Events > Reading

21 Jun. 2006

Get Your Lit Out! - A Night of Readings

Mariko Tamaki, Sandra Alland, Kristyn Dunnion, Debra Anderson, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, and Zoe Whittall
7 pm - 10 pm

Three Ring Paper Productions and Art Metropole invite you to Get Your Lit Out! – A Night of Readings, an urban night of readings just in time for Pride Toronto – Fearless 2006. The evening will have people sitting on the edge of their seats as each author takes a turn on the stage.

Get Your Lit Out! features a variety of talented authors and favourite performers in the queer community including Mariko Tamaki, Zoe Whittall, Debra Anderson, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Kristyn Dunnion (Miss Kitty Galore), Sandra Alland among others. All will be reading from previously published books or new works-in-progress. Hosting the evening will be local performance artist Jess Dobkin, fresh from the Edgy Women Festival in Montreal.

Don’t miss this essential Pride event. Come early to grab a set, check out the space and each other. Door open at 7 PM and the event will run until 10 PM. Food and refreshments will be served.

Performers will have books for sale and readers will be available for book signings. This is a free, all ages event. We regret that the event is not wheelchair accessible.

Mariko Tamaki is a Canadian artist and writer. Best known for her 2008 graphic novel Skim, she has also published several works of both traditional written fiction and non-fiction.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, she is of mixed Japanese Canadian and Jewish Canadian descent. She studied English literature at McGill University, graduating in 1994, and has worked as a writer and performance artist in Toronto, including with Keith Cole’s Cheap Queers and in the performance group Pretty Porky & Pissed Off with Joanne Huffa, Allyson Mitchell, Abi Slone, Tracy Tidgwell and Zoe Whittall.

Tamaki published Cover Me in 2000. It is a “poignant story about an adolescent coping with depression”. Told in a series of flashbacks, the novel is about a teenager dealing with cutting and feeling like an outsider in school.

Skim, a collaboration with her cousin Jillian Tamaki and published in 2008 by Groundwood Books, is a graphic novel about a teenage girl and her romantic feelings towards her female teacher; the reciprocity of those feelings remains unclear in the text. The other central story is about the suicide of classmate’s ex-boyfriend who may have been gay. The text is fundamentally “about living in the moments of wrenching transition …[and] the conflicting need to belong and desire to resist”. Tamaki says she did not set out to “make a statement about queerness and youth”: “Skim’s in love, and kisses a woman, but heck, she’s just a kid. She could go on to kiss many people in her future – some of them might be dudes, who knows? I think Skim is more a statement about youth, and the variety of strange experiences that can encapsulate.” According to one reviewer, “the expressionistic fluidity of the black and white illustrations serves the purpose of pages of prose”; there is little plot and spare dialogue. Tamaki writes that artists such as Hergé, Igort and Vittorio Giardino as well as Asian art had an influence on her style but her storytelling was rooted in American comics like Daniel Clowes, Chester Brown, and Will Eisner. Skim was originally developed as a short play for Nightwood Theatre.

Emiko Superstar, Tamaki’s second graphic novel and first with illustrator Steve Rolston, is about young woman who feels trapped in her suburban life. It was inspired by performance art and Girlspit, an open mic night event in Montreal. The protagonist is inspired to try performance art after visiting such a space. As one review says, “this is a story about finding oneself, one’s voice, and one’s true character amidst the trappings of counter-culture fame”.

Skim won an Ignatz Award, a Joe Shuster Award and a Doug Wright Award in 2009, and was a nominee for the “Children’s literature (text)” category at the 2008 Governor General’s Awards. Tamaki was also awarded an Honour of Distinction by the Dayne Ogilvie Prize, a literary award for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender writers in Canada, in 2012.

Sandra Alland (born April 17, 1973) is an Edinburgh Scottish-Canadian writer, interdisciplinary artist, small press publisher, performer and filmmaker. She has published two collections of poetry, Proof of a Tongue (McGilligan Books, 2004) and Blissful Times (BookThug, 2007). In 2009, Edinburgh’s Forest Publications published a chapbook of her short stories, Here’s to Wang. Her chapbook of poetry, Naturally Speaking, a meditation on disability poetics and gender, was published in 2012 by Toronto’s espresso. Alland’s work focuses on social justice, language, humour and experimental forms.

