Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Over the mountains

I had a wonderful time at the writers festivals this fall in Winnipeg, Calgary, Whistler, and Vancouver. It was a privilege to read with so many great authors (Dennis Lee, Steven Heighton, Nathan Englander, Kathleen Winter, Susin Nielsen, Andy Jones, Kyo Maclear, Sydney Smith...) and visit so many great schools. I'm always impressed by the positive feeling in schools these days. This drawing was done by a student in Whistler, B.C., who imagined the little blue chair floating over the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains that loom over her school. Nicely done!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Festival season!

I'm really looking forward to reading and speaking at several writers' festivals this fall. The first, in September, is the Thinair festival in Winnipeg. And then in October I'll be at Wordfest in Calgary, Whistler Writers Festival, and then at the Vancouver Writers' Fest. And to top it all off, I'll be at the International Author's Festival in Toronto to interview Danila Botha And Eric Beck Rubin, two fine authors shortlisted for the Vine Awards. I hope you'll join me along the way.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tell us another, Morty

My new middle-grade novel, Mort Ziff is Not Dead, has just been released. Here's the description: *********************************************************** It's the winter of 1965. Norman Fishbein is enduring not only a cold winter but also the usual torments and annoyances from his two older brothers. When Norman wins a thousand dollars in the "Count-the-Doozy-Dots Contest" his parents let him choose how to spend it, strongly suggesting a new car is what the family needs. But Norman decides what his family really needs is their first vacation that doesn't mean camping in a tent--a trip to Miami Beach. A snowstorm almost wrecks their plans, but in the end Norman gets his first plane ride (with both brothers air-sick on either side of him). Miami strikes him as a paradise--warm weather, palm trees, beaches, and ocean. They stay in luxury at the Royal Palm Hotel, owned by the mysterious millionaire Herbert Spitzer. One day at the pool Norman spots an old man in a black suit, who his father tells him is a once-famous comedian named Mort Ziff. (Norman's father thought that Mort Ziff had died years ago.) Holding onto the remains of his career, Mort Ziff is performing every night in the hotel dining room. A chance meeting begins an unusual friendship between Norman and the old comedian. But after hearing that Mort Ziff has been fired, to be replaced by "The Centipedes," a pop group imitating the Beatles, Norman takes matters into his own hands, resolving to save Mort's job and in the process, coming to realize an innner strength he didn't know he had. ************************************************************ And here are the first reviews: "Fagan delivers a witty, heartfelt character study complete with bullying siblings and sweet first crushes. . . . A wonderful read told with elegant simplicity." --Kirkus Reviews **** (Four out of four stars) "Among the most memorable moments are the classic style jokes in Ziff's performance scenes, the hilarious Beatles send up in the self-absorbed Centipedes, and the boys' horror when their mother dons a swimsuit (apparently, they are not as ready as their parents for the swinging 60s!)...Fagan manages to make gold, turning an old fashioned vacation adventure into something more subtle, even graceful."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Poor Bird, Poor Cage

My latest picture book, 'A Cage Went in Search of a Bird,' was inspired by an aphorism of Franz Kafka's. I'd encountered Kafka's words (which make up the title of the book) twice--once in a book of his aphorisms, and the second time in a poem by Robert Hass. The brilliant pictures are a wonderful match for the story. Here are quotes from some first reviews.* (Starred) "Original and thought-provoking." Kirkus Reviews * "Highly Recommended." CM Magaine * "Has the feel of one of Aesop's Fables. The lavishness of Banafsheh Erfanian’s illustrations embodies the importance of Cary Fagan's words." Canlit for Little Canadians. * Kirkus Reviews has also published an interview with me about the book. You can find it at: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/features/cary-fagan/#continue_reading_post

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A new story

I've got a new story in the latest issue of The New Quarterly, just out. It's called "Bear Stories." The last story I had in the journal was in spring 1999. That's - wait for it - eighteen years ago.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

When in Rome

My brother Lawrence sent me this photograph of himself in his favourite bookstore in Rome, holding copies of "The Big Swim" and "Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas" in Italian. That's "Mr. Karp's Last Glass" under his arm. My brother, who speaks Italian, can actually read them.

Monday, March 27, 2017

'The Old World'

My new story collection, "The Old World," has just been published by House of Anansi. Here are 35 short stories, each inspired by an old black-and-white photograph. I nervously enjoyed
being the subject of interviews in the "Toronto Star" and on CBC Radio's "The Next Chapter." Here are some comments from the first reviews: "Charming, Funny, and sad." National Post "[A] magnificent new collection. This is Fagan at the top of his game. Simply put, he's a master storyteller." Canadian Jewish news

Thursday, March 2, 2017

CCBN interview

Here's a little interview in the 'Canadian Children's Book News Newsletter' about my two new kids' books. * http://bookcentre.ca/publications/newsletter/march-2017/

Friday, February 24, 2017

Busted Pencil

Here's a nice review of 'What I learned in Florida' in 'Broken Pencil.' Did someone ask whether copies were still available? Why, yes they are. **http://www.brokenpencil.com/news/chapbook-review-what-i-learned-in-florida

Monday, January 23, 2017

Two days in Atlanta

Here I am at the Tundra Books booth, American Library Association Conference, signing books for an impressive line-up of dedicated children's librarians. I met people who work in libraries all over the U.S. and as far away as India. I'm signing 'Little Blue Chair,' the new picture book. I was very happy to find out that Madeline Kloepper, the wonderful young illustrator, has won the inaugural May Cutler Emerging Artist of the Year Award for the book. The late May Cutler, who I interviewed back in about 1985, founded Tundra Books fifty years ago.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

First reviews for 'Wolfie and Fly'

Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review): "A promising first outing for this memorable odd couple." * City Parent: [A] classic story of imagination, friendship and adventure told by a master." * Reviews in Chalk: "Splendid beginning for a series! Renata is so lovable in her own way...I am already looking forward to more Wolfie and Fly's adventures."

Monday, January 9, 2017

New course: Writing Picture Books

On January 30 I start my course on writing picture books for University of Toronto Continuing Education. The location is at College and St. George. I love teaching this course and the participants are always passionate and interesting. So if you need some help kickstarting the creative impulse of yours, or finishing a manuscript, please join us. * http://learn.utoronto.ca/interactive-course-search#/profile/1718