Winter’s Tales Authors’ Reading Series


Contact person: Dr. Richard Lemm, UPEI Department of English / 566-0592 /






When long-time Newfoundland resident John Steffler, Canada’s Parliamentary Poet during 2006-2008, gives a reading, it’s certain that people in the audience will ask him to read “That Night We Were Ravenous.” This frolicking, sensuous poem begins with a near-disastrous encounter with a moose on a highway in Newfoundland, and ends with the couple back home devouring a feast and ravishing each other. In between, Canada’s landscape, history, and culture burst across the windshield and readers’ eyes in luscious, comical, menacing, and magical glory.


Steffler, one of Canada’s most admired poets and prose writers, will read from his work on Tuesday, February 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the UPEI Faculty Lounge, Main Building. From his powerful historical novel of Labrador, The Afterlife of George Cartwright, and his meditative exploration of self and seascape in The Grey Islands, to the exquisite poems which earned him the role of Canada’s Poet Laureate, Steffler’s story-telling and language are masterful, and are fully in evidence when he reads in his compelling voice.


This evening also features one of Canada’s premier short fiction writers, Richard Cumyn. A list of his early jobs suggests rich fodder for fiction: able seaman on a Coast Guard ship, uranium prospector, researcher for Prime Minister Trudeau, and short-order cook at the Connaught rifle range west of his native Ottawa.


Cumyn’s sixth and latest story collection, The Young in Their Country, reveals what author Steve Heighton calls his “tough-minded and large-hearted” language and sensibility. Cumyn’s characters are at once familiar and eerily distinct, their relationships a tender blend of heartbreak and affection. His new stories show why his work has been included in the prestigious Journey Prize Anthology and shortlisted for a National Magazine Award. After teaching high school in Ontario for nearly a decade, he became a full-time writer in 1991.

Steffler’s and Cumyn’s readings are hosted by the UPEI English Department, with generous support from The Canada Council for the Arts. A book signing and reception will follow the reading. Admission is free.


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