Author Arthur Black telling quite the story in Sidney this month

Humourist joins lineup in readings put on by organizers of the Sidney Literary Festival.

Arthur Black.

Author Arthur Black has quite the story to tell of how he became a writer.

From doing commentaries for radio to a weekly syndicated column that goes across the country, Black is one busy man.

“Basically, it’s a case of plucking apples. I pick the ones that stand up and the better ones from the year or two years before and put them together into a book,” he said of his writing process.

His journey into writing began in Spain of all places.

“I was hitchhiking and I got stranded in Madrid and I found a magazine called Guide Post, which was an english language magazine for tourists, basically, and they paid me two per cent … a line so I learned to use a lot of adjectives,” he said of his most memorable introduction to writing.

Black later came back to Canada around 1970 and worked on a couple of magazines in Toronto. He then got into CBC Radio as an agriculture reporter in Toronto which parlayed into a position as a commentator. Black also had a radio show called Basic Black, a national show that aired once a week. His first book was titled Basic Black in the 1980s.

In terms of what inspires Black, there is a technique he has, involving beer.

“I have a technique that I call Buy Me A Beer. I don’t even drink but I used to, and my idea was that when I write something, I imagine I’m sitting in a beer parlour

and there’s somebody across the table with more money than I have and I want to get him to buy the next beer so I have to be entertaining enough to make that happen.”

Black will be doing a reading from his latest book Paint the Town Black at the upcoming fall reading series, which is Black’s 16th or 17th novel now and is a book of short, humorous essays about living on the west coast. He will be joined by another author —  Susan Juby — who will be doing a reading from her most recent book The Woefield Poultry Collective.

Black still writes a weekly syndicated column and will continue to do so, he said, as long as he still has things to write about.

“Until my audience dies off I guess I’ll just keep plugging away.”

For more information on Black, people can visit

The fall readings will begin on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. at the SHOAL Centre.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Tanner’s Books or online at

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