TINARS Logo This Is Not A Reading Series (TINARS) is a program designed to investigate the creative process involved in the conception and development of literature. Why do people write books? What compels them to spend endless hours—often years—using their imagination and research skills to produce stylish publications for the public? 


TINARS was created to get to know writers better but, inevitably, the series moved quickly to embrace all artistic disciplines and types of individuals. Since the first principle of the program was the insistence that writers shouldn’t read from their texts, every other cultural outlet had to be employed, in varying contexts, to understand their creative intent.

The original TINARS Manifesto stated: This is music, movies, performance art, interviews, sculpture, photography, puppetry, acrobatics, comedy, webcasting, dancing…and a whole lot of other stuff!” Not hyperbole, just factual, the manifesto has played out to include all of these disciplines. TINARS participants have included: comedy by Sean Cullen, music from Broken Social Scene with writer/perfomer Ibi Kaslik, Amanda and Joseph Boyden performing acrobatics, films curated by Mike Hoolboom, contemporary dance chosen by Serge Bennathan for Ann Marie Fleming—and much, much more.

Recent TINARS events have included: pop-culture historian Liz Worth talking with Polaris Prize-winning musician Damian Abraham, bookended by performances by punk bands; award winning hot doc maker Nettie Wild in conversation about her career; gambling, cabaret music and a live burlesque show by Skin Tight Outta Sight to celebrate Lisa Pasold’s Rats of Las Vegas; Yuk Yuk's impresario Mark Breslin discussing comedy with Ralph Benmergui, and food, drink and talk about the Coach House Press anthology The Edible City.

While TINARS programs widely, there are certain areas in which the series has developed an expertise.

They are, with examples of past authors and works:


Canadian Literature 

TINARS list of novelists is compelling: Coupland, Pyper, Quarrington, Gibson, Rosenblum, Winter, Redhill, Schultz and many others. The nature of our events—non-readings forcing writers to work outside of the box—has meant that we’ve worked often with innovative youthful (at least in spirit) author.

Urban Affairs 

TINARS is keenly concerned with the culture and politics of cities. We’ve hosted panel discussions and interviews celebrating and interrogating the issues dealt with in Coach House’s volumes on Utopia as well as works by John Lorinc, David MacFarlane, Alan Broadbent and John Sewell. We were honoured to have Mayor David Miller introduce Mr. Broadbent to a packed TINARS audience.


TINARS celebrates Black History Month and has hosted events with George Elliott Clarke, Lawrence Hill, Austin Clark, Afua Cooper and Dan Hill. We presented the celebration of the book on the film festival Reel Asian and have hosted presentations by Jan Wong, Ann Marie Fleming and other Asian-Canadians. TINARS has worked with TSAR presenting anthologies of writings on South Asian culture. We’ve launched books by Priscilla Uppal and Kerri Sakamoto.

Graphic Novels and Memoirs

The combination of art and narrative involved in the creation of graphic novels and memoirs makes it a natural fit for TINARS. Often using digitized images playing sequentially on a screen, graphic artists have been able to “animate” their presentations to a vast TINARS audience. Diversity has also been a feature of graphic novels with works by Ann Marie Fleming, Mariko Tamaki and Ho Che Anderson attracting critical attention and response.


TINARS has actively curated books and authors involved in the green movement. Two of our biggest successes were the launch of GreenTopia by Toronto’s remarkable Coach House Books with an informed panel discussion and the debut presentation of The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery. TINARS was honoured to have the Honourable Jack Layton introduce that evening, with the promise that he would give the book to Prime Minister Harper; the discussion between Mr. Flannery and Bob McDonald of Quirks and Quarks was enlightening.

 Film and Media

Film and music fit like a glove into the TINARS philosophy of showing the creativity and art that has inspired authors to write books. Working with Toronto jazz musicians Jane Bunnett and Larry Cramer, TINARS created an event incorporating notable jazz players with interviews on texts written by former Globe critic Mark Miller and musician/scholar David Lee. Using film and interviews, filmmaker/curator Mike Hoolboom presented an event on Canadian experimental film.


Islam and Jewish Cultures 

The clash of religious beliefs and cultural concerns in the Middle East is relevant to Canada where many Muslims and Jews live. TINARS is committed to a dialogue between the cultures and often presents evenings looking at Canadian responses to being either Jewish or Muslim in contemporary society. These have ranged from Nelofer Pazira’s passionate memoir of life growing up in Afghanistan to Jonathan Garfinkel’s incisive description of the dilemmas he faced during his travels as a Canadian Jew in Israel.



From Thomas King’s droll and sophisticated interview with Margaret Atwood about being “Indian” in Canada to Sam McKegney’s moving anthology about the effects of residential schools on our First Nations, TINARS is proud to present the Native experience to Canadian audiences.


Gay and Lesbian 

Whether in poetry (Couture), prose (Coyote) or graphic memoirs (Tamaki), TINARS is committed to presenting lesbian and gay culture.

Art & Politics 

TINARS has worked with ASpace to present the work of photo-artists Carole Conde & Karl Beveridge and MOCCA to show the videos of Floria Sigismondi. We expect to pursue more art-oriented presentations in the future.



The Force for Cultural Events Production, Inc.

President: Judy Wolfe, Treasurer: Steve Glassman, Secretary: Ellen Wexler.

Members of the Board: Doina Popescu, Tasleem Thawar, Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director: Marc Glassman, Coordinator and Co-Artistic Director: Charlie Huisken, Webmistress: Rachael Glassman.

BlackMask is the bookseller at all TINARS events.

Booksellers: Lauren Stewart, Jesse Huisken.