If you’re in self-isolation and you’ve already burned through your pile of books, skip over to Invisible Publishing to grab some ebooks. The best part? Pay whatever you choose, AND one hundred percent of proceeds go to the authors. (I guess that’s two parts.) So you can scoop up my books, but also dozens of other staggeringly wonderful titles from writers like Michelle Winters, Seyward Goodhand, Tyler Hellard, HB Hogan… Fiction, poetry, nonfiction. Fill your phone or laptop or tablet or e-reader (does anyone still use those?), make your isolation more enjoyable, support independent Canadian publishing, and toss some money at Canadian authors. Everybody wins!
I answered some questions for the Ontario Media Development Corporation ahead of the Trillium Book Award presentation on June 22nd.
Quite improbably, were you to have asked me, What You Need has been nominated for the Trillium Book Prize, which is Ontario’s “leading award for literature.” Also nominated in the English-language category are Kevin Hardcastle’s Debris, Lynn Crosbie’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Robert Hough’s The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan, Karen Solie’s poetry collection The Road In is Not the Same Road Out, and Sweet Affliction by fellow Peterborough resident and friend Janette Platana. Follow that link above to see the finalists in the other categories. They’re going to feed us all a fancy dinner in late June and tell us the winners there. Janette and I may or may not be wearing Petes jerseys on the night in question.
May has been a good month. Nice things come in bunches. Thanks to everybody for everything.
Really surprised, and humbled, and pleased to report that What You Need has been nominated for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, given annually to a debut book of short fiction in Canada. Also nominated is noted layabout Kevin Hardcastle’s Debris, Heather O’Neill’s Daydreams of Angels, Hugh Graham’s Last Words, and Gerard Beirne’s In a Time of Drought and Hunger. What a thrill to be named alongside those writers and those excellent books.
To celebrate the announcement, Invisible Publishing has knocked a few coins off the price of the book, and also bundled it together with The Utility of Boredom at a great price, so if you’ve yet to read the book, hurry over to the site and take advantage.
Also, wonderfully, for today only, Found Press, who’ve published three of my stories, including two from What You Need, are offering all three for free. Make haste!
I’m grateful to the Writer’s Union of Canada, and to anyone who’s read the book, as well as everyone who’s reached out with kind words today. I woke up thinking it’d be a regular Tuesday, and then this. I’m amazed.
The Puritan has published a detailed and thoughtful review/critical essay of What You Need, written by Jeremy Hanson-Finger. I’m grateful to the author as well as to the editors of The Puritan for the light they shine on independent Canadian literature.
From “I Just Wanna Be Around Adults, Really: Masculinity in Andrew Forbes’ What You Need“:
What You Need […] explores the negative effects of this nostalgia for simple male archetypes with a combination of earnestness and satire. […] Forbes’s greatest success is in taking the high tragedy out of traditionally masculine narratives. His best stories elicit a sense of loss—not for unfulfilled archetypes, but for people who could have contributed to society in a more meaningful and responsible way if they had relinquished outmoded definitions of manhood…
What You Need is an excellent book, and arguably the debut of the year insofar as short fiction is concerned. Every character is fully realized and three-dimensional; every story sparkles with granular detail and the kind of profound emotional insight that only comes with having lived the difficult passage between the expectations of youth and the ambiguities of adulthood. The book is full of wit, and, despite its subject matter, laugh-out-loud funny in places.
— Mark Dickinson, The Fiddlehead
Over at Goodreads you can enter to win one of three signed copies of What You Need. You have until July 31st to put your name in the hat. Details here.
Forbes’s characters are complex, yet don’t come across as over the top or unbelievable. They appear simply as normal folk dealing — with varying degrees of success — with what life throws at them…
What You Need is a strong collection that leaves its reader wanting more.
— Katie Ingram, Quill & Quire
The tension that was present in the van before we went into the store has been replaced by a breezy feeling. An easy give and take, an attitude like, fuck it, it’s the Memorial Day weekend, and the sun is out in America. Our afternoon promises hammers and power tools and cold beer. I’ll get a burn on my forearms. There will be barbecued hamburgers. The kids will climb trees.
— from “What You Need,” available at Little Fiction.
[T]he writing… is well-crafted. What You Need is compelling reading.
— Jade Colbert, “Three fiction debuts worth a read,” The Globe and Mail