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Breaking Big

How can you tell that a novel is going to break big? Three great reviews in Toronto’s daily papers certainly point that way.

The Book is called All the Broken Things and the author is Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, who was a Humber summer alumna from long, long ago. She has been writing and publishing for some time and has taught at other writing schools, but we never forget our grads. Good for her!

Good reviews are one thing, but other signs appeared at her book launch at the Gladstone Hotel. The event was supposed to start at seven-thirty, but I burst through security (!)  at seven fifteen to find the hall half full already. The room might have had seating for eighty people, but twice that many crammed inside.

Smart writers invite friends and family to their book launches, and some can fill a room with them, but the real sign of a writer’s success is partially revealed by the other writers in the room.

I may have missed a few, but here are the names of a few prominent Canadian writers in attendance: Miriam ToewsEva StachniakAndrew BorokowskiSally CooperElizabeth RuthJessica WestheadCatherine Bush, Alissa York, to say nothing of the National Post’s book editor, Mark Medley.

Kathryn did not read, but talked about the novel, which has to do with bear wrestling (practiced in Ontario until 1976) as well as the painful results of the Vietnam war.

It’s hard to predict the contenders for the upcoming prize season in the fall, but my early guess is that this will be one of them.