Literary Snapshot: What’s happening in December

Photo credit: Ben Oh (via Flickr)

Kathryn Hunt is a displaced Maritimer who first arrived in Ottawa 15 years ago. A published poet and freelance writer, Kate blogs, performs and talks the city’s budding literary scene at every opportunity! She also enjoys cycling and rock-climbing in her spare time.

As the temperature drops, it seems the literary scene only gets hotter: between now and the end of the year there are a whole lot of chances to get your literary events in!

Suzanne Steele at the Tree Reading Series last year (Photo credit: Pesbo, via Flickr)

On December 13th, the venerable Tree Reading Series is holding an all-open-mic session at the Arts Court Library, along with a talk on contemporary poetics by Shane Rhodes, one of Ottawa’s edgiest poets. Tree’s known for offering more than a simple reading, being one of the only series in town that offers talks and conversations on poetry as well as workshops. This evening will start at 6:45 with a free workshop with Governor General’s Award winner Phil Hall, then Shane’s talk at 8:00, and then an open mike – with prizes!

On December 14thVoices of Venus is presenting local author and storyteller Marie Bilodeau. An award-winning fantasy author, with four novels under her belt and a fifth about to be released, Marie is known – maybe notorious – for her strong female characters, her humour, and her appetite for epic destruction. Marie is also an entertaining storyteller – sometimes hilarious, sometimes lyrical. The show starts at 7:30 at Venus Envy with an all-women open mike: $5/PWYC and open mike performers get in free.

PrufRock performs at the Capital Slam showcase earlier this year (Photo credit: Pesbo, via Flickr)

If you like the fire of slam, Capital Slam is rounding out the year with a fantastic feature at the Mercury Lounge on Saturday, December 17: they’re featuring “Ottawa Fountain,” the National Youth Slam Champions. This team blew the competition away at the Nationals this year with their powerful team pieces and stage presence. The youngest of the team is only 13, but anyone who’s seen them agrees they could all hold their own on the mainstage alongside much older performers. The doors and slam signup are at 6:30: cover is $8, and free for performers.

On the 22ndThe Peter F. Yacht Club, a writer’s group/community/journal which has had a powerful influence over the poetry community in Ottawa, is holding a “regatta/reading/Christmas party” in the upstairs room at the Carleton Tavern (223 Armstrong) from 7:00 pm – there will be readings by Yacht Club Irregulars like Amanda Earl, Pearl Pirie, Vivian Vavassis, Monty Reid, rob mclennan and others. Hosted by rob mclennan, the Carleton Tavern readings are always warm, smart, and fun.

In/Words is looking for submissions for its Winter edition (Photo credit: Pesbo, via Flickr)

Meanwhile, end-of-year deadlines creep up: might as well end the year by sending out your own writing!The Tree Press Chapbook Competition’s deadline for submissions is December 30. It costs $10 to enter and you can submit a chapbook of up to 32 pages; the winner gets an ISBN for their book. Submissions can be sent by mail to Tree Press Chapbook Contest, c/o Claudia Coutu Radmore, Managing Editor, 49 McArthur Ave., Carleton Place, ON K7C 2W1.

In/Words, Carleton’s literary journal, is also looking for submissions of poetry and fiction for their winter issue. The deadline to submit is December 31 – send your work to The Winter issue will be officially launched at VERSeFest 2012 (Feb 28-Mar 4.)

Lots to take advantage of, Tourists! If you have a favourite scene that you like to explore in Ottawa, drop us a note at