Bruce Gillespie

A blog by freelance writer and editor Bruce Gillespie.

Nobody’s Father: Toronto reading

I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve finally set a date for the Toronto launch of Nobody’s Father. It will take place Tuesday, February 24th, at Ben McNally Books (which has to be one of the best and loveliest shops in the city). Readings will begin at 6 pm.

We’re still working out all of the details, so I’ll post more information as soon we confirm which of our contributors will be reading–besides me, of course! It should be a great event, though, so mark your calendars now!


Written by bgillesp

February 3, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Vote early, vote often

Good news from the west coast: Nobody’s Father has been nominated for an M Award, as voted for by readers of Victoria’s Monday Magazine. We’re up against some stiff competition, including David Leach’s Fatal Tide (a great read), so we’re encouraging everyone we know to cast a vote, as residency in Victoria is not a requirement.

So, as they say in electoral circles, vote early and vote often. You can find a link to the M Awards ballot here (the link is a bit tricky to find — it’s near the beginning of the fourth paragraph).

Written by bgillesp

January 31, 2009 at 10:26 am

Posted in Nobody's Father

The Tyee picks Nobody’s Father

I was delighted to see that Nobody’s Father made The Tyee’s holiday book list this year. Legislative Editor Andrew MacLeod recommends it for “any guy unlikely to go forth and multiply,” noting that

This is not a book to give lightly to just any man who hasn’t gotten around to breeding, adopting or otherwise finding someone to parent. True, with 23 essayists contributing their tales, most readers will find someone with whom to identify. Explanations range from too busy to too gay to “life didn’t really work out that way.” Some are happily childless, some sad, some resigned. “I don’t see myself as father material,” writes Aaron Shepard, simple as that. “I don’t feel compelled to be a parent. It’s neither my loss nor my gain. It’s my identity.”

I, of course, also think it makes a swell gift.

Written by bgillesp

December 22, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Nobody's Father

ACTRA to offer health benefits to writers

Some interesting news from Quill & Quire: ACTRA, which represents TV and film workers, will be offering health benefits to writers and authors beginning in 2009. According to the story by Stuart Woods,

The Writers’ Coalition Benefits package will be “a basic, no-frills plan,” says AFBS president and CEO Bob Underwood. Initially, it will target members of participating organizations, which include The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Periodical Writers Association of Canada, and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. There is talk, however, of expanding the program to a broad base of industry professionals, such as freelance agents, self-employed authors, or employees at small publishing houses and distributors.

Underwood says monthly premiums have yet to be decided, but they will be 20% to 30% more competitive than comparable packages offered by commercial insurers, which he says can cost up to $1,500 per year. A model plan will be rolled out by early summer at the latest, he adds, consisting of extended health-care benefits (including prescription drugs, vision and dental care, and hospital visits), limited life and accident insurance, and critical illness benefits. The AFBS is also looking into the feasibility of a disability program and opt-in home and auto insurance, as well as small-business insurance for those who maintain a home office.

As someone who has lived mostly without the benefit of health insurance since deciding to become a freelancer in 2002, I think this is good news. There have been other attempts to offer insurance packages to writers over the years, but one of the sticking points has been finding an insurer willing to provide a decent plan at a reasonable price. For plans to be appealing to an insurer and affordable to members, you need a fairly large, diverse group of people to sign up so that the higher costs of a few are counterbalanced by the modest cost of the many. Finding that mix can be a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with tens, or even hundreds, of people as opposed to thousands.

So, while I’m surprised to see this deal coming from ACTRA, it does make sense in many ways: ACTRA has a large membership base (21,000) and experience in working with freelance artists, so it makes more sense for them to offer it rather than for writers’ groups to interest an insurer in developing a new, reasonably priced package for a few hundred, or a few thousand, writers.

Written by bgillesp

December 5, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Freelancing

Nobody’s Father in the Edmonton Journal

It looks like the Edmonton Journal ran a story about Nobody’s Father yesterday. From what I can tell online, it looks like a reprint of Katherine Dedyna’s story that originally ran in the Victoria Times Colonist, but hey, I’m not complaining! Any publicity is good publicity.

Written by bgillesp

November 29, 2008 at 11:27 am

Posted in Nobody's Father

Recommended reading

I often find myself being asked for book recommendations this time of year, as people go about their holiday shopping, and I am always happy to give them. So, in no particular order, here are some of the good books I read in the past year (most of which are new, but some of which are older titles I only got around to reading in the past 12 months):


Run by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins Publishers, 2007)

The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson (Random House, 2007)

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (HarperCollins Publishers, 2007)

Axis by Robert Charles Wilson (2007, Tor)

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard (HarperCollins Publishers, 2008 )


Drive by Tim Falconer (Viking Canada, 2008 )

Fatal Tide by David Leach (Viking Canada, 2008 )

Leave the Building Quickly by Cynthia Kaplan (HarperCollins Publishers, 2007)

Why I’m Like This by Cynthia Kaplan (HarperCollins Publishers, 2002)

The Long Walk Home by Liane Faulder (Brindle & Glass Publishing, 2007)

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit (Penguin, 2006)

Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer (Picador, 2005)

On Writing by Stephen King (Pocket Books, 2000)

Riding With Rilke by Ted Bishop (Penguin Canada, 2005)

The Geography of Hope by Chris Turner (Random House Canada, 2007)

Written by bgillesp

November 21, 2008 at 11:42 am

Posted in Reading

Check out Checkerspot magazine

I have a story in the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of Checkerspot magazine, which came out earlier this week. If you aren’t familiar with this biannual magazine, you shouldn’t feel too out of the loop: Checkerspot is relatively new, having made its debut in August 2007. It’s published by the Canadian Wildlife Federation and is focused on engaging people in the fight against climate change. It’s a great read, and what’s even better is that you can subscribe for free!

My piece is a words-and-pictures feature about artists addressing climate change in their work. Photo editor Margaret Williamson came up with a fantastic collection of different types of art from all over the world, and then it was my job to write up an introduction and captions for each of the pieces. I’m really pleased with how the feature turned out and was thrilled with the opportunity to write about art and get paid for it, which doesn’t happen as often as I’d like!

Written by bgillesp

November 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Freelancing, Writing