Keep It Beautiful – Kelly Ward

Keep it Beautiful CoverISBN: 9781926639628
Pub date: spring 2013

Kelly Ward’s debut collection of stories teems with characters just on the fringe of the mainstream, and each story examines the mundane and abject sides of normalcy. A middle-aged woman spends her life in the slot machine pit of a rural casino where she navigates her misplaced affections for two men: one a lifelong gambler and couch-surfing cad, the other a kid in his early 20s who makes her forget her own age and place in the world. Twenty-something newlyweds Asa and Maria attempt to conceive for the first six months of their marriage. When her apparent dream of becoming a mother doesn’t pan out quickly, Maria distances herself from Asa. A septuagenarian utilizes younger shoppers as pawns to make her weekly grocery-store jaunt that much easier to navigate. Each of Keep it Beautiful‘s characters find humor and beauty in unlikely places, while often playing victim—or at times accomplice—to their circumstances.

“Ward’s marginal characters—geriatric shoplifters, lovelorn gamblers, Zellers employees, OCD municipal workers—are curious curiosities. Ward lifts the everyday and everyman and transforms absurd disappointments and fragmented joys of the quotidian to reveal a fresh, intimate compassionate perspective, as all gifted writers do.”—Ibi Kaslik, author of Skinny and The Angel Riots

“Ward favour[s] shorter stories that provide just enough information to comprehend their characters’ motivations and morality, while simultaneously refusing to explain things in a blandly expository manner.”—The National Post

Keep It Beautiful is full of characters both odd and endearing and makes for fantastic summer reading for short story lovers.”—Open Book Toronto

“The author’s deft facility with character and her willingness to trust her readers by infusing her stories with just the right degree of contingency mark her as an author to watch.”—Steve W. Beattie, 49th Shelf

“Observant and compassionate to the end”—goodreads.com

Kelly Ward is a freelance writer and editor whose fiction, poetry, and journalism have appeared in various publications across Canada, including Existere, Matrix Magazine, SubTerrain, Taddle Creek, Word Magazine, and various other literary journals.  Her story, “A Girl And A Dog On A Friday Night,” was longlisted for the 2017 Journey Prize. She lives in Toronto.

Posted in Catalogue, K, Short Fiction, Spring 2013, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , |

The Best Canadian Essays 2011


ISBN: 9781926639420
Pub Date: Fall 2011


The third in a series that launched to excitement and acclaim in 2009, Best Canadian Essays 2011 covers an impressive variety of topics. New series editor, Christopher Doda, and guest editor, Ibi Kaslik, infuse the series with a breath of fresh air—selecting insightful and provocative essays from Canadian magazines that range from personal insights on post-partum depression, a pro-smoking diatribe, and an appreciation of the great opera singer Maria Callas to pieces on “wage slavery”, the plight of zoo elephants, Canada’s ongoing war in Afghanistan and much more. The Best Canadian Essays 2011 exemplifies the outstanding quality and stunning diversity of Canadian nonfiction writing today.

About the Guest Editor

Ibi Kaslik is an internationally published novelist, freelance writer, and teachers. Her most recent novel, The Angel Riots, is a rock’n’roll comic-tragedy and was nominated for Ontario’s Trillium award in 2009. Her first novel, Skinny, was a New York Times Bestseller and has been published in numerous countries. A native of Toronto, Ibi teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies and works as an art educator for youth.

About the Series Editor

Christopher Doda is an award-winning critic, editor, and poet. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Among Ruins (2001) and Aesthetics Lesson (2007). His poems and reviews have appeared in journals and magazines across Canada and he was an editor at Exile: The Literary Quarterly for five years. He is currently the review editor for the online journal Studio.

Posted in Anthologies, B, Catalogue, Fall 2011, Non-fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Roll With It | Heather J Wood


ISBN: 9781926639345
Pub Date: 2011


Figure skater turned roller derby girl Neddy will bowl you over in Heather J. Wood’s uplifting book about growing up and deciding for yourself. Neddy rejects the sacrifices necessary to succeed as a figure skater—early mornings, a diet of apples and celery, and the pressure to perform—in favour of the rough and tumble adventures and fiesty camaraderie of the roller derby community. Her father is out of the country while she embarks on her first year of university, so Neddy is free to consider her guilt about not following in her mother’s footsteps, navigate a new love, and discover who she really is and what she really wants.

“Readers will roll and spin and root for Neddy. I certainly did!” —Sheree Fitch, author of Pluto’s Ghost

“A fun, painful, yet joyful celebration of one athlete’s coming of age, readers will find Neddy’s story of smashing it up on the derby floor irresistibly engaging—this book is for anyone who has ever seized a challenge, put on a pair of skates, or believed in the long shot.” —Ibi Kaslik, author of Skinny and The Angel Riots

“Neddy’s my kind of young woman: fearless, opinionated, and not afraid to wipeout on the derby track. Any girl who identifies with tough, in- your-face heroes, rather than perfect princesses, should read this book immediately. Then go out and buy some roller skates and a helmet!” —Emily Pohl-Weary, author of A Girl Like Sugar and Strange Times at Western High

“This is a great book with a true voice. Neddy’s growing sense of empowerment comes across clearly. She has real-life decisions to make, and she chooses like a real girl would. It imparts a lesson we all need to learn: that no one else has the power to make you happy.”—Jenaissance

“Heather Wood has drawn a nicely rounded character in Neddy. Her inner turmoil is subtly played out… This book is recommended.”—Resource Links

“The writing is solid and witty”—Blood and Thunder

Heather J. Wood was born and raised in Montreal. She now lives and writes in Toronto. Tightrope Books published her coming of age novel, Fortune Cookie, in 2009.

Posted in Catalogue, Novels, R, Spring 2011, Teen Titles, young adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |