If last week’s key word on the literary scene was “big,” as in prizes, galas, festivals, sold-out readings, visiting writers, and BookExpo, we get back to normal-ish this week. In fact, we’ve not had such a low-key stretch since March.
Fear not. The Scream Literary Festival is adding more information to their website every week. On July 3rd, the festival kicks off with readings by Dennis Lee and Souvankham Thammavongsa, films by Shapour Shahidi, and “interactive science textbook zining” at The Gladstone Ballroom (1214 Queen St West). Then, for six straight days, there are more events than any mortal book lover could possibly attend until the mainstage on July 9th.
In the quiet, you might want to get your Toronto Arts Council grant application together. The Council offers opportunities for writers both new and established. The deadline for proposals to the program, “WRITERS – Project Grants for Individual Artists,” is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, June 18. Good luck!
Meanwhile, try to snag a copy of Jennifer LoveGrove’s new issue of dig. It’s an annual small press magazine with a print run of two hundred copies per issue. Every dig is one of a kind, so you can’t have mine (pictured above), but send Jennifer five dollars and she’ll mail you one of your very own. This year’s issue includes Sandra Alland, Gary Barwin, Ray Hsu, Alexandra Leggat, Zoe Whittall, Hugh Thomas, and more.
Or: take matters into your own hands. If you’re an adult, give a reading at the Art Bar’s open mic night on Tuesday. If you’re a teen, perform-it-yourself at Stuart Ross’s youth event on Wednesday. Or! Come party with me as my Toronto literary photo-archive wraps up after five years of photographing our city’s authors.
Congratulations go out to House of Anansi, who won Publisher of the Year and Editor of the Year (for Lynn Henry) at this year’s Libris Awards, announced Sunday. And to Coach House Books, named best Small Press Publisher. May there never be a dull or dark moment on our brightly lit scene.
Please read Toronto’s literary listings for June 12 to June 18 after the break.
Tuesday, June 12
ART BAR POETRY SERIES presents its OPEN STAGE NIGHT hosted by Stephen Humphrey. Get there early to sign up! The Victory Café, 581 Markham Street (upstairs). 8 p.m. Free.
COFFEE HOUSE CABARET features Krystle Mullin and Ellen Carol with Colleen Costello, plus an open mic. Renaissance Cafe, 1938 Danforth Avenue. 8:30pm. Free.
NALO HOPKINSON reads at Pape/Danforth Library. 701 Pape Avenue. 2 p.m. Free.
BOOK LAUNCH for the new 33 1/3 book, Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, by Kevin Courrier. This Ain’t the Rosedale Library, 483 Church Street. 8:00 p.m. Free.
HELEN OYEYEMI. The U.K. author is in Toronto for the launch of her new novel, The Opposite House. She’ll perform, sign books, and have an onstage conversation with The Globe’s Sandra Martin. Musical performance by Luanda Jones. Lula Lounge. 1585 Dundas Street West. 6 p.m. Free.
TING-XING YE will be at Agincourt Library. 155 Bonis Avenue. 2 p.m. Free.
Wednesday, June 13
YOUTH OPEN MIC NIGHT WITH GUEST HOST STUART ROSS. Local teens are invited to share their favourite poetry, stories and songs in a friendly, creative atmosphere. At each Open Mic Night, an established artist hosts the evening, sharing his or her own art and offering constructive feedback to the teens. All teens are welcome to take part! Stuart is a long-time figure on the Toronto literary scene. He co-founded the Toronto Small Press Book Fair, runs his own tiny literary press, and has given writing workshops for teens. Youth Open Mic Night is presented by the Maria A. Shchuka Library along with Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre, a grass-roots, community-based storefront arts facility in the city. Maria A. Shchuka Library. 1745 Eglinton Avenue West. 6:30–8:00 p.m. Free.
Thursday, June 14
TORONTO WORDSTAGE readings by bill bissett, Val Assenza, and Myna Wallin.
Good Mediterranean-style food at moderate prices. It’s the last WordStage until September, so there will be an especially festive atmosphere. Cervejaria, 842 College Street, just west of Ossington. 7:30 p.m. Free.
BOOK LAUNCH FOR BAR CODES: Women in the Legal Profession by Jean McKenzie Leiper. The book examines women lawyers’ attempts to reconcile their professional obligations with other aspects of their lives. It charts the life courses of women who constitute a first wave in a profession designed by men, for men, where formal codes of conduct and subtle cultural norms promote masculine values. A thorough analysis of women’s encounters with this culture provides some answers and raises more questions about the kinds of stresses that have become extreme in the lives of many Canadian women. The Advocate Society Campbell House, 160 Queen Street West. 5:00–7:00 p.m.
WRAP PARTY for Sharon Harris’s Poetography. After a five-year long photo shoot focused on Toronto’s authors, it’s a wrap…party. Poetography.ca, the online photo-archive of the city’s writers, will document its last literary event this evening. The wrap party will present projections of photos from the five-year old archive, and The Victory’s tables will be covered with 300 4×6″ photos for guests to take away as mementos. U.S. poets/multi-media artists Dan Waber and Jennifer Hill-Kaucher will make their first Canadian appearances. Also featured on the bill are Toronto’s Paul Dutton (appearing courtesy of The League of Canadian Poets and the Toronto Arts Council), Stephen Cain, and maybe a surprise guest from Calgary. The Victory Café, 581 Markham Street. 7:30 p.m. Free.
Friday, June 15
I.V. LOUNGE READING SERIES presents Sky Gilbert (Brother Dumb, fiction), Triny Finlay (Phobic, poems), Gordon Johnston (Small Wonder, poems). Hosted by Alex Boyd. I.V. Lounge, 326 Dundas Street West, across from the AGO. 8:00 p.m. Free.
Sunday, June 17
SHEILA HYLAND reads poetry about High Park (Colborne Lodge, south end of the park). Sponsored by The League of Canadian Poets and Toronto Arts Council. 2:00 p.m. Free.