Prose In the Park In Ottawa on Saturday June 4

I’ll be at Prose In the Park in Ottawa on Saturday. The YA Panel is from 4-5 PM on Stage Two. My co-panelists are GG winner Caroline Pignat, World Fantasy Winner Charles de Lint, and Monique Polak. Angela Misri moderates. Prose in the Park is a fabulous little outdoor festival MC’d again this year by the ever amazing Sang Kim. I love the mix of mainstream (as they call it only in genre) and genre panels, the outdoor setting, the excuse to take an extra day in Ottawa for museums. I’ll be going to Alter Ego: Comics and Canadian Identity at Library and Archives Canada. There are two people I know with work in it–Mark Shainblum and Jay Odjick. How cool is that?

I’ll have copies of my two YA/Adult Crossover novels available for signing, Motion Sickness and The Alphabet Stones, illustrated by S.K. Dyment. Both were shortlisted for the ReLit. Exile will have a table at PIP this year, and they’ll have copies of Playground of Lost Toys, the new antho I co-edited with Colleen Anderson, up for an Aurora this year.

Hope to see you!


Trillium shortlisted author Janette Platana (A Token of My Affliction) on Motion Sickness:

This book is what Young Adult fiction should be. It’s not about virgin werewolves and chaste vampires. It’s about a young adult woman going through a real life.

Now don’t get me wrong: I like werewolves and vampires. But the chances of encountering those are not as great as the chances a young woman has of encountering date rape and birth control failures. Want to know what it feels like to have a copper-T IUD removed? And how your cervical entrance will feel afterward? Good. Want to know what it feels like to have sex you didn’t really agree to, but didn’t refuse, either? Good. Read this book. Because no one else will tell you.

Ursula Pflug’s characters will tell you. And Ursula Pflug will show you how to be a damn good writer, whose most poetic lines are the most brutal, the most honest, and the most comforting ones. When Penelope tells Theo about the damage done to beluga whales by industrial pollution, he asks: “Do you just cry, or do you do anything about it?” The characters in this book challenge the reader to be her best self, and to feel fully her own pain. Pflug uses the words “the escalating war on bodies” in a way that, if you never thought of it this way before, now you can, and with compassion.

The characters in Motion Sickness tell about themselves and their dreams with matter-of-fact poetry. And what is not revealed in their self-aware admissions and reflections are uncannily etched for the reader by illustrator SK Dyment. Motion Sickness is not a graphic novel or illustrated novel: Dyment’s work does not fill in gaps in the narrative, it expands the imagery to include the reader’s life, too. That is, if you thought this book tells only the story of Penelope and the people she meets, it doesn’t: Motion Sickness tells the story of the life you may have had, and the one you did not, and in this way, Penelope’s story becomes Our Story.

Read this book if you are Young Adult or if you are a former Young Adult. If you are an artist or a will be or were, read this book. Do yourself the favour and the honour.

Greatest lines:

“Penelope didn’t like it when her mind started coming out of other people’s mouths.”

“Female trouble. All girls had it at one time or another.”

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