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Media Contact: Amy Holmes

Co-ventures with Bookstores
and April at the Harbourfront Reading Series

TORONTO, March 29, 2004---Now in its 30th year, the Harbourfront Reading Series is one of the oldest and most admired public reading programmes in the world. The Series is famous for bringing the most exciting Canadian and international writers to Toronto.

Starting this season, the Harbourfront Reading Series is pleased to be partnering with local booksellers on a number of events. Mable's Fables was a co-presenter for our event with Kenneth Oppel on February 26; Bakka-Phoenix Science Fiction Bookstore ran the booksales for the Guy Gavriel Kay event on March 17; and we worked with The Sleuth of Baker Street for our March 24 event with George Pelecanos and Peter Robinson. Coming up, we will work with the University of Toronto Bookstore to present shortlist readings for the Griffin Poetry Prize on June 2 and with Nicholas Hoare to present the June 16 event celebrating The Stories of Morley Callaghan with André Alexis, Margaret Atwood, Barry Callaghan, Alistair MacLeod and Anne Michaels.

The Harbourfront Reading Series looks forward to working with more local booksellers in the future and to continuing these current partnerships. Geoffrey Taylor, Director, comments, "I am delighted that so many bookstores are happy to participate in this new initiative. This new direction for the Harbourfront Reading Series is an integral element of the Series' community building objectives."

And now, details on April at the Harbourfront Reading Series, including two evenings of poetry to celebrate National Poetry Month and an evening of short fiction.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004, at 7:30 p.m.
An evening of poetry with David Helwig, Dennis Lee, Souvankham Thammavongsa and David Yezzi
Hosted by Darren Wershler-Henry

David Helwig was born in Toronto. He taught at Queens University and was a literary manager with CBC TV. He has been a full-time writer and editor since 1980, and has worked extensively with Oberon Press in Ottawa. Helwig has published numerous books of poetry and fiction, including: The Child of Someone, A Random Gospel, This Human Day and Living Here. His Catchpenny Poems won the CBC poetry award in 1983. He lives and writes on Prince Edward Island. Helwig reads from The Year One, a new collection of poetry.

Dennis Lee is currently Toronto’s poet laureate and the author of twenty books for adults and children. His Civil Elegies won the Governor General’s Award for poetry. Lee reads from his latest collection, the highly acclaimed Un, where he plunges into language itself with a shovel and pick-axe. “It is a source of great satisfaction to me that Canada’s zaniest poet, justly famed for alligator pie, wizard soup and doughnut holes, should be at the same time Canada’s most philosophical poet” (Robert Bringhurst).

Souvankham Thammavongsa was born in Thailand and grew up in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in Acta Victoriana, The Fiddlehead, Fireweed, Grain, The Malahat Review, Other Voices, Prairie Fire, RicePaper Magazine, and on CBC Radio. Thammavongsa’s new collection of poetry, Small Arguments, “never wobbles on its delicate base, instead offering insights into a world alive with the overlooked and the undersized” (Quill & Quire).

David Yezzi is the director of New York’s 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center. His critical writings have been published in the New York Times, New Yorker, and other major publications. His poetry has appeared in New Republic, Paris Review, Yale Review, New England Review, and New Criterion, among other journals. Yezzi reads from his new poetry collection, The Hidden Model. “Wonderfully versatile in a way I think Auden himself would have admired, Mr.Yezzi commands a rich variety of tones as well as a vivid apprehension of the fusions and dissolutions of imagination and reality” (Anthony Hecht).

Darren Wershler-Henry is hosting the event. The former senior editor at Coach House Books, he is a writer, critic, and the author of two books of poetry, NICHOLODEON: a book of lowerglyphs, and the tapeworm foundry, which was shortlisted for the Trillium Prize. Darren is also the author or co-author of five books about technology and culture, including FREE as in speech and beer and Commonspace: Beyond Virtual Community (with Mark Surman). His most recent book is The Original Canadian City Dweller’s Almanac (with Hal Niedzviecki).

LOCATION: The Brigantine Room at the York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West).

TICKETS: $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


Wednesday, April 14, 2004, at 7:30 p.m.
An evening of short fiction with Heather Birrell, Annabel Lyon and Lisa Moore
Hosted by Lisa Gabriele

Heather Birrell’s short fiction has appeared in Prism International, The New Quarterly, Descant, Matrix, She Writes, and she has twice been included in the Journey Prize Anthology. She is a fellow of Spain’s Fundacion Valparaiso and the MacDowell Colony, and was the recipient of Concordia’s David McKeen Award for best creative writing thesis. A teacher and traveller, Birrell currently resides in Toronto and will read from her debut collection, I know you are but what am I?

Vancouver-based Annabel Lyon has previously published Oxygen, a collection of short stories, which “left the country’s literary elite breathless” (Elm Street). Her short fiction has appeared in Toronto Life, The Journey Prize Anthology and Write Turns: New Directions in Canadian Fiction. She is also a frequent contributor to The Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun. Lyon reads from The Best Thing For You, a book of three electrifying new novellas.

