Get INSPIRED!: Toronto’s inaugural international book fair

INSPIRE book fair

Since the announcement of a new international book fair INSPIRE!, there has been a lot of speculation — some positive and some negative. Being fairly new to the publishing industry, however, I was eager to get involved and see where this book fair would take us.

2014-11-16 14.10.27But volunteering for an inaugural event has its own challenges. Everyone involved is learning as they go, addressing problems when they happen, and basically flying by the seat of their pants. Thankfully, I was surprised by the level of organization. Besides myself, there had been an overwhelming response of volunteers, so the fair was rarely, if ever, short on staff.

2014-11-15 13.37.33Free access to the fair was one of the highlighting perks for being a volunteer. No scanning fuss for us! Our blue volunteer t-shirts were a “get up the escalator” free card. The themed decor of the venue was quite extravagant. Going up the escalator, you were surrounded by a a stunning display of dangling alphabet letters and cardboard books, which almost reached the floor below. At the very top of the escalator, you were then greeted by vintage presses from various decades. They were definitely a type of “porn” for the book publishing enthusiast. Around the book fair there was also comfy rest spots sporting sofas and multi-coloured zebras to keep you company while you lounged.

2014-11-15 13.57.20However, the INSPIRE! team weren’t the only creative bunch during the fair. Many publishers went all out in decorating their booths for the weekend-long event. Simon and Schuster Canada‘s booth was breathtaking with its house-like interior, moving from room to room. I especially loved the mattress of books in the bedroom and the beautiful book sculptures descending from the ceiling. If they had been for sale, I don’t think I could have helped myself. Simon and Schuster staff on hand told me a co-worker’s friend had made them. A talented friend, indeed.

2014-11-15 13.28.43Penguin Random House Canada also had a beautiful booth filled with books, an author-signing table, and decor reminiscent of walking into Indigo’s lifestyle store areas. There was a lot of profile-worthy wall of Penguin classics to take your picture in front of, which I took full advantage of.

Aside from the big-name publishers, the little guys were  also well-represented. While they weren’t as over-the-top, they held their own with their books doing the eye-catching for them. From indie publishers to self-publishers, there was plenty to look at it in the exhibitor marketplace alone. The scholarly section wasn’t very well filled out, however, I was happy to see my old friends at Wilfrid Laurier University Press advertising their wares, including their successful Life Writing series. I especially enjoyed flipped through the titles I had had a hand in developing during my brief stint there as a publishing assistant.

2014-11-15 15.10.22Throughout the day, INSPIRE! also had a great line-up of stage and off-stage events. There were authors of cook books giving cooking tutorials, author interviews on the INSPIRE! Main Stage, as well as a TD Children’s Stage. Notably, there was a First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literary Circle, which drew a lot of attention with its promotion of sharing, collaboration, and dialogue. One was able to discover Aboriginal authors, poets, and storytellers in a very inviting setting. And of course Penguin Random House had its own authors, including the infamous Chris Hadfield, where people sported stick-on versions of his iconic mustache.

There was definitely a lot happening, which was sometimes distracting and was to the detriment of other events occurring simultaneously. The Main Stage was overpowering at times, especially due to the size of the venue. Hopefully, solutions will be found as the INSPIRE! committee plan for next year, or the fair could benefit from a different choice of venue entirely.

All in all, I think the event was a success. In my mind, it felt like a blown-up version of the Scholastic book fairs I enjoyed so much as a child. I’ve heard that excitement around the Scholastic fair and catalogue has greatly diminished since I left the public school system, and it would be nice if this book fair helps revitalize that interest in books and book culture.

INSPIRE book fair t-shirtI would also recommend volunteering. It was a great experience. Everyone was friendly and volunteers were given breakfast goodies and pizza for lunch. Free food for free labour. I think that is a pretty good deal, and one that isn’t offered all the time when volunteering. The free t-shirt is also a great plus. Fairgoers were also fans of them, as volunteers were continuously asked where they could be purchased. If you were one of the attendees who wanted one, consider volunteering next year. In my opinion, this fair could have a bright future if the few kinks found this year are worked out and improved on. Perhaps the publishers who stayed away this year will join in now that INSPIRE! has left behind its foreshadowed failure and become a part of the busy annual fall season of the publishing biz.

