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A Prose Reading Series at Famous Last Words. 5:15pm at 392 Pacific Ave.

Yay! Get out your calendars!

Thanks so much to Baka Gallery Cafe for offering a space to Junction Reads in 2020!!

I have enjoyed events/parties in their upstairs space (and yes…I have had many many coffees and sandwiches downstairs!!), so it was with fingers crossed and hands clasped in prayer that I approached them about Junction Reads. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I read a gracious and beautiful email from Alexandra offering us a space, but I was a bit choked up. Their commitment to the community has been proven time and again over the years and I feel so blessed to be able to host two readings in 2020.

We had already booked many authors for the upcoming season when we lost our previous venue. And our gratitude to Famous Last Words endures. We know very well the challenges of being a business in Toronto! #SupportLocal.

We understand the great sacrifice Baka are making in support of our series and the writers whose prose is just waiting to be heard and read.

Stay tuned for details, but hold a spot in your calendar for Sunday January 26 and February 23. 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

In the meantime, stop by and support them! Eat a delicious lunch, enjoy a well-made latte and, not gonna lie, even a toasted bagel is a scrumptious snack!

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2019-2020 Season!

I have been working hard on finding a venue to host our readers and I may have some good news, so stay tuned for upcoming dates!

It’s hard for me to ask for money, but I will anyway. I set up a Patreon account with great hope of getting some patrons to support Junction Reads on an ongoing basis. It’s hard, I know, given most supporters of writers are readers and writers who don’t have big bucks to spare. But if you or someone you know might consider supporting the series, I’d be forever grateful!

Before the end of last season, we had already booked about ten authors! Finding a space is my number one priority!

If you’d like to add your name to our roster, get in touch today.

Season Finale: June 23

June 23, 2019. Junction Reads: Famous Last Words. 392 Pacific Ave. From 5:15pm.

We’ve got something for everyone in our final readings of the season. M.J. Cates, Anthony Desa, Melissa Bull, Victoria Alvarez and Jarrett Mazza join us for readings that can best be described as, There’s something for everyone.

Our Book Raffle is full of fantastic books by queer writers; a signed copy of Marissa Stapley’s new novel and a few from our author/readers. So bring cash!

Melissa Bull is a writer and editor, as well as a French-to-English translator of fiction, essays, and plays. She is the editor of Maisonneuve magazine’s “Writing from Quebec” column and has published her poetry, essays, articles, and interviews in a variety of publications including EventLemon HoundsubTerrainPrism, and Matrix. Her collection of poetry, Rue, was published in 2015, and her collection of short stories, The Knockoff Eclipse, was published in 2018. Her translation of Nelly Arcan’s Burqa de chair was published by Anvil Press in 2014, and her translation of Marie-Sissi Labrèche’s novel, Borderline, is forthcoming. Melissa lives in Montreal.

Jarrett Mazza is a graduate of Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program in Plainfield, Vermont. Before completing his terminal degree, Jarrett studied writing at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and completed the Novel Writing class at Sheridan College under award-winning writer, Melodie Campbell. He has received extensive training in fiction in all mediums, including screenwriting, comic book writing, poetry, academic writing, and craft. He has also taught in a Writer’s Craft classroom at his former high school, and at Mohawk College in the Continuing Education department, has had stories published online in the GNU Journal, Bewildering Stories, Trembling With FearAphelion, Silver Empire Publishing, which was a best-seller on Amazon, The Scarlet Leaf Review, and Toronto Prose Mill. He currently writes for the website Sequart that specializes in academic writings on comic books, fandom, and films. He is also working on a comic book pitch, writes over two-thousand words each day, reads one book each week, and constantly submits to journals, contests, and other publications. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Victoria Alvarez was born in Toronto, Canada. Having grown up in a Spanish and Colombian household, she quickly became well-acquainted with hybridity at an early age. Throughout her life, she has been fascinated by stories and voices, English or Spanish, and their expression in a world deeply uncomfortable with liminal spaces. Her writing focuses on ‘in-between’ states, liminality, intergenerational transfer, and the role stories play within all our lives. Victoria just completed her MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. She will continue to reaffirm the short story because, as a form, it is reflective of her own motto in life: less is always more… more or less. 

