Aaron Tucker: York alumnus and presenter at the Toronto Festival of Authors

(Courtesy of the Toronto International Festival of Authors)

From Sept. 21 until Oct. 1, Toronto will be hosting the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) at the Harbourfront Centre.

Featuring over 200 events and activities, this literary festival will include conversations, readings, and stage performances, as well as writing workshops. York alumnus, Aaron Tucker, will be presenting his event: Break from Tradition with Chris Bergeron and Aaron Tucker on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Tucker is a PhD graduate of the cinema and media arts program, and the author of three books of poetry and two novels. He explains that, “my work fits within the Canadian traditions of the long poem and experimental fiction. I am especially drawn to challenges around poetic language, in particular as they relate to the sentence, and structural elements that disrupt and disorient a reader. This means taking on literary projects that question authorship through machine collaboration and interdisciplinary mixing of fiction and film.”

Tucker explains that during his time at York, he most appreciated the space that was made for his writing career in the PhD program. “The fact that I launched my second novel months after my defense speaks to the support I received,” Tucker noted. He will be discussing his second novel, Soldiers, Hunters, Not Cowboys, at TIFA.

Soldiers, Hunters, Not Cowboys is split into two parts,” Tucker explains. “In the first half, a former couple celebrates the man’s recent birthday while the woman recounts the John Ford-directed film, The Searchers, teasing out the last effects of its masculinity in the contemporary moment. The second half then maps The Searchers onto an unnamed catastrophe in downtown Toronto, where the man from the first half of the book tries to get across an increasingly violent city in order to ‘rescue’ the woman from the first half of the book. I’m writing through my own experiences with cowboys and the Western as a genre, but also the lasting effects of John Wayne as male icon,”  Tucker adds.

Break from Tradition with Chris Bergeron and Aaron Tucker will also discuss how genre, structure, and language can deviate from conventional novel forms in Bergeron’s new novel, Valid. Sharing the novel’s description, Tucker explains that Valid is a monologue delivered over the span of eight hours by Christelle, a seventy-year-old trans woman forced to live as a man in order to survive. Speaking to her captor, an ever–more powerful AI, she turns the tables and mounts her own revolution by showing her truest self, set in a disturbingly transfigured Montreal in the year 2050.

In addition to discussing Valid, Bergeron and Tucker will additionally explore in a moderated conversation themes of auto fiction, science fiction, Western, dialogue and monologues, and gender identity.

To learn more about Break from Tradition with Chris Bergeron and Aaron Tucker at TIFA, click here, and to find more of Tucker’s work, click here.

About the Author

By Sydney Ewert

Arts Editor


Sydney is in her third year at York University studying Dance. She loves to travel and explore new places. When Sydney is not editing, working, or studying for her classes, she is likely going for walks or learning new recipes.


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