Next Ottawa Event: Our Annual Holiday Bash

DATE: December 12th

TIME: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Facebook event link

Before we descend into a “big cold, white, dark, dull, empty, never-ending, kill-me-now” (to borrow from Pontypool) winter, let’s have a bash!

No readings this time, but geeky vendors selling geeky gifts for your geeky loved ones:
* Bundoran Press
* Mirror Comics
* Renaissance Press
* Stone Cold Creations
* JenEric Designs
* Little Witch Press

And more!

What’s “And more!” mean? How about:
* Geek joke telling contest (rules below)
* Readings of Lost Myths by Claude Lalumière
* “Writers at the Improv” improv contest

Plus raffles and door prizes, including (with images below):
* An uncorrected and unpublished proof of Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer
* A signed and numbered boxed edition of Cuckoos Egg by C.J.Cherryh
* A bundle of anthologies from Bundoran Press: Blood and Water, Strange
Bedfellows and Second Contacts
* A bundle of first books from Bundoran Press: Right to Know (Edward Willett), Transient City (Al Onia), Breakpoint: Nereis (Alison Sinclair), Stars Like Cold Fire (Brent Nichols)
* A poster by Dominic Bercier (Mirror Comics)
* 4 kids books by Susan J. Atkinson from Little Witch Press
* Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales From Shakespeare’s Fantasy World with a story by Kate Heartfield
* A t-shirt from Renaissance Press
* DeadRoads by Robin Riopelle
* A copy of  Sky Road Walker plus a poster by S.M. Carrière
* A complete set of Lost Myths by Claude Lalumière and Rupert Bottenberg
* The last 4 issues of Lackington’s Magazine

Before you’re forced to socialize with your co-workers at dreary office parties and then endure the endless bickering of your family, come out to celebrate with the Ottawa speculative fiction community!

Geek joke telling contest

Tell your best geek joke and the audience will pick the winner. We’ll have slips for voting and everyone gets three votes. Place them all on one person or spread them out, it’s up to you!

If you have a joke, but aren’t comfortable in front of a crowd, let one of the ChiSeries folks know and we’ll tell it for you.

The prize

The winner gets $10 cold hard cash plus we will publish the winning joke on the ChiSeries website. This means you can use it in your writing resume!

The Rules

* No need to sign up in advance – we’ll have a sheet at the event
* 90 second maximum, please
* One joke per person (if you want to do more than one joke, you might need to buy raffle tickets, donate, or something else that we’ll figure out later)
* You can be ribald, but please don’t be dirty just for dirty’s sake
* Anything that is intolerant, exclusionary or insulting will not only get you disqualified, but bounced from the venue

Images for some of our door prizes

Artwork by Dominic Bercier





T-Shirt from Renaissance Press


Next Ottawa Event: Charles de Lint, Paul Glennon and Liz Westbrook-Trenholm

DATE: November 7th

TIME: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Facebook event link

Take you mind off the impending 6 months of darkness and cold with ChiSeries. Come out hear some local heavyweights with Paul Glennon, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm and Charles de Lint, who returns to the Ottawa ChiSeries after appearing at our inaugural event in 2013!

Reader bios

Charles de Lint is the author of more than eighty adult, young adult, and children’s books. His first major fantasy novel in eight ​years, The Wind in His Heart, was released in September 2017 in conjunction with de Lint being named to the Canadian SF & Fantasy Association’s Hall of Fame. Renowned as a trailblazer of the modern fantasy genre, de Lint has won the World Fantasy, Aurora (three times), Sunburst and White Pine awards, among others. His treatment of characters shows a deep concern for the underdog, the wounded, and the marginalized, as well as a belief in the human capacity for redemption, healing and transformation.

Paul Glennon is the author of two books of fiction for adults as well as the Bookweird trilogy for young readers. Shortlisted for a Governor General’s award for The Dodecahedron and a winner of the Sunburst award, he has a foot in both the world of fantasy and of literary fiction. “I don’t even think of genre when I sit down to write. I write the story that’s unspooling in my mind.” The Dodecahedron is a puzzle of twelve mathematically linked fiction, an experiment and an entertainment that reveals Glennon’s delight in genre busting. The Bookweird trilogy is a story for the kid in all of us who always felt that the world of books was more real than every day life. Paul will be reading from his work in progress The Heat Death of the Universe.

