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2021 Event:
Natalie Zina Walschots
HenchA sharp, witty, modern debut, Hench explores the individual cost of justice through a fascinating mix of Millennial office politics, heroism measured through data science, body horror, and a profound misunderstanding of quantum mechanics. Kirkus Reviews calls Hench “A fiendishly clever novel that fizzes with moxie and malice.”

STARFest facts

Natalie Zina Walschots is a Toronto writer and game designer. She is the author of two poetry books: Thumbscrews, which won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains. Natalie sits on the board of Dames Making Games, a space for queer and gender-marginalized people to create games freely, where she hosts interactive narrative workshops. Her novel Hench was a Canada Reads finalist.

Anna is working for a monster that lurks beneath the surface of the world when she is badly injured in an encounter with a so-called “hero.” Then she gets laid off, and discovers that her suffering at a hero’s hands is far from unique. By tallying up the human cost these caped heroes wreak upon the world, she discovers that the line between good and evil is mostly marketing.

Soon she’s employed by one of the worst villains on earth. As she becomes an increasingly valuable lieutenant, she might just save the world.

Celine Caruso Dixon is a Political Science student at the University of Alberta. Her passion for social justice led to her becoming President for the UofA Black Students’ Association and creating an open mic space, ZION, that works with minority communities and those in juvenile detention centres. Her work with La Connexional has enabled her to be more involved in her own community (the AfroLatin community) and to help provide meaningful experiences to those of African, Caribbean, and Latin descent.