Posts by Chris:
The book has been out for five years now, so it’s always nice when someone draws attention to it again. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see Victor Dwyer compare my book to Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Less on CBC Radio.
I haven’t read Greer’s book yet (I have it, and hope to get to it once I finish the books I’m reading for Blue Met) but I’m intrigued. I think Victor did a great job of explaining the parallels between the two. I hope this means more people will discover my book.
You can listen to Victor speak to Shelagh Rogers on The Next Chapter here.
Like so many others, I’m getting sick of Facebook. I keep flirting with the idea of cancelling my account, but I can’t (at least not now). Facebook has also been making it difficult for me to reach Violet Hour members without spending money. I’ve also noticed that many people are not online and only learn of my events through friends or through Fugues. I need to find a way to reach them as well.
So, I’ve started the Violet Letter mailing list to keep people informed about various LGBTQ literary events in the city. Right now, it’s just for my events. But with time (and energy) I hope to extend it to include events curated by others as well.
If you want to keep informed, please sign up below.
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So, I’m starting a book club.
The Violet Hour Book Club will meet (hopefully) four times a year to discuss modern or classic works of LGBTQ literature. Ideally, the author will also join us (either in person, or by Skype).
The book we are starting with is The Sparsholt Affair, by Man Booker Prize-winning author Alan Hollinghurst. It’s a sprawling epic, following the lives of a group of friends from the 1940s to the modern age, exploring the changing times and evolving views of sexuality. Right now, I am on page 101 and loving it.
We’ll be getting together at Never Apart on Saturday, November 3 to discuss our thoughts, and, with Penguin Random House’s help, we’ve been able to get the author to join us for part of it via Skype (yikes!).
Paragraph Bookstore is also a partner and they have offered a 30% discount on the title for our members, which is great. Hopefully, with these partnerships in place, we can make a big splash to begin. And if this works, I’d love to turn it into a larger thing, where we can get funds to help bring the writers to town.
If you are in Montreal, and want to join us – please do!
Saturday, November 3, 2018
12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
At Never Apart, 7049 St Urbain St.
Facebook event: Click here.
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Another panel I curated for last year’s Violet Metropolis, the LGBTQ leg of the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, was this one where three Canadian writers spoke about their new books and the power and responsibility they feel in writing about the lives of the underrepresented.
Watch this video from Never Apart where Amber Dawn (Sodom Road Exit), Catherine Hernandez (Scarborough) and Casey Plett (Little Fish) speak to host Leila Marshy (The Philistine).
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Last April, I curated Violet Metropolis, an LGBTQ leg of Montreal’s Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival. It was a career highlight of mine: five events, 15 writers, working with partners like Never Apart, Air Canada, Arsenal Pulp Press, Concordia University and ACCM, the creation of a new literary prize…
One of the events we presented was a one-on-one interview and career retrospective with professor and activist Tom Waugh.
Tom was my teacher at Concordia. In the mid 90s I took HIV/AIDS: Aspects of the Pandemic, a multi-disciplinary course that was the first of its kind in Canada. I was hardly a year out of the closet, but I was hungry to become involved in my community and I wanted to learn as much as I could.
This class would change the course of my life. It started me on the road to becoming an LGBTQ activist, getting me involved in peer health education, community radio and gay pride. It is here where I met some of my great friends, where I found community and where I met one of my first boyfriends.
Tom’s teachings had an incredible impact on so many people in Montreal (and in Canada) that when he announced his retirement last year I knew I wanted to do something. I asked my friend, journalist and teacher Matt Hays, if he would speak to him on stage about his illustrious career.
You can watch that discussion, in its entirety, on the Never Apart site here.
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