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Talonbooks Fall 2020

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  • 1
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    Megantic Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny Canada, W. Donald Wilson Canada
    9781772012590 Paperback LAW / Transportation Publication Date:August 26, 2020
    $24.95 CAD 9 x 6 x 1 in | 340 gr | 336 pages Carton Quantity:22 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      Lac-Mégantic, Québec, Canada – July 6, 2013. On a hot summer night, a driverless, out-of-control train descends the slope that leads to the scenic town below and explodes, pulverizing the downtown area and killing forty-seven unsuspecting victims. The devastation, which leaves the people of Lac-Mégantic dazed and in mourning, is quickly the object of a tortuous cover-up. Who are the tragedy’s real culprits?

      In this fascinating piece of investigative journalism, which unfolds like a thriller, Saint-Cerny reveals the inner workings of the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. She uncovers how the disaster, far from being just an "error of a faulty system," was caused by powerful people and institutions distant from the town itself.

      The tragedy of Lac-Mégantic began far before the train’s brakes failed; it was conceived in the offices of Wall Street hedge funders, of Dakota black-gold cowboy magnates, of oil conglomerates, of a political class entirely devoted to the interests of the rail industry. And when it struck, it hit a population which, while still in shock, found itself at the mercy of local predators.

      The fruit of five years of work and interviews with nearly a hundred people, including victims and their relatives, Mégantic: A Tragedy in Waiting, tells the story of the disaster in three acts – before, during, and after – in an investigation whose ultimate goal is to prevent the preventable.

      Bio
      Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny is a Canadian writer and political activist from Quebec. She is most noted for her 2018 book Mégantic: Une tragédie annoncée, an examination of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster of 2013, which was a shortlisted finalist for the Governor General's Award for French-language non-fiction at the 2018 Governor General's Awards. She previously published the Zan series of children's books, as well as the novel La jouissance du loup à l'instant de mordre. She was a Green Party of Canada candidate in Hochelaga in the 2015 federal election.

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  • 2
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    The Diary of Dukesang Wong A Voice from Gold Mountain David McIlwraith Canada, Wanda Joy Hoe Canada
    9781772012583 Paperback BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Historical Publication Date:September 16, 2020
    $18.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.75 in | 140 gr | 144 pages Carton Quantity:48 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      Here is the only known first-person account from a Chinese worker on the famously treacherous parts of transcontinental railways that spanned the North American continent in the nineteenth century. The story of those Chinese workers has been told before, but never in a voice from among their number, never in a voice that lived through the experience. Here is that missing voice, a voice that changes our understanding of the history it tells and that so many believed was lost forever. Dukesang Wong’s written account of life working on the Canadian Pacific Railway, a Gold Mountain life, tells of the punishing work, the comradery, the sickness and starvation, the encounters with Indigenous Peoples, and the dark and shameful history of racism and exploitation that prevailed up and down the North American continent. The Diary of Dukesang Wong includes all the selected entries translated in the mid-1960s by his granddaughter, Wanda Joy Hoe, for an undergraduate sociology paper. Background history and explanations for the diary’s unexplained references are provided by David McIlwraith, the book’s editor, who also considers why the diarist’s voice and other Chinese voices have been silenced for so long.
      Bio
      Born in China in 1846, Dukesang Wong saw his magistrate father poisoned, and his family honour destroyed, in 1867, the year his diary begins. He travelled to North America in 1880, after several years of trying to scrape together a living in war-torn China, landing in Portland before making his way north to work in British Columbia on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He eventually settled in what is now known as New Westminster, working as a tailor, and was able to bring his bride to Canada from China. Together they had eight children. Dukesang Wong died in 1931. Selections from his diaries were translated in the mid-1960s by his granddaughter, Wanda Joy Hoe, as part of a university undergraduate paper.
      David McIlwraith has been a writer, teacher, actor, and director. During a career in theatre, film, and television, he wrote and directed award-nominated documentaries and television programs, including Celesta Found, The Lynching of Louie Sam, and Harrowsmith Country Life. He has worked extensively across Canada in the development of new Canadian plays. As an actor, he has played roles from Romeo to Prospero, and he has taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with his wife and daughter and spends summers with friends on Salt Spring Island.
      Wanda Joy Hoe translated selections from the diary of her grandfather, Dukesang Wong, for an undergraduate sociology course at Simon Fraser University in the mid-1960s. She lives in Ottawa.
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  • 3
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    The Grand Melee Michel Tremblay Canada, Sheila Fischman Canada
    9781772012613 Paperback FICTION / Literary Publication Date:September 30, 2021
    $16.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 1 in | 300 gr | 208 pages Carton Quantity:1 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      The fifth novel in the Desrosiers Diaspora series from Québécois national treasure Michel Tremblay.

