Category Archives: Events

Pivot on Nov. 16th: Jan Conn, Hoa Nguyen, Madeleine Thien, and Zoe Whittall

This is a good one, guys. We bring four exceptional women to the stage for a mid-autumn show that Pivot has been looking forward to all summer.

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Cast List:

Canadian poet Jan Conn was brought up in southeastern Quebec. She now lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and is a professor of Biomedical Sciences whose research is focused on the genetics and ecology of mosquitoes. She has published nine books of poetry, most recently Tomorrow’s Bright White Light (Tightrope Books, 2016).

Born in the Mekong Delta and raised in the DC area, Hoa Nguyen studied Poetics at New College of California in San Francisco. She is the author of  As Long As Trees Last, Red Juice,  and Violet Energy Ingots published by Wave Books. An experienced teacher of poetics in numerous settings, Nguyen currently teaches at Ryerson University, for Miami University’s low residency MFA program, in the Milton Avery School for Fine Arts at Bard College and in a long-running, private poetics workshop.

Madeleine Thien was born in Vancouver. She is the author of the story collection Simple Recipes (2001), and three novels, Certainty (2006); Dogs at the Perimeter (2011), and Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016), about musicians studying Western classical music at the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s, and about the legacy of the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations. Do Not Say We Have Nothing has won the Governor General’s Award in Fiction, is on the shortlist for the Giller, and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.

Zoe Whittall is the author of the poetry collections The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (2001), The Emily Valentine Poems (2006), and Precordial Thump (2008). Her debut novel Bottle Rocket Hearts (2007) made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible (2009) won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. She has also worked as a writer and story editor on the TV shows Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek. Born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, she has an MFA from the University of Guelph and lives in Toronto. Her newest novel, The Best Kind of People, was released this year from Anansi and is currently a Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist.

Pivot on November 16th
with Jan Conn, Hoa Nguyen, Madeleine Thien, and Zoe Whittall
8 PM
1051 Bloor St West
PWYC (Suggested: $5)
Hosted by Jacob McArthur Mooney

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Pivot on October 5th: John Wall Barger, Joe Denham, Susan Perly & Kevin Spenst

 Pivot grows wings and looks around, bringing in some writers from the West Coast and from India (via the East Coast), plus local novelist Susan Perly. It’s our third show of the season, and will be plenty worth your time.

Cast List:

John Wall Barger’s poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Rattle, Subtropics, Hotel Amerika, Best Canadian Poetry, and The Montreal Prize’s Global Poetry Anthology. His third book, The Book of Festus (Palimpsest Press), was a finalist for the 2016 JM Abraham Poetry Award. He lives in India.

Joe Denham has written 3 books of poetry and a novel. His most recent book, Regeneration Machine, won the 2016 Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. He lives in Halfmoon Bay, BC with his wife and 2 children, where he writes and works as a homebuilder when he’s not captaining commercial fishing boats throughout the coastal waters of BC and Alaska. He is currently at work on another book of poetry, a sequel to the 2009 book-length poem, Windstorm, and is preparing to release his 1st album of songs, Lost at Sea, in the spring of 2017.

Susan Perly has worked as a journalist, war correspondent and radio producer for the CBC. In the early ’80s her Letters from Latin America for Peter Gzowski’s Morningside reported from locales such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Chiapas. During the Iran–Iraq war she broadcast Letters from Baghdad, and she produced many documentaries for the weekly program Sunday Morning. Perly is the author of the jazz novel Love Street, and her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She lives in Toronto with her husband, the poet Dennis Lee. Her novel, Death Valley, was released this year by Wolsak & Wynn and is on the Longlist for the 2016 Giller Prize.

