Sunday, November 25, 2007


Rose-coloured excitement: My manuscript Once won the Metcalf/Rooke award at Biblioasis. I shall commence living up to this honour very very shortly--no, really. So far, I mainly dance in front of my bathroom mirror.

The announcement came as a grace note at the end of evening of stellar and thoughtful readings in celebration of Biblioasis's translation series. The launch book is Ryszard Kapuscinski's selected poems, I Wrote Stone. The translators are Diana Kuprel and Marek Kusiba: she a resonant alto anglophone, and he a mellow murmuring native-speaker of Polish. They gave double readings of each poem, in both languages, and the effect was almost musical. I don't mean to over-aestheticize, the poems were disturbing and hopeful and thought-provoking, but it was something to just sit and listen. There were also readings in translation by Goran Simic and A. F. Moritz, and one about translation from Stephen Henighan. It was such an inspiring evening, but a girl does wind up feeling that she's woefully under-read and needs to retire to the library immediately.

In case you thought some sort of delusion of grandeur caused me to apply subject line to myself, let me assure you I meant the readers mentioned above. I am quite easily star-struck, and have only recently realized that in Toronto it is quite acceptable to go and congratulate a reader after an admirable performance. I was told this ages ago, but I didn't believe it--I mainly watch readings like movies, and scurry out as soon as they are over. When I first moved here, I met wonderfully talented and kind writer Michel Basilieres. He encouraged me to try to talk to other writers (at that point in my life, he was being pretty generous with that "other") and learn from them. I said I wasn't up to much. He assured me that Toronto writers don't really live up to the stereotypes--most are collegial and friendly and eager to encourage a newcomer. I wasn't buying it.

For the nervous among us, it's pretty hard to absorb such information (witness the incident, around the same period, when I hid behind a pole when someone tried to introduce me to Douglas Coupland). But it's really true that most writers I've ever chatted with has been more than forthcoming but I am usually too nervous to approach anyone. Anyway, after the formal part of the evening on Friday, I wandered a bit and talked to a number of people, including the readers, who seemed genuinely happy for my work and interested in it. It was lovely, but a little startling, like a character in a film turning to talk to you. Well, not really, but you get the idea.

It's a heady thought, that someday I'll be in the score of Canadian literature, perhaps as a grace note.

Look around around around


frede said...

Becky WOO HOO !!! Can't wait to read your book and attend your Book Tour !!! OMG Book Tour! You will have to write a really snobby piece in the Globe and Mail books section about how arduous your book tour is and how readers don't understand how it's so difficult to sleep in a new luxury hotel every night. I see the words "including an appearance at the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival!!!!!" Woot! Did I mention your other book has *still* not arrived? Sigh... I'm not coming to Toronto this week anymore but at least I will see you in Ottawa in 2008!!!

The Chapati Kid said...

OH. MY. GOD. BECKY. Look at her talent! It is so big! It is so out there! She must be one of those award-winning writers!

I like big talent and I cannot lie,
My writing sisters can't deny,
When Becky R. walks in with her writerly grace and a that winner's look upon her face, we get... erm...

Okay. I'll stop the rap now. This is SO awesomely superb! And awesome! You GO, girl.

Rebecca Rosenblum said...

Thanks, you guys! I dig the rap, really, and totally appreciate the support! I'm just so excited about the whole thing!

But, Fred, I will see before an entire YEAR has passed. I'll track you down, you'll see!

stephanie k s said...

Yay, congratulations Rebecca, that is so excellent!!!

Katherine N said...

*high five from far away*