Upcoming Readings – IFOA, Wordsfest London


On the heels of my triumphant return to Midwich, Ontario, I have been asked to do some other readings at a couple of festival type deals outside of Toronto, where I live and do most of my weird behaviour. As illustrated by the majestic screencap above, I will be participating in IFOA as part of the travellin’ show that goes all over the province. So, I’ll be reading on October 15th at 3:00pm in St. Catharines, Ontario, at the St. Catharines Library. I’ll be out there with acclaimed cartoonist/illustrator Nina Bunjevac. Click on this line for more event details. Thanks a bunch to the IFOA for inviting me, and to the Festival of Readers and the Niagara Artists Centre for running the event. You are all cool.

I have also been asked to be a delegate at IFOA, meaning that I can go to any and all events and readings and heckle people that I know who are up on stage. Especially if they topple off the stage in their chair, like leather jacket-clad stuntman Andrew F. Sullivan (WOTS HIGHLIGHT). Likely though, I will be listening to things and writing about them for IFOA, and it is actually an honour to be asked and to be given some level of responsibility as a person.


The next thing I’ll be at is Wordsfest London, reading at November 5th at 10am with Giller Prize winner André Alexis, and that is not too shabby. You can also see by the poster above that there is a boatload of excellent writers that they’ve locked up for the fest. I’ll likely be up in there all weekend, taking in the readings and talks. If you happen to be in the area, or would like to get yourself to that place, I will be around. Thanks to Joshua Lambier and all of the other people involved for inviting me down.

That’s about all for now. Check out the links and the events and please spread the word if you can. In the meantime, take a gander at the social media for Wordsfest London and for IFOA St. Catherines/Lit On Tour/Festival of Readers.

More to come soon, regarding novels and whatnot. But that’ll do for now. Cheers. KH

I got to read in Midland and it went pretty good


About a week ago I went back to the homeland and read a bunch of stuff in front of a good amount of people, as part of the Read Local event put on by the Written Word Committee, and supported by the Midland Cultural Centre. My publisher, Biblioasis, was also a co-sponsor of the event so that I could get up there and read some hillbilly mayhem tales. I didn’t know how it would go, as many of my friends have up and left that area of the country and I don’t get there all that much. But, the good folk I know that live in the region came out and filled that room at the MCC. And it turned out to be an excellent day.

Thanks the most to Jennifer Kerr and Kristi Presse of the Written Word for setting this all up, and our old family friend, and acclaimed poet, Roger Bell, who got the whole thing started. I have always had a bit of a contentious relationship with that place that I came from, but over time I’ve realized that there’s a lot of it in me and in these stories, and I’m glad that I got a chance to give back to the community and people who’ve seen me try to scribble things down since I was wee. I was humbled by the response to the event, and by all the people who participated, organized, and attended it. We also sold out of all copies of Debris that were sent north. So, it was a damn good day, all in all.

I’ll have more news about things to come. The novel, In the Cage, is done for major edits and very nearly done for minor edits as well. That sonofabitch will be published in fall 2017. I’ll also be doing another thing or two readings or events-wise, and I’ll post about them in the next few days.

Until then, thanks to all the Simcoe people that supported me last weekend, and to everyone who keeps reading the work. Cheers. KH

I’ll be headlining The Written Word’s Read Local Festival – Midland, Ontario – September 10th, 2016 (UPDATED)

Hardcastle Returns to Read

If you happen to find yourself up in North Simcoe County on September 10th, you might brave the streets of Midland to see a bunch of writers do their thing all up and down the main strip in town. The Written Word committee, operating out of the Midland Cultural Centre, has organized a day-long reading series with some excellent local writers and literary folk, like Roger Bell, along with some other authors who you might know from about the greater CanLit scene, like Julie Joosten and Bianca Lakoseljac, who probably have some kind of link to the area.

Those good people of the MCC have also asked that I return to the place that spawned a bunch of stories about hillbilly mayhem and crime. As a result, I will be the headlining reader on the day.

So, if you are one of the twelve people that read this blog, and happen to be up in that land in a couple weeks, come by and see some writers read some of their writing. I’ll update this post with website and event pages and the like as they show up, and any other informations that might be of use.