In a four-star performance review in December 2007, Edinburgh’s The Skinny said: “This is not My Coming Out Poem of Pain, this is Sandra Alland’s brilliant Beckett cut-ups…The images come so fast you sometimes feel like a Slinky falling down the stairs, yet the emotion and intention are clear, moving, and often funny.” In spring 2009, Glasgow’s Lock Up Your Daughters magazine said: “Reminiscent of Miranda July and complemented by a deadpan delivery, Alland’s words are at once both drolly funny and sweetly strange.”

Alland’s writing has been published internationally in anthologies including, The State of the Arts: Living with Culture in Toronto (Coach House Books), radiant danse uv being: A Poetic Portrait of bill bissett (blewointment), Red Light: Superheroes, Saints, and Sluts (Arsenal Pulp Press), My Lump in the Bed: Love Poems for George W. Bush (Dwarf Puppets on Parade), “Can’t Lit: Fearless Fiction from Broken Pencil Magazine, and Poems For Pussy Riot (PEN International). Alland’s poems and short stories can be found in such publications as This Magazine, Broken Pencil, dig, anything anymore anywhere, Gutter and Chroma. In 2012, she edited a feature on Scottish poetry for Jacket2.

Besides text, Alland works in multimedia, film, performance poetry and sound poetry. She collaborated with the poetry-music-video fusion group, Zorras, from 2007-2013. In autumn 2009, Scotland’s said of her work with Zorras: “A very unique mix of poetry, music, stories and just plain weird. The poetry was sharp and funny, the placement effective, the visuals fitting; a rather unforgettable experience, I highly recommend checking them out to anyone looking for something different.”

In Canada, Alland has featured at series including Impossible Words, AvantGarden, Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts, Contact Photography Festival, the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, LabCab Festival (Factory Theatre) and Hillside Festival. In the UK, she has performed at such places as Edinburgh International Book Festival, Museum of London, Soho Theatre, The Oxford Playhouse, Queer Mutiny, Aye Write!, The Arches (Glasgow), Edinburgh and London Ladyfest, Street Level Gallery, The Forest (social centre) and Unity Theatre, Liverpool.

Alland’s visual art and videos were on display at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art and mac (Birmingham), during 2009-10 and 2011 respectively. Her films have screened internationally, including at Tate Modern, Macrobert, Entzaubert Festival (Berlin), Fringe! (London) and MIX Copenhagen.

Alland has curated events for entities including Artscape’s Queen West Art Crawl, This Ain’t the Rosedale Library, Toronto Women’s Bookstore, and The Theatre Centre, and co-created Canada’s first ever Silent Slam (a live, projected writing competition). She founded and curates the Edinburgh cabaret Cachín Cachán Cachunga!, a multimedia event featuring queer and trans artists.5 She is also a founding member of b)other, a Scottish collective of LGBTI Deaf and Disabled artists.

Sandra Alland grew up in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto, Canada. She was raised by a Scottish immigrant father and grandfather, and a mother of French-Canadian descent. Alland completed undergraduate studies in Drama at the University of Toronto, graduating with high distinction in 2000.

Alland began publishing and performing her work in Toronto in 1995. From 1995-1997, she was part of the performance poetry band, Stumblin’ Tongues, with Bermudian poet Andra Simons and musicians Garth and Grant Kien. Alland worked extensively in Toronto’s theatre, literary and visual art communities until she relocated to Scotland in 2007.

Kristyn Dunnion is a Lady punk. She writes for rebels of all ages. As a child she dreamed of becoming a novelist, a rock star, and a spy. She is not a spy. Kristyn grew up in southern Ontario – Essex County, actually. It is no surprise that she loves corn and tomatoes.

Kristyn studied English Literature and Theatre at McGill University. She later earned a Masters Degree in English at the University of Guelph.

Kristyn is an accomplished arts educator who facilitates innovative workshops for learners of all persuasions. She is available for author visits, readings, creative writing and other arts-based workshops.

She is an advisor to the totally unique Parkdale Street Writers and a guest editor for the Toronto Public Library’s Young Voices anthology project.

