Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The QWF Gala

November 17th, 2009. Lion D'or.

It was a lovely evening. Snare Books was honoured with a A.M. Klein prize nomination for Mike Spry's Jack.

I was honoured with a Hugh MacLennan Prize nomination for Stripmalling.

Friends Gillian Sze, Patrick McDonagh and David Homel were also nominated for book awards.

Most important, Adrian and Lucille King-Edwards from The Word Bookstore were honoured with the QWF Community Award. Long overdue!

It was particularly exciting for me to have the opportunity to bring my folks out to a classy event. They didn't know I had it in me!

Here are some photos.

Me and my girlfriend, Marisa


Mike Spry, David McGimpsey

Mike Spry, Gillian Sze

Me and my pops!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stripmalling Climbs the Winnipeg Charts!

Stripmalling has momentum! So close to a number one hit! I feel just like Engelbert Humperdinck when "There Goes My Everything" made it to number two. Do you know what I mean?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stripmalling makes Winnipeg Bestseller List!

Thanks to an amazing launch with Guy Maddin and the very hard working staff of McNally Robinson, I made it to number 3 on the Winnipeg Bestseller List! Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg is #1 in the Non-Fiction category!


1. Wake
Robert J. Sawyer. Science Fiction.

2. Assegai
Wilbur Smith. Fiction.

3. Stripmalling.
Jon Paul Fiorentino. Fiction.

4. The Gargoyle.
Andrew Davidson. Fiction.

5. Wicked Prey.
John Sandford. Fiction.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Ok, so I have received quite a few reviews for Stripmalling now. The reviews have been an interesting mix. I am lucky to have received very positive assessments from (in my opinion) the most important venues -- The Quill and Quire, and the Globe and Mail. Other rags and mags have been less positive. And one review is so ridiculously negative that it fails to cite the book at all and actually makes claims about my life instead! (Mmmm! Now that's good literary journalism!)

Anyways, as per usual, my two hometowns are home to the harshest criticism. And, overall, I am very pleased with the response to the book.

Here's the good, the bad and the ugly:

Stripmalling is the first novel by Jon Paul Fiorentino, and a very funny one it is.... Amid the hilarious scenes that make up Stripmalling — gas-station hot-boxing, desperate ploys for sex, moderate success in the writing world — Fiorentino produces peaks of warmth and true sadness.
— Globe and Mail

It's a Canadian triumph. It's not pretty, but it's a great romp. A funny, funny romp.
— Lemon Hound

Stripmalling is an entertaining, occasionally disorienting trip through the wires of Jonny, a presumably semi-fictional character working in and around a strip mall in suburban Winnipeg.... Outrageous, intriguing and quietly powerful, Stripmalling offers readers the curious and ultimately rewarding experience of stepping outside their own stories.
— Scene Magazine

Stripmalling is an author’s memoir freed from the tyranny of facts. Jonny shares his personal issues with an off-the-wall candour.... From the top of Stripmalling, you see a keen mind at work under the quirky surface.
— Xtra

There’s a welcome what-the-hell bent to the fictionalized part-memoir, part-graphic novel collage that is Jon Paul Fiorentino’s Stripmalling.
— Toronto Star (Arrivals)

...poignant, politically savvy and laugh-out-loud-funny...
— Montreal Mirror

Stripmalling is worth reading for its wry, sardonic humour and delightfully self- deprecating tone . . . Thoroughly enjoyable.
— Montreal Review of Books

[Stripmalling has] a poignant tension between narrative and fragmentation, hopefulness and cynicism. . . . [Fiorentino has] become one of Montreal's — and Canada's — most prolific and accomplished young writers.
— Hour

A collage-like experience, Stripmalling is a hybrid book forged out of multiple angles and perspectives. It is also a funny and clever experiment in tale-telling.
— Quill and Quire

Stripmalling is an amusing, breezy read ... well-paced fun
— Complete Review


He certainly does bits well: the comic strips "Helen Keller’s Voice Mail" and "Dubious Toasts" are tastelessly hilarious, aided considerably by Munday’s understated cartooning. Nor is Fiorentino without insight. What he needs to do next time is supply a final act.
— Winnipeg Free Press

Sometimes the line between hipster irony and boringly bad is too narrow to discern.... If everybody's alienated and nobody cares, what's the point of reading any further? There's a reason why The Simpsons isn't a novel.*
— Toronto Star (Column)


It should never be enough to simply regurgitate one's lack of a significant life... Sadly, instead of building on his strengths, Fiorentino wallows in his weaknesses – lack of plot, banal observations, cheap characterization, hipster posing.
— Montreal Gazette

An aside: It's interesting to note that in the most scathing indictments of Stripmalling, the word "hipster" is invoked. I think these days, "hipster" is scribe code for "young and/or threatening." See Carl Wilson's excellent response to Russell Smith for a more nuanced and complex discussion of this.

Another aside: *(Hey, Toronto Star dude: Actually, writers of The Simpsons care very much about cultural literacy and intellectual/literary practice. Stop being reductive and try reading John Swartzwelder's wonderful novels. He wrote 59 episodes of The Simpsons and his books are brilliant.)

So there you have it. The responses to my book so far. It obviously hits a nerve with readers. I am thankful for the good and bad reviews. The ugly one is just ugly. Is Stripmalling hipster posing and boringly bad? Or is it funny, clever and poignant? Go buy it and let me know what you think.

