A bartender to watch

Kris Bertin

Kris Bertin, who writes short stories by day and tends Bearly’s bar by night, was featured Sunday in a Toronto Star story on “Five up-and-coming writers to watch in 2016.”

Bertin’s first book, a collection called, “Bad Things Happen” will be published Feb. 23 by Biblioasis, the hip Canadian publisher de jour. Alexander MacLeod, who encountered Bertin in his short story course at Saint Mary’s, served as editor on the project.

Writes the Star:

David Adams Richards says: “Kris Bertin’s stories are a revelation, a triumph — each stamped with the mark of a new and rising genius.” Alexander MacLeod says: “Kris Bertin’s images are built to last. His fiction is governed by an explosive tension that is contained — but just barely contained — in careful stories designed to be just strong enough to hold. This is the work of a real craftsman, a writer who knows exactly — exactly — what he is doing.”

Bertin told the Star’s Deborah Dundas:

My job is literally to stand behind a bar for 12-14 hours a day and give people a mood-altering substance until you get to see who they really are. I get to see a lot of human behaviour. You ask yourself a lot of questions — why are they acting like this? What brought them to this?

[Disclosure: Bertin got to observe Contrarian’s behaviour at Bearly’s just last night. Hopefully nothing too untoward.]

Bearly’s will host a launch party for “Bad Things Happen” at 7 p.m., February 29, with music by the wonderful Roger Howse.