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“Pale pink” – vibrant story!

September 2, 2016

“In my short ballet career I remember being a rose, a sunflower, a bunny rabbit with white ears and tail, and finally a ballerina.” – Alison Colvin, Pale pink. pp32fc_large

Alison’s charming and funny story about her early adventures with ballet has been published in the latest issue of Paperplates! Brava!

Paperplates is a Toronto-based, online magazine that publishes one issue a year. Alison’s’ story appears in the “homeplate” section which features short personal essays, reminiscences and travel accounts. The magazine also features short stories, one-act plays, poems, extended travel pieces, interviews and book reviews. Have a look!

Eight authors tackle seven deadly sins

August 4, 2016

The theme for this year’s Bathurst Muses Anthology is sin. More specifically, the seven deadly sins. As a writing challenge, we drew lots to choose one of :

  1. LustTableau_de_mission_-François-Marie_Balanant_tableau_1-
  2. Wrath
  3. Greed
  4. Envy
  5. Sloth
  6. Pride
  7. Gluttony

Not everyone was content with their allotted sin so trades were permitted. Greed was swapped for wrath. Lust was embraced, sloth and gluttony reluctantly acknowledged. Lucky (or unlucky?) Lynn drew the wild card. She may choose her own sin–as yet to be revealed. Launch date: November 6, 2016.

Hot Flash! Show #1375!

May 11, 2016

Just in time for Mothers’ Day, two of Alison Colvin’s stories were broadcast on Life Rattle Radio. In “Hot Flash” a middle-aged mother tries to keep her cool as she grapples with events in her now-adult daughters’ lives against the back drop of a celebrity sex scandal. In “The Party,” listeners meet a much older mother with memory issues who is still settling into a long-term care home.

Listen to Alison read her stories and enjoy!


Alison Colvin to podcast on Life Rattle!

March 2, 2016

Life Rattle is a multi-pronged collective of writers and editors that supports storytelling by new writers in Toronto. It’s a literary organization, publisher and broadcaster. The latest writer to be recognized is our own Alison Colvin!Alison C colour 2014 2

Life Rattle began as a radio program in 1988 when founder Arnie Achtman broadcast the first show on CKLN 88.1 FM. Working with co-founder, Guy Allen, Arnie was determined to realize a vision of autobiographical storytelling and writing—their idea of community activism. In 1995, they launched Life Rattle Press to publish and market high quality editions of new writing. Some of this writing is featured at the annual, well-known Totally Unknown Writers Festival. Now in its twenty-seventh year, Life Rattle has broadcast (now podcasts) more than 1200 programs featuring more than 1600 stories by more than 400 new writers, with not a single story about Rob Ford!

After Alison’s story was accepted by Life Rattle she worked with editor Laurie Kallis to hone the text and prepare for her reading. Last week, she made her way by student bus to U of T Mississauga to record two short stories. Her performance will be podcast on Mothers’ Day 2016. Visit Life Rattle to find out how to sign up for podcasts!

This is just to say….

January 25, 2016

….that I can’t write poetry to save my life. Even my limericks are gibberish. But now every writing group meeting starts with a Kick in the Head—thanks to Alison Girling. At each session, she introduces us to one of the 29 poetic forms described and illustrated in this lively book by Paul B. Janeczko. Then we try to write our own version of a couplet, tercet, triolet or list poem with direction and inspiration from Rose, Where Did You Get That Red by Kenneth Koch.
A Kick in the Head

Try it. Read this poem by William Carlos Williams. Write an apology for something even though you are secretly glad.

“This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams.
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Readings from the male POV

November 3, 2015
bathurstwriters 2015(1 of 1)-2

Anita Morris, Alison Girling, Valerie McDonald, Michelle Adelman, Lynn Horton, Alison Colvin, Maureen Smith, Shila Desai.            

A taxi wallah, Impressionist painter, yoga student, neglected husband, reluctant mediator, First Nations boy, elegant Nonno, and Mujra dancer came to the stage on Sunday at the Monarch Tavern.  With borrowed neckties we tapped testosterone to read excerpts from our male-themed 2015 Anthology. Thanks to the Monarch Tavern for the great event space and very cheerful staff. Special thanks to all the friends and family who attended! Copies of the Anthology are available. Talk to one of the guys above.

Stories from the man cave

November 1, 2015

Over the past year, there has been lots chat about male bias in the literary world. Author Catherine Nichols queried literary agents under Canadian literary prizesher own name and queried the same agents as “George”. George, she found, was “eight and a half times better than me at writing the same book.”

VIDA, a voluntary research group, has been tallying the rates of publication for men and women in magazines like Harpers, The New Yorker, The New Republic and The Atlantic since 2010. These counts show that literary journals are skewed towards male authors. Books written by female authors are less likely to be reviewed in prominent publications. No surprise. The good news is that VIDA made an impact. The project inspired a number of leading publications to review their own editorial processes and to increase publications by women. (VIDA, by the way, is now examining publications by women of colour).

But it’s not just that male authors are more likely to be published. Nicola Griffith reviewed literary prizes over 15 years and found that a novel is more likely to land a prize if the focus on the narrative is male, regardless of the gender of the author. The nine men who won the Man Booker since 2000 wrote about men. Of the six female winners, three wrote about men, one wrote from multiple points of view and two wrote from a female perspective.

A Maclean’s survey of winners of the Scotiabank Giller, Governor General’s, Rogers/Writers’ Trust Brian Bethune found that 26 prizes went to men and 20 to women – not a bad ratio. Of the female winners, 13 out of 20 wrote from a male or multiple point of view. The most surprising result was that nine of the 26 male prize-winners wrote from a female POV.  (Note that two of the winners –  Michael Ondaatje for Anil’s Ghost and Richard Wright for Clara Callan won several prizes). Are Canadian men more sensitive?

Intrigued (and somewhat angered and frustrated) by these results, The Bathurst Muses decided to explore the male point of view in this year’s Anthology….