Grit Lit

By Kristin Archer

Grit Lit celebrated its 11th year this April and the literary festival continues to be a unique experience in Hamilton for writers and book lovers alike. The Art Gallery of Hamilton was home to all of the events during the fest, with a few pre-events which happened at Central Library and Homegrown Hamilton.

I had the opportunity to host one of the events – “Short… Not Always Sweet.” It was a short story event featuring readings from authors Kathleen Winter, Denise Roig, D.D. Miller, and K.D. Miller. I introduced each author before they read pieces of their work, followed by an audience Q&A.


D.D Miller was up first and he read a story from his collection David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide and Other Stories. D.D. is originally from Nova Scotia but lives in Toronto where he teaches English. He’s also the blogger behind The Derby Nerd and has become known for his commentary on roller derby. I had to ask D.D. about our own roller girls, Hammer City Roller Girls, who he of course was familiar with!

Continuing down the line, K.D. Miller was up next to read from her collection All Saints. Having only had the chance to read a selection of each book beforehand, I was pleased when K.D. chose to read her story “Barney,” which is one I had read. It was already so vivid in my mind, and hearing K.D. bring it to life even more was really a treat. K.D. was born here in Hamilton and now lives in Toronto, so it was great to chat with her about the city.

Hosting the Q&A after the readings
Hosting the Q&A after the readings

Denise Roig was up next – she was born in New York, raised in Los Angeles, and has lived in Montreal. She now lives here in Hamilton, which she considers home. Her collection Brilliant was inspired by her time living in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, in 2008. She has an amazing perspective from her time there and it is fascinating to hear her accounts and stories.

Last but not least was Kathleen Winter, author of bestselling and award-winning novel Annabel. She shared a short story from her newest book, The Freedom in American Songs. Kathleen was born in the UK and now lives in Montreal. Right away when I met her, she was so enthusiastic about Hamilton. She had just come back from exploring James Street North and picked up a #HamOnt patch from O’s Clothes! She even found a shop I hadn’t even been to yet – Shine, just off Colbourne. (I would go on to visit Shine at the following Art Crawl!)

What a great experience – it was awesome to see local readers and fans who were so engaged and enthusiastic about Grit Lit. Hats off to the team for another great year!


Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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