Kevin Spenst is the author of Jabbering with Bing Bong (Anvil Press) and the chapbooks Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press), Retractable (the serif of nottingham), Happy Hollow and the Surrey Suite (self-published), What the Frag Meant (100 tetes press) snap (Pooka Press), and Surrey Sonnets (JackPine press). He has done a one-man show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and over a hundred readings of his poetry across the country. His work has won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry and has most recently appeared in BafterC, Poetry is Dead, Lemon Hound and the anthology Best Canadian Poetry 2014.

Pivot on October 5th
with John Wall Barger, Joe Denham, Susan Perly, and Kevin Spenst
8 PM
1051 Bloor St West
PWYC (Suggested: $5)
Hosted by Jacob McArthur Mooney

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Canisia Lubrin hosts Pivot on Sept 21st: Cherie Dimaline, Rudrapriya Rathore, Kilby Smith-McGregor, & Jess Taylor

Pivot is off and kicking for 2016-17, and Jake has taken this time to accidentally book a reading of his own out-of-town, but don’t fear, you’re in better hands with this quartet of women curated by emerging poet Canisia Lubrin. Lots to watch out for!

Cast List:

Cherie Dimaline is a member of the Georgian Bay Metis Community in Ontario. Her first award winning book, Red Rooms, was published by Theytus Books in 2007. Her 2013 novel ‘The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy’ was shortlisted for the Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature. Cherie’s latest collection of short fiction “A Gentle Habit” was released by Kegedonce Books, December 2015. Named as the Ontario Emerging Artist of the Year for the 2014 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Cherie was appointed as the first Aboriginal Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library, Spring 2015. Her upcoming YA novel, The Marrow Thieves is forthcoming from Cormorant Books, spring 2017.

Rudrapriya Rathore is currently pursuing an MA in Creative Writing at U of T. She won the Irving Layton award for fiction in 2014 and has published pieces in the Hart House Review, The Puritan, and The Walrus. She lives and writes in Toronto.

Kilby Smith-McGregor spent her early professional life making theatre. Her writing across genres has appeared in Brick, Conjunctions, and The Kenyon Review—among other publications—and been anthologized in Best Canadian Essays, and Best Canadian Poetry. She was recognized with the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s 2010 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award and holds an MFA from the University of Guelph. Her first collection of poetry is Kids in Triage (Wolsak & Wynn, 2016).

Jess Taylor is a Toronto writer and poet. She founded The Emerging Writers Reading Series (2012-2016) and is the fiction editor of Little Brother Magazine. She’s released two chapbooks of poetry, And Then Everyone: Poems of the West End (Picture Window Press, 2014) and Never Stop (Anstruther Press, 2014). This October, her first collection of short stories, Pauls, was published by BookThug. The title story from the collection, “Paul,” received the 2013 Gold Fiction National Magazine Award. Jess is currently at work on a second collection, Just Pervs;  a novel, Where Everything Glows; and continuation of her life poem, Never Stop.

Pivot on September 21st
with Cherie Dimaline, Rudrapriya Rathore, Kilby Smith-McGregor and Jess Taylor.
8 PM
1051 Bloor St West
PWYC (Suggested: $5)
Hosted by Canisia Lubrin

 

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Pivot’s 2016-17 Season Opener: H.D., Islam, Valencia & Whitlock.

Pivot’s Season Openers are an institution. We are excited to continue the built tradition of great new and established authors with another big kick-off show on September 7th. We’ve got emerging poet (and 2016 Arc POTY winner) Doyali Islam, weird-funny novelist Nathan Whitlock, Montreal Poetry Prize winner Eva H.D., and poet & Toronto Poetry Talks Founder Jacqueline Valencia. Come in out of the summer heat and be cool with us again.

Cast List:

Eva H.D. lives and writes in Toronto. She won the 2015 Montreal International Poetry Prize for her poem “38 Michigans” (judged by Eavan Boland). Her books are Rotten Perfect Mouth and the new Shiner (2016, Mansfield Press).

