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Excerpt of Heiti's 'The City Still Breathing' to become permanent fixture outside Townehouse

In participating in Project Bookmark Canada, Sudbury author joins big hitters of Canadian literary world

Greater Sudbury author, playwright and actor Matt Heiti will soon join the company of some pretty big hitters in the Canadian literary world, including Hugh MacLennan, Lawrence Hill, Alistair MacLeod and Carol Shields.

All of these authors have had their work featured through Project Bookmark Canada, an initiative that “creates a permanent series of site-specific literary exhibits using text from imagined stories that take place in real locations.”

Once you're done reading the text on these “bookmarks,” you can turn around and see the view that the character would have seen.

“Our vision is to blaze a Canadian literary trail connecting hundreds of bookmarks in cities, towns and other areas across the country,” Project Bookmark Canada's website said.

In May, an excerpt from Heiti's 2013 novel “The City Still Breathing” will be affixed to the wall outside of the Townehouse Tavern in downtown Sudbury. It will be Project Bookmark Canada's 20th bookmark.

“The City Still Breathing” is about a body that found on the side of the highway by the police.

It later goes missing, making its way, over the course of one early winter night, all around Sudbury and through the lives and dreams of 11 very different people, all damaged in some way, eventually bringing them together in a strange moment of violence.

Heiti, who said he spent a lot of his 20s at The Townehouse, calls the bar The Nickel Bin in the book, referring to some of the lettering on the historic establishment's iconic sign.

“The Nickel Bin ends up being a central location for a lot the characters,” he said.

The bookmark will feature and excerpt where one of the characters exits the bar and steps out into the blinding light, and looks across the street at the train tracks and the Budd car.

“There's just something really time capsule about that whole corner and the view from it,” Heiti said.

He said he's really proud to have the chance to represent Greater Sudbury's literary community, which he thinks has been doing some great work over the last 10 or 15 years.

It's thanks to Kim Fahner, who just completed her term as Greater Sudbury poet laureate Dec. 31, that Heiti's work was selected by Project Bookmark Canada.

She said she learned more about Project Bookmark Canada last year after working on her novel at The Banff Centre with Lawrence Hill. His wife, Miranda Hill, founded the organization.

“At the end of my time with him talking about my novel, I said 'I heard your wife has this really cool project,' so he kind of connected me with her and we talked for a few months,” Fahner said.

“I knew what Miranda had suggested was to submit a variety of literature from the area. I sent poetry. There really aren't that many novels about Sudbury, but I knew (Heiti's) was really good because I'd read it, and it's so cool. You read it and see all the place names.”

Fahner said she'd love to see the work of other local writers featured by Project Bookmark Canada. 

“I was thinking we've had great Francophone poets like Robert Dickson, who is an amazing poet,” she said.

Before the bookmark featuring Heiti's work can go up outside the Townehouse, some funds need to be raised. If you're interested in making a donation, you can do so here.


Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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