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For the past 27 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 that appeared at our 28th festival on September 24, 2017
At younger ages than most, the characters in Heather T. Smith and Danielle Younge-Ullman’s books leave home and, from this, discover themselves and how they function in the world around them.
Set in 1980s Newfoundland, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is the story of a 14-year-old girl who runs away to the city and is taken in by a street musician who lives with an eclectic cast of characters: a pot smoking dishwasher with culinary dreams; a drag queen with a tragic past; a Catholic school girl desperately trying to reinvent herself; and a man who Bun is told to avoid at all cost. Through her experiences with these new roommates, Bun discovers what it is like to be part of a family.
Heather T. Smith is originally from Newfoundland, and now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, with her husband and three children. Her east coast roots inspire much of her writing. Her first novel, Baygirl, received a starred review from Quill & Quire, was named as one of the Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year, and was a 2015 White Pine Honour Book.
When she was a little girl, Ingrid’s entire world was her mother: Margot-Sophia, the brilliant and sophisticated opera star. So when Margot-Sophia loses her singing voice, Ingrid loses everything. The two of them move to a small, normal house in a normal town, where Ingrid tries to convince her mother that there must still be something worth living for. It’s in this small, normal life that Ingrid discovers her own passion for the theater arts. But Margot-Sophia refuses to support her daughter’s dreams. They strike a deal: if Ingrid makes it through a summer of an extreme wilderness experience, then she can have her chance to pursue life as a performer. Over the course of this summer, Ingrid is stripped of every dignity and freedom. But she also finally comes to terms with her inner demons–and finally confronts the secret tragedy that defines her.
Danielle Younge-Ullman studied English and Theater at McGill University in Montreal, then worked as professional actor for ten years. This was character-building time during which she held a wild variety of acting and non-acting jobs-everything from working on the stage and in independent films, to dubbing English voices for Japanese TV, to temping, to teaching pilates. She now lives in an old house in Toronto that’s constantly being renovated, with her husband and two daughters.