Canadian Writing Comes to You -- Live!

The Reading Series has been bringing cutting-edge Canadian writers to St. Jerome's University since 1984.

Each year we strive to offer a range in our slate of visiting writers: well-established and up-and-coming, from the local area and from sea to sea, working in verse and prose and beyond. Experimental and traditional, serious and playful, beautiful and stark, cynical and celebratory -- come and sample the wealth and variety that is Canadian literature today.

These readings are special opportunities to get inside the book -- to hear writers read their own words, and speak about their own writing. Every reading includes an open question and answer session.

All readings are free and open to the public.

St. Jerome's is located at 290 Westmount Road North, Waterloo, Ontario.

From its beginnings through 2018-19, the Reading Series has been funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and St. Jerome's University. It now continues to be funded by St. Jerome's.

19 November 2012

Michael Boughn and Christopher Dewdney read on 27 November!

It's November. It's grey and yucky outside. Term is almost over, but not quite. It is definitely time for a couple of amazing avant-garde Canadian writers to come and rouse us all out of wanting to hibernate. 

We're thrilled to be hosting a double bill with Michael Boughn and Christopher Dewdney. 
Please join us at 8pm, Tuesday 27 November 2012, in St Jerome's room 3014. 
And please spread the word -- as always, thanks to the Canada Council and to St Jerome's, the readings are free and all are welcome.

Michael Boughn was described in the Globe and Mail as "an obscure, veteran poet with a history of being overlooked." He is the only living recipient of The Friggin Prize. His last book of poetry, Cosmogrpahia - a post-Lucretian faux micro-epic was shortisted for the 2011 Governor General's Award for Poetry. Great Canadian Poems for the Aged Vol. 1 Illus, Ed. has just come out from Book Thug in fall 2012.

Christopher Dewdney is the author of four books of non-fiction as well as eleven books of poetry. A four-time nominee for the Governor General's Award, he won first-prize in the CBC Literary Competition for poetry and was awarded the 2007 Harbourfront Festival Prize, given in recognition of his outstanding contribution to literature. His most recent non-fiction title, Soul of The World; Unlocking the Secrets of Time, was published by HarperCollins in 2008. It became a Canadian bestseller and was listed in 4th place in the non-fiction section of  The Globe And Mail's Top 100 Books of 2008. Dewdney appeared in the critically acclaimed film, Poetry in Motion, and his 2005 book, Acquainted With the Night, was released as a feature documentary in 2010. The film garnered a Gemini award in 2011. Dewdney teaches creative writing and poetics at York University in Toronto.

17 October 2012

Shane Neilson and Brian Henderson read on 25 October!

To kick off our 2012-13 series, Metaphoriment -- where literature meets science, metaphor meets experiment -- we're honoured and delighted to host two brilliant poets from right here in K-W and Guelph. 
Shane Neilson and Brian Henderson will be joining us on Thursday 25 October at 8pm in room 3014 at St Jerome's UniversityThe reading is free and all are welcome!
photo by Janet Sunohara
Shane Neilson is a doctor and a poet. His collection Complete Physical was shortlisted for the Trillium Poetry Award in 2011. His latest book is Gunmetal Blue, a memoir about the intersection of poetry and medicine. Lately Shane is working on poetry based on historical figures—doctors and patients—in psychiatry.

photo by Anna Ross
Brian Henderson is the author of 10 collections of poetry, one of which, Nerve Language (Pedlar Press 2007), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. His latest, Sharawadji (Brick Books), was shortlisted for the 2012 Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. He has published articles, reviews, and poetry in many literary magazines, has a PhD in Canadian Literature and is the director of WLUPress.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $154 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 154 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

06 October 2012

The New Quarterly's Wild Writers Festival

The New Quarterly: Canadian Writers and Writing, the nationally acclaimed literary magazine based right here at St Jerome's, is having a fabulous festival on November 2nd - 3rd. Among its many attractions -- such as masterclasses and readings -- it features two current Governor General's Award nominees, Carrie Snyder and Tamas Dobozy. Both were featured in past years TNQ, and at the Reading Series at St Jerome's -- we knew them when!

For more information, and tickets, please visit:

31 August 2012

Our 2012-13 Series

Get ready for another year of dynamic readings at St Jerome's! We are very excited about our lineup, and the theme that guides it, specially suited to St Jerome's and Waterloo. 

Our upcoming Reading Series -- Metaphoriment -- will explore how the literary arts approach the sciences, how metaphor meets experiment. Our vision for this series begins with the assumption that the sciences and the literary arts are both grounded in the act of exploration. The languages of description and imagination are, in different ways, foundational to both. Scientists and writers alike start with intent attention to the worlds around and within them, and then imagine themselves into worlds that could, or should, be. Both the scientist and the writer create their arts in that tense but invigorating space between the control one might exert over one’s mediums and the willingness and necessity not to know what the outcome might be.

In selecting authors for our Metaphoriment series, we have defined the sciences rather broadly to include, for instance, representations of medicine, physics, and biology. Some of our writers are practicing doctors, veterinarians, or scientists. Some explore scientific themes in their writing, employ science as metaphor, or apply experimental principles to their creative practice.

