Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

Five Things Literary: London, with Debra Franke

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We're celebrating Literary London all month long! What better place to start than with Five Things Literary: London, contributed by writer and librarian Debra Franke.

1. Poetry London is a popular reading series held monthly at the Landon Branch Library in Wortley Village. Created in 2004 by Cornelia Hoogland together with the Landon Branch Library, this poetry series has included a dynamic mix of well-known national poets, including Tim Lilburn, Jan Zwicky, Anne Compton, Patrick Lane, Sue Sinclair, Christian Bök, Jeramy Dodds and Ken Babstock.

2. Well-loved author Emma Donoghue, author of Room, The Sealed Letter and Hook, is one of London’s local writers. Born in Dublin in 1969, Donoghue settled in London, Ontario in 1998. Donoghue recently “packed the house” at the Landon Branch Library, where she read from her book Room, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year as well as the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

3. In the fall of 2010, the London Arts Council introduced London’s First Poetry Laureate: Penn Kemp. Born in Strathroy and raised in London, Kemp has written many books of poetry and drama. Her work includes sound poetry, video poems and other performance pieces.

4. In her poetry collection The Weight of Oranges, Anne Michaels’ poem “The Day of Jack Chambers” tells about this famous artist from London, Ontario: “This day belongs to Chambers. This his river, his light.” The poem also concludes the anthology The Films of Jack Chambers. Widely-celebrated for his paintings, Chambers is also remembered for his film, The Hart of London.

5. The Landon Branch Library is home to Ted Goodden’s stained glass collection, Perpetual Illuminations, A Book of Hours From London, Ontario. These 12 magnificent stained glass windows, which represent the 12 months of the year, are a collaborative project between artist Gooden and twelve poets from London, Ontario and have been reproduced as a set of 12 prints.


Debra Franke grew up in Port Hope, Ontario and writes poetry and short fiction. She completed her M.A. (English/Creative Writing) at the University of New Brunswick. Her poems have appeared in The Fiddlehead, Event, Dalhousie Review, Prairie Fire, and The Antigonish Review. She serves on the Poetry London Reading Series committee and loves her work as a public librarian in London, Ontario, where it snows. A lot.

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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