ISSUE 1 VOL 2 PROFILE: Naben Ruthnum

Fiction //
Holdout Man

Read the full text
of Naben Ruthnum's "Holdout Man"

HLR: When and where did you write the work published in this issue?

This was written in a few early morning sessions at Capital Espresso in Parkdale. Usually I do most of my writing at home, and only edit in public places, but this one didn’t follow that rule.

HLR: Was the story inspired by anything particular?

I’d done some research on magic and cardsharp gambling for another story I was writing, which hasn’t yet been published. The New Jersey in the 80s element came from research for yet another story—my one about standup comics, which was published in the Walrus this summer. I’m really interested in these working-class Jersey towns, perhaps from having watched too much Sopranos. Or maybe it was Bon Jovi that did it.

HLR: Do you consider your work to be cross-pollinated by other disciplines? 

The movies, and also performance-based arts like standup, singing, and stage magic.

HLR: Where is your favourite place to write outside the home?

Home is best, but that café I mentioned works. John W. Graham library too.

HLR: How does travel affect your writing?

Writing means I can’t afford to travel.

HLR: How do the Internet and your presence on the Internet affect your thinking and writing?

It has made research infinitely easier and has helped me to make important friendships and contacts with other writers and editors, but it can be a terrible, career-throttling distraction if you allow it to be.

HLR: What are you currently reading?

Darconville’s Cat by Alexander Theroux, and Providence by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows.

Naben Ruthnum is a Toronto-based writer whose fiction has won The Malahat Review’s 2012 Novella Contest and the 2013 Journey Prize. He is the “Crimewave” columnist for the National Post