Thursday, December 6, 2012

Starred Review in Quill & Quire

BULL HEAD receives a starred review in Quill & Quire, Canada's magazine of book news and reviews. Read the review here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Quill & Quire Books of the Year

BULL HEAD was selected by Quill & Quire review editor, Steven W. Beattie, as a book of the year along with four other titles.

For more information and to see the list, go here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

At the Mike Series in Victoria, Nov 27

If you are in Victoria on Nov 27, join Lee Henderson, John Gould and myself in conversation at 7pm at Cadboro Bay Books for the At the Mike Series. It's an honour to appear with two writers I deeply admire and respect. More info on the event here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Toronto: Type Books, Nov 21

Toronto! Join me, Ian Colford and Barry Grills for a triple threat event at Type Books this Wednesday, Nov 21.

The event, dubbed, "The Lost Boys," starts at 6:30pm and promises an eclectic range of material and styles. For more information, click here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Canzine West: 1-2 Punch Book Pitch

The 1-2 Punch Book Pitch at Canzine West in Vancouver is accepting people to pitch their book idea on Nov 17. Live on the main stage, you get two minutes to pitch your book to a panel of judges: Brian Kaufman, Elizabeth Bachinsky and myself. 
We get one minute each to tell you why you’ll never get published 
in a million, billion years, or why we want to see your manuscript in our inbox ASAP. The winner of the pitch gets bragging rights and a Broken Pencil prize pack worth $200.
To sign up, email with 1. name 2. email address 3. phone number 4. two or three line description of the project you are going to pitch. For more details visit here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bull Head Makes Bestseller List

Whoa! BULL HEAD shares some fine company on the Calgary Herald's bestseller list.

The full list is here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

8 Male Writers I’d Want At My Side In A Bar Room Brawl

Suppose you find yourself standing in a Calgary bar, perhaps Ranchman’s, mouthing off about your beloved Vancouver Canucks who’ve just eliminated the Flames in the playoffs (unlikely as that might be) and you’ve been shouting to be heard—the music is loud after all. A large southern Albertan ranchman hears you. He’s wearing a big white hat that shadows his eyes. His belt buckle winks in the light and you notice it’s a shiny Calgary Flames logo. You exchange a few words, but he’s not interested in talking.

Read the full list here.

Readings in Kelowna & Vernon

I'm excited to visit the Okanagan this weekend to do two events. The first will be at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna on Friday, Nov 9 at 12:30pm. Later that night, I'll be kicking off the Vertigo Voices Reading Series in Vernon with Nancy Lee starting at 8pm.

For more info on these events, check out the piece in the Vernon Morning Star here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Canzine West Vancouver

The 1-2 Punch Book Pitch at Canzine West in Vancouver is now accepting registrants. Pitch your book idea for a chance to win.

Live on our main stage you get two minutes to pitch your book to a panel of judges: Brian Kaufman, Elizabeth Bachinsky, and myself. The judges get one minute each to tell you why you’ll never get published in a million years, or why they want to see your manuscript in their inbox ASAP. The winner of the pitch gets bragging rights and a Broken Pencil prize pack worth $200. 

Click here to learn how to sign up to pitch!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bull Head Tour Kicks Into Gear

Well Calgary & Fernie, that was a blast. Thanks for the great kick off to the November BULL HEAD tour this past weekend.

On Friday night in Calgary, I was honoured to read with Marcello Di Cintio and Naomi Lewis, both excellent writers and entertaining readers. Special thanks to Pages Books on Kensington and their attentive staff for hosting a fantastic event that featured an enthusiastic over-capacity crowd.

The next night, I read with the farmer-philosopher-weight lifter poet Charles Noble, at Fernie's funky Clawhammer Letterpress Gallery. The evening featured a great crowd, great questions by the audience, great moderating by Angie Abdou. Special thanks to Randal Macnair and Clawhammer Press and the rest of the Fernie community for making this a lively evening. A few other writers showed up as well: Sioux Browning, Sid Marty and of course the lovely Nancy Lee. It was a formidable event, one I was honoured to be a part of, having returned to town after too long of an absence.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fernie: Let It Snow

Fernie has a great arts community set against the backdrop of natural beauty and legendary powder. This Saturday, Nov 3, I'm pleased to be returning to the town I once called home for an exciting event that starts at 8pm at Clawhammer Letterpress.

I will read 2 or 3 short selections from BULL HEAD and participate in a Q&A with Fernie resident and Canada Reads author, Angie Abdou. No doubt she and others will be curious why I used the Elk Valley as the setting for the book. Join us. If we're lucky, maybe it will snow. Most definitely wine will be involved.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Calgary: Walls & Stories

If you are in Calgary this Friday, Nov 2, join me and Marcello Di Cintio and Naomi K. Lewis as we read from our latest books at Pages Books on Kensington.

