Although University of King's College is known for producing some of the country's best journalists, their track record for fiction writers ain't too shabby, either. On Friday, January 18, the school presents a literary night featuring two grads, award-winning poet and California State professor Dr. Troy Jollimore (Tom Thomson in Purgatory) and novelist Dr. Stephen Marche.
After reading from their work, the two authors will speak about their time at the school, and, in general, academic institutions' ability to generate literary creativity in their students. Marche, who attended King's from 1993-97, says, "I came from a high school where I was the only person who really read novels for pleasure, and then I went to King's and every person from every high school in Canada was---it was the great collection of the artsy-fartsies all in one place---and so it gave me the ability to see that world and know that you're not alone. That was greatly encouraging."
At 31 years old (he was recently on CBC Radio's Q and in the Toronto Star suggesting that the Giller Prize---and CanLit in general---have become too old, too establishment, in their thinking), Marche is the author of two books that take chances with form and character: the wonderful urban love story, Raymond and Hannah and last summer's tour through the imaginary land of Sanjania, Shining at the Bottom of the Sea. Both received some really strong reviews: Marche is a natural talent who has never taken a creative writing class or participated in a writing group.
"I was in New York at City College,"---he is currently a Pforzheimer Fellow there---"which has an old and well-respected writing program and there are kids who spend $40,000 a year for a creative writing program at Columbia, and that just seems insane to me. If I had $80,000 to throw around, I would hide out in a basement somewhere and write a novel. But I guess because I haven't done it, I don't want to dismiss it."
Don't dismiss this free evening either. The readings start at 7pm, in the KTS Lecture Hall (second floor, New Academic Building, 6350 Coburg).