Globe and Mail article about ManBug
Selected for an
Honour of Distinction
by the Writers’ Trust of Canada
Bingo and Black Ice (Memoir)
Winner of the 2014 Lush Triumphant Literary Awards for Creative Non-Fiction. Published in subTerrain Magazine.
Illustrations by feature artist Maryanna Hardy.

Berton House
Berton House
my Dawson page
October to December, 2007
Berton House Writers’ Retreat
Dawson City, Yukon

ManBug was Shortlisted for the ReLit Award (Best Novel);

a Finalist, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year;

and Nominated as a Read This! Selection by the LitBlog Co-op.
Interview with Holley Rubinsky, Kootenay Co-op Radio.
George reads from ManBug
Authors Aloud , the voices of Canadian literature.
Thanks to Trevor Cole and to Holley Rubinsky.
October 29 to November 3, 2006
ManBug week at the LitBlog Co-op
Matt Cheney explains why he nominated ManBug.
Matt Cheney's blog at The Mumpsimus.
Podcast with Carolyn Kennedy at Pinky's Paperhaus in Pittsburgh (of all places).
October 29, 2006
Fictitious Reading Series
This Ain't the Rosedale Library
with Susan Kernohan, and hosted by Stuart Ross and Kate Sutherland.
August 3, 2006
Robson Reading Series
UBC Robson Square Bookstore
with Lydia Kwa, Debra Anderson, and Sean Horlor
June 15, 2006
The Literary Life: Blessing or Curse?
Readers and Writers Exchange at the Vancouver Public Library
with Betsy Warland and David Helwig
Vancouver Courier article about ManBug
ManBug Launch
In the latest development on the international scene, "brokeback" is new slang in Hong Kong ("dun bui") to mean not just a gay thing but any sort of horribly awkward or doomed relationship.
David Chariandy, of Simon Fraser University, confused the crowd by not making any Brokeback Mountain jokes, and yet offered a generously effusive introduction which speaks to a future in fiction:
As anyone who knows George will attest, he's perhaps one of the most generous and sensitive individuals on the planet; and I now see that precisely these qualities have allowed him to address the most difficult and even brutal of topics with both uncompromising honesty and compassion. George explores the limits of just what can or ought to be told; and he's nothing less than a genius in this respect.
Random Acts of Hatred was a brilliant debut; but George's latest book, a novel entitled ManBug is, to me, simply stunning. George has again decided to address a thematically challenging set of circumstances. Obviously a novel addressing the relationship between an entomologist with Asperger's syndrome and a dyslexic bisexual is no more of the same old same old. At the same time, there's also an emotional immediacy in this latest writing, a luscious humanity on every single page. I honestly don't know how George orchestrates so well the many contradictions in this book: thematic quirkiness, emotional reserve, fiendish wit, but also the deepest and most enduring feeling.
George also did not mention Brokeback Mountain, but had prepared other spontaneous comments:
People say to me, George, how could you ever write a book about someone who is socially awkward? People say to me, George! How could YOU ever write about someone who is earnest and oblivious, a little bit geeky, and immune to sarcasm? And I say, well, I did my research. Didn’t talk to that many people, but I did read a lot of library books.
The first ManBug reviews appear in Toronto and Vancouver

