5 new readings and 6 fabulous writers! Nothing affirms my faith in a promising future filled with diverse and unique #canlit voices, than a reading such as this!

5:00pm at Famous Last Words: 392 Pacific Ave

Tehmina Khan brings us an incredible collections of short stories! Published by Mawenzi House, Things She Could Never Have is Tehmina’s debut into Canadian publishing. And how beautifully Canadian this collection is! Stories that show us the many dimensions of Pakistani and Muslim culture, with characters, both privileged and marginalized, struggling to find space in the world. ““Whisperings of the Devil” takes us into the mind of a mistreated maidservant’s boy who gets seduced into the role of a suicide bomber. In “To Allah We Pray,” two privileged and educated young men, one of them home from Toronto, gallivant through the streets of Karachi, finally walking into a doomed mosque. “Things She Could Never Have” is a love story about two young trans women living in Karachi. “Born on the First of July” opens the door into the home of a Toronto girl who has left to join ISIS and the devastated family she leaves behind. “The First” will astonish many readers by its depiction of sexual encounters of young college girls in Pakistan.”

Sylvain Prud’homme’s novel Les Grands has been translated by Wellcome Prize winner Jessica Moore as The Greats and published by Book*hug in Toronto.  Originally published in France, Les Grands was winner of both the 2015 Prix Littéraire de la Porte Dorée and the 2014 Prix Georges Brassens, “The Greats is a novel of mourning, love, and the thirst for justice that tells the story of a population who knew hope and independence but now live under the oppressive rule of an army dictatorship. BookThug is very proud to introduce the work of Sylvain Prudhomme, a steadily rising literary star in France, to English readers.”

Terry Watada will read from his novel, The Three Pleasures published by Anvil Press. Every Canadian should know about the Japanese internment camps. Although history lessons have changed over the years, as we learn more, and more is shared, we cannot experience it as deeply and honestly as we will through the three main characters in Terry’s book.  “The story is told through three main characters in the Japanese community: Watanabe Etsuo, Morii Etsuji and Etsu Kaga, the Three Pleasures. Etsu in Japanese means “pleasure”; the term is well-suited to these three. Morii Etsuji, the Black Dragon boss, controls the kind of pleasure men pay for: gambling, drink and prostitution – the pleasures of the flesh. Watanabe Etsuo, Secretary of the Steveston Fishermen’s Association, makes a deal with the devil to save his loved ones. In the end, he suffers for it and never regains the pleasures of family. And there is Etsu Kaga, a Ganbariya of the Yamato Damashii Group, a real Emperor worshipper. His obsession becomes destructive to himself and all involved with him. He enjoys the pleasure of patriotism until that patriotism becomes a curse.”

Catherine Graham brings us her debut novel, Quarry, a story about family secrets, deep, damaging, but ultimately strengthening as our protagonist struggles to uncover and face her family’s past. “Set in southern Ontario during the 1980’s, acclaimed poet Catherine Graham’s debut novel is layered like the open-pit mine for which it is named. Caitlin Maharg, an only child, lives in a house by a water-filled limestone quarry whose gothic presence is elemental to the story. With loving parents and what appears to be an idyllic upbringing, much has been kept from her and she learns that her mother is dying. But there are things Caitlin knows in a wordless way, the way she knows every inch of the quarry. By the time she’s in her last year of university, her losses multiply. And when a series of family secrets emerges, Caitlin learns to rely on her inner strength. She gains the confidence she needs to confront her maternal grandmother and carry out her father’s last wish.”

Lesley Trites offers us her debut collection of short stories, A Three-tiered Pastel Dream, published by Véhicule Press. There is no secret that women have had to BE everything for so many, but without ever getting the credit or acknowledgement. It’s no wonder so many have secrets! Lesley “unearths pearls of wisdom from the secret lives of women who could easily live next door, drop off their kids at the same school, or work in the next cubicle. A career-focused woman finds her life taken off course by an unexpected pregnancy and its challenging aftermath; a troubled doctor abandons her family on her daughter’s birthday, the three-tiered pastel layer cake in the passenger seat beside her; a young mother must contend with how to explain her husband’s suicide to their child.”


Image of vintage Bay and Yonge (from Pinterest)