*Mad Hope has been nominated for an ‘Overlookie Bookie’ as part of the CBC Bookie Awards.  If you are a person who is okay with survivor-style book-boosting, then please go vote in this and other categories for books you deem deserving.  If voting for stories feels weird to you, then put your lit-loving energies into buying or borrowing books that turn your readerly crank.

Scroll down to end of list to find Mad Hope (I kind of like the idea of Mad Hopeat the bottom of the list — like, we need it, but we sometimes don’t remember until the last minute to scrawl it down, y’know?).

*I will be teaching Short Fiction: Master Class at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies beginning September 20th.  If you have some experience writing short fiction and are jonesing to improve your craft, please come join us!

*Hey, high school teachers!  My essay, ‘The Mr. Shredder Man’ is available as part of the digital ilit series for high school students!  Some really great selections here.  Check it out!

*Miette and Mad Hope:  The caramel-voiced wonder has recorded another one of my stories, ‘Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning’!  I feel so honoured.

*Mad Hope May Blog Tour has begun!

*  Mad Hope is reviewed by Dory Cerny in the May issue of Quill & Quire, on newsstands now!  Here’s a taste:  “Birrell peels back the layers of civility to expose the dark and messy bits we all hide, but she does so with such finesse that we are simultaneously captivated and repulsed by the intimacy of it all.”

*  Exciting news!  My story ‘Frogs’ is available as a free download on Kobo.  Check it out!  And share it with your pals.

*  Psst!  I will be teaching Short Fiction: Introduction at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto, beginning April 10.  Short stories for spring!  Pass it on!

*  We have a cover, designed by Ingrid Paulson!  I am so pleased with it.  Ribbit.

*  Mad Hope will be available in mid-March 2012! Please look out for it in your local bookstore or at Coach House Books.