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Torp author coming to Barrie

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

Oakville author Michael Mirolla returns to Barrie this week for his third Word Up event with a new novel called Torp. He will be talking about his book and doing a reading Thursday at Unity Market Cafe & Studios, located at 25 Toronto St., beginning 7 p.m. JOSEF HOCHLEITER/PHOTO

Oakville author Michael Mirolla returns to Barrie this week for his third Word Up event with a new novel called Torp. He will be talking about his book and doing a reading Thursday at Unity Market Cafe & Studios, located at 25 Toronto St., beginning 7 p.m. JOSEF HOCHLEITER/PHOTO

Michael Mirolla returns to Barrie this week for his third Word Up event with a new novel called Torp.

The Oakville-based author recently returned from a promotional tour of western Canada and says he’s looking forward to the Barrie event.

“It’s quite interesting. It’s an organic restaurant and we gather there a little early and we read, promote our latest book usually (for) 10 to 15 minutes because after that the snore factor comes into effect,” he said with a laugh.

“There are usually four readers (and) there would be Q&A option for several writers," Mirolla added.

Torp is set in Vancouver during the 1970s. The idea for it goes back to when Mirolla was working on his master’s degree in creative writing at the University of British Columbia.

The book is part mystery, love story with political and philosophical elements, and it centres on a couple and a student they become involved with ... who may or may not be terrorist.

There is also a crazy landlord.

Mirolla writes in two voices, first Nicole di Orio and then her husband Giulio, alternating chapter by chapter.

“Structure to me is one of the most important things. The way the book is put together, the points of view you’re going to take is just as important as the actual story,” he said. “I think you have to be innovative in your structure. (Writers) who have been doing that over the last century have turned fiction on its head. If you ignore it, you’re not true to the craft.”

Torp is Mirolla’s third novel. The first, Berlin, won the 2010 Bressani Prize and his second, The Facility, is a futuristic look into a cloning facility that produced a string of Mussolinis.

He has 10 publication credits to his name, running the gamut from a poetry collection The House on 14th Avenue, which won the 2014 Bressani Prize, to short stories.

A Theory of Discontinuous Existence was selected for The Journey Prize Anthology of the year’s 10 best short stories while The Sand Flea was a first-prize winner at the 2006 Arkansas College Media Association Convention and was nominated for the US Pushcart Prize.

He has also written three plays which were produced professionally as well as a couple of feature-film scripts. He has recently completed a collection of poetry which he is in the process of sending out for publication and is working on a novel that he began in the mid-1990s.

When Mirolla is not writing, he works at one of the top literary presses in Canada. He is publisher and editor-in-chief at Guernica Editions, which publishes approximately 30 books each year and also has imprint called MiroLand for more popular material such as memoirs, how-to books, and last year, a graphic novel, were published for a total of 10 books.

Mirolla doesn’t publish his own books, preferring to keep the two separate.

Torp was published by Linda Leith Publishing in Quebec.

Mirolla's interest in writing goes back to grade school when he would create what he calls “little stories."

In high school, he had several teachers who allowed him to write short stories for his assignments.

At McGill University, he did a year of chemistry, physics and math before becoming bored with it and switching his major to English.

He met his wife, Jackie, while at McGill and the two will mark their 45th wedding anniversary next February. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.

Mirolla was born in Italy, the middle child of three boys, and came to Canada when he was five years old. He was raised in Montreal.

He will be talking about his book and doing a reading Thursday at Unity Market Cafe & Studios, located at 25 Toronto St., beginning 7 p.m.



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