Cancelled — Shani Mootoo & Helen Humphreys: A Reading & Conversation Cancelled

Cancelled — Concordia’s Writers Read, the Student Association for Graduates in English (SAGE) & the Department of English present Shani Mootoo & Helen Humphreys.

Dear Friends, from Sina Queyras at Writers Read on Facebook: We have had to cancel our March 20 event with Helen Humphreys and Shani Mootoo, but we are sending love and strength to you all and looking forward to seeing you all at the other side of these strange days.

Cancelled — 7-9 pm, Friday March 20th, 2020

York Amphitheatre, EV-1.605, Main Floor
EV Building, 1515 St. Catherine W, Concordia University
Free. All are welcome.
Wheelchair accessible
Attendees can use gender-neutral bathrooms at the following locations:
EV S3.408, S2.408, 1.42, 2.406, 2.608, 3.408 and 3.608.

About Shani Mootoo

Shani Mootoo is the much-loved author of the novels Cereus Blooms at Night, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize; He Drown She in the Sea, which was longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award; and Valmiki’s Daughter, which was also longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Mootoo was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad. She immigrated to Vancouver more than 30 years ago and now lives near Toronto. Mootoo’s released her latest novel, Polar Vortex, this month through Book*hug Press.

About Helen Humphreys

Helen Humphreys is the award-winning author of eight novels, four works of creative non-fiction and four books of poetry. Her writing has been published internationally and optioned for film, theatre, opera and television. She lives and writes in Kingston, Ontario.

Books by the authors will be for sale.


From the Archive: Francine Prose

Writers Read looks back at hosting prolific author, Francine Prose, in March, 2014, in Concordia’s Henry F. Hall building. Attendees crowded into the Hall conference room for a reading of Prose’s novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 (HarperTorch, 2014), and later, a Q&A session with the Brooklyn native. Lovers is a multivocal series of epistolaries that spotlight Parisian lives during the rise of German fascism, and the impacts fascism had on various Parisian cultures. The innermost thoughts of Prose’s complex characters entwine to give a voice and face to a separate, abstract character – the motley cityscape of pre-war Paris.

Francine Prose released a new novel this month, entitled, Mister Monkey: A Novel.

As reviewed in the New York Times Book Review: “Expertly constructed, Mister Monkey is so fresh and new it’s almost giddy, almost impudent with originality. Tender and artful, Prose’s 15th novel is a sophisticated satire, a gently spiritual celebration of life, a dark and thoroughly grim depiction of despair, a screwball comedy, a screwball tragedy. . . . It’s gorgeous and bright and fun and multi-faceted, carrying within it the geological force of the ages. It’s a book to be treasured. It’s that good. It’s that funny. It’s that sad. It’s that deceptive and deep.” (New York Times Book Review, front cover review)

Listen to a clip of Prose reading from Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932:


– Johnathan F. Clark


Audio Archive: Roxane Gay & Rachel Zellers

Writing these essays was of acknowledging my existence that you just don’t see written about all too often. The black experience is often times limited to a one very specific type of story and I think that we have to broaden our cultural understanding of what it means to be black. –Roxane Gay talking about Bad Feminist with Rachel Zellers.

From October 22, 2015. Co-Sponsored by Librarie Drawn & Quarterly.


Off The Page – Call for Proposals


In March 2016, Writers Read, Off The Page in cooperation with the University of Montreal and Concordia’s Centre for Expanded Poetics are hosting: Dionne Brand, Ben Lerner, Jordan Abel, Sonnet L’Abbé, Fred Moten and more. More information will be posted here & here.

Call for Proposals

For decades the Creative Writing department at Concordia University has brought together students with varying interests in the world of the written word. Beyond the mere scopes of poetry, fiction and play writing, students have been interested in exploring topics in writing from their past, present and future. While some students search to destroy and change the image of poetics, others search to navigate the blurred boundaries of fiction and the real. This year’s Off The Page festival brings together students and established writers in a series of panels exploring issues of racial and gender representation in varying forms of literature, the work of writers Behind the Screens, the crafting of the hip-hop lyric, and other topics that bridge together the vast array of students of the Creative Writing program.

Off The Page, presented by Concordia’s Writers Read, is looking for insightful and thought-provoking papers, poems and creative projects that explore varying topics, to be presented and discussed at this year’s three-day festival from March 17th through the 19th.

For more information:  Email offthepage [at] gmail [dot] com & Tweet @offthepage429

Sound Archive: Jordan Tannahill on Mental Real Estate


Jordan Tannahill joined us on 25 September 2015 at the VAV Gallery to read and discuss his book, Theatre of the Unimpressed. In this clip he discusses mental real estate, the value of impermanence, and Videofag. Shout out to Jacob Wren.