Here's what we have in store:

Brian Henderson and Shane Neilson -- Thursday, 25 October, 8pm, STJ 3014
Michael Boughn and Christopher Dewdney -- Tuesday, 27 November, 8pm, STJ 3014
Susan Musgrave -- Thursday, 24 January, 8pm, STJ 3014
Nora Gould -- Thursday, 31 January, 4:30pm, STJ 3014 With the generous support of Brick Books
Anne Michaels -- Wednesday, 6 February, 4:30pm, STJ 3027
Vincent Lam -- Tuesday, 19 March, 8pm, St Jerome's Community Centre
Adam Dickinson -- Thursday, 4 April, 4:30pm, STJ 3014

All readings are free and open to the public, thanks to the assistance of St Jerome's University, and the fundamental support of the Canada Council for the Arts. 

Hope to see you there!

11 March 2012

Robert Paul Weston reads March 27!

A bonus reading for this Winter term -- Robert Paul Weston, a YA author whose novel Dust City has been described as "Chinatown via the Brothers Grimm", while Zorgamazoo "is about saving the universe from boredom. And it rhymes -- all 280 pages worth". 

Join us Tuesday 27 March 4:30pm in STJ 2009. The reading is free and all are welcome, so please spread the word!

Robert Paul Weston's first novel, Zorgamazoo, is the winner of the 2011 California Young Reader Medal, the 2010 Silver Birch Award, the 2009 Children’s Choice Award, and a 2009 E.B. White Honour. The film rights to the book have been optioned by the producer of Shrek. His second novel, Dust City, was shortlisted for the 2011 Edgar Alan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the 2011 Sunburst Award for Canadian Fantasy, and the 2012 Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award; it was also named a 2011 Honour Book by the Canadian Library Association. Currently, Weston lives in Toronto, where he lectures in creative writing at U of T.

Check out his website at

28 February 2012

Julia McCarthy reads 8 March!

Poet Julia McCarthy will be visiting us on Thursday, 8 March, at 4:30pm in STJ 3014. Please come out for another great reading in this year's series!

Julia McCarthy is originally from Toronto. She spent ten years living in the United States, most notably Alaska and Georgia. She has also lived in Norway and spent significant time in South Africa. She has recently published Return from Erebus with Brick Books; it is the recipient of the Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry. Her previous collection of poetry, Stormthrower, was published by Wolsak and Wynn in 2002. She now resides in Nova Scotia where she works as a freelance editor. And she is a St. Jerome's alumna!

We're delighted to be working once again with Brick Books to make this reading happen, and grateful for their support, along with the generosity of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the St. Jerome's English Department.

Fred Wah reads at Guelph, 15 March

Fred Wah, newly appointed Poet Laureate of Canada (Congratulations, Fred!!), will be appearing at the TransCanada Institute, University of Guelph, on Thursday 15 March, 11:30-12:30.

Not too long ago, he gave a memorably fantastic reading at St. Jerome's. If you can go to this one, you're in for a treat!

For more information, and to register (registration is required), go to this page, all about the event, at the TransCanada Institute.

31 January 2012

UW English event: Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan reads Feb 16!

Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan will be reading from her novel Half Blood Blues. This is part of the UW English speakers' series, organized this year by Prof. Jay Dolmage. Prof. Win Siemerling will be the MC. St. Jerome's is proud to be supporting the event and spreading the word!

Please come out for the reading on Thursday February 16th, at 7:00 pm, in Siegfried Hall.

More about Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues:

It's the current, and inaugural, Globe and Mail online book club book

Bio and book synopsis from the Man Booker Prize website (Edugyan's book was a finalist!)

News release from the Giller Prize on Edugyan's award including the jury's citation:
Imagine Mozart were a black German trumpet player and Salieri a bassist, and 18th century Vienna were WWII Paris; that's Esi Edugyan's joyful lament, Half-Blood Blues. It's conventional to liken the prose in novels about jazz to the music itself, as though there could be no higher praise. In this case, say rather that any jazz musician would be happy to play the way Edugyan writes.  Her style is deceptively conversational and easy, but with the simultaneous exuberance and discipline of a true prodigy.  Put this book next to Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues" – these two works of art belong together.

25 January 2012

Rishma Dunlop and Tanis MacDonald read on February 9th!

Our first Winter 2012 reading features TWO poets: Rishma Dunlop and Tanis MacDonald. 
Join us Thursday, February 9th, 4:30pm, STJ 3014
The reading is free and all are welcome.

Rishma Dunlop is an award winning Canadian poet, playwright, essayist, and translator. Her fifth book of poetry, Lover Through Departure: New and Selected Poems, was published in 2011. Her previous books include White AlbumMetropolisReading Like a Girl, and The Body of My Garden. She won the Emily Dickinson Prize for Poetry in 2003 and has been a finalist for the CBC Prizes in Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction, and the Vanderbilt-Carter V. Cooper Prize for Fiction. She was awarded the Canada-U.S. Fulbright Research Chair in Creative Writing in 2009-2010, and she was recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, for achievement in the arts and the humanities. She is a professor of English and Creative Writing at York University, Toronto. Visit her website at

Photo credit: John Roscoe
Tanis MacDonald is the author of three books of poetry: Holding Ground (Seraphim Editions, 2000); Fortune (Turnstone Press, 2003) and most recently, Rue the Day (Turnstone Press, 2008). She is also the editor of Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006) and her study on the feminist elegy in Canada, The Daughter’s Way: Canadian Women’s Paternal Elegies (Wilfrid Laurier University Press) will be available in Spring 2012. Her poetry has been widely anthologized and she is well-known as a reviewer and personal essayist as well as a poet and an academic. She won the Bliss Carman Poetry Prize, awarded jointly by Prairie Fire Magazine and the Banff School of Fine Arts, in 2003. She is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Visit her website at