Prof’s novel up for Toronto book award

Poet Don Coles‘s novel, Doctor Bloom’s Story, is one of five shortlisted for a Toronto Book Award. The book, which deals with a Dutch-born doctor who moves to the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area, relies heavily on the author’s own experiences, reported the North York Mirror June 24. “I’m not a doctor, so I had to ask a friend to help me out to make sure that the life my protagonist was living in his downtown office was realistic, but I made sure to set it in an area I know well,” he said.

Coles decided to try his hand as a novelist after retiring from his career as a humanities professor at York University. He had written two books in his 20s, but Dr. Bloom’s Story is his first published work. Coles also led writing workshops both at the University and at the Banff School of Arts in Alberta. He had focused extensively on poetry while working. “Teaching university wasn’t supposed to be a full-time job but it worked out that way,” he said. “I didn’t have time to really sit down and work on something of this size until I retired, and then once I did it took me three years.”

While his work on Dr. Bloom’s Story pulled Coles away from his poetry, he has quickly returned to familiar ground now that his novel is finished. He is working on a compilation of his first six (of 10) poetry books, many of which are out of print, as well as a prose book where he will include essays on poetry writing.

On air

  • As a guest on TVO’s “More to Life” June 22, Scott Fielder, a contract chemistry professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering and instructor at Humber College’s School of Media & Information Technology, explained that everyone should be passionate about science since everything around us is made up of chemistry.