Tag Archives: authors

Top 10 Authors on My Auto-Buy List

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Top 10 Authors on My Auto-Buy List

02.26.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

As readers we all have our personal preferences.

You read one book by one author that you’ve never had the privilege of reading before and you fall in love with his or her ability to write beautifully and still tell a compelling story. And then you dabble into another title work by the same author just to see if they can pull it off again—and much to your delighted surprise, they not only meet your expectations, but go beyond them—and that’s it, you’re hooked. You go, read, and purchase almost every title by the same author because he or she has gained your trust.

After your personal library is built on a steady foundation of authors you readily enjoy reading, you commit yourself as a starstruck admirer, a loyal reader and fan of that particular author’s works because in your mind, you’ve already been touched by the talent of this literary guru that speaks to you both in a personal and universal way.

Does this sound familiar to you? Do you have authors that you know won’t disappoint your literary taste buds? Authors that you’re willing to spend 85% of your book budget for? Authors you’re willing to stand in line for to meet, and greet, and possibly get an autograph or photo?

I have a few authors that I return to often in full trust of their literary giftedness and depth as storytellers. Others that I love for their fantastic imagination or wonderful art of honesty that reflects a true image of who we are, both in dialogue and compulsion. Others I love because their wit and take on the world simply makes me laugh from my gut.

Here are my top 10 authors on my auto-buy (and auto-love) list:

 

1. Margaret Atwood / Elizabeth Hay

Margaret Atwood

  Elizabeth Hay

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2. Joseph Boyden

Joseph Boyden

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3. Jhumpa Lahiri

jhumpa lahiri

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4. Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini

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5. Damon Galgut

damon galgut

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6. Mark Strand

mark strand

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7. Don Delillo

don delillo

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8. Johanna Skibsrud

johanna skibsrud

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9. G. Willow Wilson

g willow wilson

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10. Barbara Gowdy

barbara gowdy

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For those of you who may not be familiar with these authors, I highly recommend them. Pick up any one of their books and I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Their writing is clean, clear, and exquisitely told. These are wonderful storytellers and poets capable of creating characters that will move you, stories that will compel you, expose controversies that will call you to action and rethink your presumptions, and ultimately showcase truths that reflect the deepest and sometimes simplest parts of the human condition.

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Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish blog for hosting this popular, weekly meme.

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Who of these writers are you familiar with?

Who of these writers have you not yet read, but would like to?

Who’s on your Top 10 Authors Auto-Buy List?

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Top 20 Bookish Memories

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Top 20 Bookish Memories

02.06.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

1. Winning my very first short story prize.

first prize ribbon

When I was seven-years-old, I wrote a three-page short story about a boy who was accidentally locked in the basement. I submitted it to my teacher as a writing assignment for English and was surprised to be asked to read it aloud in front of my class and then received a First Place prize for it. It was a wonderful affirmation of my joy in writing and reading and my first experience in reading in front of an “audience,” even if they were only a group of my seven-year-old peers.

2. Getting accepted into the Creative Writing Program at York University.

vanier residence
I lived at the Vanier Residence for my first two years of study at York University in the Creative Writing Program. Photo from: http://www.yorku.ca

The best Creative Writing Program in the country is known to be the program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The next best program is the Creative Writing Program at York University. Since I received a York University Entrance Scholarship and was living in the GTA at the time, attending York University in Toronto made a lot of sense. It was a relief and privilege to finally receive my acceptance letter to the Creative Writing Program at York after I submitted my writing portfolio—an achievement that gave me a great sense of pride and fulfilment.

3. Seeing my work in print when published for the first time.

(c) "The Worm" by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
(c) “The Worm” by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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It’s quite an experience to see your work, which began as a simple idea, become a draft and then again into perhaps a number of drafts after many revisions, finally come off press and in print. When if first happened to me, I was filled with pride and disbelief.

4. Seeing my son learn how to read for the first time.

My son, Michael---the Book Worm (like Mommy).
My son, Michael—the Book Worm (like Mommy). (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

I remember the first time the meaning of words in print were finally revealed to me and the feeling I had when I finally understood what it meant to be able to read. When I witnessed my son read his first words off the page out loud, I was extremely proud to see him pass such an important milestone and nostalgic of my own memories of reading as a child. The picture above is a picture of Michael already eight-years-old and able to read chapter books!