INSPIRE international book fair

A pleasant surprise: Toronto’s Giller Light Bash

Scotiabank Giller Light Bash

For those of us who can’t afford to go to the Book Lover’s Ball, the Scotiabank Giller Light Bash is the next best thing. It’s not a black tie event, but it is a chance for publishing professionals, authors, and book lovers alike to adorn themselves in their best outfit, eat delicious appetizers, drink wine, dance, and celebrate books while being catered to an exclusive screening of the Scotiabank Giller Prize winner announcement. It is perfectly described as “a taste of the Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala formalities with an affordable price in an exciting party environment,” and the proceeds go to Frontier College, Canada’s original literacy organization. It is a well-known and well-attended cultural event that happens one night in six different cities across Canada, all with their own way of celebrating, from cocktail dinners to lively debates: Halifax, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, and Vancouver.

2014-11-10 20.57.24

The whole point of these one-night celebrations, of course, is the awarding of the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, which is a prestigious honour awarded annually for excellence in fiction in Canada. It’s Canada’s own largest and most important literary award, imbuing confidence and renewed vibrancy into Canadian publishing and giving winning authors renewed or new-found publicity and popularity. Over the years, it has been given to many deserving authors, from Alice Munro to Joseph Boyden.The Scotiabank Giller Prize was founded in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch, who still takes an active part selecting the jury and announcing the winner, and the inspiration for this prize came in memory of his late wife, Doris Giller, who was a successful journalist and editor and had a passion for the Canadian literary scene.

2014 Giller Light Bash adThis year the event was held at the Daniels Spectrum, the cultural hub of Regent Park, and it was a convenient location that was easily walkable from the downtown core area. There was a $3 coat check, however, which wasn’t ideal considering the original ticket price and the fact that wearing a coat (brrr!) was not a viable option. But sacrifices must be made, even if $2 would have been slightly better, and the evening was still a successful one.

It was off to a good start already when I arrived, with plenty of people filing into the surprisingly spacious venue. At the back of the room was the table full of extravagant raffle prizes, featuring bags of books, a pot and pan kitchen set, concert tickets, etc. There was also an opportunity to use a raffle ticket to predict the winning book and, if guessed correctly, an opportunity to score a copy of each Giller shortlist title signed by the author (I didn’t use a raffle ticket for this purpose, and it was probably for the best…I guessed wrong anyway).

The Giller Light Bash is a fun night, but it is also an expensive one. Raffle tickets cost a fair amount of money for just 4 tickets, and drink tickets had a hefty price of 1 ticket for $6 (a bar is cheaper!). The one bonus in regards to drinks was a free trial run of the wine by Barefoot. They conveniently had a booth set up where you could sample all the different types of wine being offered that night, so at least when you bought your $6 glass, you knew you liked it.

litograph tattooAside from the exuberant cost, the Giller Light Bash has its free perks as well. Last year, there was a beautiful selection of posters from Litographs included in the swag bags that everyone was given at the end of the night. This year, Litographs’ new tattoo collection was featured as an event table, where guests could go and select two (or more) literary tattoos that featured lines from Pride and Prejudice  to The Wizard of Oz. You also had the option of putting them on right there and then, which my friend and I promptly did. I chose “Brevity is the Soul of Wit” from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and my friend chose “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise” from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Some guests became obsessed with the literary tattoo option quite quickly. I witnessed one woman who had covered herself in every single tattoo that was available. Needless to say, she was literally showing her support for the classics.

There was also a photo booth set up with a variety of fun and wonky props to try on. Everyone, including myself, enjoyed taking photos throughout the night, some more than once. The one thing about having only 10 seconds for each photo is that usually you end up doing the same pose or just looking ridiculous. I think my friend and I accomplished both these feats.

photo booth at Giller Light Bash

Of course, the highlight of the evening was watching the live broadcast of the Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala. Rick Mercer hosted, and he was hilarious as always, making smart remarks and teasing the authors during his pre-filmed interviews with each of the shortlisted finalists. He played mad libs with them in addition to asking the big questions, such as what each of them would do with the cash ($100,000!!!!!). Amusingly, Miriam Toews, the author of All My Puny Sorrows, said she would buy a nice warm pair of Sorels (which apparently Mercer bought for her in the end!). And, touchingly, David Bezmozgis, the author of The Betrayers, said it was already spoken for with three growing kids at home (parents — there for you till the end). During the broadcast, there was also a length introduction for each finalist’s book, which were well done. The book trailers were very well done, and I certainly wanted to read all of them by the end of it (unfortunately, I hadn’t read any before the Giller Light Bash). If you can find the book trailers online, I definitely suggest you watch them. Quite the marketing skill was employed in their making. Well done, publishing fellows!

