One strict rule applies to anybody wanting to read at the Free Speech literary salon.

You must be a writer living in Roncesvalles Village.

You must be a poet, novelist or non-fiction writer, or, if not, you must be a songwriter or stand-up comedian or, in one case, a story-telling puppeteer.

And if you don’t actually live in the neighbourhood, you must have a strong connection to it.
“I love being home alone in my favourite reading chair discovering a new poet, or a novelist, who lives right around the corner from me,” founder and emcee Johan Hultqvist told a recent gathering.

Nearly three years ago, in the upper room at Tinto Coffee House on Roncesvalles Ave., Hultqvist and two friends read stories and a singer/songwriter played after each. The format stuck. Hultqvist hosts the series on the last Tuesday of the month.