Complete sound archives will be updated soon. In the mean time follow us on Soundcloud for excerpts of our 2015 Fall Season. More to come from Paula Meehan, Major Jackson, Dina Del Bucchia & Daniel Zomparelli, and Roxane Gay in conversation with Rachel Zellers and more.

The Devil You Know: Writers Read in Conversation with Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Writers Read: Elisabeth, The Devil You Know introduces us to a character that I can imagine reoccurring in other narratives. Are you tempted to write a series of literary thrillers?

Elisabeth de Mariaffi: I certainly didn’t set out to start a series with The Devil You Know. To be honest, I didn’t even really know I was writing a thriller for the first while, but once it began to develop that way, it got really exciting. I love Evie, and I really enjoy writing her and now that I’m face and eyes into a new, entirely different novel, I find that I am beginning to miss her. So the short answer is: Not right now. But maybe in the future? I have my current project and I think I know what the next book after that will be as well — and I really want to write those — but just in the last couple of weeks I’ve started thinking that after that, it might be fun to write another Evie book. (I recently did a panel with Danish crime queen Sara Blaedel, and that also lit a fire for me. Her job looks awesome.) The other option, or addition, to this is the idea of Evie crossing media. The Devil You Know was optioned back in the spring and is currently in development for television. We have a really fabulous show runner signed on — Karen Walton, who you may know as a lead writer on Orphan Black, and the creator behind the cult horror movie, Ginger Snaps — but in the lucky instance where we find a network for the show, I’ll get to be involved in writing Evie for TV. TV-Evie. Sounds fun.

WR: I loved the urgency of The Devil You Know. The pacing, the energy. Was that something you consciously constructed, or is that–by some lucky miracle–simply how you approach prose?

Elisabeth de Mariaffi: The Devil You Know started, for me, with an image: There’s a young woman standing in her bachelor apartment. It’s night time, and she’s got her all the lights on; outside it’s just black. As she’s standing there, kind of looking at her black windows, something happens. A cat and a raccoon get into it on a back fence someplace and one of her neighbours motion sensor lights kicks on — the window lights up — and she’s there’s a man standing on her fire escape, just outside, looking in at her. Then the motion sensor goes off. The young woman is paralyzed. Is there a stalker outside her window? Is he going to come in? Or is he a product of her imagination, her anxiety?

Originally, I thought I might write a short story about this. But this presented a few problems: I had one character inside the house, and one character outside the house, and they never talk — and also, one of them might not actually exist. So this had huge potential in my mind to be a boring story. I knew I didn’t want to write a boring story, so I scrapped that.

Once I figured out that Evie was going to be a news reporter, the story really started to pick up speed. It gave her some real agency, and she was also young and new at it and committed to overcoming whatever life had thrown at her, in terms of her own fear. So, I guess what I’m saying is: It’s both. I naturally lean to writing tension into my pacing, but also, for me, The Devil You Know is  a book about fear. And I think that in order to understand this kind of fear, you have to be made to feel afraid.

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the Giller Prize-nominated author of one book of short stories, How To Get Along With Women (Invisible Publishing, 2012) and the new novel, The Devil You Know (HarperCollins, Canada; Simon & Schuster, USA 2015). Her poetry and short fiction have been widely published in magazines across Canada.

She will be headlining Writers Read Concordia’s #NOFILTER event with George Murray at Concordia University on November 17th, at 7pm in the John Molson Building’s Floating Box, room 2.130 (1450 Rue Guy). 

Four Questions with Lynn Coady

Lynn Coady
We were lucky enough to ask our next guest Lynn Coady some brief questions, where the prize winning author shares some insight into her writing process, background and influences. Lynn is joining us this Friday, March 13, 2015 at 7 pm, for a free public reading in the De Seve Cinema (1400 de Maisonneuve West). This event will include a Q & A, so be prepared!

Frankie Barnet: Place plays a significant role in your work. Stories like “Wireless”, “Hellgoing” and “Another World” all seem to have an interest in exploring and critiquing cosmopolitan aspects of city life, as well as differences between city and country life. You yourself are from Cape Breton but now live in Edmonton. How important is location to your work and how does your own geographical location influence your work?

Lynn Coady: I think growing up in a place like Cape Breton made me hypersensitive to cultural differences. As a Canadian, you grow up with these self-deprecating messages that you are living in one of the most bland, homogenous cultures in the world and we’re basically all alike from sea to shining sea, so as a young person I wasn’t expecting to experience culture shock the moment I set foot off-island. But I absolutely did. So one of my earliest revelations about human society as an adult was the realization that people’s prejudices and assumptions about life and the world are determined by their surroundings to a horrific degree. I figured that out mostly by looking at myself, by understanding that the starting point for my entire worldview came out of being from Cape Breton, being rural, being Catholic, being surrounded by the Scottish-descended, being working class, being on an island, etc.

Continue reading “Four Questions with Lynn Coady”