Five Questions with… Emily Pohl-Weary

Emily Pohl-Weary, author of Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl and an upcoming IFOA participant, answered our five questions!

Share this article via Twitter or Facebook for your chance to win two tickets to see Emily on October 1! Don’t forget to tag @IFOA!

IFOA: Your upcoming poetry collection is called Ghost Sick. Can you describe “ghost sickness” to our readers?

Emily Pohl-Weary: Ghost sickness or heartbreak syndrome is an explanation for what causes people to waste away from grief. In medical circles, it’s actually called “complex grief syndrome,” which is a label for when living people develop unhealthy relationships with death or someone who’s deceased. Essentially, it’s the belief that an angry ghost might return and try to take someone else with them.

IFOA: Your recent young adult novel, Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, offers a twist on the paranormal romance genre. What inspired it?

Pohl-Weary: When I began writing Wolf Girl, I’d just finished reading a very popular series of novels featuring male werewolves and vampires who were in love with a human girl. Any guesses? She could barely stay on her own two feet, and there was absolutely nothing interesting about her, except for the two monsters who loved her. This seemed so absurd to me and I got to thinking about why fictional monsters are almost always men. Are we too afraid of monstrous girls? Why? What would a ferocious teen girl be like? There was a lot of unexplored territory. I decided to see what would happen if a small, pretty teen girl turned into the physical manifestation of her worst nightmare.

IFOA: You’ve worked on a lot of different writing projects recently (a teen novel published last year, a new collection of poetry, the revision of a feature film screenplay). Why is literary variety important to you?

Pohl-Weary: Each project demands its proper form and genre. I couldn’t have conveyed the experiences in Ghost Sick through anything but poetry, or the high-paced, character-driven plot of Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl in anything but a novel. It takes me a really long time to finish a writing project and when I’m learning—which is inevitable when you change genres—it’s easier to stay engaged. I’m influenced by all kinds of storytelling and want to write whatever I’m consuming. In my opinion, movies, TV shows, video games, songs and comics are just as fascinating and filled with potential as books.

IFOA: You’re currently working toward your PhD in Adult Education and Community Development. How have you balanced your education with your creative writing?

Pohl-Weary: Not too well! I’m hoping to get back to the research in the new year. But I love the way the scholarly community encourages people to wrestle with huge theories and concepts, and that little people (like me) get to stand on the shoulders of giants. My hope is that whatever thesis I eventually write will turn some important thoughts into a format that’s accessible to a wider audience. I’ve been thinking a lot about how popular teaching methods can make creative writing more accessible to a diversity of voices and life experiences.

IFOA: You’re very involved in literary outreach programmes in Toronto. Can you explain your role as the 2014 Toronto Public Library eWriter in Residence for Young Voices?

Pohl-Weary: From October to December, I’ll be available as an online resource for young Toronto writers via the TPL’s website at tpl.ca/teens. So if you’re between the ages of 12 and 19, and like to write, you can submit a story, poem, rant or whatever for feedback, and I’ll respond by email. I’m also going to be blogging about the writing life, tips I’ve gleaned, resources, and my path to becoming a writer. Basically, it’s an opportunity for me to geek out about writing while encouraging teenagers. How fun is that? I truly love the Young Voices programming at the library—it’s innovative and brings teen writers into the Canadian literary conversation.

Emily Pohl-Weary is an award-winning author, editor and arts educator. Join her and other members of The Writer’s Union of Canada on October 1 as they discuss what it means to write in Canada today.

This Week at IFOA: Eric McCormack

Share this article via Twitter or Facebook to receive two tickets to see Eric on September 17! One lucky person will also win a copy of Eric’s latest novel, Cloud. Remember to tag @IFOA!

McCormack, EricDon’t let his 12-year break from writing fool you; Eric McCormack returns with a masterful novel that is an intimate and perplexing study of how the past haunts us and how we remain mysterious to others, even ourselves. In McCormack’s classic literary Gothic style, Cloud chronicles the story of Harry Steen. One serendipitous day, Harry discovers a mid-19th-century account of a sinister storm cloud that plagued an isolated Scottish village, causing gruesome and unexplainable deaths. But Harry has his own connections to that village: it was there that he met the woman whose love and betrayal have haunted him every day since. Presented with this astonishing record, Harry resolves to seek out the ghosts of his past and return to the very place where he encountered the fathomless depths of his own heart.

Before you pick up and get started on your own copy of Cloud, be sure to read some of the excellent reviews it’s been receiving. National Post says that “Cloud is indisputably [the] best novel to date” from “one of our most boldly original and entertaining writers,” while The Globe and Mail says that “it is virtually impossible not to be caught up in the momentum of Cloud.”McCormack, Cloud

Eric McCormack taught English for over 30 years at St. Jerome’s College at the University of Waterloo, specializing in 17th-century and contemporary literature. He has been a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Please join us on September 17 for what will undoubtedly be a fabulous evening offering insight into this established Canadian writer. In addition to reading and discussing Cloud, Eric McCormack will be joined on stage by notable crime writer Peter May.

 

 

 

Page 8 of 8« First...45678