Upcoming Events

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.

March 8, 2018

Michael Mirolla author poetMichael Mirolla is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, playwright, and poet. Michael describes his fiction as a mix of magic realism, surrealism, speculative fiction and meta-fiction.

His latest literary award is the 2016 Bressani Literary Prize for his short story collection Lessons in Relationship Dyads (Red Hen Press, 2015). In 2010, with business partner Connie McParland, Michael took over the reins at Guernica Editions, one of Canada’s thriving independent presses.

Born in Italy and raised in Montreal, Michael now makes his home near Toronto.

Michael Mirolla in The Photographer in Search of Death tells us stories that blend the explicable with the inexplicable. As if a camel were actually passing through the eye of a needle, these stories pass what is commonplace through a hyper-realistic lens into the utterly mysterious. Houses have rooms that appear and disappear. Very real objects, invaded by an unbelievable force, become believably unreal. Streets filled with everyday individuals become— in our modern technological environment— ultra ordinary. What we wish to avoid becomes unavoidable. This is a world beyond the merely “magical”— this is a binary world of becoming.


Rocco de GiacomoRocco de Giacomo is a widely published poet whose work has appeared in literary journals in Canada, Australia, England, Hong Kong and the US. His work has recently been accepted for publication in Arc Poetry and Event, and has most recently been published in Existere. Rocco’s poetry has also been featured on the CBC. He is the author of numerous chapbooks including, in 2008, Catching Dawn’s Breath. In 2009, his first full-length poetry collection, Ten Thousand Miles Between Us, was launched through Quattro Books. His forthcoming collection, Every Night of Our Lives, will be published with Guernica Editions. In 2010, Ten Thousand Miles was longlisted for the ReLit Poetry Award. In 2011, it was selected for Poetry NOW’s 3rd Annual Battle of the Bards. From 2008 to 2014, Rocco volunteered on the committee for the Art Bar Poetry Series, Canada’s longest running weekly series. Rocco lives in Toronto with his wife, Lisa Keophila, a fabric artist, and his daughters, Ava and Matilda. He is currently working on his third poetry manuscript.

April 12, 2018

Sally Cooper writer author

Photo by Melanie Gillis

Sally Cooper is a bold, powerful writer who lays bare the human heart. The author of acclaimed novels Love Object and Tell Everything, Sally Cooper has published short stories and essays in several magazines such as CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries, Event, Grain, Great Lakes Review and White Wall Review. A former college professor, Sally Cooper happily devotes her time to writing and raising her two daughters in Hamilton, Ontario. Her latest book, Smells Like Heaven, a collection of linked stories, will be published in June, 2017, by ARP Books.

Sally Cooper loves writing, words, language and everything to do with the creative process. She has taught English for more than twenty years, culminating as a Professor of English at Humber College. As well she started the Writing Centre at Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus, which she ran for five years and where she could indulge her love of working with students one-on-one. She is a patient, intuitive teacher who values connecting with her students and igniting in them the passion she herself feels for writing. She is a Senior Editor of Hamilton Review of Books.

Sally Cooper is proud to be a founding member to the long-term writers’ circle Big Canvas. Sally Cooper’s fiction has been described as “fearless” “voluptuous” “incisive” “passionate” “powerful” “compelling” “beautiful” “skillful” “bold” “impressive” “sensitive” “insightful” “tremendous” “gifted” “uncanny” “satisfying” “suspenseful” “commanding” and “tender.” The risks she takes with the stories she tells and how she tells them have earned Sally Cooper a devoted readership in search of the truths found only in fiction.


author Kateri LanthieKateri Lanthier holds a BA and MA in English Literature from the book cover Sirens by Kateri LanthierUniversity of Toronto. Her poems have been published in Canada, the United States and England, most recently in The Fiddlehead, Leveler, Event, Hazlitt, Green Mountains Review, Arc, Literary Review of Canada, and Matrix. Her poem “The Coin Under the Leftmost Sliding Cup” won the 2013 Walrus Poetry Prize and was included in Best Canadian Poetry 2014 (Tightrope Books). She won third prize in the England-based 2016 Troubadour International Poetry competition. She was profiled in Portraits of Canadian Writers (Bruce Meyer, The  Porcupine’s Quill, 2016). She is an Adjunct Professor, MA in English in the Field of Creative Writing, University of Toronto. Her first collection of poetry is Reporting from Night (Iguana, 2011). Her second is Siren (Signal Editions, Véhicule Press, 2017).

Word Up Thursday May 10, 2018

Canadian fiction writer Irene GuilfordCanadian fiction writer Irene Guilford's book cover, Waiting for Stalin to DieIrene 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 pilot authorKent 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.

Flight Lines Book CoverThe 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

Canadian author and poet Bruce Meyer

Photo by photographer Doug Crawford

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.

Click here to find Bruce’s book A Feast of Brief Hopes!

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