The event, dubbed, "Walls & Stories," starts at 7:30pm and promises an eclectic range of material and styles. For more information, click here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bull Head Reviewed in Fernie Fix

Naturally when you set a book in a place you once called home, you are curious to know what residents and locals think of it. Here's a positive review published in Fernie Fix magazine by Angie Abdou in advance of my event in the town on Nov 3. I'm looking forward to continuing the discussion with Angie and others this Saturday night.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Into the Abyss Launches

My pal, Carol Shaben, launched her first book of non-fiction, Into the Abyss last night in Vancouver to a packed house. The launch caps a nearly 20 year journey for her to write the story; her patience in doing so was worth every second.

Her book is gripping, nicely structured, and gives emotional depth to a tragic story. She has skillfully imbued the book with humanity, generosity and respect for the men at the centre of it including a pilot, a cop, a criminal, and her father, a politician. It's a bestseller in the making and well deserved.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Unsung CanLit Heroes?

The fine Canadian book discussion website, 49th Shelf, recently compiled an interesting list of books we should be talking about. BULL HEAD is one of the picks.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vancouver Writer's Festival

I'm looking forward to appearing at the Vancouver Writer's Festival in the following events this week:

Tues, Oct 16: Life Stories with John Burnside, Kim Thúy and Carol Shaben

Fri, Oct 19: All in the Family with Nancy Richler, J. Jill Robinson and Heather Birrell

Tickets are still available for both events. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where Men & Mountains Meet

On Saturday, Oct 13, as part of the Calgary/Banff Wordfest's Banff Distinguished Author Series, I will be opening for the sold out event featuring Martin Amis. It's my first official event in promoting BULL HEAD. Talk about trial by fire. As my wife says, it's like opening for Led Zeppelin.

I'm jeeped to hear Amis read from his latest novel, "Lionel Asbo", a wicked satire with a punchy protagonist that reminds me of Ignatius J. Reilly in "A Confederacy of Dunces" with a profane dash of Sebastian Dangerfield from J.P. Donleavy's "The Ginger Man."

Many moons ago, I lived in Banff and worked at the sadly defunct Banff Book & Art Den. To say I'm looking forward to returning to the town as part of this event is a grievous understatement. It promises to be a great night that also includes Deni Y. Béchard and Mohammed Hanif reading, excellent writers with distinct voices. Let it snow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Workshop with Lynda Barry

Last weekend I spent the day writing with 15 others. We all started with a blank page. If that sounds like hell, well, it was. Thankfully we were guided by the venerable, always illuminating, never a dull moment writer extraordinaire, Lynda Barry, which made it a great day. The event was hosted by the Vancouver Writer's Festival.

We had been forewarned to bring in at least 3 pens and 100 sheets of blank paper. Oh yeah, we had to turn off our electronic devices nor could we check them during our limited breaks. If we accepted these terms, then we were expected to write, and write we did. Bigtime.

It was worth every moment - we filled dozens of pages, wrote at least 10 stories and generated enough ideas to fill another notebook. In the process, I was reminded of the value of including "play" as a part of my process. That is, exploring all possibilities without questioning whether they were any good, whether any of my words could eventually be published, whether any of my ideas had any external value.

After working on my book for approximately 1/8th of my lifetime, I realized I had lost the tenuous connection between exploring ideas for creativity's sake and the process of discovering "the story". This was particularly evident during the recent edits of my book, a process akin to sticking pins in your eyeball, one that took most of this year. I often questioned my intent and process - was I working too earnestly charging towards publication? Had I lost my creative impulse? Was there any way to inject joy into my process while dealing with such dark and bleak characters?

Perhaps the answers to these questions was not flattering at times, and while I certainly learned a thing or two along the way, did I choose the right process for this book? It's impossible to say now. But what I do know is that I had become insular and closed towards my own process, for better or worse. It's what Andreas Schroeder once said is akin to "the closing of the fontenelle."

The intensive workshop was a great day to learn an alternate process, one that involved shelving the computer and returning to the basics: pen and paper and organized freewriting, open to everything. The day was a creative bootcamp that has bolstered me and gave me a much needed kick in the ass. I might have drained my beloved Highland Park 18 year old whisky at the end of the day, but my guns are re-loaded - it's time to get back to work.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Di Cintio's "Walls" Gets Rave Review

Marcello Di Cintio is a hell of a writer. He's one of Canada's only true travel writers, a modern day Bruce Chatwin. Marcello journeyed to the Sahara and West Africa to capture the stories of nomadic people in his first book (Harmattan). For his second book, he learned Farsi, wrestled with Persians and discussed poetry to unearth the link between creativity and combat in Iran (Poets and Pahlevans: A Journey Into Iran).