Kristyn also performs creeptastic art as Miss Kitty Galore, and plays bass in the all-female metal band Heavy Filth. She lives in Toronto.

An award-winning writer, playwright, and filmmaker, Debra Anderson is the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s prestigious third annual Dayne Ogilvie Prize, an award given to an emerging Canadian writer from the LGBT community for a body of work (2009). She is a graduate of the York University Creative Writing Program. Her novel, Code White was supported by the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve Program (2004) and the work of her current work-in-progress has been supported by both the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Works in Progress Grant (2011) and the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve Program (2011 & 2012).

A regular on the Toronto reading scene, Debra’s writing has been anthologized in Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011), Geeks, Misfits and Outlaws (McGilligan Books, 2003), Bent On Writing: Contemporary Queer Tales (Women’s Press, 2002), and the Lambda-nominated Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002). Literary journal credits include Fireweed, Xtra, The Church-Wellesley Review, Tessera, periwinkle, Zygote, Acta Victoriana, Hook & Ladder, and dig as well as the now defunct Siren and Queers On-Line.

Most recently she has read at Glad Day Bookstore’s Pride Program’s ‘Fiction with Friction’ event (2012), Brockton Writers Series (Toronto, 2011), Trigger Festival (Toronto, 2010), Word on the Street (Toronto, 2009), was the guest author at York University’s Canadian Writers in Person Reading Series (2009) and read in the Proud Voices Reading Series as part of Pride Toronto (2009). She has been a guest author at the now defunct IV Lounge reading series (Toronto, 2007), Lit Live (Hamilton, 2007), and read at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre at various cabarets (Toronto).

She has performed at the tenth anniversary of the Thin Air — Winnipeg International Writers Festival (2006), The Robson Reading Series (Vancouver, 2006), Festival Voix d’Ameriques (Montreal, 2006), and at Durtygurls Reading Series (Ottawa, 2006). Debra was the guest author in 2007 at Pink Ink – a Toronto writing group for queer/trans youth organized by Supporting Our Youth (SOY) and also recently faciliated a creative writing workshop at Word on the Street (Toronto, 2007).

Debra Anderson’s animated short film, Don’t Touch Me, premiered at the Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival (1998) and has been screened internationally at independent film festivals. Her play withholding was workshopped at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in the Ante-Chamber Workshop Series. She was the winner of the prestigious George Ryga Award for Playwriting (York University, 1997).

Debra Anderson currently resides in Toronto, and toured her first novel, Code White (McGilligan Books, 2005) on a cross-Canada tour in 2006. Debra visited Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, and Victoria, performing with amazing local authors in each city at various events which ranged from appearances at literary festivals and reading series, to bookstore readings and spoken word cabarets held in bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Debra is also the organizer and promoter of Get Your Lit Out, an ongoing reading series based in Toronto that promotes local female authors. She also organizes and promotes additional local literary events.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (b. April 21, 1975 in Worcester, Massachusetts) is a Toronto-based poet, writer, educator and social activist. Her writing and performance art focuses on documenting the stories of queer and trans people of color, abuse survivors, mixed-race people and diasporic South Asians and Sri Lankans. A central concern of her work is the interconnection of systems of colonialism, abuse and violence.

Her writing has been published in the anthologies Homelands: Women’s Journeys Across Race, Time and Place, Bitchfest, We Don’t Need Another Wave, Undoing Border Imperialism, Colonize This!, Dangerous Families, Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn, the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Brazen Femme, Without a Net, Geeks, Misfits and Outlaws and A Girl’s Guide To Taking Over the World. In April 2006 Piepzna-Samarasinha published Consensual Genocide (TSAR Publications), her first collection of work.

The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, which she co-edited with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, was published by South End Press in May 2011.

Her second book of poetry, Love Cake, was published by TSAR Publications in fall 2011 and won the Lambda Literary Award in 2012.

Bodymap, a chapbook of Pepzna-Samarasinha’s poetry, is available on a sliding scale from her website.

In fall 2013 Writing the World is to be published by AK Press. In 2014 her memoir Dirty River will be published.