Lisa Moore is the author of Open, a national bestseller and finalist for the 2002 Giller Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in Canada’s most prestigious literary magazines and she contributes a biweekly column to The Globe and Mail. Moore reads from Degrees of Nakedness, her recently re-released debut collection of short fiction which Governor General’s Award winner Douglas Glover calls “stunning. . . Shot through with riffs of startling and vivid imagery.” Moore lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Lisa Gabriele is the host for this event. She is an award-winning television director and the author of Tempting Faith Di Napoli, published by Doubleday Canada and internationally. She lives in Toronto where she is currently at work on her second novel.

LOCATION: The Brigantine Room at the York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West).

TICKETS: $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


Wednesday, April 21, 2004, at 7:30 p.m.
Natalee Caple, Russell Smith and Michael Turner
Hosted by Rui Umezawa

Natalee Caple launched her literary career in 1998 with her debut story collection The Heart Is Its Own Reason, which captured the attention of the New York Times Book Review and garnered high international praise. Her novel The Plight of Happy People in an Ordinary World further established her growing reputation and has been optioned by Tele-action in Montreal. Caple authored a book of poetry in 2000 titled A More Tender Ocean and most recently co-edited The Notebooks: Interviews and New Fiction from Contemporary Writers with Michelle Berry. Caple reads from her new novel Mackerel Sky.

Russell Smith was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in Halifax. He is is the author of the illustrated novella The Princess and the Whiskheads, the short story collection Young Men, and the acclaimed novels Noise and How Insensitive, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award. An unnerving satire about age and youth, desire and privilege, Smith’s new novel, Muriella Pent, is by turns funny, melancholy and sexually depraved. Smith lives in Toronto where he writes the weekly “Virtual Culture” column for The Globe and Mail.

Vancouver-based Michael Turner is the author of five genre-defying books: Company Town, Hard Core Logo, Kingsway, American Whiskey Bar and The Pornographer’s Poem. He is the recipient of a Gemini award for his contribution to the soundtrack of Hard Core Logo and is considered “simply one of the best writers in this country” (The Georgia Strait). Turner reads from American Whiskey Bar, a new edition of the remarkable faux memoir about the un-making of a film; a story of sex, violence, lies, ambition, power, paradox, dreams and regret.

Hosting this event is Rui Umezawa, the author of the acclaimed novel The Truth About Death and Dying. His short stories, essays and commentary have appeared in Descant magazine, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and elsewhere. He lives in Toronto where he is currently at work on his second novel.

LOCATION: The Brigantine Room at the York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West).

TICKETS: $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


Wednesday, April 28, 2004, at 7:30 p.m.
An evening of poetry with Sue Goyette, Steven Heighton, Michael Holmes, and August Kleinzahler
Hosted by Kevin Connolly

Sue Goyette is the author of one novel, Lures and two collections of poetry; The True Names of Birds and Undone. Her poetry has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Arc, CV 2, The Fiddlehead, Grain, The Malahat Review, Poetry Canada, and TickleAce as well as the anthologies Breathing Fire, Vintage 93, Vintage '98 and The Banff Writing Studio 25th Anniversary Collection. She has been a member of the faculty at the Maritime Writers’ Workshop, The Banff Wired Studio and Sage Hill. Goyette reads from Undone, a new collection of poetry.

Steven Heighton is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Shadow Boxer; two story collections Flight Paths of the Emperor and On Earth as it is; as well as the essay collection The Admen Move on Lhasa. He has also written two volumes of poetry; Stalin’s Carnival and the 1995 Governor General's Award finalist The Ecstasy of Skeptics. Heighton lives in Kingston, Ontario and is currently writer in residence at the University of Toronto, Massey College. He reads from his new poetry collection, The Address Book.

Michael Holmes writes fiction, poetry, cultural criticism and literary journalism. He has published three previous books of poetry; james i wanted to ask you, Satellite Dishes from the Future Bakery and Got No Flag at All. He is also the author of the novel Watermelon Row. Holmes lives in Toronto where he is literary fiction and poetry editor for his own imprint, a misFit book, at ECW Press. He reads from his new collection of poetry Parts Unknown. “Holmes is as dream-crazed as Burroughs, and his verbal decorum is as meticulous as Campion’s” (Thom Gunn).

August Kleinzahler has been a taxi driver, locksmith, logger and building manager; he has also been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “one of the best lyric poets writing today.” Kleinzahler is the author of eight books of poetry, including Red Sauce Whiskey and Snow and Green Sees Things in Waves. His poems have also appeared in a wide array of publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times and The Paris Review. He is the recipient of numerous awards including an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2000 he was awarded a Berlin Prize Fellowship. Kleinzahler reads from The Strange Hours Travelers Keep.

Kevin Connolly is hosting this event. He is an arts journalist and author, and his latest book of poetry is Happyland. He co-founded What!, an influential literary magazine and was co-editor from 1986 to 1993.

LOCATION: The Brigantine Room at the York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West).

TICKETS: $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


The Harbourfront Reading Series
Since its inception in 1974, the weekly reading series has hosted more than 4,000 authors from 100 countries and thirteen Nobel laureates. The Harbourfront Reading Series gives Canadian authors an internationally recognized stage on which to present their work and brings the best of world literature to Canada. The annual International Festival of Authors (October 20 - 30, 2004) takes place over 11 days and has been the pinnacle event of the year-round Harbourfront Reading Series for twenty-five years.

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