Shani Mootoo book launch & conversation with Catherine Bush


Shani Mootoo & Catherine Bush

Thursday, April 2, 2020 | 7 PM (doors at 6 PM) | CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St – POSTPONED TO A LATER DATE (TBD)
Pay-What-You-Can $0 | $10 | $15

Co-presented by Diaspora Dialogues & Book*hug Press

The launch of Giller Prize-nominated writer and visual artist Shani Mootoo’s highly-anticipated new novel, Polar Vortex, about a couple – Priya and Alexandra – who have moved to a picturesque countryside town, only to have their quiet lives upended by the reappearance of a figure from one of the woman’s pasts. Seductive and tension-filled, Polar Vortex is a story of secrets, deceptions, and revenge.

In conversation with award-winning Canadian novelist Catherine Bush, author of Minus Time, The Rules of Engagement and Claire’s Head.

Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland, grew up in Trinidad, and lives in Canada. She holds an MA in English from the University of Guelph, writes fiction and poetry, and is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited locally and internationally. Mootoo’s critically acclaimed novels include Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, Valmiki’s Daughter, He Drown She in the Sea, and Cereus Blooms at Night. She is a recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award, a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, and the James Duggins Mid-Career Novelist Award from the Lambda Literary Awards. Her work has been long- and shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the International Dublin Literary Award, and the Booker Prize. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Catherine Bush’s new novel, Blaze Island, will be released in Canada this fall. She is the author of four previous novels, including the Canada Reads long-listed Accusation (2013), the Trillium Award short-listed Claire’s Head (2004), and the national bestselling The Rules of Engagement (2000), a New York Times Notable Book and a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year. She was recently a Fiction Meets Science Fellow at the HWK in Germany and has spoken internationally about addressing the climate crisis in fiction. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph and Coordinator of the Guelph Creative Writing MFA, based in Toronto.

Supported with the financial assistance of the Canada Council through The Writers’ Union of Canada.

Koffler Centre of the Arts’ Books & Ideas series spotlights provocative writers, artists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and on-stage interviews. With a thematic focus on counter-narratives, the series features books that employ fiction, memoir, and photography as tools of resistance.

The 2020 Books & Ideas series foreground authors and books that explore the complexities of gender, race, sexuality and the diasporic experience.


Books & Ideas is presented in partnership with Ben McNally Books. With generous support from Dorothy Shoichet & Family, the Estate of Joseph Koenig, the Koffler Family Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and CIBC Wood Gundy. Thanks to our Books & Ideas Media Partner, the Toronto Star.

Shani Mootoo photo credit: Ramesh Pooran.


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The Koffler Centre of the Arts is a cultural platform that explores critical ideas and concerns of our time through exhibitions, publications, performances, literary events and digital initiatives. We examine complex issues through transformative art experiences that stimulate intercultural dialogue and position Jewish identity in conversation with diverse perspectives and global voices. The Koffler Gallery and its administrative offices are located at Artscape Youngplace, in Toronto’s vibrant West Queen West art and design district.