Sean Micheals giller winnerBut what we were all waiting for was the winning announcement, and when it came I was astounded. First-time novelist Sean Michaels won the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his first book Us Conductors. After watching the book trailer at the event, I had already developed an interest in reading the book. I love fiction inspired by Russian history, and on top of that it also contains a romance and the jazz age (who could ask for more from a debut novel?). The only other debut novelist to win the Giller Prize was Johanna Skibsrud for The Sentimentalist in 2010, and besides Michaels, the only other first-time author to capture the prestiguous award was Vincent Lam for his 2006 short story collection Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. Considering how first-time authors often struggle to get the attention of publishers these days, it was touching to see Michaels be rewarded for his determination to succeed. He certainly deserved to be noticed.

After the winning announcement, the Giller Light Bash kicked it up a notch. The DJ turned on the music and the celebrating began with more drinks and dancing. It was a great evening to be a part of. There was also the lovely bonus of receiving a swag bag at the end of the night, which included a new book (you can never have enough books), popcorn, coupons, magazines, popcorn, lip gloss, coconut water, and plenty of other fun trinkets. I was very pleased with the booty.

I still think the evening could drop in price, as many of the other cities celebrating that same night do have cheaper ticket options (except Winnipeg — the odd ball out) and Halifax even has different pricing options, such as a student price. But, aside from the fact that I am incredibly poor and as a result cheap, the Giller Light Bash is an awesome experience where you get to network, meet new people, and have fun with some good friends. Yes, it was on a Monday, but it did make the dreary Monday a little better, even if it was a little more difficult to get up for Tuesday.

Whether you’re new to publishing or just love books, you should definitely consider attending the Giller Light Bash next year. It’s for a good cause and you get to party on a Monday without having to be a university student. A win–win in my books!









Feeling history: Motherlode book launch

Image of the cover for the book Motherlode

While I have yet to read Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience by Carolyne Van Der Meer, I attended the second launch for her book in Toronto this past Friday, April 4, 2014; the first book launch was held in Montreal.

Motherlode book launch flyerI had a couple of reasons for attending. The first was that this book occupies a central position for me, uniting two main passions of mine: literature and history. Motherlode is an elegant blend of short stories, poems, and essays, and it is a creative reinterpretation of the experiences of her mother and other Dutch immigrants who spent their childhood in Nazi-occupied Holland. These individuals grew up deeply affected by war, and the complex emotions it inspired even in the innocent minds of children is brought to light, expressed in the most emotive manner. My second reason for attending was my past affiliation with the publisher of the book, Wilfrid Laurier University Press. This inspiring group of people that help make books like Motherlode happen also helped cement my decision to make my career in publishing. For two summers, I was WLUP’s co-op student/publishing assistant and that immersion into the world of scholarly publishing left me forever changed, dedicated to the written word. Therefore, I was also hoping that at least a few of my old co-workers would be in attendance (I wasn’t disappointed–Lisa Quinn, the acquisitions editor of Motherlode, and Clare Hitchens, the publicist, were both in the audience that evening).

Upon arriving, I rode up in the elevator with two older ladies. I soon came to the conclusion that they were also heading to the book launch, and what was also interesting was that they were speaking in Dutch to each other, in fact, almost everyone in the lecture room I entered was speaking Dutch. It turns out, the event was being hosted by CAANS, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Netherlandic Studies. Most of those in attendance were therefore Dutch and regulars, and as a result they knew each other fairly well. I was the odd twenty-something in the room with no word of Dutch and, at least until Clare and Lisa arrived, knew no one there.

I decided to sit next to an elderly lady who was already sitting by herself, and it was one of the best decisions I made that night. A delightfully charming woman, she immediately warmed to me. Her name was Grace, and she had immigrated to Canada in the 1950s after having lived through the Nazi occupation as a child. I was humbled to be sitting next to someone who could so closely relate to the book about to be launched. When I asked her about the experience of living through it, her response was, “It was no fun at all.”