Anthony De Sa grew up in Toronto’s Portuguese community. His short fiction has been published in several North American literary magazines. Anthony’s first book, Barnacle Love, was critically acclaimed and became a finalist for the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2009 Toronto Book Award. Anthony’s novel, Kicking the Sky, was set in 1977, the year a twelve-year-old shoeshine boy named Emanuel Jaques was brutally raped and murdered in Toronto.  Children of the Moon is his latest novel.
Anthony graduated from University of Toronto and did his post-graduate work at Queen’s University. He attended The Humber School for Writers and Ryerson University. He is currently a teacher-librarian living in Toronto with his wife and three boys.

MJ Cates was born in Canada, studied psychology and literature at the University of Toronto, and has lived at various times in South Kensington, North London, and Ottawa, writing many novels and winning several awards under another name. MJ is married and lives in Toronto. MJ Cates is a pseudonym for a well-published Canadian author. George Meanwell, actor, singer will be reading from INTO THAT FIRE.

May!! It’s May!!

On May 26, we will gather at Famous Last Words at 392 Pacific Ave.. The sun will be shining (at least that’s what the forecast says now) and I’m thinking, we can share our summer reading lists. What do you think? Sitting down by the lake, on a park bench or on that little balcony, what will you be diving into this summer? We can certainly recommend a few titles!

From 5:15pm we will hear readings from Victoria Hetherington with Mooncalves , Erika Rummel  with The Painting on Auerperger’s Wall, Lisa de Nikolits with  Rotten Peaches and Christine Ottoni with Cracker Jacks for Misfits!

Victoria Hetherington will read from Mooncalves from Now or Never Publishing. Her debut novel, it weaves “a tale of buried crime in rural Quebec with a post-Singularity future, Mooncalves explores the unshakable hold of first love, the warped influence of unchecked ambition and sexual obsession, and the uncomfortable gaze of the accumulating dead – especially of those who walk the earth among us.”

Adam Giles’s short fiction has appeared in a variety of literary journals, including The Humber Literary Review, Sonora Review, Riddle Fence, and The Danforth Review. His stories have been nominated for the National Magazine Awards and the Best of the Net Anthology. His story “Corduroy” won the University of Toronto Magazine Short Story Contest in 2013. He will read from his story “Nothing to See Here,” which appears in the current issue of The Feathertale Review!

Attachments area

Lisa de Nikolits returns to Junction Reads with her new novel, Rotten Peaches from Inanna Publications.. “It is a gripping epic filled with disturbing and unforgettable insights into the human condition. Love, lust, race and greed. How far will you go? Two women. Two men. One happy ending. It takes place in Canada, the U.S. and South Africa. Nature or nurture. South Africa, racism and old prejudices — these are hardly old topics but what happens when biological half-siblings meet with insidious intentions? Can their moral corruption be blamed on genetics — were they born rotten to begin with? And what happens when they meet up with more of their ilk? What further havoc can be wreaked, with devastating familial consequences?”

Christine Ottoni also returns to JR with her debut book from Exile Editions, Cracker Jacks and Misfits brings together four people, Naomi, Joanne, Marce, and Jake who navigate the world both closed and open to the possibilities of love, pain and happiness. “It’s a deeply human book… It’s about lonely people and why they’re lonely. It’s about how much a mother and daughter can love each other and how much that love can hurt.”

April Snow brings Great Readings!

I lied last month when I said our March 31 readings were going to bring some fresh spring air, so if at first you don’t succeed…

On April 28, we welcome FOUR diverse voices. (I have a feeling there will be talk of James Joyce!) to Famous Last Words at 392 Pacific Ave.

