Join hosts Michael Winter and Catherine Bush to celebrate the 10th anniversary of University of Guelph’s Creative Writing MFA program, whose faculty, alumni, and students have been pushing boundaries―being reckless!―for the past ten years.
This evening of daring and vision will include readings and performances from Griffin Poetry Prize winner Liz Howard, Giller Prize nominee Zoe Whittall, and recent RBC Taylor Emerging Writers Award winner Adnan Khan. Performances from Andrea Thompson, Motion, and Mark Marczyk, whose repertoire includes spoken word and music, will have you spellbound. Ayelet Tsabari, winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, will read alongside David Brock, winner of the Herman Voaden Canadian National Playwriting Award.
The graduates of the program, whose successes span genres and disciplines, will be joined on stage by acclaimed faculty members Judith Thompson and Shani Mootoo.
Join us to celebrate the Guelph MFA program, a staple in Canada’s literary culture. A reception will follow the event.
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David James Brock is a playwright, poet, and librettist whose plays and operas have been performed in cities across Canada, the US, and the UK. He is the winner of the 2011 Herman Voaden Canadian National Playwriting Award for his play Wet. Brock’s debut poetry collection, Everyone is CO2, was released by Wolsak & Wynn in spring 2014. He lives in Toronto and has taught writing courses at the University of Guelph, University of Victoria, Humber College and Young People’s Theatre.
Catherine Bush is the author of four novels: Amazon.ca Best Book Accusation, the Trillium Award-shortlisted Claire’s Head, The Rules of Engagement (which was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book) and Minus Time. Her non-fiction has appeared in the anthology The Heart Does Break and elsewhere. She coordinates the University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA.
Liz Howard’s debut collection Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the 2015 Governor General’s Award for poetry. Her recent work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, Camera Austria, and The Fiddlehead. Howard received an Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction from the University of Toronto, and an MFA in Creative Writing through the University of Guelph. She is of mixed European and Anishinaabe descent. Born and raised on Treaty 9 territory in northern Ontario, she is currently the Canadian Writer in Residence at the University of Calgary.
Mark Marczyk is a writer, musician, and activist; the ring-leader of the Lemon Bucket Orkestra and the co-creator of Counting Sheep: a Guerrilla Folk Opera.
Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad. She is a visual artist, video maker and fiction writer. Her novels include Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, longlisted for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Lambda Award; Valmiki’s Daughter, longlisted for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize; He Drown She in the Sea, longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Award, and Cereus Blooms at Night, shortlisted for the Giller Prize, The Chapters First Novel Award, The Ethel Wilson Book Prize, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Motion is an award-winning poet, emcee, playwright and screenwriter whose aural/sonic storytelling is a fusion of word, sound & drama for the stage and screen. With performances across Canada, the U.S, the Caribbean, and recently at the Nkabom Literary and Chale Wote Festivals in Ghana, West Africa. Her inter-creations have been read in her collections 40 Dayz and Motion in Poetry (Women’s Press), seen on stage with Aneemah’s Spot (MotionLive Collective/Summerworks), and experienced in the multi-disciplinary site-specific co-creation Nightmare Dream (IFT Theatre). An alumna of Guelph Creative Writing MFA, Motion teaches her debut course Culture, Performance & Spoken Word (Griots to Emcees) at York University. Photo Credit: Zahra Saddiqui
Andrea Thompson is a poet, novelist, spoken word artist and educator who has published and performed her work across Canada for the past twenty-two years. Thompson is the author of the novel Over Our Heads, co-editor of the anthology Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out, author of the poetry collection Eating the Seed, and creator of the Urban Music Award nominated CD, One. Thompson is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s MFA Creative Writing program, and currently teaches Creative Writing, Poetry and Spoken Word through the University of Toronto, the Ontario College of Art and Design, Brock University and Workman Arts.
Judith Thompson is a playwright, director, performer, artistic director of rare theatre and Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. She is the author of some 10 plays including The Crackwalker, Lion in the Streets, Palace of the End, Rare, Borne, and Watching Glory Die. She has written two feature films: Lost and Delirious and Perfect Pie, and many radio dramas. She has twice won the Governor General's Award for Playwrighting, the Toronto Arts Award, Walter Carsen Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Award, and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for Palace of the End.
Ayelet Tsabari’s debut story collection, The Best Place on Earth, won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. The book was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and has been published internationally to great acclaim. Excerpts from The Art of Leaving have won a National Magazine Award, a Western Magazine Award and an Edna Staebler Award. She is the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship and a graduate of both the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph. Tsabari teaches creative writing at the University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction and the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education and will also be joining the faculty at Tel Aviv University this fall.
Zoe Whittall's third literary novel, The Best Kind of People, was published by House of Anansi in 2016. In a preview of the book, The Globe & Mail called her 'one of the sharpest observers of modern life'. Her second novel, Holding Still for as Long as Possible, won a Lambda Literary award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor book. Her debut novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, was named one of the top ten essential novels of the decade by CBC Canada Reads.She has published three volumes of poetry and currently works as a TV writer on shows like The Baroness Von Sketch Show, Schitt's Creek and Degrassi.
Michael Winter is the author of numerous acclaimed novels, including The Architects are Here, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and The Death of Donna Whalen, which was nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. He is also the recipient of the Writers' Trust Notable Author Award. Winter presents his non-fiction debut, Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead, a uniquely gripping account of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who were all but annihilated 100 years ago during the Battle of the Somme in World War I.