Radio Review Link

I recently did a review of Anna Porter’s The Ghosts of Europe for Shelagh Rogers on CBC radio. It’s an excellent study of Central Europe and the dangers the region faces.

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Anna Porter won the $25000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for this book.

To hear the review, go to this link at The Next Chapter and advance toward the end of the May 23 show.

Afghanistan Meets Lithuania In Queen’s Quarterly.

The editor of Queen’s Quarterly posed a question of me at a time of great stress while my son was a soldier in Afghanistan. The editor wanted me to write about Lithuania.

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The Current Issue of Queen's Quarterly

Afghanistan and Lithuania? What’s the link? Here’s the opening of that essay. The rest can be found in the current issue:

Where I’m coming from; Where I’m Going to

For the fourth year in a row I’m standing at the crossroads of Pylimo and Traku Streets in Vilnius, Lithuania, worrying the place, trying to sift the stories that lie like dust between the cobblestones. I’m slightly sick of this baroque, labyrinthine city – the strangulated cries of the swallows at dusk make me think of the dead souls of forgotten citizens.

Nobody who lives in Vilnius now had great grandparents who lived here – most of the old inhabitants were killed during the war or shipped out after it. Vilnius is old, but the people who inhabit it are relatively new to this city.

They came here after the war, around the time I was born to immigrant parents in Toronto. Although I’ve spent my whole life in Canada, my clan, my people are new to it, and I’m not entirely comfortable in the country of my birth. I keep coming back to this melancholy city of Vilnius, mulling over the past and trying to determine the geography of my belonging.


At the moment, June 2016,  I have completed the edits on my forthcoming memoir (May 2017) with ECW Press, The Barefoot Bingo Caller, and I am working hard on rewriting another novel before resuming work on The Rhyming Assassin. There is plenty to do.

This August I will be speaking in Palanga, and then in the fall  I’ll be with Humber at Word on the Street in Toronto, The International Festival of Authors, and the Assembly Hall reading series.