UNB professor debuts comedy-focused short story collection


Amber McMillan, University of New Brunswick English professor, published her most recent piece of work – a collection of short stories entitled The Running Trees

The collection is comedy-focused and features a number of perspectives throughout a series of individual, anthology-style stories.

Although she has published poems and journals for six years, this is McMillan’s first time publishing a book of short stories. 

“I think that different genres allow for very different ways of telling a story. A poem is, to my mind, a different kind of story than a novel, which is a different kind of story than a play,” said McMillan. “It’s a different way of writing a story, so I think I wanted to try something that I hadn’t done.” 

The piece began as a school project that McMillan completed while receiving her Masters of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia. As a result, The Running Trees was an opportunity for her to experiment both in genre and style.

With The Running Tree, Amber McMillan hopes to bring a sense of humour to her readers. (Submitted: Goose Lane Editions)

McMillan mainly did this by including heavy usage of dialogue, rather than description, to explain each of the stories’ plots.

She said that she doesn’t recall when her love for writing began. She simply remembers her teacher reading a poem to her in Grade 5 and something clicked.

“I just was enchanted by a different way of using language and then realized that poetry might be something interesting to try. So at about that age, it was probably when I started really thinking about [writing],” she said. 

With The Running Tree, McMillan hopes to bring a sense of humour to her readers through both the comedic and unordinary elements of the book. 

“I do hope that it’s funny and I hope that the absurdity, at times, can ring true to people in their own lives,” said McMillan. 

Since the book’s release on Sept. 7, it has gained popularity and has been listed as one of the “fall fiction to watch for” by CBC. It was published by Goose Lane Editions in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and is available for purchase on their website as well as on Amazon.