Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

Five Things Literary: Ottawa, with Amanda Earl

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Amanda Earl

As part of our mapping of literary Ontario, we're highlighting five things about literary life in communities throughout the province. What do our cities, towns and villages have to offer writers, readers and the curious? Follow Five Things Literary to find out.

Today's feature on the literary buzz in Ottawa, hub of readings series and festivals large and small, was contributed by Amanda Earl of and AngelHousePress.


  1. jwcurry’s Room 3o2 Books
    • jwcurry’s Room 3o2 Books (#302-880 Somerset W. K1R 6R7, (613) 233 0417) specializes in concrete/visual/sound poetries (mainly Canadian) with a stock of over 20,000 mainly rare titles, including “elusive ephemera,” bpNichol, Judith Copithorne, David UU, Bill Bissett and others. Also publications from jwcurry’s own imprints. Write or call for a catalogue.


  2. Ottawa Small Press Book Fair

  4. Ottawa International Writers Festival
    • The Ottawa International Writers Festival takes place twice yearly in the spring and fall and features writers from around the world, interviews and readings on myriad subjects and genres, from politics to the environment, from fiction to film and poetry. The spring festival will take place from April 28 to May 3, 2011.


  5. VERSeFest
    • Formed by a collective of poetry groups, VERSeFest is a new annual poetry festival in Ottawa that includes 14 reading series. This year’s festival took place in March and included every poetic variation from free verse to quatrains, spoken word, rap and haiku, and even a little chocolate and burlesque. Future plans include inviting international poets to the stage.


  6. A B Reading Series
    • The A B Reading Series, curated by Max Middle, is Ottawa’s reading series for sound, performance and experimental poetry. The series has featured multi-media artist and sound poet Nobuo Kubota, Christian Bök, Robert Priest, Gary Barwin, the brilliant Dutch sound poet Jaap Blonk, Lisa Robertson, David McFadden, Angela Carr and many others. Upcoming readers and speakers in 2011 include Gustave Morin, Jenn Currin, Jonathon Ball, Erín Moure and Christopher Dewdney, with future plans to bring in international sound poets and others. The events take place at the Mercury Lounge in the Byward Market and Gallery 101 on Bank Street.


For information on all of Ottawa’s signings, readings, performances, small press news, associations, calls for submissions and magazines, please visit

Amanda Earl is the managing editor of and the Bywords Quarterly Journal, the angel of AngelHousePress and the curator of Experiment-O. Visit her website and literary blog at

Would you like to contribute five things about literary life in your community? Send an email with your ideas to [email protected]

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