Luminato Book Event: Elyse Friedman and Pasha Malla

Cynthia Cheng

Caroline Adderson, a Canadian writer, believes that short stories are harder to write than novels. Each word in a short story, she believes, has more meaning as you have fewer words to complete the story. Caroline was the moderator at the Luminato’s Festival of the Short Story event held at the Toronto Reference Library on June 7, 2008.  The event featured Elyse Friedman, who recently published Long Story Short, a novella and collection of short stories and Pasha Malla, writer of a collection called The Withdrawal Method


It was interesting to hear Elyse Friedman, a 40-something woman with a young child, talk about young male angst.    Elyse read an excerpt from her novella, A Bright Tragic Thing.  It was an interesting twist on celebrity stalking.  Rather than the usual plot of a crazy fan stalking a celebrity, it was reversed.  The two main characters, high school aged boys, collected celebrity items and even wore matching t-shirts each week.  The celebrity stalking, however, started when one of the boys contacted a has-been actor.  The actor, fascinated that he actually had fans, starts to contact him.

The other story read was The Film about Dads by Pasha Malla.  Based on the real Up series from Britain, the story is about the life cycle of men.  The film crew follows a man (or several men, as the story makes it sound like) from childhood in the playground to marriage, parenthood and eventual death, discussing various issues that happen with each stage. 

After the readings, there was a brief Q&A session and eventual book sale and signing.  The event was well-attended, with almost each seat in the library filled.

This was the first in a series of Festival of the Short Story events held during Luminato.  For information on other Festival of the Short Story events, please check out the Luminato website.