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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.
Author Nathan Whitlock chronicles the failures and minor successes of a middle-aged bar owner and slightly younger server. Poet Stuart Ross moves from his typical surrealism into more intimate poems about the relationships and connections that keep loved ones together. Dark humour and unexpected relationships bring these works together in our minds, and their authors together on our stage.
Stuart Ross is known as the author of some of Canada’s most audacious poetry. Long celebrated for his absurdist narratives and gut-punch humour, in A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent Ross confronts more intimate subject matter – investigating the often complex but always powerful connections between loved ones. Surreally punctuated portraits of family members, childhood friends, heroes, mentors – and even himself – are rendered with arresting care. From the cemetery to the playground, and from the punk club to the synagogue, Ross takes his readers on adventures both wild and tender.
Stuart Ross published his first literary pamphlet on the photo-copier in his dad’s office one night in 1979. Through the 1980s, he stood on Toronto’s Yonge Street wearing signs like “Writer Going to Hell,” selling over seven thousand chapbooks. He is the author or co-author of twenty books of fiction, poetry and essays, as well as scores of chapbooks, leaflets and broadsides. Stuart was a member of the short-lived improvisational noise trio Donkey Lopez. He is a founding member of the Meet the Presses collective and has his own imprint, a stuart ross book, at Mansfield Press. Stuart lives in Cobourg, Ontario, and blogs at bloggamooga.blogspot.ca.
A dark and comic novel, Congratulations On Everything tracks the struggles, frailties, and cruelly pyrrhic victories of the middle-aged owner of a bar-restaurant and a 30ish lunch-shift waitress.
A Toronto service industry lifer, Jeremy has risen through the ranks until he finally takes the keys to his destiny and opens his own place, The Ice Shack. Everyone assumes Ice Shack daytime waitress Charlene is innocent and empathetic, but in reality she’s desperately unhappy. A drunken encounter sends Charlene and her boss careening. As Jeremy struggles to keep his business afloat, he’ll stop at nothing to maintain his successful, good guy self-image.
Congratulations On Everything is a hilarious and occasionally uncomfortable dose of anti-foodie reality that reveals what goes on when the customers and Instagrammers aren’t around — and even sometimes when they are.
Nathan Whitlock’s award-winning fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, Toronto Life, Report on Business, Flare, Fashion, Geist, Maisonneuve, and Best Canadian Essays, and he has appeared on radio and television discussing books and culture. Heather O’Neill called A Week of This, Whitlock’s first novel, “a portrait of people in a small town so intimate that it feels like you are under the covers with them.” He is a contributing editor for Quill & Quire. He lives in Toronto with his wife and children.