an encore performance by michael crummey


michael crummey, poet and novelist, is returning on monday november 4 at public kitchen to talk to us about his new book, ‘the innocents’. that night in 2016 when michael joined us to talk about ‘sweetland’ (and so so much more) is so indelibly marked in our memories; we can’t wait to hear more from him.

buy tickets on the join us page

A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family’s boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them.

As they fight for their own survival through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested.

This novel is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.

a choice summer read to send you into autumn


we hate to talk about the fall when summer, it seems, has only just begun. but the first book for next year’s season of appetite for reading (our 5th!) is one you’ll want to grab and take it to wherever you love to read on these long summer days.

joanna goodman, author of ‘the home for unwanted girls’ will be in town in september and will join us on monday september 23 for dinner and some conversation.

tickets available on the join us page

Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.

Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.

Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.

and that's it for this year

A fast-paced, funny and at times powerfully poignant chronicle of a city and its environs, and a reminder of the vital importance of a local and independent press, Midnight Light brings the Northwest Territories and its remarkable and proud people to vivid life.
— penguin random house
With a novelist’s eye for nuance, detail and character, Bidini has done the country an immense favour bringing our wild North to life in this exquisitely evocative book.
— toronto star
[north of 60] is an area where, unlike the rest of the country, truth and reconciliation is not an ever-ready political buzzword; rather, it’s a work in progress. One of Bidini’s strengths as a writer is his reportorial skill, and the book includes many voices, including a First Nations writer, Tim Querengesser. His take on the city reflects its essence: “‘Yellowknife just kinda works. Indigenous people come here because they’re respected. They aren’t segregated the way we are elsewhere.’”
— toronto star

our last event of the year is on monday may 6 at public kitchen with best-selling and beloved author, dave bidini, with us to talk about his latest book, ‘midnight light: a personal journey to the north”.

in ‘midnight light’ dave uses his stint as guest columnist at the Yellowknifer newspaper to explore the "Gateway to the North," the meaning of community, and the issues facing residents and their daily lives.
As a journalist, author and founding member of the trail-blazing band Rheostatics, Dave Bidini has had the privilege to explore Canada's immense geography. Yet, in all his many travels, he'd never visited the Northwest Territories. After an all-too-brief visit to a literary festival in Yellowknife, Bidini was hooked on the place and its people. When he returned home, all he could do was think about going back to the North. 
Facing a career crossroads and with memories of his recent visit to the Northwest Territories still fresh, Bidini, in a bold move, contacts the Yellowknifer, one of the last truly loval and independent newspapers, and signs on as a guest columnist for an unforgettable summer. 
The Yellowknifer, like the city it serves, bucks all trends as a completely community-focused newspaper. Bidini's new position gives him access to a region that is on the one hand lost in time, and on the other faced with the stark realities of poverty, racism and addiction. Along the way, Midnight Light introduces readers to an extraordinary cast of Dene elders, entrepreneurs, artists, politicians and law enforcement officers as well as an assortment of complicated souls from the South who are looking for a chance to rebuild their lives and who face the same harsh economic realities as their new neighbours.
A fast-paced, funny and at times powerfully poignant chronicle of a city and its environs, and a reminder of the vital importance of a local and independent press, Midnight Light brings the Northwest Territories and its remarkable and proud people to vivid life.

spring has sprung


well almost sprung. maybe by the time this next event rolls around, we will see a few meagre signs.

monday april 1 at public kitchen we will have drinks, dinner and some conversation with susan swan, author of ‘the western light’. buy tickets here

Susan Swan’s critically acclaimed fiction has been published in twenty countries. Her novel, The Western Light, (published by Cormorant Books 2012) tells the story about a girl’s love for a dubious father substitute, an ex-NHL star and convicted murderer. Its heroine Mouse Bradford appeared in her international bestseller, The Wives of Bath, which was made into a feature film, Lost and Delirious (2001). The Wives of Bath, (about a murder in a girls’ boarding school) was a 1993 finalist for the U.K.’s Guardian Award and Ontario’s Trillium Award. It was picked by a U.S. Readers’ Guide as one of the best novels of the nineties.

