Hey, everybody! Join us for Word Up’s next event @ Unity Market Cafe & Studios. We’ll start at the usual 7 pm and feature one or two guest authors, followed by the ever-popular and always inspiring open mic.
Word Up Thursday May 10, 2018
Irene Guilford’s work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, and has been short-listed in both the CBC Literary Competition and the Event Creative Non-Fiction Contest. marks her second publication of fiction with Guernica, following her novel, The Embrace. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Nigel.
To learn more about her book click here!
Here’s a review of the book from Prism: click here.
Kent Smerdon was born in Toronto in 1950 and was introduced to flying as a youngster by his father, a WWII RCAF veteran Harvard instructor and Mosquito fighter/bomber pilot. His exposure to and interest in flying led to his enrolling in the Canadian Air Force via a scholarship with Canada’s Military College at Kingston ON (RMC) directly after graduating from high school in 1969. A varied and remarkable career in aviation began.
During the break between his third and fourth year at RMC, he married is high school sweetheart Liz and moved her to Kingston before graduating in 1973 with a degree in Applied Science and Engineering. He then started the serious business of Air Force “wings standard” training. After wings and subsequent qualification on supersonic interceptors, Kent was posted to 409 (AW) “Nighthawks” Fighter Squadron in CFB Comox BC under the command of NORAD. (North American Aerospace Defence) During that time, he flew #3 position in the 409 “Hawks” air demonstration team and was chosen to compete for Canada at the 1976 Bi-Annual “William Tell” Weapons Competition at Tyndall AFB in Florida. He was then posted as an instructor pilot on Voodoos at 410 Cougar Squadron OTU at CFB Bagotville Quebec. Kent left the Air Force for Air Canada in 1980 but kept ties with the military through 401 “Ram” Squadron at St Hubert Quebec where he learned helicopter flying.
The recession and high interest rates of the early eighties compelled Kent to take a leave from Air Canada and return to the regular Airforce at NDHQ in Ottawa before being assigned the position of Challenger Flight Commander at 412 (VIP) Squadron at CFB Uplands. After a six year leave he returned to Air Canada and left the military behind for good. After upgrading to A-320 Captain in 2000, he finished his career as a B-767-300 Captain in 2010 after having been qualified to fly over 18 different aircraft types and their variants over 37 years in aviation.
Kent is a Director on the Board of Aeroserve Technologies Ltd., a life member of the RMC Club of Canada, a member of the Air Force Association, the Air Canada Pionairs, RAPCAN (Retired Airline Pilots Canada) and the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto. He is a cancer survivor, grandfather of twins, a keen tennis player, loves to swing a hammer, and volunteers at the Barrie Food Bank.
Captain Smerdon retired in 2010 after 31 years with Air Canada. He lives in Barrie Ontario with Liz, his bride of forty five years.
Word Up Thursday June 14, 2018
Bruce Meyer is the author of more than sixty books of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, literary journalism, and portrait photography. His most recent book is A Feast of Brief Hopes, a collection of short stories from Guernica Editions. His most recent books include the anthologies Cli Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change, and The Dammed Beaver: Canadian Humour, Laffs, and Gaffes (both from Exile Editions), and the book of poems, 1967: Centennial Year (Black Moss Press). His collection of sonnets, The Seasons, won the IP Medal for Best Book of Poems in North America, and his other recent collections of poetry such as The Arrow of Time (Ronsdale Press) were shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Prize and the Cogswell Prize. In 2015 and 2016 he was the winner of the Gwendolyn MacEwen Prize for Best Poem, and his collection of memoirs/portrait photographs of Canadian writers, Portraits of Canadian Writers (Porcupine’s Quill) was a national bestseller in 2016. He lives Barrie where he was the inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Barrie, and teaches at Georgian College and Victoria College in the University of Toronto.
Word Up Thursday July 12, 2018
Once a teacher, theatre director and adjudicator, Brian Van Norman left those worlds to travel with his wife, Susan, and take up writing as a full time pursuit. He has journeyed to every continent and sailed nearly every sea on the planet. His base is Waterloo, Ontario, Canada though he is seldom found there. Immortal Water is his second novel.
Book: Immortal Water
Immortal Water is an extraordinary tale of the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon and a retired history teacher, Ross Porter. In parallel, interlaced plots both men suffer life altering crises. As age steals away their powers they obsess in a quixotic search for the mythical Fountain of Youth. Each man’s search reveals significant shifts in his life. In the depths of a Florida cypress swamp their quests culminate with astonishing results. Intriguing, poetic, and timely.
Daniel Perry’s first short fiction collection, Hamburger, was published in 2016. His stories have been short-listed for the Carter V. Cooper Prize and appeared in publications in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and the Czech Republic. He has lived in Toronto since 2006.
This is Currie Township, Southwestern Ontario, where roads crumble, barns rot, jobs erode, marriages suffocate, and kids like Mike Carrion find themselves adrift in it all, scratching their way to adolescence before they either knuckle down or get out of here and never look back. Beginning with the Friday night car crash years before Mike was born, the 17 stories in Nobody Looks That Young Here follow the Carrion family and Currie Township in Mike’s words and those of his parents, friends, and others who’ve already left for the city, well aware of what becomes of the people who don’t.
Word Up Thursday September 13, 2018
Hugh Graham has written on Afghanistan and Iraq for The Walrusand The Toronto Star. Previous fiction titles include Last Words and Ploughing the Seas (Exile Editions) and his short fiction has appeared in Descant, Exile Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, The Fiddlehead and New Quarterly.
