Writers' Rooms: Lee Henderson

Lee Henderson

Here's my space. Out the window: a cherry blossom tree. Out the other window: raccoon family tree. My chair is comfortable but broke, it suddenly pitches forward. My little table is bust, the leg out-of-view has been held together with duct tape for about eight years. But look at that shelf beside my broken table and broken ergonomic chair, isn't it amazing? A terrific friend named Mike Kennedy made that for me from scratch, all joinery, no screws, no nails, just pure unbeatable wood. Amazing. I love this bookshelf. What a gift! Mike is now into carving tobacco pipes and building pipe shelving units for other avid tobacco pipe collectors.

What you see on the shelf Mike built is a mix of old and new books. Dictionary. Gaddis's novels. Stuff about Duchamp. The diaries of Joseph Cornell. Popeye. Girard. Bible. Oh, look, there's Shakespeare. My books are constantly moving around my house from place to place as I try to think up new places to store them. Anyway, you can also see the Browning Hi Power single-action 9mm semi-automatic I keep on that shelf with the custom handgrip, and there's that bright blue brand-new copy of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf bought at Duthie Books after being choked by a sudden need to read Act One. Stacked above Girard and some graphic novels—Maus and Louis Riel—are a few skinny Roberto Bolano books (holy fuck) that I bought this summer at the recommendation of Montreal writer Jack Goldbach, some Anne Carson books of poetry, James Purdy, Joseph Roth, the new Vollmann book about hitchhiking, Kenneth Patchen reprints...I don't know. The pieces of framed art are by Jason McLean and Javier Pinon.


Lee Henderson is the author of the award-winning short story collection The Broken Record Technique and a novel titled The Man Game, recently shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. He is a contributing editor to the arts magazines Border Crossings in Canada and Contemporary in the UK. Henderson has published fiction and art criticism in numerous periodicals and co-organizes Father Zosima Presents, a monthly night of sound performances in Vancouver, BC.