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Canadian author entertains audience at first SoCo Reading Series Event of spring semester

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An award-winning Canadian author captivated an audience compiled of students and community members on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Author Steve Hayward, 39, read pieces of his work as the first presenter for the Southern Colorado Reading Series for the spring semester. Hayward’s reading took place in the Cottonwood room located in the Occhiato University Center at CSU-Pueblo.

Hayward has written two award-winning books. The first, “Buddha Stevens and Other Stories,” was published in Canada in 2001. The second, “The Secret Mitzvah of Lucio Burke,” won Italy’s Premio Grinzane Cavour prize for the best first novel.

Listen to an excerpt from Steven Hayward’s next, unreleased book, “Don’t Be Afraid.”

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Hayward moved to the U.S. when he was 30 after “The Secret Mitzvah of Lucio Burke” had begun printing in the U.S.

Hayward read several pieces from “The Secret Mitzvah of Lucio Burke” and said his novel was inspired by historical events, as are many of his other stories.

“It’s all about the historical. The pieces come from the historical aspects,” Hayward said.

Hayward was introduced by SoCo Reading Series Coordinator, Juan Morales, who said that “(Hayward) has an ability to pull conflict from places you wouldn’t expect them.”

Hayward proved this statement true after reading several pieces, which captivated the audience of about 25 people, drawing out laughter and outspoken comments.

Canadian author Steven Hayward at a SoCo Reading Series event on Jan. 26 --Photo by Zak Bratton

The first reading Hayward shared with the audience candidly expressed his personality.

Hayward quickly got into character as he read, then suddenly paused in the middle of his first passage. He then jokingly began to explain how his book may have needed footnotes for American readers to understand his Canadian humor.

He explained how the passage he had just read contained a common Canadian joke that referred to the Dionne quintuplets from 1934.

“In Canada, this passage is very funny,” he said. “So I’m going to read it again, and this time I want you all to laugh, just help me feel at home.”

Hayward’s energy quickly rubbed off on the audience as the small conference room filled with laughter after each of his comical passages.

“This book (The Secret Mitzvah of Lucio Burke) will make you laugh, but it will also make you cry,” Hayward said jokingly, after finishing his last passage from his novel.

He then read some passages from his new book, which is expected to be titled “Don’t Be Afraid,” and is anticipated to be published by next year.

Hayward is also an assistant English professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs and says he rides his bike to and from the campus.

“I found that the sun shines here,” Hayward said of Colorado Springs. “It’s much warmer than Canada.”

Teaching creative writing classes, he said his classes are very popular at Colorado College and he loves the size of the campus community.

The advice he said he left aspiring writers was to “keep writing,” and to “revise, revise, revise.”