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 10: Talya Rubin & Tom Abray
Should you stay or should you go? In the final episode of our series, poet and playwright Talya Rubin and fiction writer Tom Abray talk about the constant push and pull of Montreal, which simultaneously draws them in and spits them out. Will they end up leaving the island? Listen to find out, and to hear readings from both writers.
Tom Abray, the author of Pollen (2011) and Where I Wanted to Be (2017), both from DC Books, grew up near Strathroy, Ontario, but has lived in Montreal since 1989.
Poet, playwright and theatre creator/performer, Talya Rubin’s poetry has garnered the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. She’s the author of Leaving the Island, published by Véhicule Press’s poetry imprint Signal in 2015.
Episode 9: Fawn Parker & Lesley Trites
We begin with a reading by fiction writer Lesley Trites, from her new collection A Three-Tiered Pastel Dream. Then, have you ever wondered about the difference between solid and liquid gaskets? Neither has Fawn Parker, but sometimes you have to earn a buck. Episode 9 features Parker and Trites on (very) odd jobs, family secrets, mom jokes, and the power of silence. Plus, Michael Blair drops by to recommend Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing for Quebec Libris.
Fawn Parker is a writer and editor based in Montreal. She’s the author of Looking Good and Having a Good Time, published by Metatron.
Lesley Trites is the author of the story collection A Three-Tiered Pastel Dream (Véhicule Press).
Episode 8: Anita Anand & Greg Santos
A couple of well-travelled writers talk about what makes Montreal a unique place to live and create, and why you need to leave a place in order to write it. Anita Anand takes us into the airless world of a couple imprisoned by winter and their stifling relationship, while Greg Santos puts on his detective hat and goes on the trail of the missing half-brother of a Montreal painter. Also discussed: The Poetry Brothel, the dangers of subconscious plagiarism, language kerfuffles.
Anita Anand is a writer and translator, and author of the short story collection Swing in the House (Véhicule Press).
Greg Santos is the author of Rabbit Punch! (DC Books, 2014) and The Emperor’s Sofa (DC Books, 2010). He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. His writing has appeared in The Walrus, Geist, Vallum, World Literature Today, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and The Best American Poetry Blog. He regularly works with at-risk communities and teaches writing and literature at the Thomas More Institute. He is the poetry editor of carte blanche and lives in Montreal with his family.
The Poetry Brothel
Federico García Lorca
Episode 7: Licia Canton & Kenneth Radu
Two writers find overlap in their very different experiences—of migration, language, and of writing in the wake of a traumatic experience. Listen in on a fascinating conversation that travels from childhood to aging to money and its attendant problems, and ends up somewhere neither writer expected to be.
A two-time winner of the Quebec Writers’ Federation award for best English-language fiction, Kenneth Radu has recently completed a new collection of stories scheduled for publication by DC Books in early 2018.
Licia Canton is the author of the collection Almond Wine and Fertility (Longbridge Books), stories set in Montreal. She is also a literary translator and founding editor-in-chief of Accenti Magazine.
Episode 6: Helge Dascher, Katia Grubisic
It’s a translation bonanza! First, Helge Dascher shares anecdotes and observations from a 20+ year career of translating comics and graphic novels, and discusses how to bring Montreal culture to the world. Then Episode 5 guest Katia Grubisic returns to read from her translation of David Clerson’s Brothers (Baraka Books/QC Fiction)and her own collection What if red ran out (Goose Lane), and to talk about getting literary translation right.
Plus, Guillaume Morissette recommends The Collected Books of Artie Gold (Talonbooks) for Quebec Libris.
Montrealer Helge Dascher specializes in the translation of texts that are linked to images, including comics, digital storytelling projects, and exhibitions.
Katia Grubisic is a writer, editor and translator.
Chris Oliveros/Drawn & Quarterly (publisher)
Fantagraphics Books (publisher)
Aya of Yop City (Aya de Yopougon), written by Marguerite Abouet and drawn by Clément Oubreri
Benoît Chaput/L’Oie de Cravan (publisher)
La Pastèque (publisher)
Trois Rivières International Festival of Poetry
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