Reading: Lynn Coady
Lynn Coady is a novelist, playwright and short story writer who has lived in Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and now Toronto. The author of the novels Strange Heaven (her first novel which was nominated for a Governor General's Award for Fiction), Saints of Big Harbour, and most recently, Mean Boy published in 2006, she has also published a short story collection, Play the Monster Blind.
Lynn Coady was awarded the Canadian Authors Association's Under-Thirty and Jubilee Award (for short fiction), as well as the Dartmouth Book Award and the Atlantic Bookseller's Choice Award. Most recently, she won the 2005 Canada Council for the Arts Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for artists in mid-career.
Lynn was born and raised in the town of Port Hawkesbury in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She left to attend journalism school at Carleton University, but graduated with a B.A. in English and philosophy. She continued to write plays and stories.
In Vancouver, Lynn earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia.
Lynn Coady has written non-fiction for publications such as Saturday Night, Chatelaine, Elle Canada, Canadian Geographic, Vancouver Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Adbusters Magazine - where she worked as a senior writer and editor. She has taught creative writing at Douglas College, Simon Fraser University's Writer's Studio, The Sage Hill Writing Experience, The Maritime Writer's Workshop, and, most recently, the Banff Center's Wired Writing Studio.
The accolades she has received are well deserved. I wonder if it is my imagination or if writers from the east coast of Canada and Ireland truly have an unfair advantage.
The characters they create simply have to open their mouths and the most marvellous language flows out. The stories of Lynn Coady are every bit as good as any by Alistair MacLeod, Bernard MacLaverty or William Trevor.
I laughed out loud when one character exclaims "reservations two jeezly months in advance and this is the best they can give us."
I had forgotten that my New Brunswick grandfather, a farmer, frequently used the expression "jeezly". And anyone who can write the line "Lord lifting Antichrist, he'll fry like a pork rind" (when someone neglects to use sunscreen) deserves applause.
The title story of Lynn Coady's short story collection Play the Monster Blind reveals that "in Frankenstein, Boris Karloff had stretched out his arms before him because the filmmaker had at first wanted the monster to be blind.
They never followed up on that aspect of the story, but they kept the footage of Karloff playing the monster blind anyway, and that was why the enduring image of Frankenstein ended up being this clomping creature with his arms stuck out in front of him." Is this truth or fiction? I am going to have the opportunity to ask Lynn Coady when she visits Parry Sound next week.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the writing of Lynn Coady and was delighted when she expressed interest in being part of our 2007-2008 Reading Series. Lynn Coady will read to an eager audience at the Charles W. Stockey Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m.