Piepzna-Samarasinha’s freelance journalism can be seen in magazines such as Colorlines, NOW, Xtra, Bitch, Bamboo Girl, Herizons and other publications, where she focuses on documenting LGBT of color artists and activists.

Her work has been reviewed in Canadian Literature.

She has been performing spoken word since 1998.

As a spoken word artist she has performed widely in the United States, Canada and Sri Lanka. She has featured at Bar 13, Michelle Tea’s RADAR Reading Series, The Loft, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, as well as at universities including Yale, Sarah Lawrence, Oberlin, Swarthmore and the University of Southern California. Her first one woman show, Grown Woman Show, debuted at Toronto’s Alchemy Theatre in August 2007.

In her one-woman show, Grown Woman Show Piepzna-Samarasinha talks about being “a queer girl of Sri Lankan descent”, and claims that she was a victim of incest perpetrated by her mother. Grown Woman Show has been performed at at the National Queer Arts Festival, Swarthmore College, Yale University, Reed College and McGill University.

In April 2007, Piepzna-Samarasinha and Maria Cristina Rangel, aka Cherry Galette, launched Mangos With Chili, a “floating cabaret” annual tour of queer and transgender people of color writers, dancers and performance artists, “like Sister Spit, only all brown.” Since 2004, she has curated and produced Toronto’s Browngirlworld series of spoken word performance nights by queer and trans artists of color. She is also involved with the biannual Asian Pacific Islander Spoken Word and Poetry Summit.

She was the 2009-2010 Artist in Residence at UC Berkeley’s June Jordan’s Poetry for the People. From 2009 to the present, she has been a commissioned performer with Sins Invalid, the national performance organization of queer people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Peipzna-Samarashinha is a member of Bad Ass Visionary Healers, a California-based activist healing collective, and has an intuitive counseling practice, Brownstargirl Tarot.

Piepzna-Samarasinha he teaches writing to LGBT youth at Supporting Our Youth Toronto (SOY), and, with Gein Wong, is an organizer of the Asian Arts Freedom School, a writing, performance and activist education program for Asian/Pacific Islander youth. She is also involved with The Canadian Sri Lankan Women’s Action Network, an activist group seeking to promote peace with justice through a feminist lens to end Sri Lanka’s 24 year civil war.

Piepzna-Samarasinha is the 2009 Bent Institute Mentor of the Bent Writing Institute of Seattle, WA. Piepzna-Samarasinha is a 2004 recipient of the City of Toronto’s Community Service Volunteer Awards.

Zoe Whittall (born February 16, 1976) is a Canadian poet and novelist. She has published three novels and three poetry collections. Her latest novel is Holding Still for as Long as Possible, published by House of Anansi.

Whittall was born in 1976 in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and spent her childhood on a farm on the outskirts of South Durham. She graduated from Dawson College in Montreal in 1995, attended Concordia University from 1995 to 1997, and completed a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph in 2009.

She’s worked for the small publishing houses Between the Lines Books and Sumach Press, and also as an arts reporter. She lives in Toronto.

Her first novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, was named a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and one of the top ten essential Canadian novels of the decade by CBC’s Canada Reads.

She won the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Grant for best gay emerging writer in 2008. She subsequently served on the award’s 2011 jury, selecting Farzana Doctor as that year’s winner.

Holding Still for as Long as Possible, Whittall’s second novel, was published in 2009 in Canada and 2010 in the United States. It’s been optioned for film, and was shortlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award. It was also an honour book for the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award in 2011, as well as winning a Lambda Literary Award.

In 2010 she published a short novella for Orca Books’ Rapid Reads series called The Middle Ground, a book for adults with low literacy skills.

Her poetry books include The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life, The Emily Valentine Poems and Precordial Thump. She edited the short fiction anthology Geeks, Misfits & Outlaws (McGilligan Books) in 2003.


1: Sandra Alland.
2: Zoe Whittal (red dress seated) speaks with Mariko Tamaki (blue & black sweater, standing).
3: The evening's MC, Jess Dobkin.
4: Zoe Whittal reads to the crowd.
5: Crowd.
6: Crowd.
7: Steph Rogerson speaks with Debra Anderson, the evening's organizer.

  1. Get Your Lit Out! - A Night of Readings
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