Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Plan 99 Fiction Cabaret

This intimate gathering took place while the sun was beaming a narrow spot light through the small basement window of the Manx Pub, a favorite, basement watering hole in downtown Ottawa.  Speaking to a full house seated in red upholstered chairs and booths, Elizabeth Mariatti, author of How to Get Along with Women , spoke first. 


The petite woman with wavy brown hair stood beside the microphone and read with confidence and wit while describing a Jewish neighbourhood and her first encounter with Asher, an 11 year-old boy. Filled with observations on politics and internal prejudices the writer pokes with affection and detachment at the flippant comments of her characters asking us to look beyond what we see.


Dobozy then followed Mariatti with his graphic description of blood, guts and suffering when the Red Army entered Budapest during the Second World War in December 1944.  In the excerpt from his book, Seige 13 , Dobozy read about the brutal death of animals, raging fires and the internal agony and perished hope of people caught in the destruction, “As if it was possible to stop thinking from thinking too much and exploding thought,” and “In myths, people turn into flowers, horses and animals, but now, we don’t transform.”  While provoking the audience to feel, hear, smell and taste the brutality and loss, Dobozy asks us to examine the ugly blemish of human nature: that like other animals, we have taken pleasure in inflicting pain. “A cat will play with its prey all for the pleasure,” he reads and then closes his book.  The affected audience applauded both authors for their unique insights and talent.