Terra Arnone


Toronto, ON

Terra Arnone

Freelance writer covering books, sports, and the people who make them interesting | Toronto, Ontario | @terraarnone


The World According to Garp, forty years later

A little over 40 years ago, some self-loathing literary somebody walked into the Dutton publishing boardroom with an early manuscript of John Irving’s fourth book in hand. If that doesn’t sound like the beginning of a very funny story, I’d recommend you read the novel (or its synopsis) and start again.

Review: A layered, moving time-warped fantasy

In 2015, Brossard-born author Daniel Grenier published his first novel, an acclaimed debut landing him a spot on the Governor General’s French-language fiction award shortlist. I heard then the thing was pretty spectacular, but couldn’t tell you for myself. Now, though, L’année la plus longue has become The Longest Year, a gracious gift to guilty Anglophones care of Quebec translator Pablo Strauss.

Toronto’s Grace O’Connell on the long voyage to her second novel

“A lot of writers abide by the once-a-day schedule of writing to make their best work. I really can’t do that. For me, it’s more feast or famine.” Big swaths of time, she tells me, mostly in the night, while TO politico partner, Trinity-Spadina Ward Councillor Joe Cressy, sleeps one room over. Otherwise, her home life is admittedly mundane: barbecues and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, mostly, Grace laughing lightly at her own humdrum hobbies. “My writing is the most interesting thing about me. I don’t have a bizarre, eccentric, artistic life happening outside of the pages that would fascinate anyone.”

‘Her voice echoes’: Siri Hustvedt’s essays on bridging the gap between genders are loud and lyrical

She plays with rhythm, mixing phrases of varying length and language of varying complexity, setting a good pace for casual reading in the book’s early essays. Decadent prose, likely a byproduct of Hustvedt’s work in fiction (her 2014 book, The Blazing World, took home a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was longlisted for the Man Booker), begs to be read aloud, as fit for an Ivy League auditorium as tufted velvet wingchair – though its opulence does put one’s TTC commute into rather harsh perspective. The collection’s third essay, a hearty and profound look at French-American artist Louise Bourgeois, should be savoured, or awarded a prize, or both.

The life aquatic: Jessica J. Lee's memoir

There’s something melancholy in that athletic isolation, taking a team sport’s elation and turning its camaraderie around, void time and lone thoughts and maybe a little too much headspace to be good for you forever. Lee swam 52 lakes in a year – one a week and no weather between worth stopping for – her physical feat returned doubly in the story those strokes made, accessible philosophy at its very best.

Jagged utter pill: Scaachi Koul turns social media rage and mockery into an enthralling essay collection

Last year, around this time, somebody called Scaachi Koul a pill – on the internet, naturally, and “an utter pill”, to be exact. “I am a pill,” she says, unaffected, or at least less so with some distance and a brief break from Twitter between. “It’s not wrong.”

Karen Swan’s Banff-set Christmas romance could become part of your perennial holiday reading list

My PVR is toast. It isn’t smoking yet, but just might start before the season’s out. Whatever restraint I’ve shown during the year begins to recede sometime just after the Americans have their belated Thanksgiving feast and doesn’t return until I’m at least one month past flipping the calendar for a clean slate.

Terry Griggs's The Discovery of Honey (review)

Terry Griggs loves words. I know this because the author has said so point-blank and also because she does so – as much as someone can love something by using it excessively, creatively and frequently enough to pay bills. But the thing is that words have a hard time standing alone. Words need vessels, at least in fiction: characters with mouths to make and deliver them to the book’s readers. Griggs’s approach to words seems to care less or not at all about those vessels, characters secondary to maximum verbosity.

Following a Sweet 16 gone wrong, Robyn Harding's The Party goes down easy but offers nothing new

What sick twist of human nature is responsible for our often sadistic investment in family affairs? It’s not difficult to understand a certain fondness for the odd bit of ancestral gossip from our own clan – telephone tag who’s-who after a bridal shower or baptism – but it seems we bipeds get a kick from indulging in the goings-on of other broods as well.

Andrée Michaud's newest thriller straddles genres

This isn’t a history for the impatient attention span; French-Canadian relations are tricky to tell, particularly on the border, and the who’s-who hates-who is hard to pin at any point. Michaud seems to know that and has done her country a great service here, packaging French-Canadian colonial history in a thriller with enough drive and emotion to make it palatable for most anyone – even us lowly single-language Anglophones, thanks now to Donald Winkler’s smooth translation.

How Gina Sorell’s Mothers and Other Strangers suffers the curse of a great first line

That’s the thing about selling people on spec: trailers are just a couple frames parsed from many thousands for pith, soundtrack saying more about market research than the movie itself. We know these things watching them, of course, but there’s a reason folks are paid good money to make them work well – a ticket sold is a dollar made, no matter the collective critical response, so previews mean a lot when piracy is free.

Ernest Hemingway’s Crook Factory and other things we learned from Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy

Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961. Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy is about a man better known for being an Author, Journalist, Wino, and Wandering Eye: Ernest Miller Hemingway. The American novelist has been biographied to death and many times since, but Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy promises a scoop, offering reasonably substantiated speculation on Hemingway’s dalliances with espionage both stateside and abroad.


Terra Arnone

I'm a freelance writer currently based in Toronto, Ontario covering books, sports, and culture for print and digital outlets across Canada. My work appears most often in the National Post's Arts section, where I write book reviews, profile authors, and gather quick-take digests of the latest in arts and culture for readers on the go.

A graduate of Queen's University, I cut my teeth as Features Editor at the University’s twice-weekly campus newspaper. I followed up my degree with a jaunt through the UK and Europe, taking post-graduate courses in travel writing and making my way across the continent doing just that. I am also a graduate of Ryerson University's Book Publishing program.

With in-house editorial experience at some of Canada's best-known independent and multinational book publishers, it's a keen eye for good books and knowing who will read them that brought me to my current work in books journalism.

I'm glad you're here. If you'd like to learn more about me, my work, or availability for freelance writing and editing projects, please reach out via email at