      It’s May 1922, and preparations are in full swing for the marriage of Nana and Gabriel, which will take place the following month. There’s just one problem: Nana’s wedding dress has yet to be bought. Nana’s mercurial mother, Maria, torn between her desire to measure up as a mother and the inescapable constraints of poverty, wonders how to pay for the wedding. And she’s not the only one battling demons – the thought of the upcoming reunion unsettles every member of the large and dispersed Desrosiers family. While the wedding invitations announce a celebration, they also stir up old memories, past desires, and big regrets.

      The Grand Melee extends Michel Tremblay’s beloved familial and historical saga, and bridges the Desrosiers Diaspora series and the now-classic Chronicles of the Plateau Mont-Royal. This book includes a newly translated introduction by Michel Tremblay specialist and Éditions Leméac publisher Pierre Filion.
      Bio
      Born in a working-class family in Quebec, novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay was raised in Montreal's Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood. An ardent reader from a young age, Tremblay began to write, in hiding, as a teenager. One of the most produced and most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Tremblay has received countless prestigious honours and accolades. Because of their charismatic originality, their vibrant character portrayals, and the profound vision they embody, Tremblay's dramatic, literary and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity; his plays have been adapted and translated into dozens of languages and have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.

      Of his own work, Tremblay has said, I know what I want in the theatre. I want a real political theatre, but I know that political theatre is dull. I write fables. Tremblay's novel The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant was long-listed for the CBC Canada Reads program in both 2002 and 2003. In April 2006 – as Montreal concluded its term as World Book Capital – Tremblay was the recipient of the Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix, awarded annually in recognition of a lifetime of literary achievement to a writer of international stature and accomplishment.
      Sheila Fischman is the award-winning translator of some two hundred works of contemporary fiction from Québec. Along with Larry Tremblay, her authors include Hubert Aquin, Anne Hébert, Gaétan Soucy, Marie-Claire Blais, François Gravel, and Christine Eddie, among others. She has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for French to English Translation fifteen times, and has twice won it for translations of Michel Tremblay’s work; she has also received the Molson Prize in the Arts. A Member of the Order of Canada and a chevalière of the Ordre national du Québec, she lives in Montréal.
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  • 4
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    Music at the Heart of Thinking Improvisations 1–170 Fred Wah Canada
    9781772012620 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:August 25, 2020
    $24.95 CAD 6 x 9 x 0.67 in | 300 gr | 272 pages Carton Quantity:28 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      The music of thinking. The thinking of music. Music at the Heart of Thinking is a poetry that works through language as the true practice of thought and improvisation as the tool that listens to and notates thinking. From jazz, the unpredictable ad lib driving itself from itself. From a drunken Shaolin monk, the poem as imbalanced tai chi. From Keats’s negative capability, the half-closed eye, the estrangement of language. All intended to bump beyond the end of the word into focus. As a response to readings in contemporary texts, art, and ideas. Music at the Heart of Thinking relocates critical language and thinking to the poetic bavardage at the heart of such endeavours. The poetics that generates these texts arises out of a lifelong poem project that has its roots in the long poem genre of the ’80s and its interest in the resistance to closure and the containment of meaning characteristic of the lyric. This book continues the work of two previous out-of-print publications, Music at the Heart of Thinking (1987) and Alley, Alley Home Free (1990). The poems are generated as textual responses in the reading, looking, and listening of the poet’s attention to his cultural milieu. Thus the writing addresses contemporary texts and art over the past forty years. Within this poetry of estrangement lie possible coherences for some sense of writing as a notation for thinking as feeling. The difficulty of this writing is literal and intentional, wary of any attempt to make thinking simple, easy, or predictable.
      Bio

      Fred Wah was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, in 1939 and grew up in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. After graduate work with Robert Creeley and Charles Olson, he returned to the Kootenays in the late 1960s, founding the writing program at David Thompson University Centre (DTUC). A pioneer of online publishing, Wah has mentored a generation of some of the most exciting new voices in poetry today.

      Of his seventeen books of poetry, is a door received the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, Waiting for Saskatchewan received the Governor General’s Award, and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry. Diamond Grill, a bio-fiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese-Canadian café, won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction, and his collection of critical writing, Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity, received the Gabrielle Roy Prize. Wah was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012. He served as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.

      Jeff Derksen is a founding member of Vancouver’s writer-run centre, the Kootenay School of Writing. His poetry and critical writing on art, urbanism, and text have been published in Europe and North America.


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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews
      "Wah’s has always been a poetic simultaneously engaged with breath and quick thought, language and deep meditation on being, identity and theory, and Music at the Heart of Thinking provides an ongoing example of just how powerful a master can be."
      —rob mclennan
      “Like [Jack] Spicer before him, Wah proves that in the right (write) mouth the poem itself might be the best critical tool we have.”—ARC Poetry Magazine
  • 5
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    Desire Path Taryn Hubbard Canada
    9781772012637 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:August 25, 2020
    $16.95 CAD 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.75 in | 128 gr | 96 pages Carton Quantity:70 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      A debut poetry collection that grows from the impulse to explore home in the suburb – in the intersections, overlaps, and gaps between urban and rural. These are walking poems and driving poems. In growing suburbs across the country, there is a push to urbanize, to rethink this sprawling space; urban renewal is foreshadowed all over contemporary suburbs, where vacant single-family lots herald anticipation of redevelopment into something more, something better, something healthier. But before that happens, what do we make of the space as it sits, just as it is? What monuments anchor the suburb now? These poems call on superblocks, gas stations, fast food joints, flickering flat screen TVs, six-lane highways, and wildfire smoke to guide the experience of moving through the complicated markers from childhood to motherhood.
      Bio
      Taryn Hubbard’s poetry, fiction, reviews, and interviews have been included in journals such as Canadian Literature, Room, The Capilano Review, Canadian Woman Studies, CV2, filling Station, and others. She holds a BA in English and Communications from Simon Fraser University, and a certificate in journalism from Langara College. She lives in B.C.’s Fraser Valley with her husband, Aaron, and daughter, Esther. Desire Path is her first book.
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  • 6
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    Here Colin Browne Canada
    9781772012644 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:June 13, 2020
    $19.95 CAD 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.25 in | 240 gr | 208 pages Carton Quantity:36 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      Here is a book of luminous encounters, contradictions, collisions, interruptions, and meditations on art, nature, justice, historical memory, and territorial occupation. Browne’s texts mine the harrowing destinies, and densities, of place, in this case, of the Northwest Coast of North America. This new work – in seven movements – is tuned to the autobiographical, alert to rhythm and improvisation, and immersed in a torrent of memory and tenderness. Here is a book for the ear. At its heart is the enigma of family. A central premise is that events are contiguous through time and space, and that ancestral experiences live on in the body physically, invisibly, mapping the present with stored-up longing and striving. The structure of the book conforms loosely to the chronological order in which the texts were composed, constituting a variation on a poet’s daybook, a record of intersections, correspondences, and juxtapositions. The book’s compositional model is borrowed from jazz improvisation; by locating a rhythm or a melodic line, and opening the field to associations, visions, rhymes, chance, interruption, and, one may wish, grace, the texts begin to summon and assemble themselves. “Art does not render the visible, but renders visible,” said Paul Klee. Why are we aching so? Where are the words and melodies that will heal us? Here also is a book of voices, its pages infused with the eros of intertextuality. Apollinaire’s spirit presides overall. Among those overheard are Marjorie Acland, Antonin Artaud, André Breton, Robert Burton, Louis Clexlixqen, Henry Edenshaw, Frantz Fanon, Allan King, Chief Joseph, Gwendolyn McEwen, Charles Olson, Pablo Picasso, Dorothy Jean Ray, Raymond Roussel, Victor Serge, Gertrude Stein, Henry Thoreau, Primrose Upton, Walt Whitman, and the Surrealist artists Kurt Seligmann and Wolfgang Paalen, both of whom visited the Northwest Coast in the late 1930s.
      Bio

      Colin Browne has published five volumes of poetry. His most recent publications are Entering Time: The Fungus Man Platters of Charles Edenshaw (Talonbooks, 2016) and The Hatch: Poems and Conversations (Talonbooks, 2015). His books have been nominated for a Governor General’s Award and the Dorothy Livesay Award / B.C. Poetry Prize. He is a celebrated filmmaker; his experimental documentary White Lake was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Feature Documentary. His recent exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, I Had an Interesting French Artist to See Me This Summer: Emily Carr and Wolfgang Paalen in British Columbia (2016), explored the brief encounter between these two Modernist artists in Victoria, B.C., in August 1939, and presented the first extensive exhibition of Paalen’s work in Canada. His collaboration with composer Alfredo Santa Ana, Music for a Night in May, was presented at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre in May 2018. Recent essays exploring the links between Surrealism and the art of the Northwest Coast have appeared in exhibition catalogues in the U.S. and Europe. He is currently working on new curatorial projects and preparing a collection of essays for publication. Until recently, he taught in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where he is Professor Emeritus.


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  • 7
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    9781772012651 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:September 16, 2020
    $17.95 CAD 9 x 6 x 0.75 in | 128 gr | 96 pages Carton Quantity:70 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      eat salt | gaze at the ocean explores the themes of Black sovereignty, Haitian sovereignty, and Black lives, using the Haitian (original) zombie as a metaphor for the condition and treatment of Black bodies. Interspersed with information about zombies, Haiti, and policies is the author’s personal narrative of growing up Black and Haitian of immigrant parents on stolen land. The collection is divided into two sections: the first half focusses on zombies, while the second focusses on the ocean/water and the violent crossing experienced by enslaved folks. The book’s title refers to the “cure” for reversing the process of becoming a zombie.
      Bio
      Junie Désil is a Haitian Canadian poet. Born of immigrant parents on the traditional territories of the Kanien’kehá:ka in the island known as Tiotia:ke (Montréal), raised in Treaty 1 territories (Winnipeg). Junie has performed at various literary events and festivals. Her work has appeared in Room Magazine, PRISM International, The Capilano Review, and CV 2. A recovering academic, a UBC alum, and most recently an alumni of SFU’s The Writer’s Studio, Junie currently works in the Downtown Eastside, on the x?m??k??y??m, S?wx_wú7mesh, and s?l?ílw?ta?? (unceded and Ancestral Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Territories) and lives on Qayqayt Territory (New Westminster), juggling writing and life.
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  • 8
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    In-Between Marcus Youssef Canada
    9781772012408 Paperback YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Drama Publication Date:October 20, 2020
    $16.95 CAD 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 in | 300 gr | 256 pages Carton Quantity:1 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      Adopted as a baby by white parents who found her in an orphanage in Vietnam, Lily has always considered herself Canadian. When Karim – a guy she’s liked for a long time – finally starts to show interest in her, Lily’s best friend Brit starts to hang out with some grade-twelves with radical opinions about immigrants. After a conflict between Brit and Karim breaks out when other students share racist, anti-immigrant memes, a misunderstanding leads to a lockdown in the school. Lily finds herself right in the middle, forced to make hard choices about who she really is, and which friend she’s going to believe. Set in a school facing the real-life challenges of immigration, income inequality, and fears of violence in our schools, The In-Between is a realistic, relatable exploration of the complex social circumstances students must navigate in contemporary schools. Like Youssef’s international hit Jabber, seen by tens of thousands of young people across North America and Europe, The In-Between brings humour, sensitivity, and a deftly authentic ear to the adult-sized questions young people confront as they enter their later teens.
      Bio
      Marcus Youssef is one of Canada’s best-known contemporary playwrights. His plays have been produced in dozens of theatres in fifteen countries across North America, Europe, and Asia, from Seattle to New York to Reykjavik, London, Hong Kong, and Berlin. He is the recipient of Canada’s largest cultural prize, the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre, as well as the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, the Chalmers Canadian Play Award, the Seattle Times Footlight Award, the Vancouver Critics’ Innovation Award (three times), and the Canada Council Staunch Lynton Award for Artistic Achievement. Over the years Marcus has also written for a half-dozen shows on CBC Radio and Television and a wide variety of Canadian print and web-based publications. Marcus is artistic director of Vancouver’s Neworld Theatre and co-founder of the East Vancouver–based, artist-run production studio PL1422. He was the inaugural chair of the city of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council, a Canadian Fellow to the International Society for Performing Arts, and co-chair of the Vancouver political party The Coalition of Progressive Electors. He is currently an editorial advisor to Canadian Theatre Review and a consulting advisor for the National Arts Centre English Theatre. He teaches regularly at the National Theatre School of Canada, Studio 58 Langara College, and the University of British Columbia. See: marcusyoussef.com / neworldtheatre.com / @marcusyoussef.
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  • 9
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    Asking For It and What I Call Her Ellie Moon Canada
    9781772012668 Paperback DRAMA / Canadian Publication Date:December 17, 2020
    $19.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.56 in | 300 gr | 224 pages Carton Quantity:34 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      Two plays from rising Canadian theatre star Ellie Moon. Asking For It looks at gender roles and sexual consent in the wake of the Ghomeshi scandal, and considers the various ways in which sexual consent is understood personally, culturally, and legally. In this documentary play, Moon speaks with people of all ages and backgrounds about their assumptions and experiences around consent to sexual relations, and with legal experts about the current state of sexual assault law in Canada. What I Call Her is a play about gaps in how people perceive and understand the world they live in, female generational rage, and the loneliness of holding on to one’s own truth.
      Bio

      Ellie Moon is a Dora-nominated actor and a playwright. She has acted in stage productions in Canada with Soulpepper, Segal Centre, Crow’s, Nightwood, and Thousand Islands Playhouse, and in the UK at Bush Theatre and Tristan Bates Theatre. Her recent onscreen acting work includes the upcoming Canadian indie feature, Adult Adoption (for which she also wrote the screenplay). Ellie’s playwrighting debut, Asking For It, premiered as both Crow’s and Nightwood’s 2017–18 season opener. Her second play, What I Call Her, premiered at Crow’s the following year. Ellie’s third play, This Was the World, premiered at Tarragon Theatre, where Ellie is currently playwright-in-residence, in their 2019–20 season. Ellie founded the charitable Secret Shakespeare Series.

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      Awards
      Reviews

      “A bracing pleasure … A sly, intelligent piece of documentary theatre borne of Ghomeshi-gate.”
      Globe and Mail

  • 10
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    Kuroko Tetsuro Shigematsu Canada
    9781772012699 Paperback DRAMA / Canadian Publication Date:November 06, 2020
    $18.95 CAD 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 in | 213 gr | 160 pages Carton Quantity:44 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      A father who feels his family is better off without him … a daughter who retreats completely into the virtual world … a family torn apart by the past with little hope for a future. But each discovers the desire to save each other, and perhaps themselves. From the acclaimed Canadian playwright, comedian, and radio broadcaster Tetsuro Shigematsu, author of the award-winning plays Empire of the Son and 1 Hour Photo, comes a powerful display of theatrical and literary emotion: Kuroko. Maya is a hikikomori (?????), an extreme recluse who hasn’t left her bedroom in five years, spending all her time in Virtual Reality. So her father hires an actor to befriend her online and entice her back into the real world. How? By visiting the scariest place on earth, Aokigahara, the “Suicide Forest.” When we lose what gives our lives purpose, when the distance between us and those closest to us seems impossible to bridge, where do we turn? Can virtual worlds offer real solutions? Is an honourable death better than a meaningless life? Kuroko is a story about a family who are worlds apart, separated by pain, from past and present, alone in the real and virtual worlds, each unsure of the way back home. It is a story about finding something real in the places we least expect it, of building bridges where healing seems impossible, and saving others as a way of saving ourselves. Like good speculative fiction that is ostensibly about the future, but actually addresses the present, Kuroko may be set in Japan, but it is in fact an examination of contemporary Western culture.
      Bio
      Described by The Georgia Straight “one of the city's best artists,” Tetsuro Shigematsu tells stories across an array of media. He is an author, playwright, actor, scholar, broadcaster, and filmmaker. A former writer for CBC Television’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, in 2004 he became the first person-of-colour to host a daily national radio program in Canada when he took over The Roundup on CBC Radio. His most recent theatre work, 1 Hour Photo, garnered five Jessie nominations, winning for Significant Artistic Achievement, and was recently named as a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Drama. He completed his PhD studies as a Vanier Scholar. His thesis play, Empire of the Son, has played in 18 cities to over 20,000 people, and was described by Colin Thomas as, “one of the best shows ever to come out of Vancouver. Ever.” He recently signed a book deal with Penguin Random House to write a memoir. Support his work at patreon.com/tetsuro
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