The twenty first annual Totally Unknown Writers Festival 2014


November 11, 2014
The Rivoli in Toronto

John Dunford and Laurie Kallis
introducing the anthology writers
Guy Allen introducing Marie Margis

Shane Driver
Amna Bhutta
Claire Holland
David Kee
Evangeline Torres Sled
Jason Swetnam
Kimmy Vu
Nicholas Tsangarides
Saeed Rahman
John Currie introducing Kimmy
Laurel Waterman introducing Nicholas
Virginia Ashberry inroducing David

This year’s readers and their families come from China, Cypriot, England, Italy, Kuwait, Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam and, of course, Canada.


The Totally Unknown Writers Festival 2014: Stories includes the stories read at the festival and one selection from each writer featured on the Life Rattle Radio Program in 2014.

Back Row: David Kee, Alexandra Geddes, Amna Bhutta, Waffa Saleem, Tyler Mclaren,
Shane Driver, Jason Swetnam, Saeed Rahman, Nicholas Tsangarides
Front: Kimmy Vu, Nathalie Soullier, Jessica Zurawicki, Evangeline Torres Sled, Claire Holland

Special Guest - Marie Margis opened the evening with an excerpt of her story "Remembrance Day" from her collection A Rich Poor Life.

One of twenty-one children born to Italian-immigrant parents, a young girl recounts how her father, a veteran of both World Wars, honoured Remembrance Day with his family.


Special Guest - Shane Driver read an excerpt of "Scarface," from his newly published collection, Broken.

At a college house party, a student defies a behemoth who later calls him out and bashes him to a bloody mess with a nose so battered the bone just might need to be set from the back of his head.

Recipient of the 2014
Arnie Achtman Award


Amna Bhutta read "Fakeer"
Ignoring her mother’s warning, a child befriends an old beggar and saves a few rupees to place in his bowl every day, until he disappears after her visiting cousins make disparaging remarks.


Claire Holland reading "Women's Rites"

When an evening full of sensuality and flesh in a Toronto nightclub gives way to a stark morning of dissatisfaction and aloneness, a story that many women will recognize unfolds.



David Kee reading "Ice Cream"

In a faltering romance, the underlying tension between a young couple rises when one offers the other an incorrect spoon during an innocent evening of video watching and ice-cream eating.



Evangeline Torres Sled reading "Cow Plops"

When a resemblance to her father convinces a child that she came from her father’s tummy, even a bathroom break separation from him seems unbearable.



Jason Swetnam reading "Ron's Smile"

A university student shares his last day on the job at a group home with a resident who displays particularly chilling behaviour after something has soured his mood.



Kimmy Vu reading "Our First Time"

The not-quite-legal actions of a mother during a shopping trip astonishes her young daughter and then leads to an embarrassing outcome for them both.



Nicholas Tsangarides reading "Italian Leathers"

A young man considering a career as a butcher visits the back rooms of a butcher shop, where the workers at the slaughterhouse stations and on the killing floor challenge his career choice.



Saeed Rahman reading "Behind Closed Doors"

An employee with a personal interest in learning who is suspected of stealing inventory sweats it out while store management and a man from head office carry on a closed-door meeting.


Kiran Chatta introducing Evangeline   Natasha Segal introducing Jason
John Dunford speaking of the new anthology   Robert Price introducing Amna
Reade Domazar introducing Saeed   Vincent Gao introducing Claire



The 2014 Totally Unknown Writers Festival
was supported by the Toronto Arts Council.