Aside from this somber moment, the rest of the time we waited we had a light and often amusing conversation. Before knowing her past, I had asked her if she could speak Dutch and she had said of course, but that she could also speak a few words of English (obviously, we had been speaking English this entire time—I was pleasantly surprised by such cheeky humour). At one point, I was asked by Marianne Verheyen, the host and Toronto CAANS president, if I was Grace’s granddaughter. We chuckled at the mistake and I said no, I was actually a stranger until just recently. I suppose my blonde hair could make me appear “Dutch-like” in appearance, if one didn’t know better, and being chummy with Grace would appear grand-daughterly to most. I certainly didn’t mind the error. It was nice to feel that I could blend in despite not being Dutch…or in my eighties for that matter.

Carolyne Van Der Meer, author of MotherlodeThe event started about ten minutes after eight (earlier, Grace had amusingly said that their meetings were always at least ten minutes behind schedule). My friend and past mentor, Lisa Quinn, introduced the book and the author, painting a lovely picture of love, loss, and memory. Then Carolyne took the stage. Although she was soft spoken (some in the elderly audience were unable to catch everything), I found her tone to be highly appropriate for the content she was discussing. It reminded me of my grandfather’s own manner of speaking that would often surround me like a comfy blanket by the fireplace, listening to his stories of the “good old days.”

Carolyne first talked about how the concept for Motherlode developed, and it essentially began with her son. He began to ask questions about his family ancestry that Carolyne herself had never thought to ask before. Thus, in an effort to answer those questions not only for her son but also for herself, she sought out these untold stories. A phrase Carolyne used that I found truly encapsulated the meaning of family history is that it is a past that is full of both “intense pleasure and intense pain.” I think this is also why we find memoirs so fascinating, because the stories they tell are riddled with an array of emotions that truly consume readers because, to put it frankly, it’s all true.

As it turned out, Carolyne’s mother’s childhood was not enough to fill an entire book. Aside from it being difficult in general to talk about her wartime experience, it was also difficult to remember every single detail having been so young at the time. So Carolyne started to look elsewhere and what she found was both touching and surprising. Expecting reluctance, those who allowed themselves to be interviewed willingly opened up to her in ways they had never done so before with their own family members. As Carolyne also mused during her talk, perhaps it is easier to confide in a stranger rather than sharing such intimate and painful details with the one’s we love. Looking around, I saw many heads nodding in agreement. However, she did mention that those interviewed often shared her tape recordings with their families after the fact. I was deeply moved by the fact, as I’m sure Carolyne was, that she was able to inspire that kind of confidence in these people that they were suddenly able to speak on topics they had been silent on for so long.

Carolyne also read excerpts from Motherlode, choosing various poems and one short story to read aloud to us. I particular loved the short story she read, “Marijke’s Song.” A true story, it was absolutely touching and painfully real. Marijke’s simplistic joy, knowing her father was home, and her pure innocence in regards to the secrecy necessary during times of war. I don’t wish to ruin any portion of the story for those who haven’t read the book, and you most certainly should (it is on my upcoming reading list), but I found that I was able to relate and understand Marijke in many ways. I became immersed in this memory, which was rendered so honestly that I don’t doubt Carolyne’s mother felt herself transported back to her Papa’s shop with the distinct smell of leather tickling her nostrils.

Afterward, the audience members had a lot to say with many stories of their own to add. One memory an older gentleman recalled particularly comes to mind. He mentioned the scarcity of food and how one of their alternatives was eating tulip bulbs. As he pointed out, these tulip bulbs were not the most savoury food item to digest. He also added that during the annual children’s tulip planting in Toronto’s Amsterdam Square in memory of the Holocaust, he told this small fact of life that happened during Nazi occupation and a little boy proceeded to take home with him three tulip bulbs to try for himself. He came back the next year and told the older man, “You’re right. Those tulip bulbs are gross!” Once again, the matter-of-fact nature of children is a phenomenal thing.

After a number of such stories, some sad, some funny, the book launch’s reception took place with red and white wine and an assortment of crackers and Dutch cheese. It was a delicious way to end an evening of reminiscing, delving into the smaller, more intimate pockets of history that were close to home for many in the audience that night.

