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.

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!

Welcome to our new home!

Emerging from early magic realism, mythology and fable, from the work of science fiction authors who cut their teeth during the 1950s golden age of pulp science fiction, and from the disturbing literary forays of horror writers inspired by Shelley, Poe, and Stoker, Canadian speculative fiction has begun to move in strange and provocative new directions, becoming something altogether different from its American counterpart and wholly itself.

We believe that Canadian authors may well prove to be the kind of rejuvenating force necessary to revitalize the “pulp” genres of fantasy, science fiction and horror writing. As Canadian publications including Neo-Opsis, On-Space, Ideomancer, Challenging Destiny, the long-running Tesseracts collections, and our own ChiZine Publications become increasingly prominent markets for speculative fiction, we want to establish a dialogue between senior and junior authors, between authors and editors, and between authors and readers in order to encourage the growth of this important literary domain.


The Chiaroscuro Reading Series is open to the public and offers readings from authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

We want to provide a casual environment for fans of genre material to discover new authors and meet with old favourites.

Authors from backgrounds of under-represented groups, minorities, and at-risk communities have found a welcoming environment for their work and a venue for sharing their stories, literal and figurative, at the Chiarscuro Reading Series. We have also provided a place for authors who identify as queer and questioning, intersex, lesbian, transgender, transsexual, Two-Spirit, bisexual, asexual, ally, gay, and genderqueer, to share their work with a wider audience, and hope, in future, to host authors from still more aspects of that pan-inclusive, and too often marginalized, aspect of the Canadian Field.

We are open to any and all under-represented groups, and actively seek out writers with interesting stories to tell, fascinating viewpoints to share, and authors from distinct backgrounds who represent a different, or alternate view, from what we normally see. In a city as richly diverse as Toronto we consider this a necessity and a privilege, and will continue to make it our business to seek out compelling, accomplished, and emerging professional writers from different cultural and social perspectives.