301 Moved Permanently

301 Moved Permanently


Jon Paul Fiorentino’s Red Letter Day

redletter_smallI-mNotScared_mediumRed Letter Day is a new 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell me about a dream day where all pleasures are possible, thanks to a combination of extraordinary talent and mad cash.

Today that day is envisioned by Jon Paul Fiorentino, author, most recently, of I’m Not Scared of You or Anything (Anvil Press), his second collection of short fiction.

Here is the premise: It’s been a good year. Things are looking up. You’ve sold your book, some lucrative foreign rights, and won a few prizes. AND it’s your birthday. It’s time to treat yourself. For once, money is no object. It’s time to go live a little.

And so …


GM: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (JPF: McNally Robinson in Winnipeg) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been meaning to buy. What are they?


GM: Then you see a struggling student scanning the shelves of the Canadian Literature section. You decide to “pay it forward” and buy three must-read books by Canadian authors to leave anonymously at the counter for the student. What are they?




morrisseyGM: You’re a little bushed from all that buying and being considerate. So you’re going to go home, flake out on the couch for a while, and do some stuff that makes you happy. First, what’s the killer album you’re going to listen to: 

GM: What’s a movie you’ve always wanted to see?

JPF: Star Wars (I hear it’s nifty).

GM: What non-book website will you visit?

JPF: The Winnipeg Free Press.

GM: What else are you going to do?

JPF: Eat sandwiches in bed.

GM: Now you’re going to fly ten friends into town and take them out for dinner somewhere special. Where are you going to go? Why?

JPF: Lola Rosa, Parc Avenue, Montreal, for all of the vegan poutine.

GM: At dinner, that good old question comes up: what would you be if you weren’t a writer?

JPF: I’d be a drug dealer. Just like I was before I took up writing.

GM: Then they ask you about your latest book. What do you say? How do you describe it in two sentences?

JPF: I’m Not Scared of You or Anything is a ridiculous comedic book filled with short stories about a bunch of jerks being jerks to other jerks. It’s beautifully illustrated by Maryanna Hardy and features bits such as Teen Wolf Quotes Slavoj Zizek and Mr. Spock Says Things from Episodes of GIRLS.

GM: Finally, because you’re the sort of person who puts aside 10% of your income for charity, you decide to spend make a significant a charitable donation.

JPF: People for the Ethical Treatment of Poets.

GM: That night you head to bed a contented person. Only one thing remains: deciding which of your new books you’ll read first until you fall asleep.

JPF: Tenth of December, by George Saunders.



Jon Paul Fiorentino is the author of I’m Not Scared of You or Anything, Needs Improvement, Stripmalling (a Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction finalist), and five poetry collections, including The Theory of the Loser Class, which was shortlisted for the A. M. Klein Prize, and Indexical Elegies, which won the 2009 CBC Books”Bookie” Award for Best Book of Poetry.

He has written for The National Post, Walrus, Maisonneuve, sub-Terrain, The Huffington Post, The Montreal Gazette, The Barnstomer, New American Writing, Hobo, Joyland, The Capilano Review, Event, The Winnipeg Review, The Queen Street Quarterly, fillingStation, Prism International, Opium, and many other publications.

Fiorentino lives in Montreal, where he teaches Creative Writing at Concordia University, is the Editor-in-Chief of Matrix magazine, is a poetry editor for Joyland, the poetry editor for the Snare Imprint of Invisible Publishing, and the fiction editor for the Serotonin/Wayside Imprint of Insomniac Press.

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