Swan vividly recreates that seemingly innocent period in the 1950s, casting the reader back through her brilliant time machine of words, when people still received an evening newspaper on their doorstep and kids traded hockey cards with pictures of Tim Horton and others.
— the toronto star

we have a governor general's prize winner!


sarah henstra recently won the governor general’s prize for literary fiction for her book, ‘the red word’. she will be joining us for drinks, dinner and what we expect will be a fascinating conversation on monday january 21 at public kitchen and bar.

go to the join us page for tickets.

“The Red Word is the story of an epic war between two student houses on campus. One is a group of young, female students new to third wave feminism. They’re looking for ways to apply these ideas to their daily lives. The other house belongs to a fraternity whose main objective is to party. The girls in the student house have decided that fraternities are one of the biggest problems on campus and wage a campaign to get them banned. One of the things I wanted to explore in The Red Word was the murky terrain of party culture and the free-for-all that can unfold at a fraternity party.

— sarah henstra on cbc radio's 'the next chapter'
Groundbreaking and provocative, this is an astonishing evisceration of the clichés of sexual politics as they exist not only on our college campuses, but also within broader present-day society. Alternately heartbreaking, funny, and critical, no one gets off easily. The Red Word plumbs the depths of literature, mythology, history, philosophy, and a host of contemporary issues—an utterly effing good read.

— governor general's peer assessment committee
The writing in The Red Word is undeniably gripping and at times beautiful, seamlessly weaving the Greek mythology Karen is studying in class into her own personal story and creating realistic, complex characters the reader wants to root for despite their flaws.
— quill and quire magazine

and that's how we roll with book clubs

books take us some amazing places. and when we gather around a meal (and a cocktail or wine), we can get to some even more extraordinary places. that’s what we love about book club.

last night’s gathering with sarah selecky was a perfect example of what we mean. a great surprise in a first novel by sarah selecky (thanks for that tip dave). a tasty tapas dinner (the sangria was pretty delicious too) to share with friends old and new (thanks for that nick and stephanie). a group that was engaged with the themes of the book (as always, thanks loyal appetiters). and an author who was happy to explore those issues more deeply and so thoughtfully and eloquently. a thousand thanks to sarah.

we are so excited to be part of this project and really looking forward to the next books that are coming our way. you’ll be hearing from us!!



at long last, a rainy day in this hot-humid-no rain- summer. time to get to work on book club. we are very excited to announce that our good friend, editor at the new quarterly, organizer extraordinaire of the wild writers festival and  author, pamela mulloy, has written a book of fiction!

pamela will join us on september 24 at public kitchen to talk about her book, 'the deserters'. watch this page (and be sure to sign up for our email list, if you have not already) for more details about tickets going on sale.

Shifting across three countries, The Deserters explores themes of trust, isolation, abandonment, and emotional disconnection in a world dramatically altered by the experience of war. Eugenie is trying—and mostly failing—to restore an inherited old farm in New Brunswick while her husband, a master carpenter, is away in Spain. The work involved overwhelms her, so she hires Dean to help bring the farm back to working order. But Dean is a deserter from the us Army suffering PTSD, and he is using the untamed backwoods of her property to hide out from immigration officials. As Eugenie and Dean fall into a relationship, he is tormented by flashbacks, nightmares, and flickering memories of his wartime experiences in Iraq. And then Eugenie’s husband returns.

In The Deserters, her beautiful and understated debut novel about those who love, those who fight, and those who leave, Pamela Mulloy makes connections between characters, continents and centuries and creates a constellation.
— kerry clare
Sparely and beautifully written, The Deserters is a story not of escape but of the deep, human need to belong to a place, and to one another.
— helen humphreys