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Since 1990, The Word On The Street has presented thousands of Canadian authors for readers of all ages and literary appetites. This year's schedule includes over 200 presenters on 14 stages.
Where does queer literature in Canada come from, and where is it going? How do queer readers, as well as the larger CanLit world, talk about queer lit? Four writers sit down to discuss the history, necessity, viability, and future of queer literature in Canada. With Nancy Jo Cullen, Farzana Doctor, Kai Cheng Thom, and Zoe Whittall.
Moderator: Casey Plett
Little Fish tells the story of Wendy, a 30-year-old trans woman from Winnipeg who learns that her late grandfather—a devout Mennonite farmer—might have been transgender himself.
Alternately warm-hearted and dark-spirited, desperate and mirthful, Little Fish explores the winter of discontent in the life of one transgender woman as her past and future become irrevocably entwined.
WINNER, Amazon Canada First Novel Award
WINNER, Lambda Literary Award Transgender Fiction (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Casey Plett is the author of the multi-award-winning novel Little Fish (Arsenal Pulp Press) and the short story collection A Safe Girl to Love (Topside Press), and co-editor of the anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers (Topside Press).
Set in Calgary in 1982, during the recession that arrived on the heels of Canada’s National Energy Program, The Western Alienation Merit Badge follows the Murray family as they struggle with grief and find themselves on the brink of financial ruin. After the death of her stepmother, Frances Murray returns to Calgary to help her father, Jimmy, and her sister, Bernadette, pay the mortgage on the family home. When Robyn, a long-lost friend, becomes their house guest old tensions reignite. (Wolsak & Wynn)
Nancy Jo Cullen is the fourth recipient of the Writers’ Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers. Her short story collection, Canary, was the winner of the 2012 Metcalf-Rooke Award. Her poetry has been shortlisted for multiple awards, including the City of Calgary WO Mitchell Book Prize.
A story about one all-inclusive resort, the ghost of an unknown father, and the tragedies we can’t forget.
Ameera works at a Mexican resort, where every day is paradise — if “paradise” means paperwork, sales quotas, and entitled tourists. But it’s not all bad: Ameera’s secret pastime is the swingers scene, and the resort is the perfect place to hook up with like-minded couples without all the hassle of having to see them again.
Meanwhile, she’s being plagued by another secret, the big unknown of her father’s identity. Unbeknownst to Ameera, her father, Azeez, is looking for her, and they both must come to terms with the reason why he abandoned her. (Dundurn)
Farzana Doctor is the award-winning author of Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement and All Inclusive, and was named one of CBC Books’ “100 Canadian Writers You Need to Know Now”. She recently completed Seven (Dundurn, 2020), her fourth novel. She is also a psychotherapist and #EndFGM activist.
I Hope We Choose Love is a hopeful collection of personal essays and prose poems that grow out of activist and community heartbreak. With her characteristic eloquence and honesty, Thom critiques essentialist identity politics, the concept of “safety,” virtue signaling (or “activist theatre”), celebrity culture, and mob mentalities. She unpacks cancel culture, #MeToo and consent, the ways we enable each other to harm, how to heal through boundary setting, and how we talk about suicide (and our responsibility to each other to create a world we can bear to live in). Thom’s work urges us towards revolutionary love. (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Kai Cheng Thom is the author of four books: I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes From the End of the World, Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir, a place called No Homeland, and From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea.
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt? (House of Anansi)
Zoe Whittall’s third novel, The Best Kind of People, was shortlisted for the Scociabank Giller Prize, is being adapted for film by director Sarah Polley, and was named Indigo’s #1 Book of 2016. She has also published three volumes of poetry. Her next novel, The Spectacular, is forthcoming with HarperCollins.