5. Meeting Barbara Gowdy in person, having a conversation with her, and a glass of red wine.

Barbara Gowdy
Barbara Gowdy

One of my professors for the Prose Fiction Workshop course I took as part of my studies in the Creative Writing Program at York was published poet and author, Christopher Dewdney, who also happened to be the long-term partner of author, Barbara Gowdy. Barbara Gowdy also just happens to be one of my favourite authors! Because of her connection with my professor, I was able to meet her personally during her reading of her new book at that time, White Bone, with a special introduction from Christopher Dewdney. She gave me writing advice while we both sipped red wine. It’s one of my all-time favourite bookish memories.

6. Being asked to join Random House of Canada’s Blogging Team.

Random House logo at front reception. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Random House logo at front reception. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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When I was asked to officially join the Blogging Team for the prestigious and largest publishing company in Canada, Random House of Canada, I was absolutely thrilled. They have always published an excellent quality of literary fiction, which is my preferred genre, and their books have published many of my own favourite Canadian authors such as Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, M.G. Vassanji, etc. Reviewing books for Random House of Canada continues to give me great joy and privilege!

7. Becoming an editorial assistant for the literary journal, Existere.

existerelogo

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When I was accepted as an editorial assistant for the literary journal, Existere, I was extremely excited to be able to work alongside peers of the same creative interests. My experience there taught me to sharpen my critical and editorial eye and have a first-hand peek at the publishing world. Not to mention, I was able to make great friends who also happened to passionate about reading and creative writing.

8. Reading my poetry for a Poetry Night reading at the Grad Lounge.

The Grad Lounge Bill. I was first up that night! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The Grad Lounge Bill. I was first up that night! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Writers tend to be introverts. Who else could tolerate hours of writing in solitude? So, when I was slotted to read one of my poems for Poetry Night at the Grad Lounge, it was not only an honour, it was a nerve-wrecking experience. I’m naturally a shy and introverted person, but to be able to share my work with others in this type of venue meant getting up and reading my work out loud…in front of an audience…live! While I was perhaps self-conscious of that fact, I read through my poem with ease (since it was of course, so familiar), and was elated to receive a good response from the audience. When I left the stage, the bartender actually complimented me on my work, “That was a really good poem, good job!” While it made me blush, it helped to reaffirm my motivation to continue writing.

9. Attending my very first Canadian Book Expo.

book-expo-canada-5352-1

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When I worked as an editorial assistant for a small publishing house, UCPH, a few of us were granted the opportunity to attend the Canadian Book Expo event in Toronto. It’s an event that hosts Canadian publishers an opportunity to showcase their publications and their authors by providing members of the publishing and book world with free copies of books, ARCs, galleys, and book signings. For a book lover like myself amongst the many hundreds of people who attended that particular weekend, The Book Expo was a forum to be able to completely immerse myself in book mania. Both my husband (who was a book buyer at the time) and I attended, which made it even more meaningful.

10. Attending the Random House Blog Fest and meeting Erica Ehm and authors Ami McKay, Erin Morgenstern, and Paula Mclain all in one day.

Authors: Paula Mclain, Erin Morgenstern, Ami McKay at Random House Blog Fest, Feb. 2012. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Authors: Paula Mclain, Erin Morgenstern, Ami McKay at Random House Blog Fest, Feb. 2012. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Me and Erica Ehm. Random House Blog Fest, Feb. 2012. (c) Photo Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Me and Erica Ehm. Random House Blog Fest, Feb. 2012. (c) Photo Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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As a book addict and potential author worshipper, to be able to attend an elite event such as The Random House Blog Fest in February 2012 meant that I was privileged enough to meet not one favourite author, but three! I was not only able to meet them, but I was able to chat, take photos, and receive personally signed books! What more could a bibliotaphe ask for? Not to mention, I was surprised to also meet Erica Ehm, the former V-Jay of Muchmusic, who I had watched religiously as a teenager!

11. Receiving a personal tweet from Margaret Atwood.

Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood

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As most of my readers know, Margaret Atwood is not only a Canadian literary icon, but one of my favourite authors. I had written a review on her book, Cat’s Eye, and published on my blog as well as shared it online on Twitter. Margaret Atwood actually read my review and tweeted me personally in response!

12. Receiving my very first book for review from a publisher—and it was signed!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. My signed copy! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. My signed copy! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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The first book I received for review was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I not only thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel, I was so happy to have coveted a copy that was personally signed by the author. Imagine my surprise, when I was able to meet her later in person at the Random House Blog Fest later that year!

13. Receiving news that other publishers would like me to review a book(s) for them on a regular basis.

Slowly, but surely, other publishers came through in deciding to put me on their book blogging distribution list. It certainly is flattering to be asked to review books for more than one publisher on a regular basis. It’s also a great opportunity and privilege to work with creative people in the industry who, though don’t pay me monetarily for my reviews, pay me in kind with free books and collegial, working relationships.