Update: Here is the full list of authors participating in the event, and where and when they are reading at…

Read Local Poster - Hardcastle

Until then, thanks a bunch to Roger Bell, Jennifer Kerr, and the rest of the Written Word and MCC staff involved in getting this up and running. Also, thanks to my publisher, Biblioasis, for getting me up there and making sure that copies of Debris make the trip as well. I’m told that they’ll be on sale through Georgian Bay Books, the last bastion of the book trade in Midland.

More to come…


DEBRIS wins Trillium Book Award, Runner-Up for Danuta Gleed Literary Award

Trillium Me & John

Photo credit: OMDC

After an interesting week of going to three different awards ceremonies, something magical happened. Last Wednesday, I got to attend a fancy and very heartening evening put on by the OMDC. And at the end, my collection of stories, Debris, won the English Language Trillium Book Award.

I was lucky enough to have my editor John Metcalf there to receive the award with me, and got to thank him for finding my short story, Old Man Marchuk, a couple years ago, and calling me up to see if I had more. That led to this book, and will lead to my first published novel, In the Cage, due for publication in spring 2017. John changed my life with that call, and this book, as did my publisher, Biblioasis. This was their first Trillium finalist, and we managed to make it count.

Trillium up close.png

Massive thanks to the Trillium jury: Cordelia Strube, Steven W. Beattie, and Rob Winger. I figured it would always be a challenge to land three people who were in tune with my writing at the same time, but the planets aligned here. And I’m well aware how much that falls to chance. You are all heroes…

I had a lot of support in that room, and elsewhere, and I have to sincerely thank them all for that. I also got to hang out with fellow Trillium and Danuta Gleed Runner-Up, Andrew Forbes, who was up for both with his excellent short story collection, What You Need, from Invisible Publishing. We’ve known each other awhile, and sat and sweat together through those awards. That made the whole deal easier. As did sitting with some other friends, and a certain one to my left who was possibly far more pumped than any human has ever been when they called my name.

As I mentioned, me and Forbes also runnered-up to the Danuta Gleed Literary Award the Friday before. That prize went to Heather O’Neill, of Heather O’Neill fame. It seemed fitting that we both took that second place spot and had a drink during and after. Again, it’s a roll of the dice just to make those shortlists, and you need more than a little luck in the juries to get there, so I thank the folks of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and the excellent jury they put together. It was an honour to be in that company.

Kobo EMW Prize WP Edit

The other award event I was at took place the day before the Trillium, and that was the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. The winner for the fiction shortlist was Irina Kovalyova, for her short story collection, Specimen. I didn’t expect to be up for this prize either, and I want to thank my friends who knew about and told me about submitting my book (which I did while hanging out in the Vancouver airport), and all the people at Kobo for giving us a fancy place to attend and drink drinks at for that evening.

Me and Crouse

The other thing that happened, that I didn’t get a chance to talk about yet, was that I was on the radio with film critic Richard Crouse, on Newstalk 1010. I got waylaid by a subway fire that caused rush hour mayhem in downtown Toronto, but I made it in to talk about Debris and some other pop culture and media topics, as guests do on the show. I was on with Steve Michaels, who is the lead in Return to Grace, an acclaimed Elvis stage biopic, and with the venerable Canadian comedian, Simon Rakoff. If you’d like to check that show out, you can find it by clicking this link. My asshole late show-up bit starts at 21:27.

It’s been a hell of a week, and past few years, but I’ve got a lot of work to do yet. The novel edits will be finished soon, and that’ll all start up as far as production goes. In the meanwhile, I very much appreciate everyone who has read my work and has sent me messages and correspondences. I’m getting back to you all in some form or another, but know that they all meant a great deal to me. I am better for knowing all of you weirdos. Cheers.


DEBRIS is a finalist for the Trillium Book Award

Debris Trillium

I got word about something magical last week from Dan Wells, my publisher at Biblioasis, but I had to keep it close to the vest until today. Turns out that this collection of stories I wrote, Debris, is a finalist for the Trillium Book Award. The official announcement was made this morning, and you can read about the award and the other excellent finalists by clicking this line.

Otherwise, here’s the full list of Trillium finalists (for the English language):

  • Lynn Crosbie, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, House of Anansi Press
  • Andrew Forbes, What You Need, Invisible Publishing
  • Kevin Hardcastle, Debris, Biblioasis
  • Robert Hough, The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan, House of Anansi Press
  • Janette Platana, A Token of My Affliction, Tightrope Books
  • Karen Solie, The Road In Is Not The Same Road Out, House of Anansi Press

Over the last two months, Debris got shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. That’s a pretty good late run for a book of stories that a lot of great people supported but that I figured did what it did, and that was the all of it. I’m very grateful to everyone responsible for giving this book enough of a chance to get it this far. It isn’t a book that makes a lot of sense on the traditional CanLit landscape, but it made a lot of sense to me, and hopefully to a few more people that may get turned on to it after these nominations.

