Excerpt from The Maze

April 2014

In advance of the late May release of my new book, The Maze, A Thomas Pichon Novel, Cape Breton University Press is making available a short excerpt, taken from the beginning of Chapter 2. If that interests you, please copy and paste the link below.

http://cbup.ca/books/johnston-maze-thomas-pichon-novel/

An Odd Moment with Richard Ford

March 2014

I went to hear American writer Richard Ford last evening. He was giving a reading and answering questions at St. Mary’s university in Halifax. It was great.

In the Q&A something odd occurred. In reply to a question Ford said his thinking on a particular matter was influenced by a book he had read many years ago. My immediate thought, before he said another word, was of a book that had been the most influential book I’ve ever read, Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which I read probably forty years ago and not since. Ford went on, and said: “Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” My eyes went wide. I smiled. I suppose we’re of the same generation, though he’s older than me. But still.

Literary Arts Forum, Montreal

February 2014

I feel very fortunate to have been at the Forum organized by the Canada Council for the Arts and held in Montreal, Feb. 14-15. There were over 200 of us (novelists, poets, essayists, publishers, translators, agents, spoken word artists and more), as well as CC staff, trying to figure out the best ways ahead for Canada’s literary industry. The discussions gave us a great deal to think about, and the shared energy and renewed engagement of all participants was a highlight. We’re at a crisis of sorts — for a variety of reasons, with tech. change near the top of the list — and it’s vitally important that the nation and its public policymakers lay the groundwork for its creators to flourish, not wither away. Copyright must be protected, authors encouraged, and literature in all its forms given the opportunity to thrive. We need and want more than what NY and LA produce. Canada is not just geography, industry and politics; it’s a place with a soul and a mind. Writers, painters, musicians and all the other arts are continuing to build this land, from esprit to esprit as well as from sea to sea.

Review of Thomas, A Secret Life

January 2014

CBU Press just drew a review to my attention. Please follow the link below. I’m pretty pleased, especially about altering this reviewer’s expectations and understanding of what historical fiction is and can be. Speaking of which, I prefer to think of it as period fiction, rather than historical fiction.

http://www.antigonishreview.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=519

Twitter @ajbjohnston

January 2014

I don’t like to think it’s vanity, but rather another way to stay abreast of what’s going on. I also like the challenge of expressing myself on a topic in 140 characters or less.

Recollections of the Fortress of Louisbourg

January 2014

Vol. 30 of The Nashwaak Review, published by St. Thomas University in Fredericton, is just out. It contains the usual range of articles from across the spectrum of the arts. One of the pieces is a forum on what it was like to work at the Fortress of Louisbourg over the years. Forum participants were B.A. (Sandy) Balcom, Ken Donovan, Brenda Dunn, Bruce Fry, Christopher Moore and me. The issue also has an article by Sandy Balcom any historian interested in the 18th century will want to read.