Insects and Love's Complexities
New books from rising stars, Xtra! West, March 30, 2006
Q: George, what book are you glad you never wrote?
A: "I’ve always thanked my lucky stars I never wrote Moby Dick or else that’s all I ever would be known for. That, and Billy Budd."
Bugging the reader
Xtra!, Jim Bartley, March 16, 2006
[ManBug] counts yucky bug lore foremost among its eccentricities. You may never again think of lipstick or your nose or chocolate-covered raisins in quite the same way.
All is quiet, and ManBug is taking shape. First called "The Programming of Mortals," then briefly even had a Japanese title at one point (in english, Only One Butterfly, but rendered phonetically in Katakana, the Japanese alphabet used to transliterate foreign words, and then into roman-ji, as: On-rii wan ba-ta-fu-rai). This story line was intended to be somehow concerned with the double-edged sword of cultural contact resulting from the America Occupation of Japan (1945 to 1952). After ManBug was published and I was cleaning off my desk I realized that I could still write "On-rii wan ba-ta-fu-rai" because none of this material is in ManBug.
Federation of B.C. Writers
April 29, 2004, Vancouver, B.C.
There used to be a photo on the Fed website, of me and one ridiculous moustache. I immediately shaved.
Wilde About Sappho
February 3-6, 2004. Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
Wilde About Sappho, the longest running public program at the National Library of Canada, is a fundraiser for the Lambda Foundation, who award scholarships in conjunction with a number of participating Canadian universities. I stayed at this beautiful old bed and breakfast (the Inn on Somerset) and having spent too long in Vancouver was thrilled at the novelty of the Canadian winter experience. The one free afternoon was gloriously sunny and not-too-cold, perfect for skating on the Rideau Canal, stopping only for hot chocolate and beaver tails.
With Felice Picano, Suki Lee, Karen X. Tulchinsky, and Will Aitken, we travelled to Montreal for a reading at Dawson College, then drove back to Ottawa through a blizzard for presentations at Carleton University, and Canterbury High School, followed by a gala event at the National Library. The next day, on to Toronto for a public reading at the Metro Reference Library. Four days, three cities, five events. A blur of wine and cheese and crackers. This, obviously, is the life of a writer. Fun for a week, but equally obvious that if this was my life I would never write another word. Oh, the inescapable irony.
Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival
October 23, 2003. Spiking the Punch: Canada’s most dynamic and irreverent writers. With Wayde Compton, Ivan E. Coyote, Lynn Crosbie, George Ilsley, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Michael V. Smith, Mariko Tamaki, and hosted by Billeh Nickerson.
This sold-out event was an opportunity to showcase my spontaneous opening comments, which I always take great pains to rehearse.
     At this time, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was new and topical (I had even overheard two older women on the bus to Victoria discussing who was their favourite: they seemed to agree on Carson, although they liked them all). This hit show was a revolutionary concept: these queer eyes were everywhere and people found them delightful.
     Well, some people. I confessed that it was my nightmare to have those Queer Eye guys show up at my home. At least straight guys have an excuse, I said. I mean, they’re straight. No one expects much. No one expects straight guys to be able to dress themselves, or know where to put the coffee table. Or, heaven forbid, what to put on the coffee table.
     But me, I have no excuse, I’m just a bad fag.
     My big question is: Who has time to be gay?
     So that is what I need: queer eye for the bad fag. I need to learn how to be totally gay in half the time!
Random Acts of Hatred was launched in Vancouver on October 1, 2003. It was my first book, and I always thought my first book was going to be a novel.

Book launches are stressful. Everything private and quiet about being a writer suddenly is out in the open and making a lot of noise. In space, as they say, no one can hear you scream. In the shower, no one can see you cry. I had my shower moment, just before the launch of my first book. What was going on? I was feeling so happy and scared at the same time, a mushy welter of stuff that felt mostly like an almost unendurable anti-climax.

After the launch: I returned home to find that the mask on my bedroom wall, a crimson and gold leaf, fanged and goggle-eyed Indonesian style mask I’d picked up in Tokyo, had fallen to the floor. When are things metaphors and when are they just stupid little things that happen? In any event, when my first book was launched, my mask fell off the wall.

But even before the launch of my first book, I was sitting in the Moss Cafe in Broma (the Broadway and Main neighbourhood of Vancouver, where I live), having a Saturday morning coffee, and reading the book section of The Globe & Mail. Yasser Arafat was on the cover, rendered in impressionist splashes of green and red and grey, appearing somewhat like a west coast Tlinglit mask.

Arafat: Man of Peace? or Terrorist-in-chief?
Tlinglit Shaman's Eagle Spirit Mask
And inside I stumbled upon the first review of my first book. Just like that, there it was, reviewed in the national press. The saving grace of Random Acts of Hatred, according to Jim Bartley, the Globe’s first fiction reviewer, was "its authoritative evocation of the hell that can unfold for gay kids who lack sensitive and supportive nurturers." (Gay hell begins at home, The Globe & Mail, September 20, 2003)
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Men are

just bigger,

more complicated

gall wasps.

—Alfred Kinsey