Liz Westbrook-Trenholm has published or aired mainstream and speculative short fiction, most recently, in Neo-Opsis, Prix Aurora-winning Bundoran Press anthologies, Second Contacts and 49th Parallels and Laksa Media’s The Sum of Us. She also writes comedic murder mysteries for Calgary entertainment company, Pegasus Performances, with over 80 scripts produced. A retired public servant, Liz lives in Ottawa with her husband, writer and publisher, Hayden Trenholm. And two electronic pets: Bright Eyes, the Shrodinger’s Cat decision maker and Oreo, the robo-vac. Bright Eyes likes to ride on Oreo and take swipes at our angst.

Next Calgary Event: Robert Bose, Craig DiLouie, and Axel Howerton

DATE: September 21st

TIME: 7:00 p.m.

Facebook event link

It’s CHISERIES YYC! Calgary’s own edition of the accliamed national Chiaroscuro Reading Series, sponsored by ChiZine Publications. Septembers #ChiSeries #YYC features:

CRAIG DILOUIE – Bram Stoker and Audie Award-nominated author of horror, sci-fi fantasy and historical thrillers including the best-selling SUFFER THE CHILDREN and the CRASH DIVE series!

ROBERT BOSE – Author, editor, publisher and two-time finalist for the Robin Herrington Memorial Award. Author of the just-released short story collection FISHING WITH THE DEVIL and Other Fiendish Tales.

AXEL HOWERTON – Hometown anti-hero, genre scholar, and Arthur Ellis Award nominated author of HOT SINATRA, FURR and the upcoming WOLF & DEVIL series, as well as the first title in the exciting new Noirvellas series CON MORTE.

Hosted by Sarah L. Johnson and Owl’s Nest Books

Next Toronto Event: Noir Night!

DATE: September 20th

TIME: 8:00 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Facebook event link

One of our most popular events is back! It’s the ChiSeries NIGHT OF NOIR, see?! This year, we have a fabulous line-up of guys and dolls, see? Featuring authors from the PAC ‘N’ HEAT anthology, edited by Terri Favro and A.G. Pasquella and featuring noir stories and poems inspired by Ms. Pac-Man! We encourage you to dress accordingly. Bring yer gats and yer cigarette holders and yer fedoras and Maltese falcons.

With readings from: Gary Barwin, Terri Favro, Lisa de Nikolits, Michael Matheson, Jacqueline Valencia, and Myna Wallin.

Hosted by Sandra Kasturi and A.G. Pasquella

Next Peterborough Event: PTBO Pride! (Sylvie Bérard, Kristyn Dunnion, and Gemma Files)

DATE: September 19th

TIME: 5:30 p.m.

Facebook event link

ChiSeries Pride! A Night of Queer Speculative Fiction with Derek Newman-Stille and Sandra Kasturi

Join us for the 3rd annual ChiSeries Pride event and hear some amazing Sci Fi and Fantasy stories by Canadian authors, to explore some new Queer Frontiers with introductions by 5-time Aurora Award-winning reviewer and critic Derek Newman-Stille.

We Queer folk are often left out of science fiction, so this is our chance to take back our futures, write our stories into the imagination and speculate some new ways to Queer space.

Everyone welcome, and the event is free, though donations for the authors would be appreciated since it will keep them able to write and share their tales.

Readers will include:

Sylvie Bérard is the Winner of the 2002 and 2005 Prix Boreal and the 2003 Prix Aurora Award, and a professor at Trent University.

Kristyn Dunnion‘s dystopic novel, Tarry This Night, made CBC’s list of 20 books they’re excited to read this fall. The Dirt Chronicles (also with Arsenal Pulp Press) was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and ALA Over the Rainbow selection. Recent work appears in The New Guard V, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Tahoma Literary Review. The 2012 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, 2015 Machigonne Fiction prizewinner and Pushcart Prize nominee, Dunnion plays bass with Toronto heartthrobs, Bone Donor.

Gemma Files‘s story “The Emperor’s Old Bones” won the 1999 International Horror Guild Award for Best Short Fiction. She has published two collections of short work: Kissing Carrion and The Worm in Every Heart. A Book of Tongues (ChiZine), her first Hexslinger novel, won the 2010 DarkScribe Magazine Black Quill Award for Small Press Chill, in both the Editors’ and Readers’ Choice categories. The two final Hexslinger novels, A Rope of Thorns and A Tree of Bones were published in 2011 and 2012. We Will All Go Down Together followed in 2014, and the Shirley Jackson and Sunburst Award-winning Experimental Film came out in 2015.

Next Ottawa event: Claude Lalumière & Violette Malan

DATE: September 12th

TIME: 7 p.m.–9 p.m.

Facebook event link

Summer may be fading, so let’s kick off fall the ChiSeries way!