Doyali Islam’s recent poems have won CV2’s 2015 Young Buck Poetry Prize and Arc’s 2015 Poem of the Year contest. She is also the recipient of a 2015 Chalmers Arts Fellowship, and her first collection, Yusuf and the Lotus Flower was released from BuschekBooks in 2011.

Jacqueline Valencia is a poet and film/literary critic. She has written for the Rusty Toque, Lemon Hound, Next Projection, subTerrain, and the Barnstormer, among others. Her chapbook Maybe was selected for the 2012 Arte Factum exhibit by Poetry Is Deadmagazine. She is the founder and organizer of Toronto Poetry Talks and the author of the debut collection There is No Escape Out of Time (Insomniac, 2016) 

Nathan Whitlock’s work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, Toronto Life, Report on Business, Flare, Fashion, Geist, Maisonneuve, and Best Canadian Essays, and he is a contributing editor for Quill & Quire. Heather O’Neill called A Week of This, Whitlock’s first novel, “a portrait of people in a small town so intimate that it feels like you are under the covers with them.” His newest is Congratulations on Everything, out this spring from ECW Press.(tw: drug and alcohol abuse)

Pivot’s Season Opener: Eva H.D., Doyali Islam, Jacqueline Valencia, and Nathan Whitlock
Wednesday, September 7th.
8 PM
1051 Bloor St West
PWYC (Suggested: $5)
Hosted by Jacob McArthur Mooney

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Pivot’s 2014 Finale on November 26th: Claire Caldwell, Kayla Czaga, Mark Sampson, & Daniel Scott Tysdal

It’s been a good year for Pivot and we’re excited to send 2014 off well with a really stellar quartet of readers. Caldwell & Czaga are two of the most exciting debut poets in the country, and will be joined by returning favourite Mark Sampson, with his novel about expats in Korea, and poet/professor Daniel Scott Tysdal.

Cast List:

Claire Caldwell is a poet and editor living in Toronto. She was the 2013 winner of the Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize, and her work has appeared in many magazines and journals, including Maisonneuve and Prism International. Claire holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her first collection, Invasive Species, came out from Wolsak & Wynn/Buckrider Books this year.

Kayla Czaga grew up in Kitimat and now lives in Vancouver, BC, where she recently earned her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. Her poetry, nonfiction and fiction has been published in The Walrus, Best Canadian Poetry 2013, Room Magazine, Event and The Antigonish Review, among others. For Your Safety Please Hold On (Nightwood) is her first book.

Mark Sampson has published two novels: Off Book (Norwood Publishing, 2007) and Sad Peninsula, (Dundurn Press, 2014). He also has a short story collection forthcoming called The Secrets Men Keep (Now or Never Publishing, Vancouver, Spring 2015). Mark has published many short stories and poems in literary journals across Canada, including in The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, PRISM international, The Nashwaak Review, The Puritan, This magazine, Pottersfield Portfolio, and FreeFall. He is a frequent book reviewer for Quill & Quire, Canadian Notes & Queries (CNQ) and other publications. Born and raised on Prince Edward Island, he currently lives and writes in Toronto.

Daniel Scott Tysdal is the author of two books of poetry, The Mourner’s Book of Albums (Tightrope 2010) and Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method (Coteau 2006). Predicting received the ReLit Award for Poetry (2007), the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award (2006), and the John V. Hicks Award (2005). His work has appeared in wide range of literary journals, and earned him a number of honours, including honourable mention at the National Magazine Awards (2003) and the Matrix Lit Pop Award for Poetry (2010). His creative writing poetry textbook, The Writing Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating Poems, was released by Oxford University Press. He is the 2014 winner of The Puritan’s Thomas Morton Prize in Fiction.

Pivot Readings at the Press Club
Featuring Claire Caldwell, Kayla Czaga, Mark Sampson, & Daniel Scott Tysdal
Wednesday, November 26th
8 PM
850 Dundas Street West
PWYC (Suggested: $5)
Hosted by Jacob McArthur Mooney

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Pivot’s Return on September 17th: Brecken Hancock, Dani Couture, Adam Sol, & Rob Winger

Welcome back everyone.

