If I’m going to tell you about it, I have to start back in 1951


SKY GILBERT – Brother Dumb (ECW Press)
ZOE WHITTALL – Bottle Rocket Hearts (Cormorant Books)

Wed, May 2, 7:30-10pm (doors 7pm), free
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St W, Toronto

Free, more info: http://www.pagesbooks.ca ; 416-598-1447

Pages Books & Magazines, ECW Press, Cormorant Books, and NOW presents a This Is Not A Reading Series double launch! Sky Gilbert and Zoe Whittall in conversation with Maggie MacDonald. See short films based on Brother Dumb and Bottle Rocket Hearts. Get your books signed! Hosted by Elvira Kurt.

BROTHER DUMB is the memoir of a reclusive American literary icon. Brother Dumb is a how-to manual for meaningful critical engagement with the real world. Brother Dumb is a celebration of innocence, youth, and altruism. Brother Dumb is a true story of self-imposed exile. . . . Brother Dumb is also a work of fiction. Brother Dumb begins in the mid-40s, but spans decades, delving deep into the five tortured relationships that have shaped one writer’s psycho-sexual history — but it also details his bitter literary decline and withdrawal from public life. Brother Dumb is a misanthrope. His withdrawal from the world is as famous, or infamous, as his writing — something that he takes great pains to explain is not a desperate cry for attention. Attention is the last thing Brother Dumb wants. So why publish this memoir? Why expose himself to a world of stupid, lecherous, greedy, evil, and calculating people? Because he can’t not write. And because, somewhere out there, a kindred soul might actually be reading. . . .

SKY GILBERT is an outspoken gay activist. A writer, director and drag queen extraordinaire, Gilbert was the artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (North America’s largest gay and lesbian theatre) in Toronto for 18 years. Since leaving in 1997, he has published four novels, two books of poetry, four plays, and a memoir. Recently, he received both The Margo Bindhardt Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation and the ReLit Award for his fourth novel, An English Gentleman. Gilbert holds the University Research Chair in Creative Writing and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph.

ABOUT BOTTLE ROCKET HEARTS: Welcome to Montreal in the months before the 1995 referendum. Riot Grrl gets bought out and mass marketed as the Spice Girls, and gays are gaining some legitimacy, but the queers are rioting against assimilation, cocktail AIDS drugs are starting to work, and the city walls on either side of the Main are spray-painted with the words YES or NO. It’s been five years since the OKA crisis and the sex garage riots; revolution seems possible, when you’re 18, like Eve. Eve is pining to get out of her parents’ house in Dorval and find a girl who wants to kiss her back. She meets Della — mysterious, defiantly non-monogamous, an avid separatist and ten years older. Initially taken in by a mutual other-worldly sense of rapture, they hole up in Della apartment, trying to navigate spaces of jealousy. On the night of the 1995 referendum, politics and romance come to a head and Eve’s naiveté begins to fade. From naive teenager to hot shot rough girl, Even decides her own fate.

ZOE WHITTALL, originally from Montreal, where she attended Concordia University, now lives in Toronto. Her previous books include The Emily Valentine Poems and The Ten Best Minutes of Your Life , both volumes of poetry. She edited the anthology Geek, Misfits & Outlaws. She has written for The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and NOW Magazine.

MAGGIE MACDONALD is an award-winning playwright, artist and musician. She has toured internationally as a member of the bands The Hidden Cameras and The Republic of Safety. McGilligan Books published her first novel Kill the Robot in 2005. She lives in Toronto.

A Toronto native and alumna of Second City, ELVIRA KURT is an accomplished comedian who hosts her own TV program in Canada, has starred in an acclaimed Comedy Central half-hour special, has earned multiple nominations as College Comedian Of The Year, and has countless other TV credits as a comic, actress, host, writer – often on gay-lesbian shows.


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