From Our Friends at ForeWord Reviews: An Interview with Nicole Dixon

Hello Quill fans! Excited for Nicole Dixon’s readings across Western Canada as part of the FICTIONistas Canada Tour? We sure are! Nicole’s fresh off a nomination for the Atlantic Book Awards, and now, we’re gearing up for the tour by giving you all a bit of insight into this break-out author’s creative genius with a short interview from our friends at ForeWord Reviews.

Nicole Dixon

(Note: This post is reprinted with permission from ForeWord Reviews. It was originally published on February 2, 2013 as part of the ForeWord This Week newsletter announcing Nicole Dixon as the winner of the ForeWord Firsts Debut Fiction Competition in Fall 2012.)

by ForeWord Reviews

Nicole Dixon, debut fiction author of High-Water Mark. An electronic resources librarian at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada, Nicole’s work has appeared in The New Quarterly, Grain, The Fiddlehead, and Canadian Notes and Queries. She won the Writers’ Trust of Canada RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for short fiction in 2005.

What do we need to know about your book?

The stories in High-Water Mark have been called smart, sassy, sexy, funny and fiercely direct. The book consists of ten stories that follow the lives of contemporary characters pursuing romantic and professional desires, while encountering and recovering from betrayal and heartbreak. They’re characters who are just like us—they make mistakes and recover, get sidetracked from goals they thought were important and often end up somewhere different than they expected.

The book itself is (physically) beautiful. My publisher, The Porcupine’s Quill, is one of the only presses in Canada that makes artisanal books: It’s hand made with sewn binding on laid paper—it’s a pleasure even to hold!

Why are you a writer?

Simply, I love telling stories. Good narratives excite me. I also feel that the stories I tell—about contemporary women characters—are often missing from our literature. Not so much in the States, but definitely in Canada. In a way, I write to fill that void, to bring attention to characters that are often missing from the books I read. So, in a way, I write stories I wish I could read more often.

Who influenced you?

There are a number of writers who have influenced me, but in regards to short stories, Alice Munro and Lorrie Moore were big influences while writing this collection. I listen to the New Yorker Fiction Podcast religiously and from it discovered Stephanie Vaughn and Denis Johnson. I love Carver’s sparse style (which I know comes from his editor Gordon Lish). Richard Ford’s A Multitude of Sins is a great collection. In Canada, I’m a fan of Bill Gaston and Charlotte Gill.

What are you reading now?

I’m going back and forth between Zadie Smith’s NW, and Alice Munro’s Dear Life—Munro’s latest collection is her best since Runaway. I also just finished Meg Wolitzer’s The Position, which didn’t have the strongest of plots, but had a very interesting collection of characters.

Has writing this book changed anything in your life?

I suppose each writing success—and I count having this book published, especially as it’s my first book—has given me the confidence to continue on as a writer. Writing can be tough, so every step in the writing process that I accomplish—and every success—gives me encouragement to continue. It’s also nice that I can finally call myself a professional writer. It took me a while to get this book out there (ten years!). I’ve thought of myself as a writer for a while, but it’s nice that it’s finally official.

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Want to see Nicole in action? She will be participating in the following FICTIONistas events:


When: Monday, May 27th, 2013
Where: Beehive Wool Shop, 1700 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC
Event Starts: 7:00 p.m.


When: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
Where: People’s Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC
Event Starts: 7:30 p.m.


When: Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
Where: Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Aveenue NW, Edmonton, AB
Event Starts: 7:00 p.m.


When: Friday, May 31th, 2013
Where: McNally-Robinson, 1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg, MB
Event Starts: 7:00 p.m.

She will also be hosting the FICTIONistas event in Montreal:


When: Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
Where: Blizzarts, 3956 St. Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QB
Event Starts: 6:00 p.m.

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For even more information about Nicole Dixon and High-Water Mark

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.