Sean Michaels (writer)
|Occupation||novelist, music blogger|
|Notable works||Us Conductors|
Sean Michaels (born 1982) is an award-winning Canadian novelist, music critic, and blogger. Based in Montreal, Quebec, he has written about music for publications such as The Guardian, McSweeney's, The Believer, Pitchfork, Maisonneuve, The Observer, The Wire and The National Post. His weekly music column, Heartbeats, debuted in The Globe & Mail in 2015.
Michaels' debut novel, Us Conductors, was published by Random House Canada and Tin House Books (US) in 2014. This book is inspired by the lives of Léon Theremin, inventor of the theremin, and the musician Clara Rockmore.
Us Conductors was named the winner of the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize. In his acceptance speech for the award, Michaels said that as a new author, it was an "unimaginable gift" to receive support from writers and publishers. He also addressed recent scandals surrounding abuse in arts communities - notably claims against former Giller host Jian Ghomeshi. "There are people in our little corner of culture who behave monstrously," he said. "We have to reckon with that, and change it. Each of us does." The novel was also subsequently awarded the Hugh MacLenannan Prize for Fiction and shortlisted for the 2015 Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the CLMP's Firecracker award for fiction.
Michaels also writes short fiction; his short stories has been published in Maisonneuve, The New Quarterly, The Lifted Brow, and the anthologies We Are the Friction and The Art of Trespassing. His articles about travel, food and culture have appeared in Brick, The Walrus, Resorts and Great Hotels, and Reader's Digest. In 2010, Michaels was awarded a gold prize at the Canadian National Magazine Awards for a feature concerning the Parisian art guerrillas Les UX; this article first appeared in Brick and was later re-published by Gizmodo. He received a second National Magazine Award in 2013, for an article on Canadian circus, published by The Walrus.
Michaels initially came to prominence as founder of Said the Gramophone, one of the first mp3 blogs, where he was among the first music critics to write about Arcade Fire, Beirut, Nicolas Jaar and Feist. His music criticism is known for a dreamy, literary writing style, contributing to his work as a writer in residence for events like the Dawson City Music Festival and, since 2009, Sappyfest. In 2009, Said the Gramophone was recognized by Time as one of the world's 25 best blogs.
Since 2009, Michaels has given several lectures on contemporary journalism and the music industry, including appearances at McGill University, Emerson College, Concordia University, and the Pop Montreal Symposium. He is a member of the Polaris Music Prize jury and assisted on the grand jury which selected Godspeed You! Black Emperor's 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! as the best Canadian album of 2013.
In 2010, Michaels formed an absurdist improv duo with Vinny Francois called Venezuela. They performed several early shows at the Montreal Improv Theatre. In 2011, they were featured at the Montreal Fringe Festival and opened for Tig Notaro. His most recent theatrical credit is in Mark Slutsky's acclaimed short film Sorry, Rabbi as Hasid #5.
- "Publishers Weekly - London Briefcase". Time. 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- "Sean Michaels awarded Giller Prize for his book ‘Us Conductors’". The Globe and Mail, November 10, 2014.
- "2014 QWF Literary Awards Gala". Time. 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
- "Amazon.ca and the Walrus Foundation Unveil Short List for 2015 Amazon.ca First Novel Award". Time. 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
- "CLMP Firecracker awards 2015". Time. 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
- "The Lizard, the Catacombs and the Clock: Paris's Most Secret Society". Time. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2011-06-20.
- "Ringmasters". Time. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
- "25 Best Blogs 2009". Time. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- "Jury - Polaris Music Prize". Polaris Prize official website. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
- "Polaris Gala Performers Revealed, Grand Jury Announced". Polaris Prize official website. 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2014-09-17.