gritLIT / 2018

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About the Venue

gritLIT festival is pleased to announce a new venue for this year’s festival, Hamilton Plaza. All events happening at gritLIT 2018 will take place at this location. Hamilton Plaza supports accessibility accommodations, including wheelchair access. We strive to maintain an inclusive venue at our events and appreciate feedback to continue improving our accommodations year-after-year.

More information about accessibility at Hamilton Plaza can be found here.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

7:00 PM, Strangers Among Us

Pierre Cormier came to Canada as a refugee from Lebanon, but it is not until he is declared dead, five years after his mysterious disappearance, that his son Cyril starts to question his father’s identity. A Scarborough subdivision, populated by newcomers from around the world, appears to be the Canadian dream until a series of sudden catastrophes show that not everyone’s dream comes true. Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Linden MacIntrye and Toronto Book Award finalist Carrianne Leung share stories about dreams, hard truths and characters searching for a home. Purchase your ticket here.

8:30 PM, The Poetry Cabaret

gritLIT joins Hamilton Poetry Centre to present the 2018 Poetry Cabaret. In Museum of Kindness, Susan Elmslie tackles topics from motherhood to school shootings and PTSD in a voice that is both unflinching and gentle in its wisdom. Michael Fraser pays tribute to illustrious figures throughout black history in his energetic, empathetic collection To Greet Yourself Arriving. Treat yourself to a drink at the bar then settle in for an evening of poetry that promises to challenge, captivate and uplift. Featuring readings from members of Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP). Purchase your ticket here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

7:00 PM, Where We Go from Here: Truth Talk with Tanya Talaga

In 2017, award-winning journalist Tanya Talaga published the highly acclaimed Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, a harrowing investigation into the deaths of seven Indigenous high school students in Thunder Bay from 2000 to 2011. Currently investigating the alarming rate of Indigenous youth suicide, Talaga draws on her research and experience to present an insightful, hard-hitting look at how the Canadian system has failed its Indigenous citizens and where we can go from here.

50% of all proceeds from this event will go to the Native Women’s Centre. Purchase your ticket here.

8:30 PM, A Place to Belong

In Kerri Sakamoto’s Floating City, Frankie Hanesaka is driven from a mountain internment camp to the big city by ambition and a relentless desire to belong. In Femme Confidential, Nairne Holtz presents a wry look at sexual freedom through characters seeking their queer vibe. In Sarah Raughley‘s YA novel Fate of Flames, Maia is forced into a new world, where she has to master the ability to control fire and save her world. Join three powerful writers as they explore the human need and emotional desire to be part of something larger than themselves.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

9:30 AM, Writing Master Class with Eric Walters: Children’s Stories

A member of the Order of Canada, Eric Walters is one of the most prolific and respected writers in the country. He has written over 90 books for children and has won more than 100 awards in Canada and internationally. Join the author as he offers tips on how to capture the interest of young readers, create relatable characters and find your voice by writing for both your readers and yourself. Spots are limited. Purchase your ticket here.

11:00 AM, CanLit REALLY Is a Raging Dumpster Fire

Last year, Tuscarora writer and activist Alicia Elliott published an article entitled CanLit is a Raging Dumpster Fire following events that sparked outrage throughout the CanLit community. The piece voiced frustrations with a Canadian writing culture plagued by elitism and exclusion — and recent events, including those here at GritLit, continue to reveal a culture in need of change. Where do we go from here? Alicia Elliott and author Carrianne Leung sit down with Jael Richardson, founder of the Festival of Literary Diversity, to dissect and discuss the messy world of Canadian Literature. Secure your ticket here.

11:30 AM, Writing Master Class with Casey Plett: The Self-Promoting Writer

The Self-promoting writer Casey Plett has seen the world of Canadian writing from different angles. As a columnist and award-winning author, she shares her own work through reading appearances, interviews and social media. As a full-time publicist with Biblioasis, she finds the most effective and far-reaching ways for the authors she represents to get their books noticed. In this master class, Plett draws on her expertise as both writer and publishing professional to help demystify the author/publicist relationship and to share advice on how all authors – established, emerging, and self-published – can publicize their work and bring it to readers. Spots are limited. Purchase your ticket here.

12:30 PM, Not-So-Happily Ever After

In her dystopian novel Tarry This Night, Kristyn Dunnion tells a chilling tale about a polygamous cult leader and his followers set during the new American civil war. Awardwinning songwriter and author Ron Sexsmith gives us Deer Life, his debut novel about witchcraft, bullying, revenge and a mysterious bowler hat. From an unsettling take on the Lilith tale to a wicked fairy story about a boy from Hinthoven, Dunnion and Sexsmith present captivating modern-day fantasies. Purchase your ticket here.

1:30 PM, Writing Master Class with Kathleen Winter: Found in the Body

Join Kathleen Winter for a combination of guided storytelling and spoken collaboration about ways to bring the body back into making stories. Winter will talk about how walking, food preparation, voice work, tarot and the making of natural elixirs helped her write her latest GG-nominated novel Lost in September. Each participant should come prepared to tell a true story or story fragment of up to three minutes inspired by the word LOST. Participants should also wear one item of clothing that is of an intense colour they love. (It can be small or hidden.) This event is sold out!

2:00 PM, Know Thy Father

Linden MacIntyre (The Only Café) and Pasha Malla (Fugue States) present stories of fathers and sons. As these stories begin, both MacIntyre’s protagonist Cyril and Malla’s Ash Dhar are confronting the deaths of their fathers, but new information forces them to question if they knew their parent at all. This sets the scene for two gripping novels that test the often uneasy bonds between sons and fathers and question whether mysteries of the past are better left unsolved. Purchase your ticket here.

