“WHAT’S IT LIKE, BEING MARRIED TO MARGARET ATWOOD?”

Every so often, as I roam around book Festivals, or other literary events, a conversation with a nice stranger will take an odd turn. They ( and they’re usually women, but not always) will start to ask what it’s like  “having two writers in the family”. I’m able to laugh this off, explaining that Jane is much too sensible to get into writing, ha, ha. But sometimes they are more direct, asking about what  “Margaret” or even “Peggy” is up to these days.

And it becomes clear that they think that I’m Graeme Gibson.

Now Graeme is a very fine fellow, and I’m pleased to call him a friend, even if we’re not related. But we both suffer ( at least I hope he suffers from people telling him how much they enjoyed his publishing memoirs) from having a very common Canadian surname, in the narrow confines of the world of books, which leads to our being mistaken for one another.

We are both keen birders, and have worked for Adventure Canada, and are members of The Writers’ Union of Canada(which he helped to found) and I have published him with pride in the past, so life often throws us pleasantly together.

Never more pleasantly, however, than in August at Port Medway in Nova Scotia. After I had performed my stage show, I signed books at the local Fire Hall. The excited volunteers told me at the end that I had sold 29 copies of my book, the most ever in the 12 years of the Readers’ Festival…matched only by Graeme Gibson.

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