Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 23, 2005

U of G Co-Hosts National Literary Festival

The University of Guelph is helping to bring Canada’s 14th annual national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender literary festival, Wilde About Sappho, to Guelph March 6.

Award-winning writers Dionne Brand, Anna Camilleri, Sky Gilbert and R.M. Vaughan will give readings at 3 p.m. at Chalmers United Church, then will attend a gala reception at The Bookshelf on Quebec Street.

This marks the first time a smaller city will be included in the Wilde About Sappho national tour. Sponsored by the Lambda Foundation – a national charitable organization – the tour helps raise funds to create university scholarships in lesbian and gay studies.

The University of Guelph is hoping to find 15 individuals or groups willing to pledge $1,000, which will be matched by the Lambda Foundation, to create a $30,000 endowed scholarship for lesbian and gay studies at U of G. The scholarship will be open to U of G students in any discipline conducting research in lesbian and gay studies.

“I am very pleased to do what I can to support the Lambda Foundation Scholarship for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the University of Guelph,” said Gilbert, a U of G drama professor. “It will provide not only funds but also the crucial affirmation that queer research is an important area of study. This scholarship will increase the awareness of human diversity at Guelph, and it happily opens up international possibilities for the expansion of human knowledge.”

Brand, a Governor General’s Award winner for poetry, is a U of G research professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies. Her most recent work is a novel called What We All Long For. She’s a poet, novelist and essayist whose most recent volume of poetry, thirsty, won the Pat Lowther Award for Poetry. It was also nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Trillium Award for Literature, an award she received in 1997 for Land to Light On. In addition to eight volumes of poetry, Brand's work includes the novels At the Full and Change of the Moon and In Another Place Not Here and a collection of short stories, Sans Souci and Other Stories.

Camilleri is a writer, performance poet and curator who lives in Toronto. She is the author of I Am a Red Dress and Queering Femininity, a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Red Light: Superheroes, Saints and Sluts, an anthology that explores new interpretations of female icons, is due for release in fall 2005. Camilleri has performed in theatres, festivals, universities and colleges across North America and is currently touring her full-length one-woman show, Sounds Siren Red.

Gilbert is the former artistic director of Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, as well as a director, filmmaker and writer. His plays, which include Drag Queens on Trial, Drag Queens in Outer Space, The Dressing Gown and Playmurder, have been produced in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, London and across Canada. Gilbert received Dora Awards for his plays The Whore’s Revenge and Suzie Goo: Private Secretary. He has also published poetry and novels and has made films that have been presented at festivals across North America.

Vaughan, a native of New Brunswick, is the author of six books, including Spells and A Quilted Heart, a dozen plays and hundreds of essays on popular culture and art. He is a regular contributor to Canadian and international periodicals and is featured in over 50 anthologies of drama, fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Vaughan's short films and experimental videos have played in galleries and festivals across Canada and internationally.

Tickets for the readings and gala are $40. The cost of the reading alone is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Tickets are available from the U of G drama office, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53147; The Bookshelf, 41 Quebec St. in Guelph; and Words Worth Books, 100 King St. S. in Waterloo.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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