KW Writer's Alliance: Writers on Reading

19sep3:00 pm4:00 pmKW Writer's Alliance: Writers on ReadingErin Bow, E.K. Johnston, Mariam Pirbhai, Tanis MacDonald, Moderator: Caroline Topperman

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Why do writers spend so much time perusing libraries and bookstores looking for their next read? Why is this so important, and what are they looking for? Reading stretches the imagination beyond where we think it can reach. It expands our vocabulary and can reshape a writer’s work. Find out what these writers are currently reading and so much more.

Presented by the KW Writer’s Alliance.

Books featured:

Stand on the Sky
Scholastic Canada

Thirteen-year-old Aisulu has never been her family’s golden child: that’s her older brother, Serik. But when Serik falls critically ill, the family rallies around him, leaving Aisulu on the outside.

​But Aisulu also has a secret: her last adventure with Serik left a baby golden eagle orphaned in its nest. If she can save the eagle and win a place among Mongolia’s eagle hunters, Aisulu might also be able to reshape her family — and save Serik’s life.

A middle-grade with a classic feel, a tale of adventure and heroism, healing and hope, Stand On The Sky will leave your heart soaring.

Dutton Books for Young Readers

Set on a family-run interstellar freighter called the Harland and a mysterious remote space station, E.K. Johnston’s latest is a story of survival and self-determination.

Pendt Harland’s family sees her as a waste of food on their long-haul space cruiser when her genes reveal an undesirable mutation. But if she plays her cards right, she might have a chance to do much more than survive. During a space-station layover, Pendt escapes and forms a lucky bond with the Brannick twins, the teenage heirs of the powerful family that owns the station. Against all odds, the trio hatches a long-shot scheme to take over the station and thwart the destinies they never wished for.

Outside People and Other Stories
Inanna Publications

A Haitian woman survives the ravages of an earthquake only to find her sister, an émigré in Montreal, the subject of a grisly crime. A chambermaid in a Mexican tourist resort frequented by Canadian tourists wonders why all the men in her life seem to leave her for distant lands. A Jamaican migrant worker at an Ontario chicken farm comes to the aid of his Peruvian co-worker on the eve of a fatal car accident. And a young Pakistani-Canadian woman finds herself in the midst of a protest march defending Muslim women’s rights on the same day she has agreed to meet her Moroccan lover. The diverse cast of characters that energize Mariam Pirbhai’s Outside People and Other Stories not only reflects a multicultural Canada but also the ease with which this striking debut collection inhabits the voices and perspectives of nation, hemisphere, and world.

Book*hug Press

Mobile is an uncivil feminist reboot of Dennis Lee’s Civil Elegies and Other Poems; an urban lament about female citizenship and settler culpability; an homage to working and walking women in a love/hate relationship with Toronto, its rivers and creeks, its sidewalks and parks, its history, misogyny and violence. How do we, in Lee’s words, see the “lives we had not lived” that “invisibly stain” the city? What are the sexual politics of occupying space in a city, in a workspace, in history? How can we name our vulnerabilities and our disasters and still find strength?

Written in a slippery mix of lyric and experimental styles, Mobile is MacDonald’s grouchiest book yet.


Presented by the KW Writer's Alliance

There are well over 1000 writers in the region of Waterloo. Some of them belong to formal organizations and many others belong to ad hoc groups meeting informally in cafes and each other’s homes. Few of these groups know each other exist and many writers in the region don’t even realize the abundance of groups available. Our mission is to create an umbrella organization to offer opportunities to all of the writing groups in our region. We will be running workshops on the business and craft of writing, bringing in guest speakers including editors and agents, reaching out to local book clubs, and helping writers find the local group that is the best fit for them.


(Sunday) 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm