Red X: A Conversation with David Demchuk

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Celebrate the stories that connect us at The Word On The Street Toronto’s 2021 virtual festival of storytelling, ideas and imagination.

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The Word On The Street presents Red X: A Conversation with David Demchuk

A featured conversation with award-winning author David Demchuk about his bold new novel, Red X. Moderated by author Naben Ruthnum.

Men are disappearing from Toronto’s gay village. They’re the marginalized, the vulnerable. One by one, stalked and vanished, they leave behind small circles of baffled, frightened friends. But as the missing grow in number, those left behind begin to realize that whoever or whatever is taking these men has been doing so for longer than is humanly possible.

Woven into their stories is David Demchuk’s own personal history, a life lived in fear and in thrall to horror, a passion that boils over into obsession. As he tries to make sense of the relationship between queerness and horror, what it means for gay men to disappear, and how the isolation of the LGBTQ+ community has left them profoundly exposed to monsters that move easily among them, fact and fiction collide and reality begins to unravel.

This panel will stream live Thursday, September 23 at 8pm ET.

Visit our website to see the full programming schedule!


David Demchuk has been writing for print, stage, digital, and other media for nearly 40 years. His debut horror novel The Bone Mother, published in 2017, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, the Toronto Book Award, the Kobzar Book Award, and a Shirley Jackson Award in the Best Novel category. It won the 2018 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in the Adult Fiction category. It was listed in the Globe and Mail's 100 best books of 2017, came in at #22 in the National Post's top 99 books of the year and became a #1 bestseller on

Naben Ruthnum is author of Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race and the forthcoming novel A Hero of Our Time. As Nathan Ripley, he is the author of two thrillers, Find You In the Dark and Your Life is Mine.

Shop local! Purchase books by WOTS2021 featured authors through local independent bookstores on our official bookseller page.

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About the Festival

For 32 years, The Word On The Street has been a gathering place for authors, publishers, booksellers, and readers of all ages to celebrate the stories that connect us.

We’re staying virtual for WOTS2021, so you can tune in from wherever you are to enjoy incredible programming with 100+ authors presented over 10 days from September 16th to 26th, featuring bestselling Canadian and Indigenous authors like Eden Robinson, Andre Alexis, Zoe Whittall, and Richard Van Camp.

Get insight into the year’s top issues through a literary lens, with readings and panels on topics like climate change, decolonization, and how we care for one another. Poetry, memoir, mystery & more, WOTS2021 has the books you’ve been looking for.

Visit the 2021 Festival Homepage!

You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for a preview of what to expect during the WOTS2021 festival, and watch (or re-watch) our year-round City Imagines and Book Talk series.

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Become a Patron of The Word On The Street

We are very grateful to our vibrant and generous community for your continued support throughout this challenging period for live events. If you’d like to contribute financially, you can add a donation to your registration or visit our CanadaHelps fundraising page to learn more about how you can help to sustain Toronto’s favourite book festival.

We also appreciate your support in the form of kind messages for our small-but-mighty team and helping us spread the word on social media!

On COVID-19 & In-Person Events

For the second time ever, WOTS2021 will be held virtually with programming hosted on our website and streamed live on YouTube. But that’s not all! We’re also collaborating with local authors and bookstore partners to offer a limited number of socially-distanced book signings. Check out the Bookstore Signing Schedule for more details on who might be coming to your neighbourhood.

If you’re most familiar with our offline offerings: Hi! We miss you, and hope you are well!

Our team is doing the best we can to ensure the health and safety of our community, especially for vulnerable and younger readers who don’t yet have access to a vaccine.

Staying virtual has given our team the opportunity to re-think how we can best honour our mandate as champions of literacy, and we can’t wait to share our exciting news about the future of WOTS with you this September!

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The Word On The Street is an annual celebration of storytelling, ideas and imagination, hosting Canada's largest FREE book and magazine festival annually since 1990 and promoting great books by Canadian and Indigenous authors year-round.

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Organizer The Word On The Street

Organizer of Red X: A Conversation with David Demchuk

The Word On The Street champions reading and writing in Canada primarily through a free festival celebrating storytelling, ideas, and imagination.

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