Thursday, May 12, 2016

Amazons of the Mediterranean

Michelle Alfano (also known as A Lit Chick) served as an Associate Editor with the literary quarterly Descant until 2015. Her novella, Made Up Of Arias, was the 2010 winner of the Bressani Award for Short Fiction. Her short story “Opera”, on which the novella was based, was a finalist for a Journey Prize anthology. Her fiction and non-fiction work has been widely published in Canada in major literary publications including Descant, Prairie Fire, The Capilano Review, The Antigonish Review, Event, A Room of One’s Own and in seven anthologies. She is currently at work on two projects: a memoir entitled The Unfinished Dollhouse and the novel Destiny, think of me while you sleep.

Sandra Battaglini is an award winning stand-up comic, actor/writer and made her directorial debut with Chinatown. She is the 2013 Canadian Comedy Award winner for her solo show, Classy Lady, directed by Phil Luzi, which premiered in Toronto in 2012. Past performances include, Hard Headed Woman (Canadian Comedy Award Winner 2007), Small Battalion of Soldiers (Canadian Comedy Award Nomination). She's toured with Yuk Yuks and Absolute Comedy and co-hosts one of Toronto’s most alternative comedy nights, Family Slides and The Sal & Sandy Show with Phil Luzi. Sandra appears in David Cronenberg's latest feature, Maps to the Stars that premiered at TIFF in 2014. Her and comedy partner Phil Luzi are developing a new web series with CBC and Frantic Films called Knitterati. See more here:

Carmela Circelli was born in Southern Italy and grew up in Montreal. She moved to Toronto in 1976 to study philosophy. She has been teaching, on contract, in the Humanities and Philosophy departments of York University, since 1990.  She also has a private practice as a psychotherapist in Toronto. Recently she published a philosophical memoir called Sweet Nothing with Quattro books.  And currently she is working on a novel, tentatively titled, The Last of the Daydreamers.

Erika de Vasconcelos is the author of two novels, My Darling Dead Ones and Between the Stillness and the Grove, both published by Knopf. Her work has appeared in various publications across  Canada, and been translated into several languages. She lives in Toronto.

Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews has written five collections of poetry: The Whispers of Stones, Sea Glass, The Red Accordion, Letters from the Singularity and A Jar of Fireflies. Nature and one's place in it, as well as memory and social justice are her muse. Her poems "The Red Accordion" and "Emerald City" were shortlisted for Descant's Winston Collins Best Canadian Poem Prize and The Malahat Review's Open Seasons Award respectively. In 2015, her poem "Ghost" received first prize in Toronto's Big Pond Rumours Journal Contest. Josie is the author of two non-fiction books: How The Italians Created Canada and In the Name of Hockey. She lives, teaches and writes in Oakville.

Silvia Falsaperla is a graduate of the University of Toronto and teaches English to international students. She lived in Florence, Italy for many years where she worked as an English teacher, travel journalist, translator and assistant to a literary agent.

Eufemia Fantetti is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s MFA in Creative Writing. Her book, A Recipe for Disaster & Other Unlikely Tales of Love, was runner up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and a winner of the 2014 F.G. Bressani Prize.

Michelle Ferreira is a writer and editor of Portuguese descent currently living in Toronto. In the past, she has worked for Dandyhorse Magazine and Descant Magazine and continues to write and edit as a freelancer. She obtained her honours B.A. from York and her M.A. from Ryerson, where her studies centered around the works of the modernist Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

Carole Giangrande is the author of eight books, including the award-winning novella A Gardener on the Moon and her new novella Here Comes The Dreamer. She's also worked as a radio journalist for CBC and her poetry has been published in Grain and Queens Quarterly. Her novel All That Is Solid Melts Into Air will be published in 2017.

Bianca Lakoseljac is the author of a novel, Summer of the Dancing Bear, a collection of stories, Bridge in the Rain (Guernica Editions, 2012, 2010), and a book of poetry. She has taught at Humber College and Ryerson University, is the recipient of the Matthew Ahern Award in literature, and holds an M.A. from York University. Her writing has appeared in journals and anthologies such as Canadian Woman Studies, York University; and 50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot. She is past president of the Canadian Authors Association, Toronto, and has served as juror for various literary contests. She sits on the National Council for the Writers Union of Canada. Her second novel, Stone Woman, a family saga of five women whose lives are bound by a Vietnam-War draft dodger, set in Toronto, is being published by Guernica Editions in the fall, 2016. or

Darlene Madott is a family-law lawyer and award-winning writer of 7 books, whose fiction celebrates family in anarchic ways.  She has twice won the Bressani Literary Award, once for the title story of Making Olives and Other Family Secrets, (Longbridge, 2008), and in 2014, for her collection Stations of the Heart (Exile Editions). “Waiting: An Almost Love Story,” was shortlisted for the Gloria Vanderbilt/Exile short-fiction prize, 2012.  “Vivi’s Florentine Scarf”, widely anthologized, won the 2008 Paolucci Prize of the Italian American Writer’s Association, 2012.

Tina Tzatzanis is a teacher-librarian at an elementary school in Toronto. She is taking next year off to complete the first draft of her first novel about a young woman in a small Greek village during the 50s and 60s whose life, altered by the Fates, frays into three distinct paths. She is of Greek and Irish descent and lives with her husband, her two almost adult children and a cat that thinks she is theirs.
Our musical accompaniment

Nigel Barnes

I've known him since he was a teenager growing up in Hamilton. He's 5'9" but tells everyone that he's 6'3". Most people are polite and don't disagree, which he finds disappointing. He's always ready to argue the point, even though he can't get the tape measure to agree either. These days he spends as much free time as he can  with his grandson, his companion (which, as we've learned from The DaVinci Code, literally means spouse), and his music. I hear there's  a recording in the works, but nothing concrete yet. He may play a few of the songs that are up for consideration for us today.

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