Junction Reads

A Prose Reading Series.

Spring Break, Spring Books

We are taking a a bit of a break in our schedule. Due to the interference of homeschooling, particularly, Grade 10 Math, I have had to move things around a bit. Sharon Kirsch has now joined our April line up! This means April is going to be a kick butt bundle of memoir and fiction.

April 11: Sarah Kurchak
April 18: Sharon Kirsch
April 25: Marissa Stapley

Sarah Kurchak is autistic. “She hasn’t let that get in the way of pursuing her dream to become a writer, or to find love, but she has let it get in the way of being in the same room with someone chewing food loudly, and of cleaning her bathroom sink. In I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder, Kurchak examines the Byzantine steps she took to become “an autistic success story,” how the process almost ruined her life and how she is now trying to recover.” More from Douglas and McIntyre

Sharon Kirsch The Smallest Objective is a creative non-fiction book centred in Montreal. “A lantern slide, a faded recipe book, a postcard from Mexico, a nugget of fool’s gold — such are the clues available to the narrator of The Smallest Objective as she excavates for buried treasure in her family home. More from New Star Books.

Marissa Stapley brings us her fourth novel, Lucky, from Simon and Schuster. “Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity—when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam. ” Read more on Marissa’s website.

Tickets for all our events are PWYC ($0+). Proceeds to the author. Check out our EventBrite page and register for any and all of our Spring events.

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Thanks for the support!

Without the support of the Canada Council and the Writer’s Union of Canada, many writers are left to market and publicise their work with their own funds. We are grateful to the Writer’s Union for subsidizing the application fee this cycle of the National Public Readings Program. Without other grants, Junction Reads is limited to our PWYC sales and cannot normally afford to apply for these grants! We are so very grateful to have had our applications approved.

Check out our Upcoming Schedule and register for our events on EventBrite.

March Readings!

March 7: Aparna Kaji Shah

March can be the best and worst month of the year. Depending on who comes roaring in, a lion or a lamb, we can get a month that goes from good to bad or bad to good. It’s not a great month! It is certainly no June or September! I know many of us get a feeling that this month offers promise. The promise of spring. The promise of an end to winter, but there is nothing about this March that feels at all promising.

Except, we have books to read and authors to chat with about those books!

You can rely on Junction Reads – more than the weather – for readings and author talks. Our fun Sunday afternoon chats are something many readers and writers have come to look forward to.

March 7: Aparna Kaji Shah joins us for another fantastic conversation about her beautiful collection of short stories, The Scent of Mogra and Other Stories from Inanna Publications. The Scent of Mogra and Other Stories is 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 Stories illuminate the quality of women’s lives, exposing the pain, the injustices, as well as the triumphs that make up their existence. More From Inanna Publications.

NEW DATE: APRIL 18 Sharon Kirsch will join us with readings from her latest A Smallest Objective from New Star Books. “Confronted with her mother’s memory loss, a daughter undertakes a search for buried treasure in her now-vacant family home, aided by a team of archeologists. This first-person narrative produces unsettling discoveries about several Montreal personalities as revealed by the objects that survive them—a microscope and lantern slides, a worn recipe book, the obituary of a renowned black sheep in the family. In the end, the excavation of the narrator’s childhood home yields both less and more than she ever imagined.” You can read an excerpt on her website.

Register for our events on Eventbrite. PWYC ($0+) Proceeds to the author. Captions available.

February Fiction!

We’ve got another three readings lined up for February and they promise to brighten up what some consider the dreariest month of the year. We have a collection of short stories that is hot hot hot, a Young Adult novel with important mental health themes and a bit of poetry and new fiction from one of Canada’s best essayists.

February 7: Jess Taylor joins us with her fantastic collection of stories, Just Pervs from Book*hug Press. This book was the highlight of my summer reads and I can’t wait to sit with Jess to chat about her open and honest approach to relationships, sex and sexuality. A 2020 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Bisexual Fiction, I am so happy JUST PERVS will be shared with you all.

“Jess Taylor’s second short-story collection is a bold examination of the contemporary underbelly of women’s desires. The stories centre on nuances of longing that are much more interesting than those found in many mainstream narratives: the gross bits; fleeting, horrible Tinder-era flings; and even a refreshing take on queer polyamory (in “A Story About Our Friends Lana and Tia”). Taylor writes about women’s desires across life stages very well, particularly in “So Raw You Can’t Sit,” which follows a septuagenarian protagonist taking up with a new partner in the face of judgment and chronic pain.” Quill and Quire.

February 21: Brent van Staalduinen returns to Junction Reads with his debut YA novel, Nothing But Life, that has a traumatized protagonist at its centre. An award-winning writer, I cannot wait to sit and talk to Brent about his latest novel.

From Dundurn: “Dills and his mom have returned to Hamilton, her hometown, hoping to leave the horrors of Windsor behind. But it’s impossible to escape the echoes of tragedy, and trouble always follows trouble. When Dills hurts a new classmate, it comes out in court that he was in the Windsor High library when the shooter came in. But he won’t talk about what he saw, what he still sees whenever he closes his eyes. He can’t. He definitely can’t tell anyone that the Windsor Shooter is his stepfather, Jesse, that Jesse can speak into his mind from hundreds of kilometres away, and that Dills still loves him even though he committed an unspeakable crime.”

February 28: When I learned Alicia Elliott was working on some poetry while at the same time completing her first novel, I was so excited she agreed to come to Junction Reads to talk about writing in a genre so unlike her popular and inspiring essays.

If you haven’t read Mind Spread Out On The Ground, you should. It is a collection of personal and provocative essays, like no other. A #1 National Bestseller, Shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize and named one of the best books of 2019 by many newspapers and magazines, it is the best non-fiction book I have read.

I hope you can join us for any or all of our upcoming events. Check out the Junction Reads EventBrite page to RSVP to our February Fiction Events.

Proof I Was Here: Becky Blake

I hope you can join us on Sunday January 17 at 5:00pm. Get your tickets on EventBrite today. Tickets are Pay What You Can with proceeds going to the author.

Finishing Proof I Was Here by Becky Blake, I had mixed feelings. While I was happy Niki was growing and moving, I was sad to leave the streets of Barcelona and all the cool people we’d met along the way.

Becky Blake’s debut novel is an immersion in street life, particularly into the world of creative people living off their art and their talent at getting things for free. Whether it’s dumpster diving or pocket diving, Blake’s characters have a value system that make each and every one of them watchable, and likeable.

If you cannot join us, we will have a video of the event uploaded to our YouTube channel. Purchase your copy of the book directly from Buckrider Books, or from your local independent bookstore. (Toronto stores that will deliver).


January Reads!

In Toronto, the snow is falling and the fall leaves are dancing in the wind down my street. I am sitting here finishing Becky Blake’s Proof I Was Here with Hannah Brown’s debut novel and Faye Guenther’s short story collection beside me. It’s pretty damn cozy.

We are coming up on our 6th anniversary and for the first time in Junction Reads history, I will have time to read all the books ahead of our author readings. I am glad for my dogs because without them, I might never leave the house.

We will be hosting almost weekly events in the new year and each will be a quick chat about one book with one author. Many of us have been locked to our screens with all-day zoom meetings and want nothing more than to read a book. We will pack each event with a quick chat, a reading and Q and A that you can enjoy while sipping a single cup of tea.

January Reads:

January 17 at 5:00pm: Join me as I welcome Becky Blake and her novel, Proof I Was Here. I have so enjoyed walking through the streets of Barcelona with Niki and Manu as they travel through pain and trauma. You can purchase it directly from Wolsak and Wynn. Get your tickets here.

January 24 at 5:00pm: Hannah Brown will chat about her debut novel, Look After Her. Published by Inanna Publications last year, it is a novel about secrets, sex, love and art, set in Europe during the rise of fascism. Get your tickets here.

January 31 at 5:00pm: Faye Guenther will join us to read and talk about her beautiful short stories, Swimmers in Winter. You can purchase directly from Invisible Publishing. Get your tickets here.

Our season has a book for everyone. Check out the full schedule here.

End of an Era: an interview with author Brit Griffin

Since author Brit Griffin began her Wintermen trilogy five years ago, it seemed the author had her finger on the pulse of what was to come to the world we live in. Setting her story on an earth devastated by climate change, mixed with the page-turning captivation of those old-time spaghetti westerns. Read an interview with Brit here.

Let Them In

A review from Alishya Weiland

I’ve always wondered why we don’t see many females in politics. Even before I started looking into it myself, I found it puzzling that often when it was time to vote I was stuck deciding between this man or that man. I was hopeful it wasn’t as bad as I thought, but when I picked up Elect Her written by Fred Groves, I was surely disappointed.

Out of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories only one of them has a female premier.

One out of 13. In total, there have only been twelve female premiers and one female prime minister. Out of 338 seats in the House of Commons only 98 are held by women. That’s not even 30 per cent. The numbers look just as grim for many municipalities around the country.

This means that whether women like it or not, often decisions about female reproductive rights, equality rights and more are decided by men. Only men.

Read the full review here.

As Real As It Gets: An interview with Dustin Cole

Dustin Cole’s debut novel Notice puts the Vancouver housing crisis front and centre within the framework of the story. Set during the summer of 2017 in Vancouver, BC,  economic imperatives are making space less and less accessible to low-income residents. The rental crisis is intensifying, ravenous real-estate development is thriving and there is a province-wide forest fire emergency blanketing the city in smoke.

Notice is the Kafkaesque story of a man under threat of renoviction, caught in the gears of bureaucracy in a city where economic inequality runs rampant; displacement and petty frustration abound. Dustin Cole writes with a documentarian sensibility from the unique perspective of Dylan Levett—a cynical dishwasher from Alberta whose greatest fantasy is a post-car world. With the spotlight turned to the down-and-out and the working-class, Notice seemingly holds a funhouse mirror up to the city of Vancouver—but the image reflected there might be as real as it gets.

Read the full Interview here.

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