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The Dove in Bathurst Station won Best Contemporary Novel award!

Posted by on Mar 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Click on the link to see a short video of the Awards Gala in June 2014.

WordGuild2014 (79 of 112)

Toronto Quarterly Interview

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Patricia Westerhof was born to Dutch Canadian parents, and has lived in the Netherlands, Alberta and Ontario. She is the author of The Dove in Bathurst Station (Brindle & Glass, 2013), a novel, and of Catch Me When I Fall (Brindle & Glass, 2011), a collection of linked stories. She co-authored The Writer’s Craft, a textbook for creative writing students. Her short stories have been published in Room Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, and the anthology Trees Running Backward. Patricia lives in Toronto where she teaches English and creative writing.

TTQ – What inspired you to start writing and who were some of your early influences or mentors?
Patricia Westerhof – Many years ago, when I was in university, I thought I was a poet. It was a tremendous setback when I got a poem published in the university arts magazine, superimposed upon a schmultzy photo of a sunset, like the most sentimental greeting card you can imagine. To make it worse, my Writers’ Guild friends, who dressed in thrift store clothing and considered themselves artistically superior to most people on campus, reported that they had seen the poem torn out of the magazine and pinned up on first-year students’ heart-bordered bulletin boards in the residence halls. The fact that the masses liked my poem confirmed that it must be bad art. Then I began teaching, which took all my creative energy. Between school work and increasing responsibilities at home, it was many, many years before I felt the urge to write again. While pursuing a MA degree at the University of Toronto about ten years ago, I stumbled into a writing course. The cryptic description in the catalogue had made it sound like a theory course. So I was flummoxed to discover that the course work was simply to write pieces of memoir. But on my way to the Registrar’s Office to drop the course, I started thinking about the craft projects that swept through the rural Alberta community of my childhood. You’d go into people’s kitchens and washrooms, and you’d see the same homemade item, just done in different colour combinations and with slightly varying levels of success. Most of them were bizarre. People attached pictures cut out of Sunday School worksheets to soaps, using a layer of paraffin wax. There were rug-hooked toilet seat covers with the words “Grin and bare it” woven in and mobiles made of fake fur happy faces. So for me, my writing career did not begin with the urge to catalogue the secrets of the human heart. It began with small but niggling questions such as why did Phentex yarn come in such ugly colour combinations, and why did everybody make the Aunt Jemima toilet paper holder at the same time? I wrote about those crafts and that rural Alberta community in my collection of linked stories, Catch Me When I Fall. A few writers who encouraged and helped along the way include Michael Winter, Douglas Burnet Smith, Anne Michaels, Shari Lapeña and Angie Abdou. I also think that all the hours of my life that I spent studying fiction have prepared me for writing, and I’m indebted to probably a hundred or more authors whose craftsmanship I admire (including the authors listed above!)

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The Next Big Thing Interview

Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

 

I’m delighted to be part of The Next Big Thing, a sort of tag game for writers that’s leaping from blog to blog.  Each tagged writer talks about the next big thing he/she is working on, then tags five other writers who answer the interview questions, and so on.  It’s an entertaining way for readers to find out about writers’ works-in-progress.

I’ve been tagged by Shari Lapeña, author of Things Go Flying and Happiness Economics. Visit her blog to find out about her work-in-progress.

And now here’s the scoop on my upcoming book:

What is your working title of your book?

The Dove in Bathurst Station

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A few things grabbed my attention at about the same time, and, together, they got this book started.  Here are the events:

  • After a weekend in Northern Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park, during which I encountered no wildlife except for crows, I saw a mink scamper across the breakwall of the Toronto Island Airport.  Not before, and not since, have I spotted a mink in the wild. Except that the mink wasn’t really in the wild—it was in a downtown airport at the edge of a huge metropolis.  The sighting seemed significant, although I didn’t know why.
  • I came across an article about Ebay listings for items that had the face of Jesus (whatever that looks like) on them.  The items included grilled cheese, a potato, and a dental x-ray.  I wondered who would buy these things, and why.
  • A friend was getting into urban spelunking—exploring Toronto’s subway tunnels and drainpipes.  I felt a strange attraction to these urban subspaces and started learning everything I could about their geography and history.

What genre does your book fall under?

The book is realistic literary fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

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Reviews of Catch Me When I Fall

Posted by on Apr 23, 2011 in Reviews | 0 comments

Toronto Book Launch

Posted by on Mar 11, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I had a great time at the Gladstone Hotel for my Toronto book launch.



First Blog Post

Posted by on Jan 13, 2010 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Hello and welcome to my website.  Though I’m busy editing the manuscript of Catch Me When I Fall, I added “Write first blog entry” to this morning’s agenda.  I turned on my computer and read the quotations on my Google home page.  “Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard,” said Daphne du Maurier.  For now we’ll just chew on that.