3:30 PM, Activism 2.0: How to Make a Better World Now

It’s not what we believe that makes a difference – it’s what we do. Authors Tanya TalagaJudy Rebick and Kamal Al-Solaylee have dedicated much of their writing careers to sharing stories of intolerance and injustice that illustrate the need for social change. Join them for an in-depth discussion about the importance of speaking out, active social engagement and the role of the writer as activist. Moderated by Jael Richardson, author and founder of the Festival of Literary Diversity. Purchase your ticket here.

3:30 PM, Writing Master Class with Kerri Sakamoto: Writing Out of the Diaspora

Kerri Sakamoto won or was a finalist for numerous international awards for her debut novel, The Electrical Field. Her captivating story examined the dramatic and far-reaching impact of the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War on future generations. In this thoughtful class, Sakamoto discusses writing that finds its inspiration in far-flung histories – personal, official and unofficial – and considers issues around incorporating research and extensive backstory, privacy, representation and consideration of audience. Spots are limited. Purchase your ticket here.

6:30 PM, Journalism in the Time of Fake News

Traditionally, the job of a journalist is to report the news in a truthful, unbiased, apolitical way. Is this still possible in a world where no truth seems absolute and politics is perception? Award-winning reporters Carol Offand Raffy Boudjikanian discuss the challenges posed to professional journalists by alternative facts, fake news and the emergence of social media as a news platform. Moderated by Hamilton Spectator Editor-in-Chief Paul Berton. Purchase your ticket here.

8:15 PM, Another time, Another Place

The heroine of Bellevue Square finds herself frequenting a Toronto park, searching for an alleged and possibly sinister doppelganger. In Lost in September, 18th-century British Army Officer James Wolfe is transported to the streets of present-day Montreal. Two captivating stories about characters out of their own time and place shared by acclaimed authors Michael Redhill (winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize) and Kathleen Winter (finalist for the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the 2017 Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction). Purchase your ticket here.

9:30 PM, Words and Music by Tom Wilson and Ron Sexsmith Sponsored by Leggatt Auto Group

Two of Canada’s most successful songwriters, Tom Wilson and Ron Sexsmith, sit down with Jamie Tennant from CFMU Radio. Join them for a lively conversation about finding inspiration, the creative process and the challenges of storytelling – on the stage and on the page. Featuring readings from Sexsmith’s Deer Life, a wicked fairy tale of witchcraft, bullying and revenge, and Wilson’s memoir, Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers and the Road Home. Purchase your ticket here.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

9:30 AM, Writing Master Class with Michael Redhill: Crafting Realistic Dialogue

Nothing pulls a reader out of a story faster than clunky dialogue. In this master class, 2017 Giller Prize winner Michael Redhill offers insight on conversational styles and tactics and discusses how to use dialogue in storytelling and as an element of character development. Redhill will share examples from literature, plays and movies and give participants a chance to hone their own skills with an in-class exercise. Come prepared to write. This event is sold out!

11:30 AM, Writing Master Class with Kristyn Dunnion: Cultivating a Sustainable Arts Practice

Kristyn Dunnion writes stories that are both tough and tender-hearted in a voice that Quill & Quire calls “loud, assured, unapologetically intense and uniquely her own.” Dunnion asserts that setting powerful and achievable intentions for creative work initiates a process of deep discovery and intuitive exploration. In this workshop-style class, the award-winning author facilitates critical hands-on prompts that will infuse literary and other arts projects with urgency and spontaneity. This session is ideal for writers, multidisciplinary artists, arts activists, and change-makers alike. Spots are limited. Purchase your ticket here.

1:00 PM, By Her Own Rules

Andrea Bain turned dating horror stories and bad relationship advice into Single Girl Problems, her 2017 book that argues being a single woman is NOT a problem to be solved. Judy Rebick, one of Canada’s best-known feminists and a former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, shares her own very personal, heartbreaking yet ultimately empowering story in her memoir, Heroes in My Head. Sometimes funny, sometimes tragic but always fiercely independent, Rebick and Bain share hard-won wisdom about why all women should dare to live by their own rules. Purchase your ticket here.

2:30 PM, The Interview Session: Kevin Hardcastle, Casey Plett and Nathan Ripley

Annette Hamm from CHCH TV sits down one-on-one with three Canadian writers for 25-minute, in-depth conversations about their books, inspirations and writing process. Kevin Hardcastle, called by CBC Books “one of Canada’s emerging literary stars,” discusses his novel In the Cage, a Globe and Mail and National Post Book of the Year for 2017. Lambda Literary Award winner Casey Plett talks about Little Fish, her newly-published novel about a trans woman becoming increasingly embroiled in a long-held family secret. Finally, Nathan Ripley (aka Naben Ruthnum, author of Curry: Eating, Reading and Race) shares his debut thriller, Find You in the Dark. Purchase your ticket here.

4:30 PM, Drafts and Drafts

In this unique and entertaining finale to gritLIT 2018, six seasoned and debut authors share a beer (or soft drink) and a sneak peek at future award-winning, bestselling books! Festival guests Kathleen Winter and Pasha Malla, Toronto poet Sachiko Murakami and two Hamilton authors – poet Amanda Jernigan and novelist Showey Yazdanian – take the stage to read from their new works-in-progress. Special appearance by the winner of the 2018 gritLIT Writing Contest. Purchase your ticket here.