So, thank you to the OMDC and the Trillium jury. You are champions to me and I would gladly smite your enemies. Otherwise, congratulations to all the other Trillium Book Award finalists. This ain’t a bad Wednesday.



DEBRIS shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award

Obama Reading Danuta Titles - YEAH

Yesterday, The Writer’s Union of Canada announced this years shortlist for the prestigious Danuta Gleed Literary Award. As their release says: “The Award recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2015 in the English language.”

That book I wrote a while ago, Debris, is on that list. That’s alright.

Anyways, despite my day of social media nonsense, I figured I’d put this up on here for the dozen or so people that have ever looked at this WordPress site. After getting on the shortlist for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for fiction a few weeks back, I was as happy as a writer can reasonably get to see that the book got this recognition from the Danuta Gleed jury: Shauna Singh Baldwin, Barry Dempster, and Dora Dueck.

Here’s what the jury had to say about Debris, published by the mighty Biblioasis:

Debris is a spare and shadow-drenched book, the sentences well-wrought, the voice never less than distinctive. His characters include a cage fighter being tracked down by the Hell’s Angels, a night clerk at a seedy hotel who makes moonshine whiskey and a gas contract salesman wearing out his shoes in a number of Alberta towns. These are tough-talking men who advertise their misery like a kind of nakedness. Strangely, the result of all this suffering and violence is a beauty that at times almost takes your breath away.

On top of that, I was real happy to see ol’ dirty Andrew Forbes get on the shortlist, for his collection What You Need, put out in the spring of 2015 by Invisible Publishing. That is a damn good set of stories and I always felt the book never got the attention that it deserved. So it goes. Nonetheless, Forbes made it from the mean streets of Peterborough all the way to the DG shortlist, and that is a good thing for everybody.

The full list of shortlisters is as follows (notice there are fancy people):

Gerard Beirne, In a Time of Drought and Hunger, Oberon Press
Andrew Forbes, What You Need, Invisible Publishing
Hugh Graham, Last Words, Exile Editions
Kevin Hardcastle, Debris, Biblioasis
Heather O’Neill, Daydreams of Angels, HarperCollins Publisher

The winner is gonna be announced at the Canadian Writers’ Summit (June 15–19) at Harbourfront. I don’t know if that means I have to put a clean shirt and tie on, but we’ll see…

If you want to read more about the Danuta Gleed, and the excellent people behind it (including Ms. Gleed herself), you can click this line and get to the actual press release from the TWUC.

Otherwise, thanks to everyone who spread the word on this yesterday, and who woke my ass up outta bed at the crack of eleven o’clock. It was news worth getting up for. Cheers.

DEBRIS reviewed on CBC Radio’s Daybreak Alberta, in The Malahat Review

CBC Radio One Logo

Last friday I got word that Debris was reviewed on Daybreak Alberta, a morning show on CBC Radio One that focuses on arts and culture, hosted by Russell Bowers. Acclaimed author Angie Abdou, who I met through other writers and social media and regular life, is often a guest on the show when it comes to discussing new books that include something of note with regards to the province. She is also a hero, because she took the time to give my book a close read and review it on the show.

According to Angie, the book wasn’t really all that bad. But, you can hear it direct, in her words, if you click this line and listen to the recording of it all. The whole thing is about seven minutes, and it contains words like Hemingwayesque and Talented and Drunkards. Give it a listen if you like.

Sincere thanks to Angie for all her efforts on this. Even if you want to slap me with a fish, you should still listen to the show just to celebrate people like her that put in the time to support other writers and the books they wrote.

The Malahat Review Debris Review

I also just saw today that the book was reviewed in The Malahat Review, by Jamie Dopp, an English professor at the University of Victoria. He had some kind things to say about the stories and about the writing itself, such as:

“The stories are told with careful precision, free of authorial judgment, in prose that reminded me of the understated lyricism of later Thomas McGuane or of David Adams Richards. As in McGuane or Richards, there are subtly redemptive qualities to the stories, but any redemption is hard-earned, and begins with a clear-eyed attention to the world that is.”

