Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Book of Stanley

To paraphrase Budd Schulberg's 1941 novel*, 'What makes Todd Babiak run?' A writer for the Edmonton Journal, cranking out regular witty and incisive columns, a newish dad, a committed shopper for new slacks - and in the last two years, author of two full-length, fabulous novels. A character in one of his books might joke that it is due to the lengthy winters of Deadmonton. It is hard to waste time lolling about sun-dappled outdoor cafés discussing Truth and Beauty when it is -20 degrees and an idling Ford F-9000 pickup is pumping diesel fumes over the sidewalk. Never mind the scarcity of sun-dappled cafés.

Ian McGillis, who wrote a really funny and moving novel set in Edmonton (A Tourist's Guide to Glengarry) asked Babiak about his productivity in the Journal yesterday:

Q: You seem to maintain a remarkable workrate. As a writer myself, frankly I'm jealous. How do you do it?

Babiak: "I don't sleep. Actually, it's a mirage. Six years passed between my first novel, Choke Hold, and my second novel, The Garneau Block. In that time, I wrote a lot. Most of it was terrible but some of it was good, and I'm reworking it..."
Mirage or not, Babiak's new novel, The Book of Stanley, is out today. Like The Garneau Block, the new novel appeared as a serial in the Edmonton Journal. It has been revised for publication as a novel, and it has already received excellent reviews from major newspapers across the country.

Babiak launches The Book of Stanley tonight, with a party hosted by McClelland & Stewart and Greenwoods' Bookshoppe: 7:30 p.m. at The Billiard Club, 10505 Whyte Ave.

* What Makes Sammy Run?


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