Nine UWindsor students in ParisA trip to France with nine students inspired the latest work of fiction from writer Marty Gervais.

Local author to read from collection of French fictions

A book born of “a crazy moment” in Paris will enjoy a reading by the author in professor André Narbonne’s class on Windsor’s literary culture Thursday, Dec. 3.

book cover Nine LivesAuthor Marty Gervais, resident writing professional in the Department of English and Creative Writing, will read from his latest publication, Nine Lives: A Reunion in Paris.

He traces the book’s genesis to an encounter near the Seine river. He was with nine women: UWindsor students heading home after a week in Burgundy, where he had led them in a class.

“They were approached by a young man who was curious how I — a much older man — knew these young women,” Gervais recalls. “One of the students leaned over to tell him in French that I was their father — father of all nine girls. They were half-sisters, and I was their father from nine different marriages.”

The women went on to claim that this gathering of the sisters was their first time meeting.

“It was hilarious, and that led me to writing these letters to my nine fictional daughters,” says Gervais. “I did that on the plane ride home. And when Daniel Lockhart of Urban Farmhouse Press saw it, he decided he’d like to see it in print, and so all these years later, the book is being published.”

Besides his role with the University, Gervais has had a long career in journalism, is publisher of Black Moss Press, and served as Windsor’s first poet laureate.

Thursday’s reading will feature guests, possibly including some of the Parisian “daughters,” now living in varied locations around the world. Dr. Narbonne suspects the event may mark a first.

“I don’t know of a book opening taking place in a Zoom classroom before,” he says.

It will run 2:30 to 4 p.m. and is open to the public to attend. Email Narbonne at for details.