A wonderful evening of conversation with a group of McGill Alumni in Toronto. I had the opportunity to speak for half an hour and then to answer questions for another hour. What a privilege for a writer to spend that amount of time with a group (over 30) who know one's book and want to talk about it.

Each format for a reading or presentation is different and I stayed pretty flexible because what I was requested to do was quite open-ended. The closer the event became, the more time I was given to present and/or speak at the beginning. When the time came, I spoke with a couple of short readings interspersed when they fit what I was talking about. For instance, I talked about a character who popped into the book in the final revision quite spontaneously. I was surprised and not sure what to do with Marcel, the ten year old boy, but he demanded to be there. So he stayed and wound his way through the book as I proceeded with the final revisions. The section I read was about his first appearance next to a rock where Nick, a man who had returned to the town for a visit, was sitting deep in thought.

Ah yes, Marcel appeared on the page fully formed and demanded to be there. I have no idea where he came from, except I wrote him. Writing is sometimes such a mysterious process. One has to be open for what arrives. And then there are all the hours of sheer work as while something may present itself spontaneously, one then has to work with it.

In any case, this book club was one of my best experiences and I will cherish it for a long time. An honour to have been asked and to have met with so many others from my Alma Mater for the evening.

Posted on November 14, 2011 .