Now let's all sit back, relax, and listen to the clearly not hipster band The Smoking Popes!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Official Montreal Launch - Blue Metropolis

THURSDAY, APRIL 23 2009 @ 7:00 PM


The launch of Stripmalling, a tale of love, art, and low, low retail prices.
Jon Paul Fiorentino's first novel, followed by a reading and reception.
Hosted by Maya Merrick.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Toronto Launch Filmed and Online at Now Toronto

Here it is. God, I was nervous. Evan was charming. Zoe was lovely and clever. One of my favourite nights ever.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


I am honoured, Toronto. You came out, bought books and made me a very happy camper. Click here.

I am honoured, Sina Queyras. You are one of my favourite writers! Click here.

I am honoured, shrinking Globe Books Section. Click here.

I hope to see you Montreal peeps tonight. God, I am a nervous one.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


There is a cover story on Stripmalling here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pages Window!

A Stripmalling display went up at Pages last night in order to promote the March 2nd Toronto launch. Visit Pages!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blues and Bliss review!

The reviews are pouring in this week! In the Globe and Mail, Sonnet L'Abbe has reviewed Blues and Bliss: The Poetry of George Elliott Clarke, edited and introduced by yours truly. Very proud of this book!

"In this helpful volume, Jon Paul Fiorentino calls Clarke's voice "polyphonic": that is, a unique blend of identities that includes blues singer, preacher, cultural critic, exile, Africadian, high modernist, spoken-word artist and Canadian poet.... The selection of poems, which includes pieces from seven books, including the now-Canadian-canonized Whylah Falls, is testament to the range of cadence and rhythm that makes up Clarke's multi-vocal range."

Review here.

Book here.

Quill Review

The first review of Stripmalling is now online: here

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

First Stripmalling Review!!!

Alex Good from the Quill and Quire is the first to review my debut novel, Stripmalling. Here is the best part:

A collage-like experience, Stripmalling is a hybrid book forged out of multiple angles and perspectives. It is also a funny and clever experiment in tale-telling.

— Alex Good, Quill and Quire

It's a well-written review and a positive one. Phew. The full review should be up on the Quill and Quire site soon and in the March print edition.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Please join me in Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal to celebrate the release of Stripmalling!

March 1st - Hamilton

Stripmalling Launch at LitLive
The Sky Dragon Centre
27 King William Street
Hamilton, ON

March 2nd - Toronto

Stripmalling Launch at TINARS
Featuring the premiere screening of:
The Way of the Smock: The Making of Stripmalling
And an on-stage interview of Jon Paul Fiorentino and Evan Munday by Zoe Whittall
Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON

March 8th - Montreal

Stripmalling Party
Featuring David McGimpsey, Jason Camlot, Sarah Steinberg, and your host, Maya Merrick
3908 St. Laurent
Montreal QC

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Desk space

If you wanna see where I work, with all of its IKEA shame, go to Evie Christie's Desk Space!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

That Lemon Hound!

Here you will find a shameless rip-off of Rejected Essay Titles by Jon Paul Fiorentino, Sarah Steinberg and David McGimpsey. After we collaborated on this bit for a while, I then ripped off Steinberg and McGimpsey by putting the funniest ones in my book, Asthmatica. Anyways, Sina's are awesome!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh my god! Stephen Street!

It has just come to my attention just how much of the music I love has been produced or written by Stephen Street. I knew about his involvement in Viva Hate/Bona Drag by Morrissey and the all the Blur albums, but The Kaiser Chiefs! The Courteeners! Graham Coxon! The Pretenders! Lloyd Cole! Sleeper! Oh my! I should have known!

Go to his website to discover his work and his story.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mystery shopped

Check it out: Mystery Shopped at Joyland.

Monday, January 12, 2009

One day goodbye will be farewell

This is my favourite song from Morrissey's new album. It's kind of hilarious. The message is not: DON'T abuse the one you love, but just BE CAREFUL when you abuse the one you love. I guess Morrissey is saying pick your spots when you need to abuse.

It also contains the lines: "I have been thinking (what with?) / My final brain cell." Which cracks me up.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My Winter Schedule & Update

On Tuesday, I teach one of my favourite courses at Concordia -- The Creative Process. I introduce students to the work of many amazing contemporary and canonical writers and encourage them to discover their own process and poetics.

This Thursday, I head to Toronto to film The Way of the Smock: The Making of Stripmalling, with Evan Munday, Michael Holmes, and others. It should be a sufficiently embarrassing mockumentary.

Next week we begin to put together the next issue of Matrix -- The Anxiety Issue, edited by Mikhail Iossel and John Goldbach. If you haven't heard of John, you will. I just finished edits on his first book, Selected Blackouts, and it's very good. It will be out with Insomniac on the Serotonin/Wayside imprint in a few months.

Stripmalling is in the can, with final dust jacket and pages. I will be a bundle of nerves until it is safely in my hands. You can check out a chapter from Stripmalling on in the next day or two. Also take a look at my website which has the cover of the book and the blurbs. (Guy Maddin, Emily Schultz, and Joe Meno!)

On March 1st, I go to Hamilton to launch Stripmalling. And on March 2nd, I am doing This Is Not A Reading Series for the Toronto Stripmalling launch.

There are other things I am not allowed to talk about yet, but they should be fun!