A special thanks goes out to the Trisha at House of Anansi, Corey at Goose Lane Editions, Emily at Constable & Robinson, and Anneliese at Simon & Schuster!

14. Creating my book blog, The Bibliotaphe Closet

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When I created my book blog, The Bibliotaphe Closet, for the very first time, the achievement of learning how to publish a posting in itself was rewarding. Prior to The Bibliotaphe Closet, I was completely unfamiliar with the blogosphere and the working of WordPress. It was wonderful to create a forum to advocate literacy, share my thoughts about books I’ve read, and to be a part of an online reading community—all with my personal branding!

While many of those who don’t blog merely consider blogging as a “nice, little (and perhaps useless) hobby,” book bloggers themselves know the amount of time and effort it takes to create — and maintain a book blog.

I am happy to see The Bibliotaphe Closet survive and pass its first year bloggoversary. The Bibliotaphe Closet is now a-year-and-two-months old!

15. Receiving a personal tweet or blog comment from Eugenia Kim, Benjamin Wood, and Scott Fotheringham in response to my reviews of their books.

I had written a review of Eugenia Kim’s novel, The Calligrapher’s Daughter. It was an absolute pleasure to discover she had read my review and left a comment to thank me personally for my work. She was the first author who contacted me in response to a review I had written and it made me realize that, yes, authors do indeed read the reviews book bloggers write and appreciate the thought and work put into them.

Since then, I have received personal tweets and comments from authors like Benjamin Wood for his novel, The Bellwether Revivals, and Scott Fotheringham for his novel, The Rest Is Silence.

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@zaraalexis So pleased you connected so strongly with the book, Zara. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

— Benjamin Wood (@bwoodauthor) March 22, 2012

Hey! Thanks @zaraalexis for the review in your blog. Glad you liked it.

— Scott Fotheringham (@SFotheringham) May 1, 2012

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16. Winning and receiving a personally signed copy of Haruki Murakami’s limited edition novel, 1Q84, by winning the Haruki Murakami Writing Contest.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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My signed copy of 1Q84. Limited edition. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My signed copy of 1Q84. Limited edition. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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It’s one thing to receive a free book from winning a giveaway contest; it’s quite another thing to win a free book that happens to also be signed in a limited edition because you’ve won a writing contest! One of the most treasured books in my entire book collection is Haruki Murakami’s signed novel, 1Q84 because of how I received it and, of course, the opportunity I have to own it personally, and the pleasure I have to read it someday.

17. Chatting with Esi Edugyan, author of Half-Blood Blues, online.

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan.
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan.

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esi edugyan
Esi Edugyan. From: http://www.esiedugyan.com/images/author.jpg

The novel Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2012. It took Esi Edugyan eight years to write her debut novel and the time was well spent since its debut not only put her on the longlist and shortlist of the $50,000 Giller Prize, but actually won her the Big Kahuna!

To chat with her live online was a pleasure. Here’s a portion of that conversation I had with Esi Edugyan through the CBC Book Club Chat event on January 27, 2012:

As an award-winning writer and a friend in the craft, what’s the best advice you can give to aspiring writers out there (okay, by this, I mean: me)?

by you 3:41 PM

My advice to aspiring writers is first, to read everything, and secondly, to keep going. When the rejections are pouring in, keep going. If you’re advised to stop, keep going.
by Esi Edugyan 3:42 PM
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18. Buying my very first book from my school Book Fair.

My original copy of "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White that I bought as a child from my school Book Fair. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My original copy of “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White that I bought as a child from my school Book Fair. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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My first inscribed signature at eight-years-old. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My first inscribed signature at eight-years-old. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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I didn’t get allowance as a child so I had no means of buying myself a copy of any book at my school Book Fair. I did, however, convince my mom and dad to give me money so that I could place an order through Scholastic Inc. I remember wanting only one book at that time: Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White.

When the book arrived at school and my name was called so I could pick it up from the library’s Book Fair, I was so happy. When I received it, I simply stared at it in awe. My very first purchased book! I remember inscribing my name inside the front cover just to make it official. While it’s a little tattered, I still own the original copy I bought as a child.

19. Listening to Gordon Korman read in my school auditorium when I was eight-years-old.

gordon korman book cvr

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Aside from reading books by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, I also read a lot of books written by Gordon Korman when I was a kid. When I heard the news that my school was hosting a special reading by him in the school auditorium, I was starstruck. I couldn’t believe the person who had written all the books that I spent all my time reading at that time would be in my school gymnasium! Though I didn’t have a camera to capture this moment, this bookish memory has stayed with me for a very long time—it would have to—I was only eight.

