University of Calgary

Reading at PAGES

March 30, 2009

New Calgary fiction writers read at PAGES

A free public reading by some of tomorrow’s top Canadian fiction authors will whisk a Calgary audience to a B.C. coastal town that boasts an ailing pulp mill, an inadequately funded reality TV show filming in its streets, and a floating tavern whose staff includes a barmaid with one painted false eye.

“Students in the course select a location at the start, and then the stories they write all year are set in that place,” explained course instructor Tom Wayman. “This year the class picked an imaginary B.C. coast town, New Camden.”

Members of the University of Calgary’s Fiction Writing I workshop will read at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1 at Pages on Kensington bookstore, 1135 Kensington Road NW, Calgary. The reading is free and open to the public.

Characters invented by one student can appear in other people’s stories, Wayman said, in the manner of writers for an ensemble TV sitcom or crime series. Stories the students wrote revealed that the town’s major employer, a pulp mill, is on its last legs financially, with the town pinning its shaky hopes for economic survival on a TV reality show that chose New Camden in which to film because the show itself is in financial difficulties and wanted to shoot where costs are low. The show was also drawn to New Camden because of its colorful coastal characters, including the mysterious barmaid in the floating tavern.

Reading excerpts from their New Camden stories on April 1 are Betsy Chai, Paul DiStefano, Colleen Donahue, Tim Ford, Carly Francescut, Kyle Francis, Joshua Handley, Kye Kocher, Anthony Patten, Elizabeth Smith, and Joel Wedel.

“Since fiction tries to fool you into believing that you are hearing the truth,” Wayman observed, “what better way to spend April Fool’s Day evening than listening to some wonderful tales that might just be true? These are all writers that you’ll be hearing lots more from in the near future.”

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