Toronto Writer Highlights Thunder Pride Literary Evening

Story and Photos by Jonathon Pukila

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Toronto-based writer Farzana Doctor reads excerpts from her novel, Six Metres of Pavement. Doctor was the featured guest at Thunder Pride’s literary evening, which took place Tuesday night at the Mary J.L. Black Library. The well-attended event featured readings from local LGBTQ writers and authors, and was a celebration “of queer storytelling, literature and poetry with a distinctly northwestern Ontario flavour,” according to event chair and local author Susan Goldberg.

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Event chair and local author Susan Goldberg, introducing the readers.

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Betsy Martin reads from “No Worries,” a short story about a broken foot and the rehabilitation process. “So I was challenged when Susan called and asked me to read at this year’s pride event. Since my injury I had not been able to strain together one coherent sentence. So of course I told her yes,” Martin read.

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Jayal Chung is an active member of Thunder Bay’s literary and arts scene, and recent co-ordinator of the Lakehead University Student Union Gender Issues Centre. Chung read two entries from her personal diary, which she has been keeping since 2004. Chung believes that being queer is “a verb and [part of] an ongoing dialogue.”

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Phoebe Anne Wolframe and Sara Mackie read a short dialogue, part of a soon-to-be-released novel. The hard-hitting dialogue centers around a young girl named Ingrid coming out to her grandmother over coffee at Tim Hortons. Her grandmother vehemently opposes her granddaughter’s lesbianism. “If I do [hear about your partner], Ingrid, you can consider yourself no longer part of this family,” Ingrid’s grandmother stated.

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The literary evening also featured the winners of the inaugural Thunder Pride Youth Literary Contest. The contest featured writings from young adults, writing about LGBTQ experiences and issues. Presenting here is runner-up Kirsten Potter, a grade 12 student who “enjoys long walks on the beach, and that’s for real.” She read from her short story, “Princess Charming.”

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Lara LeBlanc was the winner of the Youth Literary Contest. As LeBlanc was unable to attend, her piece was read on her behalf by The Other 10% co-ordinator Julia MacArthur. LeBlanc’s piece “Love, Lust, and Lemons,” provided a brief foray into erotica.