Word on the Street Toronto
This year the festival moved down to Harbourfront Centre, which was a beautiful location because there is nothing like browsing books while looking out at the lake. It was a little disorienting for me, as in the past it was always held at Queen's Park and so all of the booths and tents were along one street and very easy to browse while walking up and down the street. Here, you definitely needed a map to get around as the booths and tents were in clusters rather than along the road.
But other than that, it was the exact same event - great book deals and tons of great readings and discussions.
I did all of my browsing when I got there, picking up some French books for my kids and saying hello to people. I met André Alexis and told him how much I enjoyed Fifteen Dogs and that I'm hoping it does really well this awards season. I also won a kids book pack from the Toronto Public Library Worker! My kids were so excited when I brought it home, you can see all of the books below that were in the bag. They are all Canadian and quite a few are Toronto books so they were thrilled about that.
Once I did all of my browsing it was time to start attending the readings and discussions I was interested in. First up was Treasured Islands: Life in the Caribbean at the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent with Robert Hough, author of The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan and Sabrina Ramnanan, author of Nothing Like Love. This talk was really interesting to hear about the process of Canadian authors writing stories that take place elsewhere.
Next was the Diaspora Dialogues Feature: The Story Behind the Book - Four Writers on How They Got Published at the Toronto Book Awards Tent. This featured Jael Richardson, author of The Stone Thrower; Jon Chan Simpson, author of Chinkstar; Sabrina Ramnanan, author of Nothing Like Love; and Cherie Dimaline, author of The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy. Each author read from their books and then they discussed the challenges facing diversity in the publishing industry in Canada and their own experiences getting published and what comes after.
And finally, at the Toronto Book Awards, André Alexis read from his Toronto Book Award and Giller Prize nominated book Fifteen Dogs and then spoke about what inspired the book.