First time Canadian novelist Terry Fallis has just won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
I met Terry, who is a McMaster Graduate, when he contacted me at the McMaster University bookstore (Titles) wondering if we would be interested in carrying his first novel The Best Laid Plans. I was intrigued to see that he had put a lot of effort into promoting the novel by offering the entire thing for free via a podcast feed, and started listening to it. And despite my initial disinterest with politics, I was immediately hooked.
Terry's characters captured my heart and funny bone and took me on a fantastic ride in what was one of the best books I read in 2007. This tale of a reluctant politician's rise to power is touching, heartfelt and hilarious.
When I learned that Terry had been short-listed for the Leacock award, I was delighted that it received the recognition it so truly deserved. Because of Terry's podcast of the novel, he'd had much success in building an audience not only in Canada, but with listeners all over the world. And because it's not atypical for a Canadian to have to find success outside of our own country, up until the Leacock nod, it looked entirely possible that The Best Laid Plans was celebrated more in foreign countries. For example, his podcast of the novel was picked up by the English-language service of Radioropa, Europe's largest satellite radio network.
But now, very deservingly, Terry has been recognized in a fittingly prestigious way. And I'm delighted for him. But more importantly, I'm delighted for the people who are now likely to discover and savour this truly wonderful humourous novel.
This week's picture (a rehash of an old HNT post), is simply a picture of me reading Terry's novel The Best Laid Plans. With a poke in the side for folks to go check it out now. Either buy the book (it's available through all major online booksellers like Amazon and Chapters/Indigo) or go listen to the podcast. You will thank me for it.