EMWF Showcase: Vocamus Writers Community

Thursday September 10, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)

Presenters: Mike Chaulk, Night Lunch, Anna Cox, I Keep My Worries in My Teeth, and Clifford Jackman, The Braver Thing

Host: Jeremy Luke Hill, author and publisher at Gordon Hill Press

Join three very different Guelph-area authors as they read and talk about their new books. Clifford Jackman, a Governor General Award shortlisted author, will read from The Braver Thing, a rollicking pirate story that also explores questions of good governance that are perhaps more relevant today than ever. Mike Chaulk reads from Night Lunch, a collection of poetry about a young deckhand on a fishing boat in Labrador. And Anna Cox reads from I Keep My Worries in My Teeth, a novel about three women and a pencil factory that is equal parts humour and heartbreak. The authors will also spend some time talking with the session host about their writing process.

Vocamus Writers Community is a non-profit organization that promotes reading, writing, and publishing in and around the city of Guelph, Ontario.

This event includes closed captioning.


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Night Lunch
By Mike Chaulk
Published by Gordon Hill Press

Night Lunch is a shapeshifting sonnet sequence set in the cold waters off the North Coast of Labrador. Reflecting Chaulk’s own experience, the speaker—a young deckhand on a freight and passenger ferry servicing isolated communities—endures long irregular work hours, weather, icebergs, and loneliness, all the while navigating the taut intersections of race, labour, class, and masculinity. That Chaulk has Inuit family in and from Labrador makes this debut poetic journey a cultural coming-home for the young deckhand, as chronicled in supple, powerful verse.

Mike Chaulk lives in Guelph, Ontario, where he drives trucks full of beer for a living. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best Canadian Poetry 2018, The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Puritan, PRISM: international, and filling Station, among other places. In 2015, Chaulk co-founded &, collective, an experimental poetry collective in Guelph, with whom he published two group chapbooks (&, 1: works by &, collective, self-published, and &, 2: this happened to one of us, Publication Studio Guelph). He has worked as a seaman in Labrador, Sweden, and Wales, and previously lived in Montreal for five years where he punched time as the Associate Poetry Editor of The Incongruous Quarterly as well as the Editor-in-Chief of The Void Magazine at Concordia University. He now spends a good deal of time walking his dog in the woods.

I Keep My Worries in My Teeth
By Anna Cox
Published by Little A

A dazzling, sublimely funny debut that follows three unforgettable women who fight back after life kicks them in the teeth.

Esther, Frankie, and Ruth live in a small Ohio town anchored by the thriving Juliet Pencils factory. After a freak accident at the plant, these women have to re-create their lives using the only tools they’ve got: wits, molars, and a new pair of shoes.

Esther is an anxious person with a very specific prowess: she bites pencils. Her skill pays her bills but more importantly keeps her many worries in check. When the accident leaves her suddenly unemployed, she searches for new ways to manage her anxiety, but nothing works. She must discover a solution before her teeth mutiny and her worries take over.

Frankie, the teenage daughter of the pencil factory owner, is full of contradictions. She wages a campaign to become the only girl in an all-boys club and listens exclusively to punk music, but she also watches soap operas in secret. After the accident damages Frankie’s ability to speak, she is forced to step out of her powerful mother’s shadow so she can discover who she is and what she wants to say.

Ruth owns the local photography lab. She spends her days processing people’s happy memories but spends her nights alone, talking to her dead husband. As the town unravels, Ruth spearheads a massive campaign to refocus on its future, but nothing will succeed until Ruth lets go of her past.

This hilarious and redemptive story explores three women’s liberation amid a tumult of grief, loneliness, and first love.

Anna Cox is a writer and photography professor. I Keep My Worries in My Teeth is her first novel.

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The Braver Thing
By Clifford Jackman
Published by Random House Canada

In 1721, when the most notorious pirates are either dead or on the run, Jimmy Kavanagh, who sailed with Blackbeard, decides to pull together a "Company of Gentleman of Fortune" for one last "Adventuring Cruise" that will set them all up for life. All begins well: the pirates sail across the Atlantic and sack Cape Coast Castle, looting it of chests of gold ill-gotten from the slave trade. But before Kavanagh can lead them on, he sickens, unleashing a drastic series of power struggles among the company. As further victories transform them from the hunters to the hunted, the pirates descend into mutiny, show trials, assassination and tyranny as they flee from their pursuers and struggle against the seas.

Full of epic sea battles and storms, peopled with characters worthy of Mutiny on the Bounty, Jackman's pirate voyage is also an object lesson in how political systems degrade as the pirates, who set out as a band of brothers, are powerless to prevent the erosion of the norms and values that hold their Company together. Where they end will shock you. But given our own times, it might not surprise you.

Clifford Jackman's debut novel, The Winter Family, published in Canada, the US, France and Germany, was a finalist for the Governor-General's Literary Award for Fiction and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He lives in Guelph, with his wife, Cathy, and two children.

Want a copy of the books featured on this panel?
The Bookshelf (Guelph) is our bookselling partner for this event. If you would like to purchase a copy of one of the books from this event, you can order online at bookshelf.ca or phone 519-821-3311 x1. Free shipping or curbside delivery in Guelph. $10.00 shipping cost outside of Guelph.

Thank you to our supporters:
The Angel Gabriel Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Department of Canadian Heritage, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, League of Canadian Poets, Open Book, The Ontario Arts Council, The Pollock Family Fund and Wellington County.