Inside the Frozen Mammoth is created by the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec and features writers published by our members. Interviews by Merriane Couture, technical production and editing by Jess Glavina. Anna Leventhal is the executive producer. Original music by Pamela Hart, cover art by Adam Waito. Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts for supporting this project.
Episode 5: Matthew Murphy & Katia Grubisic
Is all writing essentially a form of translation? Matthew Murphy and Katia Grubisic talk about the process of rendering, whether it’s from one language to another or the pictures in your head to words on a page. Also discussed: the socioeconomics of writing in Montreal, war stories (from WWII to cosplay), the lost art of doing nothing.
Katia Grubisic is a writer, editor and translator. A recent translation is of David Clerson’s novel Brothers (QC Fiction).
Matthew Murphy was born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, and currently lives in Montreal. His debut novel, A Beckoning War (Baraka Books, 2016), has been called “the product of an amazing new talent” by Quill & Quire and a “creditable first novel” by Margaret Atwood.
Episode 4: Xue Yiwei & Kelly Norah Drukker
A poet and a fiction writer meet at Émile Nelligan’s grave–figuratively, of course. Or is it literally? Kelly, whose recent poetry collection draws on Irish and French landscape and psychogeography, and Yiwei, whose latest novel was banned in his country of origin, talk about the writers that haunt them, and the writers they haunt. Also discussed: travel and the influence of place; spiritual fathers; Heaneyboppers; Europe’s smallest church.
Xue Yiwei is the author of 20 books, including five novels, six collections of short stories and five collections of essays. Shenzheners, his first book, and Dr. Bethune’s Children, his first novel (both translated from Chinese into English), are published by Linda Leith Publishing.
Kelly Norah Drukker is the author of Small Fires (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), a first collection of poems that won the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, the Concordia University First Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Grand Prix du livre de Montréal.
W. B. Yeats
The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham
Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Paul Monette
Other sounds heard in this episode: Crows overheard at Mont Royal cemetery (Mark Vernon, via Montreal Sound Map); birds bookending “Temple Benan” in a backyard in Galway, Ireland; atmosphere after “Emile Nelligan” from the Plateau (Max Stein, via Montreal Sound Map).
Episode 3: Ariela Freedman & Elaine Kalman Naves
Should you tell your story as fiction or memoir? More importantly, which will get you into more trouble? Two writers talk about the fine line between autobiography and stuff you make up. Also discussed: Winter as hazing ritual; language- and code-switching; Leonard Cohen singalongs; the relationship between Middle East politics and parenthood.
Plus, a new segment: Quebec Libris, where local writers talk about local books. The first segment features poet Jay Ritchie recommending Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer by Sylvie Rancourt.
Ariela Freedman is a writer and professor at Concordia University. Her debut novel, Arabic for Beginners, came out in 2017 with Linda Leith Publishing.
Elaine Kalman Naves was born in Hungary, grew up in Budapest, London, and Montreal, and is the author of eight books, among them two award-winning memoirs about her family: Journey to Vaja, and Shoshanna’s Story. Her most recent book, The Book of Faith, was nominated for the 2016 Leacock Prize for Humour.
J. I. Segal
Additional sounds heard in this episode: Audio from “Tribute to Leonard Cohen in Montreal”, posted on YouTube by user Shabnevis weblog.
Episode 2: Alex Manley & Guillaume Morissette
What does it mean to be a writer in a post-Trump, post-Alt-Lit, social-media-driven, content-saturated era? Alex Manley and Guillaume Morissette talk about how writers can engage politically, the responsibilities and limitations literature has to “shift the culture”, and if men can write complex women characters. Also discussed: negative reviews; Drake vs. Blake; videogames and the quest for meaning; progressive dating advice; moving to the woods and giving up on art.
Alex Manley is a Montreal writer and graduate of Concordia’s creative writing program. His debut poetry collection, We Are All Just Animals & Plants, was published by Metatron Press in 2016.
Guillaume Morissette is the author of New Tab (Véhicule Press, 2014). If you can, adopt a senior dog from a rescue center near you.
David Foster Wallace
Episode 1: Sherry Simon & Dimitri Nasrallah
In the first episode of Inside the Frozen Mammoth, Sherry Simon and Dimitri Nasrallah talk about a city divided by language and what it takes to cross that barrier–how to “translate yourself” into another culture. Also discussed: why francophone Quebec was sexy; negotiating tokenism and the curation of marginalized voices in literature; what Montreal and Kafka’s Prague have in common. Plus, Sherry and Dimitri read from their books!
Sherry Simon is the author of Translating Montreal: Episodes in the Life of a Divided City (McGill-Queen’s University Press).
Dimitri Nasrallah is the author of two novels, Niko (Esplanade Editions) and Blackbodying (DC Books).
“In Montreal spring is like an autopsy. Everyone wants to see the inside of the frozen mammoth.” –Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers, 1966