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2022 Event:
Steven Price/J.M. Miro

Hosted by Thomas Trofimuk

Life in the City of Dirty WaterA stunning new work of historical fantasy, J.M. Miro's Ordinary Monsters introduces readers to the dark, labyrinthine world of the Talents. Riveting in its scope and exquisitely written, it presents a catastrophic vision of the Victorian world—and of the gifted, broken children who must save it.

About J.M. Miro

J.M. Miro lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. He also writes, some days, under the name Steven Price.

About Steven Price

Steven Price is the author of three novels, Lampedusa (2019), By Gaslight (2016), longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Into That Darkness (2011). Also an acclaimed poet, he has written two award-winning poetry books, Anatomy of Keys (2006), winner of the Gerald Lampert Award, and Omens in the Year of the Ox (2012), winner of the ReLit Award. He lives in Victoria, B.C.

Ordinary Monsters (2022)

England, 1882. In Victorian London, two children with mysterious powers are hunted by a figure of darkness—a man made of smoke.

Sixteen-year-old Charlie Ovid, despite a brutal childhood in Mississippi, doesn't have a scar on him. His body heals itself, whether he wants it to or not. Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight car, shines with a strange bluish light. He can melt or mend flesh. When a jaded female detective is recruited to escort them to safety, all three begin a journey into the nature of difference, and belonging, and the shadowy edges of the monstrous.

What follows is a story of wonder and betrayal, from the gaslit streets of London, and the wooden theatres of Meiji-era Tokyo, to an eerie estate outside Edinburgh where other children with gifts—the Talents—have been gathered. There, the world of the dead and the world of the living threaten to collide. And as secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities, and the nature of what is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.

Thomas Trofimuk writes both poetry and fiction. He has published five novels, including The 52nd Poem, Doubting Yourself to the Bone, Waiting for Columbus, This is all a Lie, and The Elephant on Karlův Bridge – released in August 2022. He writes on an irregular basis for his own website, “writer, gardener, failed Buddhist” at, and lives in Edmonton with his wife, daughter, and a small black cat.