Ever wonder where authors read when they’re not writing? We asked Toronto-based authors Daniel Perry, Kim Moritsugu, Diane Flacks and Dominique Bernier-Cormier about their favourite reading habits and more.
Spring showers are out but the summer sunshine is in. Why don’t you explore the city with your favourite book? Here are five spots in Toronto where you can read and get some vitamin D.
Toronto’s International Festival of Authors is proud to announce the authors participating in the 2017 festival! The IFOA takes place from October 19 to the 29th at the Harbourfront Center. These eleven days are packed with readings, one-on-one interviews, thought-provoking panel discussions, special events and free book signings. Tickets go on sale on September 16th!
By Ann Y.K. Choi
As an outsider looking in, our neighbourhood in the 1980s could be perceived as sketchy with the Madonna-inspired prostitutes sitting on the side steps of the imposing Ukrainian church at the corner of Queen and Bellwoods, and the homeless asking for loose change outside our variety store. Our best sellers really did include cigarettes and condoms.
But for my family and the characters in Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, the neighbourhood was a vibrant reflection of the residents and our working-class background. The store allowed us to connect with everyone from immigrant families to starving artists–writers, musicians, and actors–who lived on white bread and cola but paid for brand named foods for their pets. And, although we were robbed frequently and our home vandalized, we felt a strong sense of belonging. People looked out for each other. One vivid memory of this was when someone set the entrance to our apartment (above the store) on fire in the middle of the night. One of the prostitutes who worked on our street corner called 911 and rescued us.
For the month of April we are delighted to welcome author Cordelia Strube to lead our Book Club! She invites us to read Kate Caley’s How You Were Born. Here is why she chose this book.
I hadn’t read Kate Caley’s work before pulling How You Were Born from a box, one of ten or so boxes delivered to me as a juror for the Trillium Book Award. Jury duty in the literary world expands the margins of writers’ minds because we are forced to read books that we might not otherwise have noticed, not because the books aren’t good but because we haven’t heard about them. An independent publisher as outstanding as Pedlar Press does not have a publicity punch equal to that of corporate-powered Random House. Jurors are given the opportunity to see beyond the packaging and promo and assess books from all publishers, large and small, that meet the award’s submission guidelines.
Testing the pulse of each literary work, we diligently wend our way through the big name authors, best sellers and award winners as well as the emerging or lesser known ones. Occasionally we are gobsmacked by a book so masterful that we write it down immediately in felt marker, alongside the penciled titles. Kate Caley’s collection How You Were Born was such a marvel for me. Two years later, her stories Boys and The Fetch continue to linger in my imagination. Her skill as a playwright is richly evident in her use of dialogue. Characters are revealed through behaviours and their use of settings, enabling us to learn about Caley’s worlds as her characters move through them. Her use of specific, animate detail never slows the narrative and eases us into the complexity of the human condition. With grace and pathos, Caley teases out unexpected insights, connections, dark secrets and moments of transcendence.
How You Were Born well deserved the Trillium Book Award.
Cordelia Strube is an accomplished playwright and the author of nine critically acclaimed novels, including Alex & Zee, Teaching Pigs to Sing, and Lemon. Winner of the CBC literary competition and a Toronto Arts Foundation Award, she has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Award, the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. A two-time finalist for ACTRA’s Nellie Award celebrating excellence in Canadian broadcasting, she is also a three-time nominee for the ReLit Award. Her latest work On The Shores Of Darkness, There Is Light won the City of Toronto Book Award.