Wednesday 24 October 2007

You want it when?

Through nearly a century of publishing excellence, LWOT has changed the Canadian literary landscape with its groundbreaking contests of fiction. From the Anti-Giller to the Diary From The Diefenbunker competition, LWOT has changed the lives of Canada's best and brightest writers by bringing them the fortune and fame you can only get from winning a prestigious Canadian literary competition.

In it's most recent issue, LWOT crowned Christopher Canniff the greatest 3-hour novelist.

Chris recently had a chance to sit with us and answer a few questions.

Writing a novel in three hours is a daunting task, even for the most seasoned liar. How did you prepare for this incredible literary achievement?

I prepared, in my mind, to write my dissertation on a corrupt Ecuadorian politician accused of corruption. I don't know where he would've ended up, had this story actually been written. I think Jasper Fforde (who I recently saw at the Ottawa Festival for Writers) would've had something to say about that, something about the politician being kidnapped from the pages of his own work before he had the chance to deny the allegations against him which he knew to be true.

Aside from being an award-winning novel writer, LWOT readers don't know much about you. LWOT has almost 100 years of publishing history filled with colourful characters like Gradey Alexander and Christopher Ninjerk. What do you bring to the world's greatest fiction magazine's mythology?
LWOT has quite an amazing history with amazing people behind it. I really have done nothing that colourful in my life, just a lot of boozing. Oh, and I lived in South America for a year which gave me an appreciation for literature. I read fifty books in a year, that'll do it to anyone. I even managed to write a lot of incoherent nonsense in that time, as well.

Now that you've achieved incredible literary success what's next?
I plan to finish the novels I worked on with David Adams Richards, The Bow of Exile and another (yet unnamed) and market them over the upcoming year.

Margaret Atwood's Longpen is a horrific abuse of technology that threatens to send the world spiraling into oblivion. Who do you think is going to win the Giller?
I agree with the Longpen thing. Who would've ever thought robots could be used for such a nefarious purpose? As for the Giller, I was wrong in 2005. I had convinced myself that Camilla Gibb would win it. I went to the readings at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and this was my definitive proof that I was right. But the winner was announced and it surprised me. Same with Vincent Lam in 2006, as it's short stories as opposed to a novel, some of which really should've been cut (Reference: story with the long drawn-out scene of the doctor in his Mercedes racing to work and the pickup truck racing beside him, the doctor musing on the circumstances surrounding the purchase of his car and on the mindset of the pickup truck driver). I think some of the short stories were quite remarkable though, and Alice Munro being on the Jury certainly didn't hurt his chances. For this year's Giller, I noticed Camilla Gibb is on the Jury. I also noticed that M.G. Vassanji has been selected this year as a finalist, yet again. That's starting into the Lance Armstrong realm of things. People will start to question whether he's using literary steroids. Maybe he's going to win.

The new Iron Man preview rocks pretty hard doesn't it?
You know, the first time I heard that song I was walking through the dorm at New College in U of T. I thought I heard someone in their dorm room announcing "I am Iron Man" in a strange voice and I seriously wondered what they were up to. Then I realized it was just a song. I didn't know they'd made the song into a movie, though.

LWOT is on the verge of celebrating it's 100th anniversary. Through the years the world's greatest fiction magazine has called on members of the LWOT Army for different reasons. Now that you're a part of it you will be called. You won't know when or how, but you will be called.
I was at a wedding one time and the first speech began with "Welcome everyone on this auspicious occasion" and I heard people around me whispering "Is that good?" and, well, it is. So I would like to say on this auspicious occasion that I appreciate LWOT's literary taste and sense of humour and appreciate being the recipient of this honour.

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