November 7 with Hollay Ghadery and November 21 with Wayne Ng. It’s a Guernica kind of month.

I hope you know that nobody is the boss of you, but you, but let me take a moment to tell you what you should be doing in November. You should be reading books. Specifically, Hollay Ghadery’s memoir, FUSE and Wayne Ng novel, Letters From Johnny. As I sit here, in my writing and reading space, I am watching the leaves get blown from their trees and I am comforted by the piles of books beside me. Like a blanket, they’re going to be there for me when I need them.

Hollay Ghadery’s fiction, non-fiction and poetry has been published in various literary journals, including the Malahat Review, Room, Grain and The Fiddlehead. In 2004, she graduated from Queen’s University with her BAH in English Literature, and in 2007, she graduated from the University of Guelph with her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is the recipient of the Constance Rooke Scholarship in Creative Writing, as well as Ontario Arts Council grants for her poetry and non-fiction. Hollay is the force behind River Street Writing—a collective of freelance writers who create exceptional content, and provide creative consultancy services for personal and professional projects.

FUSE, published by Guernica Editions, draws on Hollay’s “own experiences as a woman of Iranian and British Isle descent, writer Hollay Ghadery dives into conflicts and uncertainty surrounding the bi-racial female body and identity, especially as it butts up against the disparate expectations of each culture. Painfully and at times, reluctantly, Fuse probes and explores the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women.”

Wayne Ng was born in downtown Toronto to Chinese immigrants who fed him a steady diet of bitter melons and kung fu movies. Ng works as a school social worker in Ottawa but lives to write, travel, eat and play, preferably all at the same time. He is an award-winning short story and travel writer who continues to push his boundaries from the Arctic to the Antarctic, blogging and photographing along the way.”

Letters from Johnny, also from Guernica Editions, is “set in Toronto 1970, just as the FLQ crisis emerges to shake an innocent country, eleven year old Johnny Wong uncovers an underbelly to his tight, downtown neighbourhood. He shares a room with his Chinese immigrant mother in a neighbourhood of American draft dodgers and new Canadians. In a span of a few weeks his world seesaws. He is befriended by Rollie, one of the draft dodgers who takes on a fatherly and writing mentor role. Johnny’s mother is threatened by the “children’s warfare society.” Meany Ming, one of the characters by the rooming house is found murdered. He suspects the feline loving neighbour, the Catwoman. Inspired by an episode of Mannix, he tries to break into her house. Ultimately he is betrayed but he must act to save his family. He discovers a distant kinship with Jean, the son of one of the hostages kidnapped by the FLQ who have sent Canada into a crisis.”

You can register on EventBrite for both of these readings. They are PWYC events and proceeds go to the authors. I hope you’ll join us. All registered attendees have a chance to win a copy of the books from Guernica!