Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Inviting Writer

Lola Lemire Tostevin is a Canadian writer (in both French and English) of fiction, poetry and criticism. She taught at York University in Toronto, where she now lives.

I met Tostevin at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada. She was writer in residence for one week in the hot summer of 1990. I was a graduate student doing a course in contemporary Canadian literature, and Tostevin shared her work and her thoughts, both at the university and at off-campus social events.

My most vivid memory is of Tostevin reading "Le Baisir de Juan-Les-Pins," part of her in-progress novel Frog Moon (1993).

We sat in a room next to a courtyard, with doors open, hoping for even the smallest breeze. Tostevin began to read and, after a very short time, the room was pin-drop silent, as we forgot the heat and were transfixed by the story and her quiet, but dramatic reading style.
Off campus, we congregated at a small backyard cottage rented by one of the other grad students. The conversation and the wine flowed in the evening heat. Tostevin shared her ideas on literature and feminism, and her advice for would be writers.
Tostevin was fun, talented, and generous with her time, her work, and her advice.
I would like to invite Lola Tostevin to my soiree.

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