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2021 Event:
Morgan Murray
Dirty BirdsIn late 2007, as the world’s economy crumbles and Barack Obama ascends to the White House, the remarkably unremarkable Milton Ontario – not to be confused with Milton, Ontario – leaves his parents’ basement in Middle-of-Nowhere, Saskatchewan, and sets forth to find fame, fortune, and love in the Euro-lite electric sexuality of Montreal, to escape the infinite flatness of Saskatchewan, and to find his messiah: Leonard Cohen.

STARFest facts

Morgan Murray grew up in Caroline, AB and now lives in Cape Breton with his wife, cartoonist Kate Beaton, and growing family. In between, he has been a rancher, a roustabout, a reporter, a tour guide, a schemer, a variety show host, and a student in Caroline, Calgary, Paris, Prague, Montreal, Chicoutimi, and St. John’s. Dirty Birds is his first novel. It has been compared to the writings of Kurt Vonnegut, and was a finalist for the Leacock Medal for Humour, longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2021, a finalist for three Atlantic Book Awards (winning the Best Atlantic Published Book) and the ReLit Awards, and won silver in the 2020 International Forewords Indies Award for Humour. It has also made his parents proud even though it’s full of cursing and carrying on.

Hilariously ironic and irreverent, Dirty Birds is a quest novel for the twenty-first century – a coming-of-age, rom-com, crime-farce thriller – where a hero’s greatest foe is his own crippling mediocrity as he seeks purpose in art, money, power, crime, and sleeping in all day.

Vish Khanna works for CKUA Radio, and has toured North America playing in several bands. He hosts the interview podcast Kreative Kontrol, is an Assistant Editor at Exclaim! Magazine, and is a co-organizer of the Long Winter arts series in Toronto, where he hosts a monthly talk show called Long Night with Vish Khanna. He was a host and producer at CBC Radio 3 and is an on-air columnist for The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers.