You really have to wonder how performance artist and sexual activist Louise Bak always manages to schedule the very best mix of the Toronto literary scene for her Box Salon series. The successful poet and CIUT “Sex City” host founded the event back in 1998, and a decade later it is still the most entertaining literary night out in Toronto. While many other reading series can be hit or miss, the Box is consistently fresh, fun and, well, not all that “literary”—Bak curates an evening that keeps testing the boundaries of what literature is, regularly including filmmakers, playwrights, fashion designers, and musicians amongst the regular stock of poets and prose writers.
This Thursday’s salon at the Rivoli is no exception to the Box’s trademark diversity, with appearances by Devon Code (whose debut short story collection, In a Mist, is pictured right), Brenda Goldstein, Megan Hamilton, Sharon Harris, Brian Joseph Davis, and Gunilla Josephson. The evening is also another opportunity to celebrate local music critic and hero Carl Wilson, author of the (really, really) widely popular book, Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste. If Wilson’s book launch earlier this year was any indication of his fanbase, Torontoist suggests you arrive early to beat the sweaty, heaving crowd.
Another great feature of the evening? Bak is great at making sure that the audience gets showered with free stuff—there’s always a multitude of door prizes from indie publishers and publications like Broken Pencil, Coach House Books, Matrix Magazine, and Pedlar Press. The show starts at 8 p.m. and is PWYC.
Also of note this week, some fantastic female writers (Debra Anderson, Farzana Doctor, and Pat Capponi) are lined up for Queer Within These Walls, a literary lunch event aiming to create awareness. The three local queer writers will read from their novels, each focusing on themes of working and living within mental health institutions. There will be a short Q & A after this free, wheelchair accessible event.
Full listings after the fold.
Toronto Literary Listings: February 19-27
Tuesday, February 19
Sally Cooper and the launch of Tell Everything (Dundurn Press). Type Books (883 Queen Street West). 7 p.m. Free.
This Is Not a Reading Series presents McSweeney’s contributing editor Dan Kennedy and Rock On: An Office Power Ballad (Thomas Allen Publishers). Gladstone Hotel Ballroom (1214 Queen Street West). 7 p.m. Free.
This Is Not a Reading Series presents Kathleen Turner and Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love and Leading Roles. St. Barnabas Anglican Church (361 Danforth Ave). 8 p.m. (doors 7:30 p.m.) Advance tickets $5 at Pages Books & Magazines (256 Queen Street West).
U of T Book Store Reading Series presents Fred Doucette, author of Empty Casing: A Soldier’s Memoir of Sarajevo Under Siege (Douglas & McIntyre, 2008). Robert Gill Theatre (214 College Street, St. George entrance, 3rd Floor). 7:30 p.m. Free.
The Art Bar Poetry Series celebrates Black History Night with host Rudy Fearon. Clinton’s (693 Bloor Street West). 8 p.m. Free.
Wednesday, February 20
Draft Reading Series, in conjunction with PEN Canada, presents DRAFT 3.3 —The Writers-in-Exile Edition. Readings from authors Andrea Hila and Mehri Yalfani of the PEN Canada Writers in Exile Network along with local author Ann Ireland. SOMA Restaurant and Lounge (703 Queen Street East). 8 p.m. $5 (copy of DRAFT included).
Harbourfront Reading Series presents Diane Schoemperlen, Anne Simpson and Mary Swan. Brigantine Room, York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West). 7:30 p.m. $8.
Thursday, February 21
Queer Within These Walls, a literary lunch event with Debra Anderson, Farzana Doctor and Pat Capponi. George Brown College, St. James Campus (200 King Street East, 4th Floor Foyer). 12 p.m. Free.
The Toronto Public Library presents Jeanne Beker and Passion for Fashion. Yorkville Branch (22 Yorkville Avenue). 7 p.m. Free.
The Box Salon presents an evening of word, film, action and music. The Rivoli (332 Queen Street West, Back Room). 8 p.m. PWYC ($5 suggested donation).
Friday, February 22
IV Lounge Reading Series presents Dave Silverberg, Nathaniel G Moore and Robert Boates. IV Lounge (326 Dundas Street West). 8 p.m. Free.
Tuesday, February 26
The Art Bar Poetry Series presents Elizabeth Bachinsky, Sasha Manoli and Tomy Bewick. Clinton’s Tavern (693 Bloor Street West). 8 p.m. Free.
Wednesday, February 27
Shari Lapeña launches Things Go Flying (Brindle & Glass). Over Joy (884 Queen Street East). 7:30 p.m. Free.
U of T Bookstore Reading Series presents Gabor Mate and In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Avenue). 7:30 p.m. Free.