Secrets of the Hospitality Suite

by Antanas Sileika


Aspiring writers dream not only of publication, but of standing on the stage at Harbourfront Centre, and then, maybe best of all, sharing drinks with other authors in the Hospitality Suite.

That was part of the dream I wrote about in my memoir, The Barefoot Bingo Caller.

When I returned to Toronto from Paris, where we’d run a literary journal called Paris Voices out of the bookstore (Shakespeare and Company), the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) down at Harbourfront Centre was like a literary Manhattan compared to the grubby literary digs at S.&Co.

High profile writers came through there, the likes of Tobias Wolff and Guy Vanderhaeghe. Anybody could go down to listen to them at the Festival, but every aspiring writer wants to do more than sit in the audience. In my overheated literary imagination, I envisioned a hospitality suite that included a Canadian version of the Algonquin Round Table. Who would be our Dorothy Parker? Can a Canuck even be Dorothy Parker?

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