gritLIT 2019 will be held at the Homewood Suites by Hilton. This is a fully accessible venue to people with mobility devices. All gritLIT events take place on the 2nd floor (elevator access). Accessible washrooms are available.
Get the Best of the Fest! 42 Authors, 26 Events, 7 Workshops, 4 Days.
Get the biggest bang for your buck with the gritLIT Festival Pass. Quantities are limited.
Sunday, April 7, 2019
7:30 PM gritLIT / LitLive
gritLIT partners with the LitLive Reading Series for a dynamic evening of poetry, fiction and memoir to open the festival week. Hosted by Chris Pannell and featuring C Fong Hsiung, H.B. Hogan, Catriona Wright, Marilyn Gear Pilling, Laura Kooji and the gritLIT Writing Contest Winner. This is a free event.
Thursday, April 11, 2019
7:00 PM Celebrating gritLIT
Join the gritLIT team for an opening night reception celebrating 15 years of gritLIT highlights and looking ahead to what is coming up in 2020. Cash bar, free snacks, door prizes and lots of surprises! Everyone is welcome. This is a free event.
8:00 PM Poetry Decoded
Metrophobia, or fear of poetry, is a surprisingly-common affliction, yet poetry predates written text as a form of communication. Poets Linda Frank, Shane Neilson, Hana Shafi and Adam Sol read from their own work and discuss how they approach reading a poem and why readers should not be intimidated by poetry — an art form that is central to human expression. Moderated by Hamilton poet and writer John Terpstra.
Friday, April 12, 2019
7:00 PM From Where We Began to Here
In They Call Me George: The Untold Story of the Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada, Cecil Foster examines how the struggle of our country’s pullmen against a racist Dominion laid the groundwork for a multicultural Canada. Wayne Grady’s novel, Up from Freedom, revolves around the son of a slaveowner who is trying to fight his racist heritage. Join the authors as they share their stories and discuss how far we have come — or haven’t come — from where we began. Moderated by 2019 gritLIT author Farzana Doctor.
8:30 PM Refuge & Reinvention
What happens when the life you thought you had suddenly changes in an instant? Novelist Merilyn Simonds (Refuge) and memoirist Samra Zafar (A Good Wife) present stories about lives changed by shocking events and the daunting — sometimes overwhelming — challenges to people forced to start over in a new place, reexamine who they are, and define who they will be. Hosted by 2019 gritLIT author Krista Foss.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
9:30 AM Merilyn Simonds: Ask the Expert
Merilyn Simonds is the author of eighteen books, and her work has been published internationally. She has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada and book coach for a number of now-published authors. Join Merilyn in a small-group setting as she answers your most pressing questions about writing and publishing. Participants will submit up to 3 questions in advance.
11:30 AM Art is Long
Ars longa – art is long, but how do other artists and their works inspire storytellers today? Acclaimed authors André Alexis (Days by Moonlight) and K.D. Miller (Late Breaking) discuss multidisciplinary influences and the continuity of art through the ages. Moderated by 2019 gritLIT Author Wayne Grady.
11:30 AM Scott Thornley: What’s Love Got to Do with it?
Scott Thornley enjoys writing Inspector MacNeice, the detective hero of his four-book MacNeice Mystery Series, but his real joy comes from creating the villains. Join the author for an in-depth look at how to build the people who inhabit fictional worlds and at the unique pleasures and challenges of writing unsympathetic characters.
12:50 PM SPOTLIGHT SERIES: Drawn Into the Story
In 2018, for the first time ever, the prestigious Man Prize longlist included a graphic novel. Much more than just grown-up comic books, graphic novels approach complex subjects and themes with narrative precision. Vivek Shraya & Ness Lee (Death Threat) and Kat Verhoeven (Meat and Bone) discuss the graphic novel and the unique challenges of putting words and pictures together. Moderated by Graphic Novelist Joe Ollmann.
1:30 PM Thea Lim: World Building in Fiction
The term is often associated with sci-fi or fantasy, but world building in an essential skill for any fiction writer. 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize-Finalist Thea Lim illustrates at how world building works in literary fiction and how understanding the rules of world building can help authors in any genre create more vibrant and immersive settings.
2:20 PM Breaking the Mould
Celebrate the writing of amazing women who dare to defy patriarchal expectations and decide for themselves what it means to be a 21st century woman. With Anne T. Donahue (Nobody Cares), Elizabeth Renzetti (Shrewed) and Jenny Yuen (Polyamorous). Hosted by 2019 gritLIT Author Merilyn Simonds.
