Margaret Sweatman

Standing next to the fireplace in the Hart House Library, Margaret Sweatman read from her book The Players on Thursday, February 11th. Although she sounded like she was suffering from a cold she still gave her characters distinct voices.

The Players is a novel set in 17th century Restoration England. It follows Lily Cole, the 16 year old mistress of King Charles II, on a journey to Canada to find the Northwest Passage to China. But this is no normal historical fiction. The Globe and Mail calls Sweatman’s book “far grittier and realistic than the period pieces you’ll see on TV or at the Movie theatre.”

Sometimes when it gets to the Q & A portion of an event the audience typically falls silent but this night the audience was full of English students and many interesting topics were brought up. Margaret Sweatman who teaches literature and creative writing gave insight into her writing process and offered advice for new writers.

For more information about Margaret Sweatman check out

Book Events at the Hart House Library

On Wednesday, January 13th Brent MacLaine and Soraya Peerbaye both read from their latest works of poetry. The event was held in the cozy Hart House Library by the Literary & Library Committee.

Brent MacLaine teaches literature and poetry at the University of Prince Edward Island. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Fiddlehead, The Antigonish Review, The Windsor Review, Matrix and The Cormorant, and in anthologies such as Landmarks: An Anthology of New Atlantic Poetry of the Land and Coastlines: The Poetry of Atlantic Canada. He read from Athena Becomes a Swallow, Other Voices from the Odyssey and Shades of Green.

Soraya Peerbaye, who lives in Toronto and has also, lived in her ancestral home of Mauritius, read from her book Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly,  and in Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Canadian Women Poets.  She has also worked as a playwright, performer, and translator.

[Listen to Soraya Peerbaye on The Next Chapter with Tom Howell today (January 25) at 1pm on CBC Radio One. The show will be repeated on Saturday, January 30 at 4pm.]

After the readings both poets offered inspirational advice to other budding poets in the audience. Brent MacLaine spoke of the tension and balance of form and free verse in his poetry. Both poets remarked how crucial it was for every poet to remain attentive to the world around them.

Next month the Literary & Library Committee will host Margaret Sweatman on February 11th at 7:30pm in the Hart House Library. She will be doing a reading from her book The Players as well as a Q&A followed by a signing.