Alix Ohlin (Inside) Appears at WordFest 2012

As part of 49th Shelf's #Fest2Fest, Julie Wilson is speaking with authors across the country (and abroad) who are appearing at literary festivals to promote their latest books.

For all our #Fest2Fest updates, bookmark www.49thshelf.com/Festivals.

Alix Ohlin will appear at Calgary's WordFest, among other festivals. For details, go here.

WordFest runs October 9-14, 2012.

Julie (also appearing at WordFest to promote Seen Reading) chatted with Alix on the day she learned her novel Inside was long listed for the Giller Prize. The novel has since been shortlisted for the Writers' Trust Prize for Fiction. Alix is also the author of the short story collection, Signs and Wonders. Both titles are published in Canada with House of Anansi Press

In this video, Julie and Alix talk about how she's chosen to respond to the infamously smarmy review in the The New York Times, how writers read toward the books they want to write, and the importance of accepting critical feedback.

Alix Ohlin—pronounced oh-LEAN—called in from her office at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Enjoy our chat!

 
inside, by Alix Ohlin (House of Anansi)

About Inside: When Grace, a highly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man in the snowy woods who has failed to hang himself, her instinct to help immediately kicks in. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward.

At the same time, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, a therapist as well, leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With a razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the manifold dangers and imperatives of making ourselves available to, and indeed responsible for, those dearest to us.

Signs and Wonders, by Alix Ohlin (House of Anansi)

About Signs and Wonders: A New York Times Editors' Choice and an Oprah's Book Club Summer Reading Pick.

In this brilliant new collection, one of Canada's brightest young talents skillfully displays the full range of human emotions through the subtly powerful dramas of everyday life.

In "You Are What You Like," a young couple finds their life derailed by the arrival of a hard-partying old friend. In "Robbing the Cradle," Lisette does everything she can to give her husband a baby, committing an act of desperation. In "The Idea Man," Beth, a divorcee, falls in love with a man who lies for fun. And in the incredible title story, Kathleen finds herself sitting at the hospital bedside of a man she had planned to divorce, comforted by the woman she went out of her way to hurt. These characters are divorced and beginning to date again, childless and longing for children, married and aching for more. Often unexpected and unsettling, always fascinating, Signs and Wonders showcases a young writer of remarkable range and emotional depth.

Alix Ohlin, author of Inside, and Signs and Wonders (photo credit Emma Dodge Hanson)

About the author: Alix Ohlin's Inside (House of Anansi Press) and her story collection Signs and Wonders (Vintage) were both published on June 5, 2012. She is also the author of The Missing Person, a novel, and Babylon and Other Stories. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best New American Voices, and on public radio’s Selected Shorts. Born and raised in Montreal, she currently lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, and teaches at Lafayette College and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

About WordFest: WordFest’s main event is a six-day literary festival that features upwards of 70 writers from the local, national and international stage. The Festival has approximately 60 separate events and attracts an audience of over 14,000. Some events also offer programming in multiple languages such as French and Spanish. Festival events take place across Calgary and in Banff through founding production partner, The Banff Centre.

Follow them on Twitter at @wordfesttweets.

Follow all festival happenings, and contribute your own, using the hashtag #wordfest2012.

September 20, 2012
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