3:30 PM Michael Winter: Lights, Camera, Fiction
Michael Winter looks at fiction writing through the filmmaker’s lens. Join the award-winning author as he talks about how to move the camera, use sensory details, adjust tense structure, and alter point of view to turn action into fiction.
4:00 PM The Politics of Sex
In Queen Solomon, Tamara Faith Berger’s narrator is haunted by a psychosexual relationship from his teen years. John Miller’s latest novel, Wild and Beautiful Is the Night, examines the tumultuous friendship between two sex trade workers on the streets of Toronto. What is a healthy relationship, and how do the politics of sex affect all human interaction? Hosted by Wendy O’Brien.
4:00 PM SPOTLIGHT SERIES: Interview with Vivek Shraya
gritLIT is proud to welcome Vivek Shraya as curator of the 2019 Spotlight Series. Vivek joins gritLIT Board Chair and CHCH Morning Live Host Annette Hamm onstage to discuss her book, I’m Afraid of Men, her new VS. Books imprint with Arsenal Pulp Press, and her selections for gritLIT’s inaugural Spotlight Series Author Reading.
7:40 PM Love, Loss & Betrayal
Family and friends begin a frantic search for a missing woman in Heartbreaker. In Provisionally Yours, a former counterintelligence officer finds himself facing political dangers and personal trials when he returns to his hometown. Claudia Dey and Antanas Sileika share stories of intrigue, betrayal and what it means to love – unconditionally and despite all consequences. Hosted by Author Ann Y.K. Choi.
9:00 PM Confronting the Apocalypse
In worlds devastated by disease and destruction, what does it take to survive? Resistance, resilience, rebirth, and the enduring, fearless power of hope shape post-apocalyptic tales by Larissa Lai (The Tiger Flu), Thea Lim (An Ocean of Minutes) and Waubgeshig Rice (Moon on the Crusted Snow). Hosted by Author and CFMU Presenter Jamie Tennant.
Sunday, April 14, 2019
9:30 AM Antanas Sileika: First Comes the Sentence
Literary success comes not, as many beginning writers believe, primarily from plot but rather from the ability to craft convincing prose. Antanas Sileika — fiction writer, national magazine award winner and past director of the Humber School of Writers — leads participants through exercises to demonstrate how great prose can lead to great stories.
11:30 AM SPOTLIGHT SERIES: Author Reading
Spotlight Series Curator Vivek Shraya hosts a reading featuring the two authors she identified as vibrant, vital writers to watch! Featuring short fiction by Téa Mutonji (Shut Up, You’re Pretty) and poetry by ArielleTwist (Disintegrate/Dissociate).
11:30 AM K.D. Miller: The Captive Moment
K.D. Miller’s story collection Late Breaking, named as one of the Best Books of 2018 by both the Globe and Mail and Quill and Quire, was inspired by the paintings of Alex Colville. In this workshop, suitable for both beginner and experienced writers, the author uses a variety of writing exercises to illustrate the relationship between creative writing and visual arts.
12:50 PM Authors One-on-One
2019 gritLIT Author and CBC Presenter Waubgeshig Rice sits down one-on-one with three compelling novelists to discuss their new books, their influences, and their thoughts about writing and publishing in Canada. Featuring Randy Boyagoda (Original Prin), Rabindranthan Maharaj (Fat Boy Fall Down) and Shelley Wood (The Quintland Sisters).
1:30 PM Larissa Lai: Personal Mythologies
Every story is an epic, and every epic is, at its heart, a personal tale. Author Larissa Lai leads participants through a series of sequenced exercises designed to show how the world’s biggest stories (Greek myths, biblical stories, folk tales, fairytales) connect to their personal narratives and how understanding these connections can enrich any creative writing project.
2:30 PM Hamilton Re-Imagined
This event is sponsored by True Hamiltonian.
In Liz Harmer’s post-apocalyptic novel, The Amateurs, characters hide out in the abandoned mansions of a forgotten steel town. Book 4 of Scott Thornley’s MacNeice Mystery Series opens with the discovery of two bodies in a mansion of Dundurn’s old money neighbourhood under the mountain. Join the authors as they share their stories and discuss two very different versions of a re-imagined Hamilton. Moderated by Mark Osbaldeston, author of Unbuilt Hamilton.
4:00 PM Drafts & Drafts
Close out gritLIT weekend with a special 15th anniversary edition of Drafts and Drafts! Some favourite authors from gritLIT festivals past invite you to sit back with a beer as they offer a sneak peek at an unpublished work-in-progress. Featuring André Alexis, Gary Barwin, Farzana Doctor, Krista Foss and Michael Winter. Hosted by gritLIT Artistic Director Jennifer Gillies.