Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Fiery First Fiction Toronto Launch

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Fiery First Fiction Toronto Launch

By Monique Mathew, a budding writer, curator and OCAD graduate. She lives in Toronto.

“There is absolutely no point in sitting down to write a book unless you feel that you must write that book, or else go mad, or die.” - Robertson Davies

Fiery First Fiction, a national campaign promoting first-time fiction writers across the country, visited Toronto last Monday.

The event featured readings by Lien Chao (The Chinese Knot, TSAR Publications), Claudia Dey (Stunt, Coach House), Tricia Dower (Silent Girl, Inanna Publications), Nila Gupta (The Sherpa and Other Fictions, Sumach Press), Shari Lapena (Things Go Flying, Brindle & Glass), Pamela Stewart (Elysium, Anvil Press) and Nathan Whitlock (A Week of This, ECW Press). The campaign showcases new authors and supports independent literary presses through a lively and well-attended reading series.

The authors read to a crowded room in Kensington Market’s Supermarket, sharing anecdotes about their novels and insights into their creative processes. Lien Chao, with a red Chinese knot dangling from her wrist for illustration, charmed the audience with a passage from Chinese Knot, her collection of short stories, describing the Chinese immigrant experience and paying homage to the diverse neighbourhoods of Toronto. Nathan Whitlock, when reading from A Week of This, wryly shared a story about how his quest to write humorous fiction is continually met by feedback from his wife and friends that his work is largely bleak. Nila Gupta’s The Sherpa and Other Fictions and Claudia Dey’s Stunt both stood out in their observations on the impact (and often bizarre nature) of family life.

The evening was instructive to any fledgling writers in the audience and a great reminder of all of the incredible (and fiery!) fiction that is being published in this country. Now all we need is a reading series showcasing how to follow up a great first novel with a second.

Visit the Fiery First Fiction blog for more information.

Check out photos from the Fiery First Fiction launch on Open Book’s Flickr page.

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