Of all the writers I like, you don’t hear a lot about McGuane, and he is pretty goddamn good at writing, so I thank Mr. Dopp for this part of the review and for all the other parts as well. I’d also like to thank the Malahat folks. The oldest story in my book, To have to wait, was published in The Malahat Review, Issue 177, a few years back. They nominated the story for the 2012 Journey Prize, and it ended up as a finalist. That was probably the first time anyone started to know about my writing in any significant way, and I’m glad to see the book that story ended up in being covered by the journal that took a chance on it.

Read the full review right here, through the internet. Otherwise, you can find the whole thing in print in The Malahat Review, Issue 194. It will be in there somewhere, along with work by the likes of Kate Cayley and Steven Heighton.

That’s the latest, friends. Happy Wednesday. So long for now…


DEBRIS Shortlisted for the KOBO Emerging Writer Prize

Kobo EMW Prize WP Edit

I got word yesterday, while travelling around Merseyside with family, that my first book, Debris (Biblioasis), was shortlisted for the Second Annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. It was chosen in the literary fiction category by Kobo’s bookseller team, along with books by Andrew Battershill, Irina Kovalyova, Sabrina Ramnanan, Tracey Lindberg, and Wendi Stewart. The eventual winner will be determined by acclaimed author Gail Anderson-Dargatz. If not, I hear it will be decided Highlander style…

Here’s some info about the prize, straight from Kobo:

“The award was created with the goal of kick-starting the careers of debut authors, with a $10,000 CAD cash prize awarded to a book in each of three categories: Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Genre Fiction (Romance). In addition, each winning author will receive promotional, marketing, and communications support through 2016.

“The shortlist, selected by Kobo’s team of booksellers among traditionally and self-published titles—with book completion rates, customer ratings and reviews considered—comprises six books from each genre. The shortlist will now move on to the final selection process, led by top Canadian authors: Camilla Gibb for Non-Fiction, Gail Anderson-Dargatz for Literary Fiction, and Lynsay Sands for Genre Fiction (Romance), with winners announced on June 21.”

Thanks to all of the folks involved at Kobo for including this book, and to Gail Anderson-Dargatz for judging the finals. Also, congratulations to the other writers that got shortlisted, in every category. There are some real interesting and inventive books on the list, and not all of them might make a regular CanLit prize list (probably to their credit), so I am proud to have Debris on there.

Also, thanks to Biblioasis for publishing this thing, especially to my editor, John Metcalf, who I owe a bunch of phone calls after I get back, as well as another manuscript.

Click this line for the official release from Kobo, with all the information on the prize and on all of the other shortlists.

Open Book LogoThe last bit of news I have, that a bunch of people have probably gathered already, is that I was hired on as Assistant Editor for Open Book: Toronto. You might remember my stint as Writer-in-Residence there in November. Well, I got in as a columnist after that, until the editor position came up. Now I’ll be editing and posting those columns by some great local authors, and fouling up the social media for Open Book. Hardcastle style. Thanks to the other members of the small but mighty Open Book Team, Grace O’Connell and Holly Kent.

That’s all I got. I’m back to Canada in about a week, and will be at Authors for Indies on April 29th, appearing at Book City, Bloor West Village, from 4pm to 5pm. I’ll also be at Rowers Reading Series on May 2nd. Until then, take care and cheers to everyone who spread word about this Kobo news yesterday and other writing things. You are #1.

Authors for Indies, Rowers Reading Series, Other things…

Authors For Indies

There are a few things that will likely not suck that are happening in about a month or so. Even though I am involved in them. The first is that I’ve been asked to participate in Authors for Indies Day, taking place all over the country on April 30th. I will be hunkered down at the Book City in Bloor West Village, Toronto. That is also a place where I some days work and tell people to read my book and the books of my friends and of Cormac McCarthy and Daniel Woodrell and nobody else. So that is nice.

Check the Authors for Indies site to see what bookstores you can visit and where and why. There are many excellent writers and reasonable human beings who will be part of this day, so get out there and talk to them. Do not let them sit in a chair weeping while you all try and find Yann Martel between his crossfit classes.


