s a cute video of a baby losing it while his mum reads to him.

Video: Become a Project Bookmark Page Turner Champion. Maybe win my cat!

Become a Page Turner Champion!Throughout April 2013, look out for Page Turner Champions, a group of 30 readers, writers, and publishing professionals who have each gotten behind Project Bookmark Canada to issue a call to action: Be a Champion!

Donate now. You’ll be supporting a national, charitable organization dedicated to placing text from stories and poems in the exact locations in which their scenes were set, to serve as constant reminders that Canada is a nation of storytellers. You’ll also be entered for a chance to win prizes, including my reader-inspired book, Seen Reading.

“For $20 — less than the cost of the average paperback — readers can help us turn the page and write the Bookmark story.”—Miranda Hill, Writer and Founder of Project Bookmark Canada

Visit for more information.

Here’s my personal plea. Now, with more cat!

Thanks for listening. Be seeing you!

Julie Wilson

With a Little Help from Our Friends

I’ve arrived in Calgary for WordFest 2012 and am already having what feels like a time of my life.

There really is something quite special about this festival—a sense of community and energy—possibly because it comes on the cusp of the fall festival season while authors are still a bit giddy about appearances, along with the resulting comradeship that will form over the next week before many of us head to beautiful Banff and the famed Summit Salon, a chance for creators to throw off the formal attire and toss on some fleece, all while talking about the industry-at-large set against one of the most stunning views in the world.

I, personally, already feel as if I’ve forged a few friendships and am grateful for the time I’ll get to spend with fellow authors, as both writers and readers. There’s a genuine sense that everyone wants to help everyone else, less a matter of keeping your enemies closer than genuine support from your peers. There’s no industry of one.

Which brings me to Susan Swan, a known mentor to new writers and passionate spokesperson for writers’ rights. She’s also spent a fair chunk of this morning trying to come up with some press play for our Saturday panel, How Should a Writer Be? (You should come. It’ll be fun.)

While we continue to bump noggins, I thought I’d return the kindness and remind you that Susan’s latest novel, The Western Light, (Cormorant Books) is on your To Buy list.

Below is Projections of The Western Light, a BookShorts video made with collaborator Judith Keenan. Check it out.

And if you’re in Calgary, you can find Susan at the following events: tonight’s Showcase; October 13—avec moi—How Should A Writer Be; and, October 14 for Worldly Words.

With images of Georgian Bay immersing her in an evocative visual landscape, author/performer Susan Swan delivers just enough story to tease the viewer with hints of the father-daughter dilemmas her character Mouse Bradford faces in the novel. It sets the tone of 1959 small town Ontario with a soundtrack that immediately places the viewer in the era. The score brings Susan’s performance into the realm of lyrics to a song, the words of which are, as the reviewers are saying, “poetic descriptions … particularly vivid, and help bring the world of the novel to vibrant life.” (Quill & Quire, October 2012).

For more about Susan Swan, the excellent reviews of The Western Light, and her extensive reading tour, visit

For more video book trailers, visit

Event: Julie Wilson appears at Toronto Public Library to discuss Seen Reading

Julie Wilson’s Seen Reading: Tales of a Literary Voyeur
Thurs. Oct 04, 2012
6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
60 mins
Spadina Road
branch of Toronto Public Library

I’ll be joined by Julie Booker, author of Up, Up, Up (House of Anansi Press).

From the event listing: Julie Wilson’s compulsion to observe people reading on streetcars and subways led to Seen Reading, a collection of microfictions based on these sightings. Who is the reader and what does a book tell us about him or her? Wilson and Julie Booker, author of Up, Up, Up, offer answers to those questions.

Open Books Parodies Call Me Maybe for Lit Lovers

Na na na na na na na!I can’t believe I was in Chicago recently and made it to “Batman’s apartment” but not Open Books.

Well, thank the stars for Carly Rae Jepsen and her much-parodied hit “Call Me Maybe,” else I wouldn’t have known about—just yet—this nonprofit-bookstore-community-social venture in one that works with volunteers to promote literacy in their (really) great city.

“Before you came into my life, my books were so bad.”

A manual in how to daydream. Cityline profiles Seen Reading.

This is one of my favourite interviews to date, courtesy of Cityline.

Suzanne Gardner, the article’s writer, is an inquisitive woman, very familiar with Seen Reading’s routes as an online project. She’s also worked in publishing, and has a keen understanding of the challenges publishers and authors face once their book is out in the wild, possibly never to be heard from again. Or seen.

Thanks for a great chat, Suzanne!

From “She’ll Be Seeing You: Julie Wilson Catalogues Readers and Stories In Seen Reading”:

Wilson thinks that the stories in the collection relay a tone of transience, as she tried to pick pieces that spoke most to this idea of motion and that the reader has “been dropped into something that was neither a beginning, a middle or an end of a larger story,” explains Wilson. “In that sense, it can be used as a manual. If you’re a writer and you want to tack on the beginning of the story, tack on the end of the story. If you’re a reader, same deal. If this reminds you of something, you tell the rest of the story. It’s a manual in how to daydream.”

Praguers are the most circumspect of city dwellers

Thank you to Sean Dixon for pointing this out to me on Twitter.

Author John Banville.“Praguers are the most circumspect of city dwellers. Travellers on trams and in the metro carefully remove the dust jackets of books, no matter how innocuous, that they have brought to read on the journey; some will even make brown-paper covers to hide the titles of paperbacks. Understandable, of course in a city for so long full of informers, and old habits die hard.”

— John Banville, Prague Pictures 2003

Listen to an excerpt from Prague Pictures at

Trauma at the Hands of a Paperback

Does anyone know the source for this quote? (Until someone says otherwise, this looks to be the best bet.)

It all but perfectly describes the sighting that started Seen Reading almost six years ago now. The initial Seen Reading sighting was a woman at The Old Nick (Toronto), reading A Complicated Kindness, by Miriam Toews, so distraught as she neared the end of the book that she actually stroked the page, stood up, and left, announcing that she had to be somewhere else when the time came to say goodbye to the protagonist.

You know that feeling.