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Since 1990, The Word On The Street has proudly hosted some of the finest talent in Canadian literature. Our 27th festival is shaping up to be one of our best yet. Check out all of the authors, performers, and storytellers below!
Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, and multimedia artist, and the author of 20 books of poetry, fiction, and books for children. His recent books include the short fiction collection I, Dr. Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457 (Anvil) and the poetry collections Moon Baboon Canoe (Mansfield) and The Wild and Unfathomable Always (Xexoxial). Born in Northern Ireland to South African parents of Ashkenazi descent, Barwin moved to Canada as a child. He is married with three adult children, and lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
Set in the years around 1492, Yiddish for Pirates recounts the story of Moishe, a Bar Mitzvah boy who leaves home to join a ship’s crew, where he meets Aaron, the polyglot parrot who becomes his near-constant companion.
From a present-day Florida nursing home, this wisecracking yet poetic bird guides us through a world of pirate ships, Yiddish jokes and treasure maps. But Inquisition Spain is a dangerous time to be Jewish and Moishe joins a band of hidden Jews trying to preserve some forbidden books. He falls in love with a young woman, Sarah; though they are separated by circumstance, Moishe’s wanderings are motivated as much by their connection as by his quest for loot and freedom. When all Jews are expelled from Spain, Moishe travels to the Caribbean with the ambitious Christopher Columbus, a self-made man who loves his creator. Moishe eventually becomes a pirate and seeks revenge on the Spanish while seeking the ultimate booty: the Fountain of Youth.