Indians on Vacation Book Club: Q&A with our panelists

In advance of our event on October 8, panelists Terry Fallis, Drew Hayden Taylor and Karen McBride share their past experiences with book clubs, their favourite Thomas King books, and what they most enjoy about his writing.

Register for the event here.

What do you love about Thomas King's writing?
I love the humour in King's writing. He is a master at using humour as a different, non-traditional, but no less powerful way to frame and examine important issues. He knows that humour, if wielded skillfully, can be just as trenchant an instrument of social comment as anger and rage. And few are as skillful with purposeful humour as Thomas King.

Have you ever been in a book club before?
My wife and I have belonged to the same book club for nearly 25 years, long before I started writing. It's an important part of our lives and has certainly helped broaden my reading. I've been introduced to books I've loved that I'd never have picked up had they not been a book club selection. I look forward to the third Monday of every month for our regular meeting of the Well Read Well Fed Book Club.

What are you working on right now?
I have just finished my eighth novel, Operation Angus, and am anxiously awaiting my editor's initial reaction. It's due out sometime in 2021 from McClelland & Stewart.

What is your favourite Thomas King book?
My favourite TK book is either his classic (and how many of us can have a book designated as classic in our own lifetime) Green Grass Running Water or his collection of short stories, One Good Story, That One. Both share the imagination and skill I've come to expect from his work.  As a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, I appreciate everything he writes.

What are you working on now?
I have just finished writing a novel, a Native horror story, and am starting a collection of essays for the next instalment of my ME series of books that explore different aspects of the Indigenous world. Also beginning a new play, and perhaps starting a feature film script. Busy busy busy.

What is your favourite Thomas King book?
It has to be The Back of the Turtle for me. It was the first time I'd read his work and I was instantly hooked. The themes of environmental destruction, stewardship, and Indigeneity really resonated with me. I was lucky enough to get to study this book in grad school, so it's got a special place in my heart. Plus I got an A on that seminar and paper, so thanks for that, Mr. King!

What do you love about Thomas King's writing?
The humour. The brilliance. The truth. The magic. All of these things combine into stories that are captivating and engaging -- the kind that stay with you. And I love that I can see myself in his writing.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming book club?
I can't wait to just talk books with some great, hilarious people. I love the discussions that happen during book clubs, the exchanges of ideas and interpretations. The thought that someone could bring a new outlook or insight on a book's themes, characters, or meaning is so exciting.

Have you ever been in a book club before?
I haven't been in an official book club, but I feel like all of graduate school was a kind of intense, graded book club. So I'm really looking forward to the discussion for Indians on Vacation -- especially since this one won't end up on my academic record!

What are you working on right now?
I'm working on a few different things, including a little sprinkle of non-fiction, middle-grade writing to balance out the fiction I've been busy with. Readers can expect more magic and mystery steeped in Anishnaabe history and knowledge from me in the (hopefully near) future. Stay tuned!