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The Word On The Street has been renowned for the quality and diversity of its event programming and our next festival promises to offer the best so far. Check out our 2021 schedule! All events will be presented on Zoom. In-person activities for Saturday, September 18th have been cancelled, and the festival will be online only.

Fri, Sept 17: It’s Kind of a Funny Story with Ben Phillipe and Heather Smith

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

This session will be presented on Zoom with a sign language interpreter. Register free on Eventbrite for tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/169194058985

Charming as a Verb

Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.

Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . .

This is a sharply funny and insightful novel about the countless hustles we have to keep from doing the hardest thing: being ourselves.

  • Fiction
  • Young Adult

Ben Philippe

Ben Philippe is a New York–based writer and screenwriter, born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and an MFA in fiction and screenwriting from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He also teaches screenwriting at Columbia University. He is the author of Field Guide to the North American Teenager. He can be found online at www.benphilippe.com.

Barry Squires, Full Tilt

It’s 1995. When the Full Tilt Dancers give an inspiring performance at the opening of the new bingo hall, twelve-year-old Finbar (Barry) Squires wants desperately to join the troupe. Led by Father O’Flaherty, the Full Tilt Irish Step Dancers are the most sought-after act in St. John’s, Newfoundland (closely followed by popular bagpiper, Alfie Bragg and his Agony Bag). Having watched Riverdance twice, Barry figures he’ll nail the audition. And good thing too — it’d be nice to be known for something other than the port wine stain on his cheek. With questionable talent and an unpredictable temper, Barry’s journey to stardom is jeopardized by his parents’ refusal to take his dreams seriously. Thankfully, Barry has the support of a lively cast of characters: his ever-present grandmother, Nanny Squires; his adorable baby brother, Gord; an old British rocker named Uneven Steven; a group of geriatrics from the One Step Closer to God Nursing Home; and Saibal, a friend with whom Barry gets up to no good.

Told with humor and a healthy dose of irreverence, Barry Squires, Full Tilt is the latest novel by Heather Smith, the award-winning author of The Agony of Bun O’Keefe and Chicken Girl.

  • Fiction
  • Young Adult

Heather Smith

Heather 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 novel, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe, won the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award and the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award, and was shortlisted for the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction. It also received starred reviews from Kirkus and Quill & Quire and was named a best book of 2017 by Kirkus, Bank Street College of Education, Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire (honorable mention), as well as selected as an Outstanding International Book by USBBY.