15 Year’s A Charm For Novice Junction Novelist Reading at Annette Street Public Library Tuesday, November 26


Plucked from the Slushpile, Debut Novel Defies Expectations

Carolyn Bennett had left her novel for dead.

The writer and stand-up comedian began writing Please Stand By in 2004 as part of the Humber School for Writers’ Correspondence Program. Over the years she had chipped away at the manuscript and sent it to some publishers and agents. Encouraging rejection aside, as a first-time novelist with no connections in the business, Ms. Bennett knew she faced a grueling uphill battle.

“Honestly, I never thought my novel would see the light of day,” says Bennett.
“I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much. Self-publishing was not an option for me.

I figured it would sit in a drawer, like many first novels do.”

The satire, set in the throes of a bone-chilling Edmonton winter, tells the story of Suzanne Foley, an alcoholic public television writer who enlists reluctant coworkers to fight new management who threaten to gut the station. The story’s absurd situations are juxtaposed by hard and dark truths that Suzanne must face.

Bennett sent the manuscript to Vancouver’s Now or Never Publishing three years ago. She didn’t hear from them and figured the novel languished in the slush pile. Then in April of last year, she received an email from the publisher, apologizing for the delay and saying that if the story was still available, they would like to publish it.

“I felt shock and awe,” says Bennett. “I still do. To all the aspiring novelists out there, all I can say is keep your expectations low. If you do manage to land a publisher in this environment, it’s like winning the lottery, without the money. All it took was 15 years.”

The novel had a preview launch in Edmonton in September. Bennett was surprised to learn that the book made #4 on the Edmonton fiction bestseller list for that week.

“Maybe they think I’m Carolyn Bennett, MP. That’s okay with me.”


What: Author Talk: Carolyn Bennett reading from debut novel Please Stand By
When: Tuesday November 26. 7pm
Where: Annette Street, Toronto Public Library

145 Annette Street, Toronto, ON  M6P 1P3
For more information: hirutjazz@gmail.com
…all text the event organizer.

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