Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Word on the Street interview series: Catherine Graham

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The Word on the Street interview series: Catherine Graham

Catherine Graham is the author of three poetry collections, including Winterkill (Insomniac Press).

Graham talks today with Open Book as part our The Word on the Street interview series.

Open Book's interview series features authors appearing at the Vibrant Voices of Ontario tent, a brand-new element at WOTS which is supported by the OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation), and which features some of the best fiction, poetry and non-fiction being produced by writers and publishers in our fine province.

This is the last interview in the Word on the Street series. The festival takes place this Sunday, September 25th, in various cities across Canada. In Toronto, the festival will be at Queen's Park. More information on Word on the Street can be found here .

Open Book:

Tell us a about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Catherine Graham:

I’ll be reading from my latest collection of poetry, Winterkill, the last book in a trilogy with Insomniac Press, poems about cottonwood trees, lost yelps, flying moths, bird tattoos, smelly turtles and funnel clouds.


Have you attended Word on the Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?


I’ve attended Word on the Street several times over the years. Two visits stand out. One during the 1990’s when Margaret Atwood signed my copy of Good Bones (I remember being fascinated by the intricate rust-coloured designs on her hands; it must’ve been henna) and the other in 2004 when I read from my first book in the Insomniac trilogy, Pupa. Two of my cousins attended that event and after the reading they squeezed into the Speakers’ Corner booth to rave about my book and convince people to buy it while I tried to hide.


The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book.


Oh, such a hard question. So many authors to choose from but three come to mind: Alice Munro, Alistair MacLeod and Richard B. Wright.


What’s the best advice about public readings you have ever received?


Not so much advice but feedback I’ve received about my public readings. Apparently, despite how I feel inside – those mad butterflies whipping around the loops of my stomach – I don’t look nervous. In fact, I’ve been told I look quite composed. Who knew?!


Word on the Street happens simultaneously in Toronto, Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener and Halifax. If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival (in addition to Toronto) would you attend on September 25?


Vancouver. To see the mountains again and be near the sea would be lovely.


What can you tell us about your next project?


I’m currently working on a book of poetry inspired by the late Irish poet Dorothy Molloy.

Catherine Graham, a Toronto writer, creative writing instructor and editor, is the author of four critically acclaimed poetry collections: The Watch (Abbey Press) and the poetry trilogy Pupa, The Red Element and Winterkill (Insomniac Press). Her work has appeared in literary journals in North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, including The Fiddlehead, Poetry Ireland Review, Web del Sol, The Literary Review of Canada, Joyland: A hub for short fiction and The New Quarterly. Graham holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University (UK) and teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.

For more information about Winterkill please visit the Insomniac website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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