IMG_20140407_211710Finally, I want to thank Carolyne for signing my book. I cannot wait to read more of Motherlode after the sneak peek I was given this past Friday.

If you’re interested in purchasing Carolyne’s beautiful book, you can buy a copy from Wilfrid Laurier University Press, one of the most dedicated publishers out there, or from Chapters or Amazon.

You can also find the author, Carolyne Van Der Meer on her Facebook page.

To leave you with a final thought, I thought I’d end by sharing this video posted on Youtube of Carolyne reading from Motherlode during the Montreal launch. Enjoy!

Debunking the romantic genre: A talk with Harlequin’s Susan Swinwood

Image of a man and woman about to kiss, a poster for a Harlequin event

First of all, let me just say that there is always something happening in Toronto, and such was the case last night, March 19, 2014. My plan was to have a relaxing evening at home, watching episodes and baking cookies for my coworkers at UTP Journals, however, this was not to be.

Twitter, the social media king, alerted me to an event being put on by the Book and Media Studies Student Association at the University of Toronto. The event was about exploring the publishing industry from the perspective of romantic fiction, and the lecture was given by the lovely and extremely patient (she had quite the line up of admirers afterward during the reception), Susan Swinwood, who is the executive editor at HQN Harlequin, the giant of romance publishing.

Susan Swinwood, Executive Editor at HarlequinSusan’s detailed lecture really opened up the idea of what can be considered romantic fiction, and she made a great point: we all read it (and yes, even the guys). The theme of romance runs across a variety of genres, and we see it in almost every book we read, such as erotica (obviously), romance (obviously, again), historical fiction, young adult, science fiction, and so on. The only thing Harlequin does differently than other publishers is that it OWNS it. In all honesty, no other publishing house can claim the same prestige in one given genre the way Harlequin can with romance.

But Harlequin is not just those steamy monthly copies you see in variety stores and gas stations. Harlequin has grown and expanded with the times. Its series now include books that have a longer shelf life and stay in bookstores just like any other trade fiction title. These books are published by specific Harlequin imprints, such as HQN and MIRA, and they target not only their current readers, but also new readers who are looking for that popular romance author that isn’t going to disappear after a month’s time.

Significantly, Harlequin was also one of the first publishers to start developing digital copies of its books and backlist, taking advantage of what was new technology then even before it started to dominate publishing as a whole. And during the recession, Harlequin saw an increase in sales rather than the decrease that most publishers experienced. Romance has a dedicated readership and Harlequin is well aware of this and takes full advantage. The team effort that is put into producing and marketing all of Harlequin’s titles is just inspiring, to say the least.

I was also amazed by how well Harlequin has catered to its audience, publishing books in a wide variety of categories: historical, thriller, teen, paranormal, classic romance, African-American, and many more. Harlequin even has a line of books targeted at male readers! Branching out in this way ensures that Harlequin stays on top and stable despite publishing’s rocky foundation these days. It is something other publishers have been following suit with, becoming more digital and more innovative to keep readers reading.

Alas, like all publishing professionals, Susan was realistic and honest about the future of publishing. It has changed A LOT and continues to as technology keeps being developed and as I mentioned above, publishers have to keep abreast of it all in order to remain relevant. Despite this slightly depressing turn in the conversation, Susan finished by casting a ray of sunshine into the apparent abyss of publishing’s lifeline: as long as there are dedicated readers and authors who want the prestige of a physical book in their hands, there will be publishers and the printed word.

To conclude, I love romance, but I have never been an avid reader of Harlequin, and Image of two Harlequin books, the best man and the Returnedmaybe it was a bit because of the stigma attached to the brand from “bad writing” to “romantic fluff.” Those romantic series that are recycled every month and that I see my boyfriend’s grandma reading are probably still not my cup of tea, but I did pick up two of Harlequin’s imprint titles from HQN and MIRA that Susan brought along to give out (free books are always welcome!). The Returned is actually the inspiration behind the hit television series Resurrection, so fans of the show will definitely want to get their hands on this book, as I have heard great things about both the show and now (thanks to Susan), the book.

Now, I’m not saying Harlequin is for everyone, and I’m not sure if it is for me yet either, but Harlequin’s new brands certainly stand a good fighting chance for those of us who can’t stomach buying the ones with a half dressed man and a woman clinging to his bare chest on the cover (as you can see from above, the two books I chose do not feature this signature cover choice).

