Trillium 30th Anniversary Readings – Peterborough, Guelph

In the past few weeks, the OMDC put on a travelling series of readings to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Trillium Book Award. There were stops in Peterborough and Guelph so far, and there will be another three events, two in Toronto (one French, one English), and at least another in Ottawa (though I’m told it might be split into two as well). In any case, I was lucky enough to have been invited to the first two events, along with a number of Trillium Award winners and shortlisted authors.

In Peterborough, we were hosted by Traill College, and the readings were moderated by Trent professor Lewis MacLeod. Above, in this art photo I took, you can see ol’ Andrew Forbes reading from his Trillium shortlisted short story collection, What You Need (Invisible Publishing). That excellent book was also a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Other readers included Jeramy Dodds, Rabindranath Maharaj, and Peterborough based authors, Janette Platana and Caroline Durand.

That is a photo of all of the Peterborough writers, taken after the readings, and between pre-event and post-event rye drinking sessions. Followed by a magical night in downtown Peterborough with some the readers and guests, led by Forbes and Prof. MacLeod, who know all of the best places to find more rye and beer after you have done a bunch of art…

In Guelph, the guest authors were Jess Latosik, Pasha Malla, Kevin Connolly, Madhur Anand, and that bearded hillbilly in the photo. The readings took place at the University of Guelph, in their Arboretum, where birds were beating the shit out of each other outside of the place all the while that we read. So that was nice. I read from the story Montana Border, and mentioned a “shrunk dick” as well as a tooth stuck in a characters hand, and dropped a number of f-bombs in front of a small child who was filming on their phone. As a result, I think that can be considered a true success.

The other readers were very good also, and a special mention goes to Pasha Malla for following up my inappropriate set with a bunch of talk about hand jobs in reading from his Trillium winner, The Withdrawal Method. Also, props to Jeff Latosik, 2009 Trillium Award winner in poetry for Tiny, Frantic, Stronger, and my possible ride to the event, for leaving late from Toronto after a long day of teaching and dog-walking, and showing up exactly at the start of the event. I did not believe he would achieve it, but he proved me wrong.

Here’s a photo of all of the authors together, along with our gracious moderator, author James Grainger…

That is the last of the Trillium readings for me, but I was honoured to have been invited to both events, and to have had the chance to do a few more readings between books. If Debris hadn’t won the Trillium, or at least been shortlisted, I wouldn’t have had this chance, and may not have been invited to London Wordsfest this past November, or to participate in IFOA in the Lit On Tour series, and as a delegate for the main festival.

Thanks goes out to all of the OMDC, for their hard work setting all of this up. And special thanks to Bianca Spence, Program Coordinator, and hero, for escorting me back and forth from both readings while I yammered on about many things (and for giving Ms. Jenna Illies a lift to the Guelph event). Bianca also arranged and set these readings up with Janet Hawkins, Program Consultant for the OMDC, and I’d like to thank Janet for putting up with me through all of the Trillium related events, and for inviting me to be a part of it all.

Keep an eye out for the rest of the Trillium Award 30th Anniversary Readings, especially if you are in the Toronto or Ottawa area. You can click on this line for all of the details. They are good people, those who give out the awards and those who have been lucky enough to be up for them, and to read from their works as part of the series. So, get out and show your support, if you like literature and would like to see and hear from the authors in person, and to encourage strange Ontarians to keep at the writing…


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