QWF Writes: On Best-of Lists and How We Actually Read

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I am a big believer in lists. Grocery lists. To-do lists. Lists on phones and bits of envelopes and bills. Lists are satisfying to write, and even more satisfying to work through. But best-of lists, the kind of lists which flood journals and newspapers towards the end of each year, summarising “The 10 Best Books of 2019” or “The 100 Best Books of the 21st Century”—even though we’re only a fifth of the way through that century—are a pet peeve of mine.

QWF Writes: Living and Writing in the Country

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“We’re thinking of moving to the country,” I told mystery writer Louise Penny when I bumped into her at the Knowlton Literary Festival in 2010, adding that my husband and I weren’t sure if it was the right thing for our writing careers. Penny was enthusiastic: “Do it,” she said, “while you can!” A few months later, we bought a 200-year-old farmhouse in the tiny hamlet of Hatley. For Penny, living in the country proved no hindrance to her career. Her depiction of the fictional village of Three Pines and the eccentric characters who inhabit it launched her to international success. Now on the sixteenth volume of her Inspector Gamache series, she has sold over six million books worldwide.

QWF Writes: Writing After a Concussion

Pearl Pirie (Headshot by Brian Pirie)
The first year after I had a concussion was a blur. I was dead to the world for three months, going in and out of sleep, exhausted. I had vertigo and difficulties with light, sound, and language. No reading. No computers. No writing. Definitely no multitasking. I had to rest for far more hours than seemed viable and consequently had to suddenly quit a few organizations I led, with no succession plan in place. I closed my small press, or as it turned out, put it on hiatus. I simply had no choice. As with a stroke or cancer, a traumatic brain injury can be an opportunity to reexamine one’s life and priorities.

New Blog Editor/Communications Manager: Erin Lindsay

Erin Lindsay
“We are thrilled to introduce our new Blog Editor/Communication Manager, Erin Lindsay!” There’s more than one way to tell a story. I responded immediately to carte blanche’s philosophy. I see this statement as an invitation for hybridity and experimentation. I see this statement as one that is inclusive and open. In this statement, I see the call for a vibrant literary and arts ecology- a community enriched by a diversity of forms, genres, and perspectives. I deeply understand this call. I want to be a part of this vision.

QWF Writes: “Hi, I’m ______ ”: Choosing My Author Name

K.B. Thors
“What do we call you?” is a question I’ve gotten used to hearing, especially in the writing world. I write now as K.B. Thors, but up until the end of 2017 I was publishing poetry, translations, and essays under the name K.T. Billey. My legal name is Kara Billey Thordarson. If I meet you, I’ll introduce myself as Kara. That might seem all over the place, but the evolution of my nom de plume mirrors the development not just of my writing but of my self. I’d encourage any writer to experiment with their own creative license, no matter what a brand expert might say.