We understand it’s the depths of summer and too-soon a reminder of Pivot’s September return may go off like a Back to School Sale, but the thing is we’re quite excited, and think you will be too. Our 2014-15 premiere brings you three poets and one of the country’s major voices in contemporary drama. Ain’t a bad thing to know about.

Cast List (NOTE: Judith Thompson has had to reschedule. We are hoping to place her in a Pivot later this autumn.)

Brecken Hancock’s poetry, essays, interviews, and reviews have appeared in Lemon Hound, The Globe and Mail, Hazlitt, and Studies in Canadian Literature. She is Reviews Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine and Interviews Editor for Canadian Women in the Literary Arts. Her first book of poems, Broom Broom, is out with Coach House Books. She lives in Ottawa.

Dani Couture’s most recent two books are YAW and Algoma.

Adam Sol is the author of four books of poetry, including Jeremiah, Ohio, a novel in poems that was shortlisted for Ontario’s Trillium Award for Poetry; and Crowd of Sounds, which won the award in 2004. He has published fiction, scholarly essays, and reviews for a variety of publications, including The Walrus, Critique, The Globe and Mail, Lemonhound, and Joyland.com. He is an Associate Professor of English at Laurentian University’s campus in Barrie, Ontario, and lives in Toronto with his wife and three sons. The author lives in Toronto, ON. His newest collection is Complicity (2014, McClelland & Stewart).

Rob Winger’s first book, Muybridge’s Horse, was a Globe and Mail best book, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, Ottawa Book Award, and Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and won a CBC Literary Award. His critically acclaimed second collection was The Chimney Stone. Born and raised in small-town Ontario, Rob currently lives in the hills northeast of Toronto, where he teaches at Trent University. His newest is Old Hat (2014, Nightwood).

Pivot Readings at the Press Club
Featuring Brecken Hancock, Judith Thompson, Adam Sol, & Rob Winger
Wednesday, September 17th
8 PM
850 Dundas Street West
PWYC (Suggested: $5)
Hosted by Jacob McArthur Mooney

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Pivot’s Finale on June 4th: Angela Hibbs, Aisha Sasha John, Jim Johnstone, and Suzannah Showler

This is it. All good things and whatnot. The 2013-14 Pivot season comes to an end with the last four readers of the year. An all-poetry night. And then we all clean out our lockers and sign each others’ yearbooks and head off to summer camp.

Cast List:

Angela Hibbs is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Passport (DC Books, 2006) and Wanton (Insomniac Press, 2009). She holds a MA creative writing from Concordia University. She is a former co-host of The Pivot Reading Series and is back with her new collection, Sin Eater (ARP Books, 2014).

Aisha Sasha John is a dance improviser and poet. She was born in Montreal, but spent most of her childhood in Vancouver, and currently lives in Toronto. John has a BA in African Studies and Semiotics from the University of Toronto and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her first book, The Shining Material, was published by BookThug in 2011. Her newest, also from Boothug, is THOU (2014).

Jim Johnstone is the author of four books of poetry: The Velocity of Escape (2008), Patternicity (2010), Sunday, the locusts (2011) and now Dog Ear (2014). He is the recipient of a CBC Literary Award, The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and Matrix Magazine’s LitPop Award. Currently he’s the Poetry Editor at Palimpsest Press, and an Associate Editor at Representative Poetry Online.

Suzannah Showler holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Toronto. Her writing has appeared in The Walrus, Hazlitt, and The Puritan. Her debut collection, Failure to Thrive, was just released by ECW Press.

Pivot Readings at the Press Club
Featuring Angela Hibbs, Aisha Sasha John, Jim Johnstone, and Suzannah Showler
Wednesday, June 4th
8 PM
850 Dundas Street West
PWYC (Suggested: $5)
Hosted by Jacob McArthur Mooney

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