Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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No heavy stuff today. No sah!

Sky too clear, sun too warm, and, just now, it’s too lazy, snoozy, comfortable, with a wee bit of wind, dog barking in the distance, as if, were time to fall asleep and stop for a while, this is how it would feel.

So nothing onerous…

I’m reading from my play, EL NUMERO UNO, at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (LKYPT) on this coming Saturday morning. Emil Sher, who adapted Karen Levine’s book, HANA’S SUITCASE, for the stage is reading too. Both plays are part of LKYPT’s 2009-2010 season. The readings are part of a combo Doors Open-Lit City event, one of those to wind up three months of Lit City as well as to celebrate ten years of Doors Open.


EL NUMERO UNO, which has its world premiere at LKYPT in February 2010, is a play about a teenage pig who rescues his town, Lopinot, from some enchanted creatures who have put a spell on it.

Here’s a bit more about the play:

Setting: a small Caribbean island

Director: bcurrent’s ahdri zina mandiela

Cast : A motley crew… Besides our hero, El Numero Uno, an orphan teenage Pig, training to be a chef, other creatures like Birds, Rabbits, more Pigs, two of whom are the villains of the piece. Also, a Rasta craftsman and herbalist, and a band of Masqueraders, including traditional Jonkanoo characters, Pitchy-Patchy, Policeman and Jab-Jab (or Diable = the Devil).

Languages (all easily accessible) – English, Jamaica Talk, Rasta (or Dread) Talk, a bit of French, a bit of Spanish

Music? – yes!
Dance? – yes!
Mystery? – yes!
Magic? – yes!

The play had far off beginnings in 1996, with an invitation to be a storyteller, one of four, at the 25th International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Congress in Groningen, Netherlands. Max Velthuijs, a Dutch writer-illustrator, was asked to produce 24 illustrations for a story. These were circulated to Lei Chu Wang, Charles Mungoshi and me. Each of us was asked to produce our own story based on the illustrations, which we could order in any way we chose. The stories were presented at the conference, and, tell the truth, El Numero Uno was a hit. Patsy Aldana of Groundwood Books was there, and would, I’m sure, vouch for the Number One Pig.

It’s come a long way since then, and turned into something rather different – a play, for one thing. It has benefited from sterling godparenting and been nursed along through several workshops by the most supportive dramaturg imaginable, and a wonderfully talented director and cast of actors. God bless them all! Without them, Uno would have long since wasted away and perished.

So come hear Emil Sher and me as you pass through TO’s open doors on Saturday. See you there!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Pamela Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai has been many things: a teacher, a trainer of teachers, a TV host, a diplomatic wife, an anthologist, a writer of poems, stories and textbooks for children, and a writer of criticism, fiction, poetry and plays for those challenged by age. Born and raised in Jamaica, educated there and in the U.S.A., Pam has lived in Toronto for the past 15 years.

Go to Pamela Mordecai’s Author Page