Either way, Susan Swinwood certainly cleared away the common misconceptions surrounding the romantic genre and gave it a whole new coat of paint. I will now be cringing a lot less when I say that one of my favourite genres is romance. It’s not sappy or nonsense, but what I and many women want to read (and want in their life. Ahem! Hint, hint, gentlemen). I mean, if you are willingly going to read Fifty Shades of Grey out in the open, Harlequin is a step up, at least in my opinion.

So pick up a Harlequin…I dare you :p

You can check out Harlequin’s titles on their website and on Twitter @HarlequinBooks

If you’re interested in other events the Books and Media Studies Student Association may have or the association itself, they are also on Twitter @BMSSA_UofT 

The inauguration day of Toronto’s new lit fest: Pages Festival + Conference

logo for pages festivalThere are a lot of people who will claim that festivals celebrating books and publishing are fading out of existence. However, with the rise of a new festival on the literary scene, the written word seems just as popular as it was the day Gutenberg invented the printing press!

The evening of March 13, 2014, I attended the official launch day of the inaugural Pages Festival + Conference: Unbound, hosted at the Randolph Theatre in Toronto.

Because it was the first festival event, there were various speeches, introductions, and expressions of gratitude that had to be given at the beginning. The main spokesman on behalf of the festival committee was the artistic director of This is Not a Reading Series, Marc Glassman, who was also the proprietor of the bookstore Pages Books & Magazines on Queen Street West in Toronto for 30 years. Glassman was the one who founded the festival with the objective to explore the “evolving word” in the digital age.

It was during this interlude that I took the time to look around, and I noticed that besides myself and maybe ten to fifteen other audience members, the majority of the night’s spectators was made up mostly of an elderly crowd. I quickly found out why with Glassman’s introduction of Bob Bossin: folksinger, activist, writer.

banner of Bob Bossin

My attendance of the festival having been a last minute decision after a long day at work, I was unaware of the musical and historical delights the night had in store for me. It seemed that everyone in the audience knew who Bob Bossin was but me. However, it didn’t take long to realize that he was a man with a few interesting stories to tell and some catchy tunes to sing.

Davy the Punk book by Bob BossinThe book he has written is called Davy the Punk and is a narrative about the life of his father, Davy, who turned out to be a lot more than just a father figure. Referred to as “Davy the Punk” by those he worked with, Davy, unbeknownst to his son at the time, was an intimate part of Toronto’s gambling underworld in the 1930s and 40s, and one of Toronto police’s most elusive quarry.

While I haven’t read the book myself, I was fascinated by the small excerpts Bob gave us, from free baseball tickets magically being given to his uncle and new bride to unsuccessful police raids on his father’s place of business. Bob’s renditions truly brought the era to life through his manner of expression and his Godfather-like “gangster” impressions. His personal investment in his father’s story was evident throughout the night and during the conversational interview held between him and former Premier, classmate, and old friend, Bob Rae.

But perhaps the most memorable part of the evening was when Bob Bossin reunited with his 1970s Stringband and played old favourites that had the audience singing along.The folksongs were simple enough to pick up, and I found myself easily joining inBob Bossin and the Stringband with the rest of the crowd. I think my favourite song of the evening had to be “Show Us the Length” — crude and catchy, I was chuckling to myself and humming the song long after the performance was over. I now wish I had thought to record it, but if you’re interested in hearing clips of the Stringband’s music you can check it out in the Jukebox section of Bob Bossin’s personal website <>, and it thankfully includes my favourite (which you will have to listen to yourself to discover why I find it so  utterly amusing).

Although I wasn’t able to get a book that evening (I wasn’t exactly relishing the idea of battling the older crowd intent on reminiscing and getting their books signed), I definitely recommend checking this title out, especially for its rich take on local history where “Toronto the Good” shows its darker side.

While I wasn’t able to attend any other festival days, there is no doubt in my mind that each was as delightfully entertaining in its own way with more author events alongside panel discussions during the day-long conference.

If you are interested in learning more about the Pages Festival + Conference, you can learn more about it on their website, Facebook page, or Twitter.

Also, if you are as intrigued by Bob Bossin’s book as much as I am, you can get a copy at The Porcupine’s Quill, Indigo, Amazon, or independent bookstores.