Toronto, Ontario

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Harbourfront Centre | 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

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For the past 26 years, The Word On The Street has been renowned for the quality and diversity of its event programming. See the lineup of incredible Canadian literary talent at the 27th festival on September 25, 2016.

Unhappy Families

3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

In the oft-quoted Tolstoy line, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Thrill to discover how acclaimed novelists Whittall and Jones have crafted their own little nuclei of misery: an all-American family in crisis mode when the patriarch is arrested for sexual assault in The Best Kind of People, while a video of a Thunder Bay matriarch heading over a waterfall in a barrel goes viral and sends her family spiraling into meltdown in We’re All in This Together.

We’re All in This Together

A woman goes over a waterfall, a video goes viral, a family goes into meltdown — life is about to get a lot more complicated for the Parker family.
Like all families, the Parkers of Thunder Bay have had their share of complications. But when matriarch Kate Parker miraculously survives plummeting over a waterfall in a barrel — a feat captured on a video that goes viral — it’s Kate’s family who tumbles into chaos under the spotlight. Her prodigal daughter returns to town. Her 16-year-old granddaughter gets caught up in an online relationship with a man she has never met. Her husband sifts through their marriage to search for what sent his wife over the falls. Her adopted son fears losing the only family he’s ever known. Then there is Kate, who once made a life-changing choice and now fears her advancing dementia will rob her of memories from when she was most herself. Set over the course of four calamitous days, Amy Jones’s big-hearted first novel follows the Parkers’ misadventures as catastrophe forces them to do something they never thought possible — act like a family.

  • Fiction

Amy Jones

Amy Jones won the 2006 CBC Literary Prize for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2005 Bronwen Wallace Award. She is a graduate of the Optional Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at UBC, and her fiction has appeared in Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Stories. Her debut collection of stories, What Boys Like, was the winner of the 2008 Metcalf-Rooke Award and a finalist for the 2010 ReLit Award. Originally from Halifax, she now lives in Thunder Bay, where she is associate editor of The Walleye. The author lives in Thunder Bay, ON.

The Best Kind of People

From award-winning author Zoe Whittall comes The Best Kind of People, a stunning tour de force about the unravelling of an all-American family.

To the shock of his family and community, George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual assault at a prestigious prep school in Connecticut. While he awaits his trial in jail, his family is left to pick up the pieces.

  • Fiction

Zoe Whittall

Zoe Whittall is the author of The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (2001), The Emily Valentine Poems (2006), and Precordial Thump (2008), and the editor of Geeks, Misfits, & Outlaws (2003). Her debut novel Bottle Rocket Hearts (2007) made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible (2009) won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Believer, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Fashion, and more. She has also worked as a writer and story editor on the TV shows Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek. Born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, she has an MFA from the University of Guelph and lives in Toronto.