His third book, Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, is an extraordinary feat of reportage and political narrative as he documents the stories of people and their families that live in worn torn nations and are divided by walls. It is a gripping, timely read.

Marcello gets a deserved rave review in the Globe and Mail. Read it here.

Better yet, buy it here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vancouver is Awesome

"There is a pervasive attitude that men, especially rural men, must be strong at all times."

I sat down with Vancouver is Awesome to discuss the violence in BULL HEAD, the journey in getting it published, and one of my favourite characters in the book.

Read the interview here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Read All Over

What do Marilynne Robinson, Anne Patchett, Fyodor Dostoevesky, Flannery O'Connor, Breece D'J Pancake, William Faulkner and my wife, the author Nancy Lee, have in common?

Read here to find out.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Interview with the OP

I had the unusual but fun experience of sitting down on the other side of the table to be interviewed by one of my former students, Sharon Miki, Editor in Chief of the Douglas College student newspaper, The Other Press.

Interview and review of Bull Head here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Raise a Reader

The Vancouver Sun runs an incredible series called Raise a Reader at least once a year. Local celebrities take to the streets and handsell newspapers, athletes write about literacy and writers recommend books that influenced them as young children.

I spoke about The Mad Scientist's Club, a book I read as a child in a Texas bowling alley. More here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Of Bulls, Bourbon and Books

Photo credit: Janis Brass
So much love at last night's launch. We packed The Bourbon, hoisted a few, caught up with old friends, met new ones, and of course rode the mechanical bull.

It was a fantastic evening and a great head start for Bull Head. Thanks to everyone who attended and special thanks to the incredible crew at Arsenal Pulp Press.

There's a whole slew of photos posted taken by Daniel Sarunic Photography. Enjoy.

Monday, September 17, 2012


A rave review appeared in the Vancouver Sun on the weekend.

"Vigna's stories read like the work of a drug-sick angel wired to crystal meth and cheap whiskey, haunted by the homemade sin and imperfect redemption of country music...his men are violent and self deluded, but the spare, disciplined beauty of Vigna's prose and his evident but unsentimental compassion for them floods this dark material with a kind of tender light." The full review can be read here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On Reading

The good folks at the Vancouver Writer's Festival run a cool series of interviews entitled, "Writers on Reading" that they asked me to participate in.

Proust's "À la recherche du temps perdu" might have been a difficult, deeply rewarding read, but Keith Maillard's highly entertaining and moving Raysburg series inspired me to start writing. The brief interview is posted here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Men Possessed of Dignity..."

I was in a meeting on Friday morning when my wife texted me to call home immediately. I feared an emergency, instead she alerted me to this attentive review from Steven W. Beattie in the National Post:

"...Vigna is a very serious writer, indeed. The men in Vigna’s tales resort to physical brutality as an expression of a kind of existential yearning; on a thematic level, these are stories of paralysis — of characters’ inability to rise above their circumstances — that owe as much to the work of Beckett and Joyce as to Hemingway and O’Connor."

Full review is here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We've Been Busy

Some of you might ask why it took me over 10 years to finally put one of these things up, and my only response is, we've been busy.

New website is here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Country-Noir Vision..."

The first review of BULL HEAD appeared in Canada's Globe and Mail recently. Here's an excerpt:

"Vigna showcases an aptly spare style and an impressive willingness to explore the fraught relationships of guys deeply flummoxed, or else defeated, by the wintery meanness of getting by in the valley... The outstanding strengths of Bull Head relate to Vigna’s style and voice."

To read the full review, go here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Good Mail Day

When you've been working for a long time and imagining this moment and that moment seems impossibly far away, because it is, it's a bit overwhelming and surreal when the moment finally arrives, so much so that it gives the illusion of normalcy, which is not at all how I feel.

Finished books in hand.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hoedown at The Bourbon

Wear your plaid, pull on your boots, ride the mechanical bull, buy a book, buy the author a drink, let the author buy you a drink.

The launch for Bull Head is on September 19, 2012 at 7:30pm. RSVP here.

Info on the book here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bull Head

My first book, BULL HEAD, a collection of linked stories, is scheduled to be published by Arsenal Pulp Press in September, 2012.

Buy me a whisky or two and I'd be happy to talk about it until we are both blue in the face.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the book here.

Pre-order at here.