Doors open at 5:00pm, but we get started between 5:15pm and 5:30pm.

SK Dyment brings us Steel Animals from Inanna Publications. where “Hilarity and queer magic realism twist the throttle when Jackie, a loner with a secret bank-robbing persona, meets Vespa: sexy, sculpture-welding artist and collector of vintage motorbike s.”

“SK Dyment is a writer and visual artist with a love of political cartooning. SK likes take to the stage at open mic events to perform poetry, short prose and stand-up work and they have written several plays which were produced at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre. Their illustrations were most recently published in Ursula Pflug’s flash fiction novel, Motion Sickness, which was longlisted for the ReLit Award. Their humour and cartooning work has appeared in a number of magazines including, Peace Magazine, This Magazine, Open Road Magazine, Healthsharing, Herizons, Kinesis, The Activist Magazine, Kick It Over Magazine, and FireweedSteel Animalsis their debut novel.” From http://www.inanna.ca

Pratap Reddy with Ramya’s Treasure from Guernica Editions. “a story about Ramya, an immigrant from India, is nearing her 50th birthday. But there’s no cause to cheer. Recently separated, and laid off from work as well, she feels lonely, alienated, and despondent. Then one day she chances upon a sandalwood box containing her cherished childhood treasures…”

“Pratap Reddy moved to Canada in 2002. An underwriter by day and writer by night (or to be precise – wee hours of the morning), he writes about the agonies and the angst (on occasion their ecstasies) for new immigrants from India. He is an alumnus of ‘Humber School for Writers’. He is the recipient of ‘Best Emerging Literary Artist’ from the Mississauga Arts Council, and grants from the Ontario Arts Council. He had been selected for both ‘Short Form’ and ‘Long Form’ mentorship program of ‘Diaspora Dialogues’. Guernica Editions published his collection Weather Premitting & Other Stories’ in 2016, and his novel Rmaya’s Treasure in 2018. He lives in Missisauga with his wife and son.”

Alex Boyd with Army of the Brave and Accidental from Nightwood Editions. “a story about relationships, parenthood, and trying to have an impact on the world told from the shifting perspectives of ten characters.”

“Alex Boyd has written for publications such asThe Globe and Mail and Taddle Creek magazineHe helped establish Best Canadian Essays, co-editing the first two collections of work selected from Canadian magazines.  His poetry collections are Making Bones Walk (2007) winner of the Gerald Lampert Award, and more recently The Least Important Man (2012).In 2018 his first novel was published:Army of the Brave and Accidental, described by Canadian Notes & Queries as “timely, original and profound.””

Tim Conley with Collapsible from New Star Books. “Steeped in Beckett, Borges and Nabokov, Conley’s multiple universes allow for werewolves that excite ridicule not fear, and where birthdays are an occasion for forgetting not remembering.”

“Tim Conley is the author of several books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including Dance Moves of the Near Future (New Star Books, 2015) and Unless Acted Upon (Mansfield Press, 2019). He teaches modernist and contemporary literature at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.”




March 31: Readings for National Reading Month!

Some people pick up a book and flip to the last page because knowing how it ends makes the beginning and middle more enjoyable. While others hold off reading that last page, sometimes putting it away for weeks, to delay the joy of a great ending!

I think we can all agree, if March were a book, we’d all be racing to the end! Imagine if you will, March 31 at Junction Reads, is the last page.

On the last day of a month dedicated to readers, we bring you Loren Edizel, Mary Lou Dickinson, John Miller and Catriona Wright.

Mary Lou Dickinson brings us White Ribbon Man from Inanna Publications.