Book: The Man Who Was No One
The crowd is howling blood. Awaiting death on the scaffold he wonders what he could possibly have done wrong. Has he been misunderstood as a religious fanatic? Did his chronic suspicion get the better of him? His last tumultuous months pass before his eyes. Above all the last hours, a bloody and nocturnal passage through the underworld of the justice system. A system he himself had helped to create. Remorse and relentless self-questioning give way to resentment and rage at the ruling body he led only a few days before, the same people who have placed him on the scaffold. Fury turns to self-reproach and the distasteful and embarrassing business of his personal life. And finally his excesses, so close to his entire reason for being, yet so difficult to acknowledge. Even in the face of death.
Gabriel Verveniotis is a Toronto-based writer with a knack for arguments and anarchy. Bartender by trade, he has a passion for ideas and loves the free exchange and flow of conversation, which can range from Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics to The Maury Show.
Gabriel Verveniotis’s The Sanguinaires, Or What I Hate Most About Everything is a captivating story that delves into the underground, marginalized and disenfranchised people. When a collective premonition about their deaths is revealed to a population, chaos breaks out on how to interpret this strange and momentous event. The minority, diagnosed as Sanguinaires, understandably becomes paranoid, depressed and anxious and joins up eventually to resist the manipulative powers of the Department of Psychological Welfare. This Toronto-based novella delves into the psychological space for a fringe society between suicide and salvation.
Word Up Thursday October 11, 2018
Brenda Clews is a multi-media poet and artist. She hosts a Poetry & Music Salon in Toronto and has published the luminist poems (LyricalMyrical Press) and Tidal Fury (Guernica Editions) with solo art shows at York University, Q Space and Urban Gallery.
Brenda Clews’s compelling Fugue in Green is a gothic fairy tale in the tradition of Marie-Claire Blais’ Mad Shadows and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, with a monster, abuse and ghosts haunting the stanzas. Two teens struggle with their psychotic mother as they seek asylum with their father, where psychic connections, tales of abuse and madness, and eventually a deeper love rise to the surface. sumptuously written, this book delves into mystical visions and deep psychological insights into the creative mind and its relationship to nature, love and madness.
Author and coach in human potential, Robin Blackburn McBride’s self-help ebook, Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity, was an Amazon Best Seller, and has been released as a paperback and as an audiobook. In 2002 Guernica published a collection of her poetry, In Green. The Shining Fragments is her first novel.
Book: The Shining Fragments
The Shining Fragments is a family saga about the Irish in Canada that explores the ramifications of abandonment, obsession, love, memory, and visionary power. Spanning the years 1882-1904, it follows Joseph Conlon from his early childhood in Ulster to his experiences of youth and adulthood as an immigrant. Left behind as a small boy on a Toronto train-station platform like so much forgotten luggage, Joseph grows up in a city bleak with bigotry.He discovers that he has artistic talent and becomes a designer of stained-glass windows. He is haunted by the spirit of his unborn sister, Annie, and the powerful and often conflicting influences of the women in his life. In the end Joseph is given the gift of hope on the same station platform where he was abandoned as a child.
Word Up Thursday November 8, 2018
Kevin Craig is an author, playwright and poet. Kevin’s Young adult novels and adult-themed coming-of-age novels: Summer on Fire, Burn Baby Burn Baby, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Pride Must Be A Place, Sebastian’s Poet, The Reasons. Kevin has had ten short plays and two one-act plays produced for the stage. Their poetry, short fiction and memoir have been published internationally. Kevin lives in Toronto, Canada. They are represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group.
Marc Labriola writes fiction and poetry. His stories have appeared in literary journals throughout the US. He has been nominated for literary awards including the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories. He lives in Toronto. Dying Behaviour of Cats is his first book.
Klonsky Award winner, is a daring exploration of the dark nights of the soul for Theo Galli, an agoraphobic imprisoned in his own house for seven years. When hurricane Catalina hits and streets are flooded, a leopard escapes from the devastated zoo to take refuge on Theo’s roof, which forces the man to face a media circus fixated on this beast who won’t leave the roof and the man who won’t leave his house. This first novella forces the protagonist and reader to face hidden darknesses of the heart.
Word Up Thursday December 13, 2018
Sky Gilbert is a poet, novelist, playwright, filmmaker, theatre director and drag queen extraordinaire. He was co-founder and artistic director of Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre — one of the world’s largest gay and lesbian theatres — from 1979 to 1997. He has had more than 40 plays produced, and written 7 critically acclaimed novels and three award winning poetry collections. He has received three Dora Mavor Moore Awards as well as the Pauline McGibbon Award, and The Silver Ticket Award. There is a street in Toronto named after him. He’s latest novel Sad Old Faggot (ECW Press) was critically acclaimed. Spring of 2018 will mark the premiere of his new opera Shakespeare’s Criminal at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre with music by Dustin Peters.
Book: Small Things (a random selection of anti-essays)
Small Things is a book of mini-anti-essays, part of Sky Gilbert’s project to dismantle and challenge the rigid classifications of genre, thus challenging 21st century notions of truth. Inspired by Oscar Wilde, Foucault, and the post-structuralist project, the small writings in small things are story, essay, and memoir combined. They question the notion that an essay is necessarily fact, or fair opinion, or even informed opinion, while at the same time challenging the dictum that fiction might necessarily be free of didacticism, or at least, ideas.
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