Book Club Questions for Magnified World

I’ve had a few notes asking for questions that book clubs could use to organize discussions around Magnified World. I love book clubs and I’ve put together a list below. There are quite a few points here, so I would recommend just choosing a few of these questions that might interest you and your group.

  1. Was Carol a good mother? How could you argue that she was, and how could you argue that she wasn’t?
  2. Why do you think Gil appears when he does?
  3. What roles do sex, violence and the body play in Magnified World?
  4. What sort of man is Chris, Maggie’s father? Do you feel he is a sympathetic character? How are he and Maggie similar or dissimilar?
  5. Is the ending of Magnified World hopeful or not? Why do you think the story ends in George’s?
  6. What role does the city play in the book? How can the city be viewed as an additional character?
  7. What do you think happen to Tracey after Wooster House? Do you believe she and Chad ran away together or do you believe Dr. Rosenberg’s story?
  8. Why is the store an important space for Maggie? What does her relationship with the tarot cards and crystals tell you about Maggie as a person?
  9. Why does Maggie write in her notebooks so much? What benefit does it provide for her?
  10. Is Gil a negative or positive influence on Maggie?
  11. What is Gil’s nature? Is it clear by the end of the book who or what he is?
  12. Gil’s body is mentioned frequently, whether he is attractive, menacing, injured or otherwise. Why is his physicality important? What does his body mean to Maggie?
  13. How well did Maggie know her mother?
  14. In what ways were Maggie and her mother the same? How were they different?
  15. Both Dr. Rosenberg and Carol are displaced Americans. In what other ways are people in this book outsiders or displaced?
  16. Why is the story of Elaine an important anecdote? What sort of marriage do you think Carol and Chris, Maggie’s parents, had? Were they in love?
  17. Maggie goes to Georgia looking for answers. Does she get any?
  18. How do the epigraphs included before the novel’s text relate to the story and to Maggie?
  19. Is the grieving process different when a loved one is lost to suicide rather than illness or accident? How does Maggie’s story address this?
  20. What does the title Magnified World mean to you?

Image credit: Steve Clayton, via


The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers!!

Growing up, CBC Radio 1 played in my house pretty much morning until evening everyday. So this interview, chatting with the amazing Shelagh Rogers for CBC’s The Next Chapter, was particularly exciting for me (and by exciting, I mean I basically cartwheeled down to the CBC building to record it).

The episode opens with an interview with Katrina Onstad (who I just had the pleasure of reading with yesterday at The Word on the Street), and follows with discussions with Randy Boyagoda and Colleen Brown. I’m the last one on the docket (I start at about 29:55) and Shelagh asks me incredibly interesting and insightful questions. This was a really fun interview for me (not to mention a total trip to be on CBC) so I hope you’ll check it out!

ELLE Canada Fashion Dare!

The very nice people at ELLE Canada invited me to participate in a series called “Fashion Dare”, where a regular person (that’s me), test drives a new and upcoming trend. Then we chatted a bit about Magnified World and my writing process, which was lots of fun.

I’m pretty clueless when it comes to clothes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them. Luckily, the fashion geniuses at ELLE made it all easy for me, dressing me in beautiful things, doing my hair and make-up and generally making me feel very glam (especially for eight o’clock in the morning!).

The photo isn’t up online, but if you happen to be browsing the racks at the grocery store, I hope you’ll check out the October edition of ELLE Canada, on newsstands now. UPDATE: You can see the photo online via the awesome site In The Company of Artists!

As a side note, it seems making writers over is a popular pursuit — check out this fun story about the National Post Arts Editors getting spruced up for the Toronto Film Festival.

Magnified World on the CityLine Book Club

I woke up on Friday to a very pleasant surprise: I’ve been included in CityLine’s Friday Reads Book Club. And I’m in very good company: Marilyn Smith, a guest expert, posted a recommendation of Chris Cleave’s Gold in the same posting where Suzanne Ellis, Editor, posted a recommendation of Magnified World. It was a lovely surprise, especially to be featured alongside Chris, who is a wonderful writer and who I had the pleasure of meeting briefly a while ago at Random House.

Thanks to Suzanne and the CityLine Book Club!

The Three Rs Interview with Slightly Bookist

JC Sutcliffe of the fabulous book blog Slightly Bookist recently invited me to participate in her Three Rs interview series.

Here’s the post! The things JC asked me about were fun to think about, like typing vs. longhand, my all-time favourite books and my reading habits while writing. And there are lots of other great posts in the series as well — hope you’ll check it, and Slightly Bookist in general, out!

Talking Writing with Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers

 I’ve had the chance to answer some interesting questions and talk to some fascinating people since Magnified World came out, but this was definitely the most unexpected (and awesome) opportunity that has emerged so far. Brad Frenette of CBC Music kindly asked me to participate in their new Words & Music series, which pairs songwriters with prose writers, who are then set loose to gab about the writing process. I got to chat with one of my favourite songwriters, Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers.

The first part of our (rather long) conversation is posted here. Thanks to Brad, Tony and CBC for this!

UPDATE: Part Two is now posted! Check it out here.

The Globe & Mail CanLit Fab Five

Today in the Arts section, the Globe & Mail published a “CanLit Fab Five”, profiling five up and coming Canadian writers: Yejide Kilanko, Alexander MacLeod, David Chariandy, Iain Reid and me. They even sent a very nice photographer to take a photo of me around the corner from my apartment.

There’s a brief interview as well, which was lots of fun to do. My thanks to Kate Carraway for the fantastic profile. It’s an honour to be included in this list of very fine writers.

My city book at Book City!


I love the bookstores of Toronto. Book City is one of the best, and has created this gorgeous display of Magnified World. It’s one of the most exciting things, for me, that has happened since the book was published. How many times have I looked into that exact window before popping into the store, drooling over the books? Being on the other side is pretty crazy. My heartfelt thanks to the amazing folks at Book City for their hard work and kind support. (Side note: I especially love how the streets of Toronto are reflected over top of my book that is, of course, set in the streets of Toronto.)

Update: I went and signed some books with the fabulous Jennifer of Book City!

Q&A with This Magazine

I really dig This Magazine. In 2008, I won their Great Canadian Literary Hunt with a story called “Love Will Save the Day”. It was the first piece of prose I ever published professionally and it was a totally surreal and amazing experience.

I just recently started writing a book column for This as well, which is really exciting and felt like a lovely homecoming after having that first publication there several years ago (the first column is about YA dystopian literature and its appeal for teens).

And now This has very kindly put together a Q&A with me about Magnified World. Surf on over to this site and check it out if you have a moment.

Magnified World in CBC’s Recommended Summer Reading

My thanks to CBC Books for including Magnified World in their summer reading recommendations list! Click here to see the whole list.

Does this make you want to lie on a beach reading or what? I actually did just that this past weekend, on Centre Island with Peter Carey’s The Chemistry of Tears, which ripped my heart out so quietly I hardly noticed until I finished the book and basically just crumpled. Highly recommended, but opt for some dark (tear-camouflaging) sunglasses while reading.

I’m eager to check out the rest of the books in the list. Feel free to share your own recommendations!