A couple days later, on May 2nd, I’ll be at Rowers Reading Series. I’m not sure who the other guest authors are that night, but it’ll be up soon enough and I’ll invite people using the internet. The readings take place at The Central, on Markham and Bloor St. in Toronto. They tend to start early, before 7pm, but I’ll post the exact details when the event page is complete. I don’t have any other readings lined up that I know of, so this might be the last one until fall. Go to it. Thanks.

Largehearted Boy

The last thing that I never posted on here was a playlist I did for Largehearted Boy, the excellent music and literature site out of NYC, run by David Gutowski. As part of the Book Notes series that many other big deal and emerging writers have participated in over the years. The list goes along with my short story collection, Debris, as it was just released to massive fanfare in the United States. Anyway, check out my playlist by clicking the link in the above text, or the Spotify playlist below. At the actual site you can read my write-ups on all the Drive-By Truckers, Springsteen, RATM, and Sinead O’Connor I chose and learn the whys of them all. Thanks to Mr. Gutowksi for asking me to do this one, and to Grant Munroe at Biblioasis for setting it all up.

That’ll do it for today. I have more news that I’ll talk about separate, probably in a post to be posted over the weekend. Until then, cheers and keep the dream alive…


West Coast Tour – Debris & Bad Things Happen

Bad Things Happen & Debris on a plane motherfuckers

A couple days ago I got back home after a little west coast tour, put on by brave publishing house, Biblioasis. They sent me and stately, non-plump Kris Bertin out to Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary on the heels of the release of Bertin’s first book, Bad Things Happen. I lent moral, spiritual, and literary support in reading from and drinking around my first book, Debris (September 2015).

Jess Taylor of BookThug and Pauls notoriety also joined us for the Vancouver and Victoria readings, and she brought her fightface and also the panel-talk revelation that she is generally happy with a first book, whereas me and Bertin have hollows in us that are not yet filled nor may they ever be.😥

Hardcastle & Bertin - VPL

Massive thanks in Vancouver to Hal Wake and Clea Young and the Vancouver Writers Fest, as well as the Vancouver Public Library. We read at the central branch for the Incite Reading Series, and to many more people than first book writers usually read to. Bertin opened up with the Kris Bertin comedy hour and livened up the room, then Jess read, and I closed that thing with a nice little segment of the story Montana Border, full with dislocated elbowbones and incisors stuck in fists. People were very moved.

Russell Books Everybody

The next day we ferried over to Victoria, and were hosted at Russell Books by Vanessa Herman, legend of the fall. A number of writers and friends that we’ve known mostly through the internet, and sparely in person (such as Julie PaulDave Brock, Erin Frances Fisher, Jenny Manzer, and Will Johnson), came by to watch us lip each other between sets and eventually read some stuff. And they came to drink all the beer in town afterward. Thanks to all you weirdos for showing up. Also, thanks to Will for taking the reading photos you see here, as I’ve stolen them from a blog post he wrote about the tour.

Bertin Checkpoint Success

If you ever go through a security checkpoint for a domestic flight, it may surprise you that they will not let you through with cans of beer, knives, and bottles of rare liquor in your carry-on. Me and Kris learned this is a very FUBAR-like way, and to great hilarity for the YYJ staff. But don’t worry, because we drank them beers the next night in Cowtown and I believe Bertin smuggled his liquors back to Halifax a day later.

Calgary Hilarity

Calgary was our last stop, and we did a reading there at Shelf Life Books, hosted by owners JoAnn McCaig and Will Lawrence. They generously laid out wines and cheeses for their guests, and entertained a lively Q & A after the readings. We had a great little crowd there, including cousins of mine, and local writers Kim McCullough and Rea Tarvydas, who have long supported us and stepped it up a notch when Kim drove us to the beer store.

Me and Kris did not make the complimentary breakfast at our hotel. Never did we ever make one in the days before. Believe in your dreams…

All in all, it was a great bonus round of mini-tour for me (and Taylor), and a damn good start for Kris. He gets all Hannibal Buress in the opening remarks, but then reads like a pro, even on days when he misses the daily growth and weight status updates of his dog. Jess always reads good and does other stuff good too, like standing on a ferry with disgruntled-face men while she shows genuine enthusiasm.

BTH, Debris, Pauls

So, that is what I had to report. I’ll update this post with more things over the next day or so, and will share more news and happenings as they occur. Until then, thanks to all the people who showed up for us out west, who hosted us, and who shared our crap on the internets and by other communications mediums. You are all my heroes…