A Reading Begets Another

I participated in the Toronto Writers’ Co-operative’s 7th Exchanging Notes Literary Cabaret a few weeks ago, where I read my creative non-fiction piece Countdown. It’s about my grandmother’s last years with us, during which we rediscovered our relationship through the lens of Alzheimer Disease. My reading was accompanied by John Priest on the violin.

A photo and tweet about my reading from writing partner and good friend Sophie Tolias.

A photo and tweet about my reading from writing partner and good friend Sophie Tolias.


Following the Cabaret reading, I got an email from fellow writer Amy S. Mark, inviting me to read Countdown and another excerpt (I’ve opted to read from my short story collection Where Pigeons Roost) at the Indie authors’ Wordjammin’ 2015 event this weekend:

A Celebration of Independent Authors

Join some of Canada’s best indie authors 
as they read excerpts from their works.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2:00 — 6:00 pm

Yellow Griffin Pub

2202 Bloor Street West

(just steps from the Runnymede subway station)

Find out more about the authors reading at the Wordjamm here: http://www.wordjamm.com/authors-bios.html.

I’ll be reading at 4:55 p.m. I don’t know what the audience will think of the contrast between a staccato yet touching retelling of a loved one’s demise and the dark humour of killing pigeons for sport – I suppose death is an inadvertent theme, here – but I am looking forward to finding out. Each author’s Wordjamm reading is followed by a question-and-answer session from the audience. I’ll share how it goes in an upcoming post.

Public Reading – Update

A chalkboald sign announcing the Who You Calling Crazy public reading

I would like to thank the lovely audience of the Who You Calling Crazy? reading last week. It was the success for which our writers’ group had hoped:

We performed our pieces brilliantly (if I do say so myself), were accompanied by great music, and collected 200$ for the Child Development Institute. We even got coverage in one of the local papers (in French), Le Métropolitain.

Our group will plan another public reading in 2014, and in the meantime, we will be working on new pieces of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry.

A group photo of the reading authors and musician

The Who You Calling Crazy authors and musician:
l. to r.: Darren Elliot, Lisa Jackson, Simone Dalton, Angélique Jenney, A.M. Matte, Sophie Tolias, and Alex Normand

Public Readings – Three Down, One To Go

Over the course of one month, I have had the opportunity to read my work in public three times, with one more chance coming up.

A photo of author A.M. Matte at a Toronto Public Library podium, reading a short story excerpt .

A.M. Matte, reading an excerpt of A Treat, at the TOWC Voices 2013 book launch.

I’ve read an excerpt of my short story Where Pigeons Roost, with fave author Terry Fallis in attendance. I’ve read an excerpt of my MIL Dread monologue at a CityVoices Monologue Salon. (Click here for a YouTube excerpt of the monologue performed by actress Audrey Ferron.) And I’ve read an excerpt of my short story A Treat at the launch of the Toronto Writers Cooperative’s Voices anthology (only $10 each).

An image of the Voices 2013 anthology book cover, itself a blurred image of light coming through a window on a brownish background.

The Voices 2013 anthology.

I immensely enjoyed reading my pieces at those events and I’m thrilled to have one more opportunity to share at the Who You Calling Crazy? reading by emerging authors at Toronto’s Free Times Café on Thursday, October 3rd, starting at 7:30 p.m.

I’ll be practicing reading my excerpts until then.

A Reading is a Performance

« A reading is a performance, » said Terry Fallis* in one of his University of Toronto Building An Audience courses.

(Award Gala photo by Danielle Maheu)

Maybe I revive this outfit for one of the readings?
(Award Gala photo by Danielle Maheu)

With three readings coming up over the next few months, I have reviewed my notes on the subject for a few hints that can help prepare the best performance possible:

1. Choose a section that reflects the book / that reflects you as a writer.

2. Make eye contact with the audience.

3. When reading, it’s good to « act » the characters a little.

4. Use your voice as your instrument. Adjust your voice/performance to fit the writing. Change volume – lower the voice for dramatic moments (but not so much as to be inaudible) and raise the voice for excitement.

5. Vary the pace – slow down to add drama; use pauses, let the audience hang before delivering a punchline (coup de grâce), or speed up for intensity.

6. Practice, practice, practice. Before the reading, try out your piece. Practice in front of friends, or in front of a mirror. You can even time yourself, so that you know how long your reading takes.

I’ve been rehearsing my readings, timer at hand, to help me choose the best sections. Want to know which I picked? Feel free to attend any one (or all) of the readings to find out!


*I know, I know, sometimes I should just call my blog a fan page for this award-winning author…

Reprise de La lettre à la Fête de la culture

Suite à son succès au Festival Fringe de Toronto cet été, le spectacle d’improvisation interactif La lettre sera en reprise à Toronto en septembre, dans le cadre de la Fête de la culture, grâce à un appui de la Bibliothèque publique de Toronto. Au plaisir de vous y voir!

Fete de la culture 2013 YO

Upcoming Public Readings

I confess: I’m one of those writers who loves to read her stuff out loud. Preferably when other people are around to listen, absorb, critique, discuss.

That’s why I’m very fortunate to have three opportunities to read excerpts of my short stories in the next few months.

On September 5, 2013, at 6:30 p.m., thanks to the Toronto Writers’ Cooperative, I get to read an excerpt of my short story Where Pigeons Roost at a literary event starring award-winning Canadian author Terry Fallis.

Then, on September 15, 2013, at 1:45 p.m., the Toronto Writers’ Cooperative is once again providing a reading opportunity, thanks to the launch of its Voices 2013 anthology, a perfect-bound anthology of co-op members’ work, in a range of genres.

Both events are held at the Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium on the first floor of the Toronto Reference Library, and are free.

Finally, on October 3, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., another conglomerate of writers will gather to share a range of work – from short fiction to creative non-fiction to poetry – under the theme Who You Calling Crazy? While this event, held at the Free Times Café in Toronto, is free of charge, donations to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health will be gladly accepted.

I’ve been practicing and timing (and even editing) the excerpts I plan to read, and am excited about these opportunities to share my writing live. If you happen to be in town, come on by and let me know what you think of my performance.

Exchanging Notes and A Reading in September

I’m excited to be reading as part of the Toronto Writers’ Co-operative literary evening, called Exchanging Notes, next month. On September 5th, 2013, the TOWC has invited award-winning author (and my one-time mentor) Terry Fallis to chat at the Toronto Reference Library.

Prior to the interview with Terry, two TOWC members will read their work – yours truly is one of them. It all goes down at the Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. I’ll be reading an excerpt of my short story Where Pigeons Roost, about a woman who becomes obsessed with the underground game of pigeon-thwacking.

See you there!

Exchanging Notes: the interviews
with Terry Fallis
Host John Miller converses about the writer’s life and craft with Terry Fallis.  Terry is the author of The Best Laid Plans (Leacock Medal for Humour, 2008) and The High Road.  In 2011, The High Road won CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade.”  TBLP is currently in development as a CBC-Television mini-series.  Terry’s continuing publisher, McClelland and Stewart, published Up and Down in 2011.  It debuted on the G&M bestsellers list.  Terry’s 4th novel, No Relation, will be published in May, 2014.  His 5th novel is currently underway.
Terry has extensive experience in provincial and federal politics, and communications consultation with the agency he co-founded, Thornley Fallis.
A.M. Matte and John Warren of the T.O. Writers’ Co-op will read from their work.


Exchanging Notes: the interviews
with Terry Fallis
6:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street
Info: towc@live.com