From Melbourne, Australia, where he taught himself to read one afternoon in a dug-out hidey hole, and resolved to become a writer when/if he grew up, Simon lives in Toronto The Good, Canada. He’s written his whole life, so far.
He’s been published by Fiddlehead Poetry Books (two collections, favourably reviewed), and had poems in The Bulletin, Poetry Australia, The Fiddlehead, The Antigonish Review, Parchment, Mainline, Urchin, Scarp: New Arts and Writing, The Grist Mill and an anthology called These Loved These Hated Lands.
His stories and articles have been published widely, from Ski Australia to Ski Canada, plus many weird short stories, and cranky letters to the editor. He’s written songs, music for brass quintet, revue skits, and had a prize-winning play, Living Room performed. He prefers reading to actual work, and spent lazy years at Sydney University, Oxford (on scholarship) and The University of New Brunswick, collecting degrees in this and that. His theses were on ‘Unconscious Motivation’, on ‘Concept-Formation in Schizophrenia’, and on ‘The Willing Victim: Character and Technique in the work of Jean Rhys’.
Really he prefers being active to reading, has run five marathons and won a triathlon. At Oxford he stroked the college crew (no, that’s rowing at the rudder end, closest to the . . . ah, cox) and represented the college in tennis and swimming, and the university in gymnastics, running, and pole vaulting, rising to an alarming height on his first and only attempt. In a bicycle racing phase he was New Brunswick champion, and in cross country skiing competed at the Canada Games. In alpine (downhill) skiing he’s the current Ontario champion in his age class (codger) and placed third at the Nationals.
He really prefers travel to sports, and once hitch-hiked from New York to Panama. Strongly preferring to avoid monotonous work, he has been gainfully employed as an advertising researcher, psychologist, consultant, racing driver and instructor, university and college professor, labourer, professional actor and modern dancer, fourth trumpet in a big dance band—and, the whole time, writer. He’s been happily married since 1970 with no children and a cat, Hoos-Wah, who thinks she’s a puppy.
Wild Women (The UKA Press, ISBN 1904781284) is his fourth novel, and oddly the first one set in Canada, though he’s lived here since a two-year appointment in 1970 that stretched out rather. Coming soon: Wilder Women!
WILD WOMEN by Simon LeighEdit
Steven Butts arrives in Canada to become a professor and race cars. His girlfriend comes too. Everything that can go wrong does.
- Note to self: Next time, leave Eddie home·
- Do not accept a job teaching something you know nothing about·
- Canada is cold; do not buy a British sports car·
- On entering academia, abandon all logic·
- Hands off the student body·
- Do not visit old girlfriend in London· If you do, avoid sleeping with her flat mate·
- Never get married to make yourself feel better ·
- Once married, you will become strangely attractive to women. Just say no·
- On wife’s Opening Night, do not take a student·
- Do not go car racing·
- Do not crash It’s a scream now, but finding yourself lost in Canada wasn’t so funny at the time.
"Simon Leigh: writes with a ‘…wry, impressionistic style…a powerful first book". -Len Gasparini, The Windsor Star
"'A well-written, witty, ribald and rollicking journey into the dark ways of men and women." - PAUL QUARRINGTON, author (Home Garden, The Life of Hope, King Leary, etc), artist, musician, screenwriter, CA.
"Simon Leigh’s Wild Women is ‘hilarious…dying to know how much of it was true". - Hilary Stanley, WESTWOOD CREATIVE ARTISTS
"Smart humour…uncomfortable wisdom" - CBC TORONTO
"A readable book…a sense of someone out in the real world of events, alertly noting and enjoying his life". - ALAN PEARSON, THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"A campus novel all about motor racing ? I'm not interested in cars, and it's too late for me to be interested in education, but I was held by this till my wheels came off... A must for anyone intending to leave Australia. Or drive in a Canadian winter. Or take up with a woman. Or crash at high speed in a car race... This guy writes beautifully; he's good at funny and good at serious... (If this novel is at all autobiographical, don't ever accept a lift from the author. But do rush out and read the book)." – MILES KINGTON, columnist, The Independent, UK
“The car racing and sex descriptions were terrific. We liked the structure, too. Easy flashbacks. And clever innovations – the way Ed would interpose her thoughts and opinions into the story. Good stuff. We liked the last chapter – fresh and surprising.” --Two Aussie readers POSTED BY YOURS TRULY: PODDY MOUTH  AT 7:43 AM MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2005
WILD WOMEN by Simon Leigh (Uka Press ) Wanna get to me? Write a novel with great voice.
Like Simon Leigh did in WILD WOMEN.
Consider this dry, witty tidbit:Edit
They taxied home with their usual driver, showered, climbed into bed and made love. It went quite well. But for the first time she thought it felt like children clinging together, alone together, warming each other but not just for fun – for survival.
Or this telling line:Edit
So here they sat, facing each other over the wreckage of fine dining, Linda and Steven, fully clothed, hearts pounding, unable to speak. Their daughter was all there was to say.
What's it about? Uh . . . gimme a minute.
Let's say this: It's the story of a man who travels to Canada to become a professor and do some auto racing.
Sometimes the point of the journey is not to arrive. Okay, I'm misquoting someone here, but who cares--that's why I blog instead of write for the NY Times. But, unlike the Times, you can trust me when I recommend a book--and this one is delicious! Leigh is a master of voice and this novel should required reading in creative writing classes.
It is a British-ish (yes, I know) novel, though it is hard to understand why. Turns out Leigh was born in Australia and lives in Canada. Nonetheless he has mastered the language, and brings out a hilarious tale well-worth reading more than once. And know that it is not for the faint-hearted; it is quite, er. . . ribald. (C'mon, the title is WILD WOMEN, for Pete's sake.) Published by UKA Press, it's tighter than your average POD, too. Let this book take you on a marvelous ride! It's a journey you won't soon forget.