“The White Ribbon Man is a murder mystery set in Toronto. A woman’s body is found in the basement toilet of a downtown Toronto church. It is an Anglican church that welcomes homeless people for coffee and soup and has a congregation composed largely of social activists. The discovery challenges a community that sees itself as a compassionate one and causes people who once were comfortable with each other to become suspicious instead. During the investigation we get to know something about the minister whose sleepwalking makes him suspect, a librarian who answered the classified ad in the Globe and Mail placed by another suspect; one of the wardens who is an activist against violence against women, a member of the congregation who was the neighbour and friend of the murdered woman, and the detective in charge of the investigation. The gentle handling of all of these characters and their issues allows the reader to see humanity and vulnerability of each one and the way in which as a community they support one another.”

Loren Edizel brings us Days of Moonlight from Inanna Publications.

“Upon receiving a letter and a package of journals from a dying Mehtap, her mother Nuray’s close friend in Turkey, a young Toronto woman immerses herself in the old woman’s memories. She uncovers Mehtap’s story as a factory worker in the 1960s who is infatuated with her boss, a man she willingly lies for, and even wrap presents for that he gives to his mistress and his wife. When her friend, Nuray, moves in with her, something unexpected happens and Mehtap is forced to choose between her two loves. Mehtap’s story is interwoven with that of her parents, Cretan refugees who landed in Izmir in the mid-twenties as a result of the disastrous population exchange, only to discover an inescapable and tragic truth that shatters their lives. As Mehtap’s writings unfurl, Nuray’s daughter — Mehtap’s namesake — now the keeper of the journals, notebooks and letters written by her mother’s friend, also uncovers her own mother’s deeply-held secrets, furtive yearnings, and forbidden love.”

John Miller  brings us Wild and Beautiful is the Night from Cormorant Books.

“Paulette and Danni grew up miles apart — Paulette in Hamilton and Danni in North Toronto — but they might as well have been worlds apart. Paulette’s family emigrated from Jamaica. Danni grew up Jewish in an affluent neighbourhood of Toronto. Now both women find themselves on the streets of Toronto, working in the sex trade. Paulette is a seasoned prostitute, working to support herself and her addiction. She acts as an unlikely and reluctant mentor and friend to Danni, who is new to the street and whose addiction has set her on a similar path to Paulette. Their paths intersect again and again over the course of a difficult and troubled friendship that sees Paulette begin to pull herself together while Danni manages to survive everything that comes her way. Will her luck run out? Has Paulette learned to make her own luck?”

Catriona Wright brings to us, her short story collection, Difficult People from Harbour Publishing.

“Manipulators, liars, egomaniacs, bullies, interrupters, condescenders, ice queens, backstabbers, hypocrites, withholders, belligerents, self-deceivers, whiners, know-it-alls, nitpickers: these are some of the characters you’ll encounter in the collection of stories, Difficult People. As these characters fumble through their quests for freediving fame, stand-up glory, romantic love, stable employment or anyone who can tolerate them, they reveal that we are all, in our own ways, difficult people.”

 

 

February 24: Something to look forward to!

Series 65 -Metropolitan Toronto Planning Department Library collThere are many effective ways to fight the February Blues. Just open up the googler and  you’ll find a hundred links to daylight lamps, cozy weekends away and the latest trend: people gathering together, cozying up with blankets, pillows, candles and eating the most comfortable of comfort foods and hashtagging Hygge (Hooga) the Danish key to happiness!

So between now and February 24, throw yourself a #Hygge party and grab a calendar because one of the most common tricks to get through February is to plan something to look forward to!

At Famous Last Words, on February 24 at 5:15pm, we will gather again for some fun and fabulous readings with a Q and A to inspire your reading, your writing and your living!

Our Four February Readers:

Jen Chen with Super! from Insomniac Press.