Come out out hear two authors of speculative fiction read from their works, pick up some new books and be part of Ottawas’ speculative fiction community! We start at 7, but come early for a bite to eat. As always, this event is FREE!

September brings Claude Lalumière & Violette Malan. (Unfortunately, Ursula Pflug had been scheduled to read at this event, but had to drop out.)

VIOLETTE MALAN is the author of the Dhulyn and Parno sword-and-sorcery series (now available in omnibus editions) and The Mirror Lands series of primary world fantasies. As VM Escalada, she’s the author of the Faraman Prophecy series. Book One, Halls of Law, came out in August, and Book Two, Gift of Griffins, will be out next year. She’s on Facebook, she’s on Twitter, and website-wise check either or
She strongly urges you to remember that no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

CLAUDE LALUMIÈRE is the author of Objects of Worship, The Door to Lost Pages, Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes, and Venera Dreams: A Weird Entertainment. His first fiction – “Bestial Acts” – appeared in Interzone in 2002, and he has since published more than 100 stories, several of which have been translated into French, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Hungarian, and Serbian and adapted for stage, screen, audio, and comics. In summer 2016, he was one of 21 international short-fiction writers showcased at Serbia’s Kikinda Short 11: The New Deal. Originally from Montreal, he now lives in Ottawa. His website is at

PayPal link added for instant donations to the ChiSeries!

Simply click here to donate instantly to the Chiaroscuro Reading Series. All funds go toward paying writers and performers who appear at our events.

“Readings Right, and Readings Wrong” by Violette Malan

February 1st, 2012

Over the course of my career I’ve given all kinds of readings, from story books to pre-schoolers (to support early literacy) to academic papers on 18th-century pastoral poetry (to support my academic career). I’ve had everything from great experiences (the kids really liked the animal noises) to eye-rolling ones (someone should have told the hotel hosting the NEASECS Conference that we would need lecterns) to amazing ones (people turned out at 8:30 on a Saturday morning to hear about the georgic).

I’ve had a room full of people show up, and I’ve had no one show up at all. I’ve arrived at places that invited me, only to find no one there who knew I was expected, and, I’ve been taken out for dinner first. Altogether, a pretty mixed bag, and I don’t think there’s a single writer out there who can’t match me, story for story. So why am I taking you on this trip down readings-I-have-done lane? Because in January I found someone who did everything right!

As some of you already know, I took part in the ChiSeries this past January 11th. This reading series is AKA the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, which is sponsored by the fine Canadian indie publishing house, Chizine Publications. The first and most important thing I can say about this series is that, well, it’s a SERIES. To start with, this means this is not their first readeo. It means that they have some experience in throwing a reading, month in, and month out. So they know what’s important about the physical set-up, things like lecterns, seats, tables, lighting, and so on. They also know about the “people” aspect of things. There’s a well-chosen mix of readers. There’s someone to meet the readers, look after them, make sure they’re comfortable and watered. Let’s not forget introducing them in an entertaining way, and breaking-up the readings so that the audience has a chance to go to the bathroom and order drink/food. No one feels read AT, everyone feels read TO.

It also means they have group of regular attendees who are likely to show up every month whether they’ve heard of you or not—which, incidentally, means you’re not just reading to the converted.

Did I mention that the venue is a bar? Okay, a small bar, but that means they can book the whole room, so you have no other groups or noisy neighbours to contend with. It means there are refreshments and food for readers and attendees—the kind of food and drink you actually want and willingly pay for, not the kind you take to be polite. The bar’s within easy walking distance of public transportation, also a big plus.

I’d also like to make clear that I’m not myself a ChiZine author. That’s right, they’re sponsoring a reading series for everyone who reads and writes speculative fiction, not just as a showcase for their own authors. And while they do have their own book table there, they also have Bakka-Phoenix, the specialty F&SF bookstore, on hand with a table for the rest of us.

And if all of this wasn’t enough, I RECEIVED AN HONORARIUM. That’s right, and not just me, who had to travel to get to the event, but the other authors as well. Chizine are pros all the way, and they treat their author guests as pros.

So take notes, if any of you out there are planning to start a reading series. My special thanks and applause go to Sandra Kasturi, Helen Marshall and Dave Nickle, as well as my fellow guests, Shari La Pena and Douglas Smith.

Next ChiSeries event is in Peterborough!

Next event:

TIME: 7 p.m.–10 p.m.

Facebook event link

Join us for the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, Peterborough branch with guest host Sandra Kasturi! And featuring:

NATHAN ADLER is a writer and an artist who works in many different mediums, including audio, video, film, drawing & painting, as well as glass. He is an MFA candidate for Creative Writing from UBC, currently works as a glass artist, and is working on a second novel and a collection of short stories. Nathan won the 2010 Canadian Aboriginal Writing Challenge. He is a member of Lac Des Mille Lacs First Nation, and currently resides in Mono, Ontario. In April 2017 Nathan was awarded a REVEAL Indigenous Art Award.

