How This Story Began

Carol Bruneau, Cynthia Flood, Bill Gaston, Jessica Westhead, Deborah Willis

How This Story Began

Host: Paul Grant

Event Number: 54
Tickets: $20.00

How This Story Began

Carol Bruneau, Cynthia Flood, Bill Gaston, Jessica Westhead, Deborah Willis

Thursday, October 19
8:30pm - 10:00pm
Revue Stage

1601 Johnston St.

Short stories are a challenging form—the germ of an idea grows quickly, flowers briefly and needs to leave the reader both satisfied and longing for more. So many more avenues to explore, so many questions left unanswered. Six writers not only read tonight from their latest collections, but also reveal, to introduce the reading, what—or who, or where—was the impetus for that story. Deborah Willis’ collection, for example, features a woman who signs up for the first manned mission to Mars, another who finds a gaping hole in the floor of her home, a hole that only she can see. Just where do these ideas originate? Tonight’s your chance to peek at the creative process, and hear some fine short stories, too.

We regret to announce that Dawn Dumont will no longer be appearing in this event.

Event Participants:

Carol Bruneau

Nova Scotia

Carol Bruneau is the author of six award-winning, critically-acclaimed books Her 2007 novel, Glass Voices, was a Globe and Mail Best Book and has become a book club favourite. Bruneau’s reviews, stories and essays have appeared in newspapers, anthologies and journals across Canada. She teaches writing at NSCAD University. Her new short fiction collection, A Bird on Every Tree, details the shifting concepts of what it means to be Nova Scotian and how we define home.


Cynthia Flood

British Columbia

Cynthia Flood’s last book, Red Girl Rat Boy, was shortlisted for the BC Book Prizes’ fiction award and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story award. Her work has appeared in many Canadian magazines, both print and online, and has been included six times in Best Canadian Stories. Her new collection of short fiction, What Can You Do (Biblioasis), showcases many pairs of characters struggling to reshape their connection.

Bill Gaston

British Columbia

Bill Gaston worked his fair share of struggling-writer jobs as a logger, salmon fishing guide, group home worker and as a hockey player in the south of France. Now he is an established novelist, playwright and short story writer. For a time he was the editor of Canada’s oldest literary journal, The Fiddlehead, and he currently teaches at the University of Victoria. A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage is ten cautionary tales about characters on the path to self-destruction.

Jessica Westhead


Jessica Westhead is a Toronto writer and editor who the CBC named one of the “10 Canadian women Writers You Need to Read Now.” Her fiction has been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards and selected for a Journey Prize anthology. She helped create YOSS (Year of the Short Story) which aims to bring short fiction to a wider audience. Her stories have appeared in major literary magazines including Hazlitt, Geist, Indiana Review and The New Quarterly. Her new short story collection, Things Not to Do, features characters who lack power and want to change that—but usually don’t succeed.

Deborah Willis


Before becoming a writer, Deborah Willis worked as a horseback riding instructor, a reporter, and a bookseller. Her first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, was nominated for the Governor General’s Award and the BC Book Prize. Her fiction has appeared in Event, PRISM international, The Walrus, The Virginia Quarterly, The Iowa Review and Lucky Peach. She was a writer-in-residence at the Historic Joy Kogawa House, and was the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program writer-in-residence at the University of Calgary in 2013. Her collection of short stories, The Dark and Other Love Stories, which arrived this year, explores the ways that love binds us all  and the complications that ensue.