“All eyes are on Beata Bell, descendent of the great Frances E. Shaw. Bets are placed on which amazing power she will inherit. Flight? Telekinesis? Super hearing? Only Beata Bell remains stubbornly, infuriatingly, and inexplicably normal. Sidelined, she must face the painful reality that she might never live up to everyone’s expectations. But the Super world can’t seem to leave her alone! When a new villain threatens the city, Beata is launched into a whirlwind of mystery, danger, and conspiracy. With a totally normal skillset, she must exhaust all her wits and courage to save her friends—and to survive.:

Aparna Kaji Shah with The Scent of Mogra and Other Stories from Inanna Publications

“The Scent of Mogra and Other Storiesis a collection of four short stories about strong female characters dealing with difficult life-changing situations. The turmoil that they face is, often, the result of a social structure that discriminates against women. Through these powerful women characters, the stories reflect attitudes and ways of life in a village in India, and in modern day Mumbai; they highlight the values of an older generation, and the dreams of a new one. Beneath all their differences, The Scent of Mogra and Other Storiesilluminate the quality of women’s lives, exposing the pain, the injustices, as well as the triumphs that make up their existence.”

Sky Curtis joins us again with PLOTS from Inanna Publications

“Robin MacFarland is a smart, funny, self-deprecating journalist who works for the Home and Garden section of a major Toronto newspaper while she grapples hilariously with her weight, drinking and spirituality. The city news is slow and Robin has been assigned to dig up a real estate development story in cottage country near Huntsville, Ontario. Her editor has given her a long list of potential angles including water pollution, light pollution, traffic congestion, boat traffic, taxes, electricity costs, golf courses, fertilizer, algae blooms, land grants and native rights. Robin and her feisty best friend Cindy, a crime reporter, head north and immediately stumble upon a body mangled by a bear in the forest next to Robin’s cottage. Robin is suspicious that the victim’s death has been disguised to look like an accident, but no one, including her new boyfriend, cop Ralph Creston, believes the person was deliberately murdered.”

Rebecca Higgins with The Colours of Birds from Tightrope Books

“Rebecca Higgins’s characters do weird things in their attempts to negotiate the world. They steal books and hide in bathrooms and treat grocery receipts like tarot cards. They may want solitude, even escape, but they don’t want to be invisible. They move between isolation and connection—on the internet, at uncomfortable parties, in a tent after Hurricane Katrina. These stories are about friendship and loneliness and the awkward, fumbling ways we try to love each other. We lie and leave things out, so often torn between hiding ourselves and needing to be seen.”

2019 is going to be a great year!!

January 27 2019  with hosts Kate Henderson and Christine Ottoni

Join the Junction Reads team in January, as we gather by the fire at Famous Last Words and drink body-warming cocktails while being entertained by the soothing, provocative and fantastic words of Priya Ramsingh, Adrian Michael Kelly, Kyp Harness and Jan Rehner.

The evening will be hosted by writers and Junction Reads members,  Kate Henderson and Christine Ottoni. And as always, well coordinated by Cayley Pimentel! There will be books to raffle and each of our authors will have their books for sale.

 

Priya Ramsingh  with Brown Girl in the Room

From Tightrope Books: “Sara Ramnarine is just starting out her career in Toronto, a city that is touted as one of the most cosmopolitan in the world with its motto, “Diversity is our Strength.” As a smart, driven, educated, contemporary woman, Sara assumes her rise up the corporate ladder will be seamless. But she soon discovers that the workplace is full of pitfalls and obstructions, including discrimination and racism. Eventually, Sara is forced to make a critical decision that affects her career and state of mind, risking her reputation for years to come.”

Adrian Michael Kelly with The Ambassador of What

From ECW Press: “Slogging through the miles of a city marathon, an 11-year-old boy encounters small miracles; about to marry one of her patients in a home for the elderly, a nurse asks her estranged son to come to the wedding and give her away; home from university, a young man has Christmas dinner with his hard-up dad in a bistro behind a rural gas bar. Men and boys and maleness, money and its lack, the long haunt of childhood, marriage and divorce — these lie at the heart of The Ambassador of What. Driven by an ear for how we talk, how we feel, how we fail, and how we love, these are tough and tender stories that take hold, and linger.”

