Del Rio and Radio CanadaInternational

I was in Texas this past week, visiting family and doing some writing. Del Rio is a sleepy border town, with pretty old buildings, friendly people, yummy Mexican food and a meandering creek great for dog-walking. It also has some things that make me curious: a taxidermist “studio” (which sounds artistic, almost); a gun shop with a ten foot replica gun on the lawn; and drive-thru “beverage barns” that sell booze and chocolate milk.

 

I got lots done there, not surprisingly… and think I found the ending to my second novel. Of course, I still have months of rewriting and edits, but the end is within (distant) sight.

 

Other news—I was interviewed by Wojtek Gwiazda of the Indo-Canadian Report on Radio CanadaInternational. Click on April 25th, 2008 to listen to the story: http://www.rcinet.ca/rci/en/dossiers/44920.shtml

Grace and Pride in Maine

I’ve spent a couple of days in Bangor and Orono, Maine, soaking up the lovely hospitality of the folks here.

The Bangor Public Library is one of the most beautiful, graceful libraries I’ve ever seen with fabulous architecture and rooms and rooms full of books and nooks for reading. A big thanks to them and Lippincott Books (who are carrying Stealing Nasreen in Bangor) for making our “little reading” special.

Next, I spent time at the University of Maine at Orono, where I was invited by The Women’s Studies Program,  GLBT Services and Wilde Stein to do a book reading. The sponsors made me feel very welcome, took great care of me and later invited me to their annual “Know Your Status” dinner. The night was about raising awareness for HIV testing and a highlight was a performance by Renaissance, UMaine’s all-women A Cappella group. One of the women did long saxophone-sounding riffs with nothing but her lips.

And it seems that UMaine, besides being a pretty campus, is also a safe one for queers (I was told it was rated in the top 15 in the US for its queer friendliness). My reading was just one of many events to celebrate their Pride Week, and they should be very proud of that.

Orono and Bangor are sweet little towns. People are friendly–they talk to you when while you wait for the light to change (sadly, ‘what? you talking to me?’ was my first response), you can flag down their local bus, a lumbering orange vehicle known as the Bat (you can try flagging down the TTC and even chase a bus for 2 blocks in the pouring rain and the driver won’t think about stopping for you) and bus fare is one dollar (haven’t experienced this since before puberty).

I’m heading off to Texas tomorrow, feeling refreshed. I’m going to see family and do a mini writing retreat in Del Rio for a few days. I’m searching for my second novel’s ending, and with over 300 pages written, I’m happy to say I will soon go into edits and revisions. Stay tuned!

Bangor and Orono

I’m heading to Bangor, Maine early next week. Here are the details:

Tuesday April 15th, 6:30-7:30pm at the Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow Street, Bangor. Info: (207) 947-8336 

Wednesday April 16th, 12:15-1:30pm at the University of Maine, Orono, Bangor Room, Memorial Hall. Organized by the Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program as part of Pride Week. Info: (207) 581-1228

 Both events are free and open to the public. Copies of Stealing Nasreen will be available for sale. If you’re looking for copies now, go to the University Bookstore (Orono), or Lippincott Books in Bangor.

Hope you can make it!

Edmonton Lesbian Book Club chat via speaker phone

I had a lovely chat with members of the Edmonton Lesbian Book Club. They called me from Audrey’s Bookstore and I imagined them sitting in a circle as they introduced themselves. They had plenty of good questions to ask. A book club meeting is a bit different from a reading Q&A session in that the audience has usually just read the book (while few at a reading have…yet), and so they are more engaged with the material. People usually ask about specific characters and moments in the book, and this book club was no different in that regard. They were delightful. Here’s their blog entry about the evening:

http://lesbianbookclub.blogspot.com/2008/04/stealing-nasreen-chat.html