Now recognized by both reviewers and readers as one of Canada’s prose masters, Timothy Taylor took a somewhat unexpected route in establishing his writing career. After completing an economics degree at the University of Alberta and an MBA at the Queen’s School of Business, Taylor worked for four years in commercial banking, during which time he arranged to transfer from Toronto to his childhood home of Vancouver, where he still lives. However, Taylor had long known that he wanted to write, so he made the decision to leave his job and try to make a go of it, establishing his own Pacific fisheries consulting practice in order to give his new freelance writing career some stability.
As Taylor mentioned in one interview, it was all part of the slow process of developing himself as an author: “It’s difficult to have serious writing ambitions and run your own business at the same time. Both pursuits deserve your full attention, but writing won’t return a living wage at the beginning, so there are some hard realities.” Yet Taylor also feels that his writing has benefited immensely from his work in other areas: “I needed exposure to people in different fields with problems and issues and objectives outside the world of writing. If I had tried to start a novel in my mid-twenties after studying creative writing, I can’t imagine what I would have written about. I admire people who succeed this way and, recently, I’ve met quite a few.”
During this time, Taylor began writing his first novel, Stanley Park, and also worked on his short fiction, which began to be accepted by literary magazines. This turned out to be a valuable step for Taylor, as he began to feel a part of the literary community. As he said in one interview, “For me, literary magazines were really important to how I ended up making contact with anybody whatsoever. Because, I think, for beginning writers the only dialogue you have going on about your writing – where anybody will actually talk to you – is the letter exchange you have with lit mags…. And that conversation – you writing and submitting, and them writing you back this letter – represents this small dialogue, and it’s the only one you’re having.” The time spent perfecting his short stories came to fruition when Taylor’s “Doves of Townsend” was awarded the Journey Prize (Canada’s equivalent to the O. Henry Award) in 2000. Remarkably, he had two other stories on the competition’s final shortlist that year, and was the first Canadian writer ever to have three short stories up for the prize and included in the Journey Prize Anthology.
The following year, Stanley Park was published as part of Knopf Canada’s New Face of Fiction program, to outstanding reviews. (It was at this point that Taylor was finally able to wrap up his consultancy business and write full time.) The novel follows a food artiste named Jeremy Papier into the inner sanctums of Vancouver’s culinary scene, and Jeremy’s father, an anthropologist who camps out in Stanley Park to study homelessness, into the city’s underbelly. Stanley Park was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, the City of Vancouver Book Award, the Ethel Wilson Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.
That novel was followed by Silent Cruise, a collection of short fiction, in 2002, and Story House, a novel, in 2006. Both books received broad critical acclaim. The Blue Light Project followed in 2011, and has been lauded for not only its thriller-like intensity but the important questions it raises about how we live in our world, and what our future might hold. Taylor has also been widely published and recognized for his non-fiction magazine work, and has been a finalist for or winner of a dozen separate magazine awards. Today, Timothy Taylor continues to publish stories in Canada’s leading literary magazines, in addition to writing travel, humour, arts and business pieces for various periodicals, and writing for film.
I am not sure if Timothy Taylor is prescient or just knows how to read the wind, but The Blue Light Project, published in April 2011 and undoubtedly in the works for some time... Read morePublished on January 30, 2012 by dlhanna
Hostage taking in 2011 is not an event, but is more about walking away physically from the site, what gawkers? and next to no interest on t.v. or radio. Read morePublished on December 3, 2011 by Chris Roberts
The story was a good idea, but I had a hard time understanding/sympathizing with the characters. They seemed to float through the stories, I wasn't sure what was motivating them. Read morePublished on August 1, 2011 by Elizabeth
This novel is strange. It is difficult to ascertain a specific time frame or a locality. The story moves back and forth from one location to another, from one character to another... Read morePublished on July 19, 2011 by thewanderingjew
The Blue Light Project is a social commentary into today's society. What starts out as a mysterious person takes hostages at a television studio during a children's talent show, it... Read morePublished on June 21, 2011 by grumpydan
I just finished The Blue Light Project by Timothy Taylor. Taylor is a west coast writer from B.C. I've only read one other book by him (he's written three), Stanley Park which was... Read morePublished on May 12, 2011 by sonicbooming