Kyp Harness with The Abandoned

From Harbour Publishing: “Among the strip malls, industrial parks and overpasses of Southwestern Ontario, Tim is a young misfit with an overactive imagination and a heavy-drinking father, surrounded by bullies at school and wondering if he’ll ever be normal. He experiences first love with another high school student, Sherrie, and at the same time he meets his first friend, Russ. In pursuing Sherrie, Tim is drawn into a cult-like religious retreat, and his friendship with Russ takes a strange turn as the three teenagers confront their vanishing childhood.”

Jan Rehner with Almost True

From Inanna Publications: “Almost True is the story of an extraordinary friendship among four women living in a small village in Burgundy during World War II. Madeleine, the eccentric village beauty, is a spinner of stories and dreams. Léa, the doctor’s daughter, is brave and resourceful. Simone, the outsider from Paris, has a secret of her own to hide, and the hardworking and practical Eugénie struggles to keep her vineyard alive. When Eugénie’s younger brother, the reckless and handsome Gaston, is suddenly missing, the village buzzes with rumour. All four women think they know the true story of Gaston’s fate, and each of them is wrong. But the truth will bind them together forever.”

We can stay warm together on November 25!!

Join us on Sunday November 25 for a warm gathering of fiction, long and short and a teensy bit of poetry to top off the 2018 year of readings.

Famous Last Words at 392 Pacific Ave,  opens its doors at 5:00pm and we usually start the readings at 5:30pm. Get there early to order your drink so all that deliciousness can be shaken and stirred before the readings begin.

We are so excited (once again) to bring you a diverse and beautiful bunch of writers, who will all bring their emotionally provocative work to us. This month of readings will challenge your perceptions of “creative writing” and hopefully leave you thinking about how writing imaginatively from the truth can bring us the deepest and most artistic kind of story.

Mugabi Byenkya  brings us his book, Dear Philomena. which is a collection of thoughts and conversations between Mugabi and the girl his mother expected him to be when he was born.  Dear Philomena is an intense exploration and intimate experiential book that will challenge how you view your own experiences with mental and physical health and well-being.

Adam Lindsay Honsinger is “a writer, musician, and illustrator. He completed an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph, and his debut novel Gracelessland (Enfield & Wizenty) was published in 2015. His newest book, Somewhere North of Normal (2018), is a collection of short stories that takes the reader to a place where the less stable elements of reality bend: where a dying butterfly may inspire a revelation, where after being electrocuted, an artist’s body becomes a work of art, where a man may wake up after falling four stories to find himself face to face with his ten-year-old self.”

Anubha Mehta is a Canadian writer and artist who was born in India. Her book Peacock in the Snow “is a genre-bending thriller about the power of love, sacrifice and the tireless capacity of people to hope, strive and succeed despite challenging circumstances.”

Kristen den Hartog ‘s second collaboration with her sister Tracy Kasaboski is The Cowkeeper’s Wish: A Genealogical Journey. “The book delves into their maternal British roots, beginning in the 1840s, when their 3xgreat grandfather walked from Wales to London with his cows, in search of a better life. A working-class chronicle stitched into history, the tale follows the family line for nearly a century, through poverty, war, and love, and ends with the authors’ grandparents in London, Ontario, in the 1930s.”

Elee Kraljii Gardiner joins us with her chapbook memoir poetry Trauma Head. “Gardiner’s Trauma Head is a quicksilvered mirror—a startling and exquisite sequence of poems. The ‘unspeakable’ reflected is intensely fierce and sublimely sensual. Difficult, devastating, and meticulously crafted, this work is a rewarding chronicle of persistence through the trauma of recovery and return. Speech and soma are disrupted, shattered, unsheathed and reshaped—and they shimmer with Kraljii Gardiner’s luminous strength and control.” —Sandra Ridley

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