IAN ROGERS is the award-winning author of the dark fiction collection Every House Is Haunted. His novelette, “The House on Ashley Avenue,” was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and has been optioned for television by Universal Cable Productions. His work has been selected for The Best Horror of the Year and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Ian lives with his wife in Peterborough, Ontario. For more information, visit

HEATHER SPEARS is a poet, author and artist. She won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1989 and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award three times. Part I of Moonfall was originally published in Tesseracts 2 in 1987, and Moonfall appared in 1991. Sequences The Children of Átwar and The Taming were published in 1993 and 1996. Four Chapters from Lofot if I Live were published as “The Road to Sibir” in Prairie Fire, 1994. Other published fragments and appencides, as well as a dictionary, are forthcoming. Heather Spears travels widely in Europe and the Middle East and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.

URSULA PFLUG is the critically acclaimed author of the novels Green Music, The Alphabet Stones, Motion Sickness (a flash novel illustrated by SK Dyment) and the story collections After the Fires and Harvesting the Moon. Her award winning short stories have been taught at universities in Canada and India, and have appeared in Canada, the US and the UK, in genre and literary venues including Lightspeed, Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Postscripts, Leviathan, LCRW, Now Magazine, Bamboo Ridge, The New York Review of Science Fiction and many more. Her books have been endorsed by luminaries including Tim Wynne-Jones, Charles De Lint and NYT bestselling author of The Southern Reach, Jeff VanderMeer. Her latest book is the YA novella Mountain, forthcoming from Inanna in May. She is currently editing a new anthology for Exile, The Food of My People, with Candas Jane Dorsey. Visit her on the web at

Specfic Colloquium 2017 tickets now on sale!

2017 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium

By Chiaroscuro Reading Series

Saturday, March 25 2017 9:00 AM6:00 PM



This year’s guest of honour is bestselling SF author CORY DOCTOROW!

“I Can’t Let You Do That Dave”: How the worst internet law ever is turning science fiction’s least-plausible dystopias into imminent reality. Lawmakers around the world have been convinced of the scientific nonsense that solving our social problems is best accomplished by regulating which programs people may run on their computers. With laws like 2011’s Bill C-11, governments have felonizing tampering with locks that supposedly protect copyright, even for legitimate purpose, with the totally predictable effect that companies are now using these locks to prevent their customers from doing legitimate things, like buying third-party printer ink or getting their cars serviced by independent mechanics. This is an improbable form of dystopia: one in which entertainment law is used to usher in an era of government and corporate panopticon—it’s being Huxleyed into the Full Orwell.

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger—the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of many books, most recently IN REAL LIFE, a graphic novel; INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, a book about earning a living in the Internet age, and HOMELAND, the award-winning, best-selling sequel to the 2008 YA novel LITTLE BROTHER.

With additional guest speakers & topics:

Special guest Julie Czerneda: “It’s a Wrap, Folks.” If a story is a conversation between author and reader, the final pages are where we make our last—and hopefully lasting—impression. Or ruin everything for someone. Knowing how and when to end a story is part skill, part practicality, but, most of all, it’s a deeply personal choice. Never has that been clearer to me than now, as I write the final chapter of my Clan Chronicles series and end the story that began my career. Join me for some of the skills, a whole bunch of the practicality, and a glimpse into the personal. Of endings.

Madeline Ashby: “Abandon All Hope, Eh?: Lessons Learned from the Company Town Tour” [details to follow]

Vicki Clough: “Alternate Realities in Art” The realm of Speculative Fiction spans the breadth of creative practice, not least of all in the depiction of alternative narratives in the visual arts. From Kent Monkman to Saya Woolfalk, artist engage our sense of wonder and the surreal, often challenging our own roles in the world we inhabit. How do contemporary artists communicate these complex ideas of fantasy in their work? How much truth is inherent in the “fictional” art form and what questions do they raise?

David Nickle: “The Tyranny of of Implausibility” [details to follow]

Jason Taniguchi: “Long Ago and Far, Far Away: Falling Hard for Fictional Worlds” [details to follow]

Books will be sold by Bakka Phoenix Books and ChiZine Publications. The Annual Toronto SpecFic Colloquium is run by the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, and sponsored in part by the Toronto Arts Council. Please see our website for a list of this year’s corporate donors.

Click here to buy tickets!