What started out as a crisp fall day on Sunday, quickly turned very cold and very dreary. But not even cold and drear could stop this bookworm, along with hundreds of others, from having a marvelous time at Word on the Street in Toronto.
This was my second year, so I was more focused and organized this time ’round, knowing who I wanted to see/hear and what I absolutely had to eat (hint: corn on the cob). I started out with some writerly talks at the “Workshop Marquee”, the first of which was a talk by Cynthia Good called “An Insider’s Guide to Getting Published.” She had some good tips and the information was interesting enough. Next was a talk called “Not Again!”, a discussion held by Patrick Crean and Craig Pyette about what editors are tired of seeing. I found this talk less informative because it was like “this is what we’re tired of, but if you have something original we want to see it anyway.” Not that I really expected anything more than that…
Then because we were freezing Boyfriend and I decided to get some food. One of the great things about WOTS (aside from the books, obviously) is all the delicious food options. Mmm! We ended up going for a classic: hot dogs.
With warm food in our bellies, we browsed the different tents as we had quite a bit of time before the next scheduled reading I wanted to go to. So many beautiful books to discover! My TBR list has definitely grown since.
After a hot-chocolate run, we headed to the “This is Not the Shakespeare Stage” for a reading and Q&A called “Caught Between Worlds: Life Redefined” featuring YA authors Megan Crewe, Maureen McGowan and Eve Silver. Megan read first from her novel The Lives We Lost. She picked a great scene with lots of action and some humour. Next up, Maureen read from Compliance, and Eve read from her debut novel RUSH. I’m always surprised by how eloquent and entertaining authors are and these ladies were no exception. In the Q&A when asked how they approach writing, both Megan and Maureen said they are planners, with Megan saying she writes out elaborate outlines knowing exactly where she wants the story to go before writing it. Eve said she is the complete opposite, flying by the seat of her pants, sometimes not even knowing her characters names until well into the story. I thought Maureen made a very good point, when asked about writing for teens vs. adults, that the adult genre lines are a lot stricter than YA and, therefore, writing YA allows more freedom. Adding to the discussion, Eve said that she likes that young adults are more open-minded about trying different genres because they haven’t yet fallen into a specific genre of preference.
Next we headed to the signing tent on Kidstreet and got my copy of Skink on the Brink signed by the lovely Lisa Dalrymple and Suzanne del Rizzo. I was thrilled that they recognized me from my blog! Before heading to the next reading we grabbed a few cobs of the infamous corn that I have dreamed about since last year’s festival. SO GOOD!
To finish off the day we attended the TD Children’s Literature Award readings presented by CBC. Gillian Deacon of CBC’s Here and Now hosted the readings. All of the books on the roster were finalists for this year’s TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Several authors couldn’t be in attendance, so they had actors do readings instead, which was a very inspired idea—they really brought the narrators and characters to life. First, a Canadian-Afghani actor (I feel terrible that I missed her name…) read from Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War by Deborah Ellis. Actor Kevin Walker gave a very funny and lively reading from The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen. Then TV host Nicole Stamp (who I remember from TVOKids!) read from One Year in Cole Harbour by Polly Horvath. Her reading was hilarious and very animated—I didn’t know people could actually talk that fast in real life. Then it was time for the picture books… Author Jennifer Lanthier read from The Stamp Collector and Kyo Maclear read from her book Virginia Wolf. Such a pleasure hearing these beautiful books read by their authors. After the readings I got my copies of The Stamp Collector and Virginia Wolf signed.
By this point most people had cleared out and the booths were starting to be packed up so we made our way home, cold and tired but content. It was a great day being surrounded by so many wonderful books and bookish people. I look forward to attending WOTS again next year.