A juggernaut of writers

A parliament of rooks. A pride of lions. A murder of crows. But what do you call a group of local women writers? According to The Overcast, we're a juggernaut! A juggernaut of writers.

On Friday, August 26th (7pm at The Space, 72 Harbour Drive), I'll be sitting on a panel with Lisa Moore, Megan Coles, and Andreae Callanan. We'll each do short readings and then organizer Elisabeth de Mariaffi will lead us in a conversation about literature, activism, and writing while feminist. The Event - Women's Rights: Readings and Discussion on Feminist Literature - is part of FemFest NL. Tickets are pay what you can at the door or you can purchase a full festival pass for $60 here.

For more on FemFest, check out Tara Bradbury's rundown in The Telegram and Emily Deming's piece in The Overcast.


Lawnya Vawnya

Literary readings are usually quiet affairs. Silent book-ish types in an intimate space, eyes closed perhaps so as to better picture the scenes being described.

And then this one time I was asked to read at a rock concert. At the 6th annual Lawnya Vawnya, to be more precise. Five booze-fueled days and nights, more raucous kitchen party than music festival.  I'm not going to lie: the prospect was intimidating.

I was scheduled for Sunday - the closing night. So on Saturday I did a bit of reconnaissance at The Ship. Punch Table, Partner, and Psychic Fair put on a loud and up-tempo show. Everyone was jumping around, dancing, going hog-wild. And I was terrified. I was supposed to get up and read to a crowd like this?

Luckily, Sunday's show had a mellow (hungover?) vibe. Maybe everyone was hung over. Pilot to Bombardier (love them!) were on first and graciously saw themselves out with a low key final song. Then MC Vish Khanna - to whom I will forever be indebted - gave the audience a stern lecture: "Now we're going to have a writer come up here to read something. And you're all going to SHUT THE FUCK UP. I'M SERIOUS. I DON'T WANT TO HEAR A PEEP OUT OF YOU. JUST SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP."

In the words of The Overcast's Lukas Wall: "Sharon Bala read to a remarkably silent audience at The Ship. That room has never been so quiet with such a crowd, with only a warm breeze carrying in the chatter of people smoking cigarettes outside..."

It was surreal! I've never seen an audience - rocking out mere moments ago - suddenly become so silent. I'm incredibly grateful to every person who stood there, silent as lambs, patiently listening.


I'm reading at the SPARKS Literary Festival on Sunday (January 31). Now in its 8th year, SPARKS is a showcase for local writers, with special appearances from out-of-towners. This year the organizers invited the fantastic Heather O'Neill. I read her latest story collection, Daydreams of Angels, just before the holidays and was completely entranced. A gypsy and a talking bear walk into a whore house. A Jewish girl prostitutes herself to Nazi soldiers for stockings. Young women make day trips to the beach to hunt for babies in the surf. These stories are weird and wonderful, wise and witty. They have a darkness that sneaks up on you. It's going to be fantastic to hear her reading live.

And speaking of readings, there will be sixteen of us reading on Sunday at SPARKS. The day is broken up into four sessions with four writers giving readings during each session. I'm scheduled in for the last session with some real heavy-weights (including H. O'N!!). Come join us, if you can. It's gonna be a time!