20. The times I have cried in response to being deeply moved while reading a wonderful book.

There is nothing more wonderful than being deeply moved by a story you’ve read. While I’ve enjoyed reading many different kinds of novels, there are those that I remember that have simply moved me to tears, or rage, or both! And those are the best books and bookish memories one can have—how books and their stories make such an emotional impact on one’s life.

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Thanks to the Broke and the Bookish blog for providing and hosting this weekly meme!

How many wonderful bookish memories can you recall?

Which books have you read that moved you to tears? Or rage? Or both?

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Did You Hear the WORD ON THE STREET, Toronto? I DID!

Did You Hear THE WORD ON THE STREET, Toronto? I DID!

09.23.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

It was a fantastic book and magazine festival in Toronto yesterday. Queen’s Park was strewn with white tents filled with books, authors, publishers, and registered charities all advocating literacy and a crowd of avid readers and writers that visited each tent with a buzzing fervour.

I was so glad to be able to get there relatively early at 11:30 a.m and make it a fun, full day for the family. We actually left Queen’s Park at 5:00 p.m.

Here are some of the highlights of the festival that made our experience worthwhile:

The WOTS 2012 Enthusiasts at The Clarica Centre at Islington Station on the way to downtown, Queen’s Park.

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For those of you who don’t know, this is on site where I used to work as an editorial assistant for UCPH! I used to walk these halls with a coffee in my hand, readying myself for an upcoming Resource Coordination meeting. And here I am, now, with my kids on a weekend ready for the adventure of The Word on the Street at Queen’s Park! Let’s go!

The Simon & Schuster Canada Tent.

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Simon and Schuster Canada

And what tent did we hit right out of the Queen’s Park subway Station? One of my favourite publishers that I just started to review books for: Simon & Schuster Canada! And while my children scored Olivia the Pig tiaras, I bought super-cheap, but super-great books:

“The Taker” by Alma Katsu published by Simon & Schuster Canada.

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And while the kids missed seeing Olivia the Pig, in “pig-son,” they weren’t ashamed to show-off their Olivia paper tiaras. Here’s Michael helping Mercedes adjust her crown.

The kids fixing their Olivia the Pig paper crowns from Simon and Schuster Canada.

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First Book Canada

And how timely it was that one of our first stops was the registered book charity, First Book Canada. I had a conversation with Wayne Cochrane, Director of Operations, who told me about their great work in putting new books in the hands of children from low-income families. Today alone at The Word on the Street, First Book Canada was able to distribute 750,000 books alone! That’s exciting, especially if you’re a true advocate of literacy. I certainly am! For more information on how you can help foster literacy through First Book Canada, be sure to visit their website.

The First Books Canada tent. A great book charity with the aim to get new books to children from low-income families. Wayne Cochrane, Director of Operations, and children’s author, Helaine Becker.

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Helaine Becker, author of The Haunted House That Jack Built

And while I chatted with Wayne, my husband took the children to meet the children’s author, Helaine Becker who graciously inscribed her book to Michael and Mercedes while Michael turned extremely shy at meeting his very first “author” in person that he could barely speak when she asked him his name!

Michael and Mercedes’ first book signed by an author! THE HAUNTED HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT by Helaine Becker, illustrated by David Parkins.

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Dani Couture

At the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent, we took the time to listen to Dani Couture read a few passages from her novel, Algoma.

Dani Couture reading a few passages from her book, ALGOMA.

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And since it was still early in the afternoon, we, like the book enthusiasts of Toronto and the GTA, excitedly walked the streets of the festival to find our next great book!

Walking through the WOTS 2012 festival.

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The Penguin Pavilion

Another great highlight at the festival was dropping by The Penguin Pavilion where I chatted with a WOTS volunteer about the work surrounding the planned event. She was helpful, and patient, and like much of the event itself, positive, and energetic! She was even kind enough to let me take a picture of her shirt! Thanks to all the volunteers who stood for hours, passing around pamphlets, maps, and answering excited festival-goers’ questions.

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And because Penguin Books of Canada is an awesome publisher, they gave out AMAZING goodies to those who tweeted promos about Penguin at WOTS. And I tell you, I’m glad I stopped by. (OF COURSE, I’D STOP BY! I review books for Penguin Books of Canada!).

Thank you, Penguin Books! I absolutely LOVE my new Classics Penguin tote bag, my Classic Penguin mug (The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells), and my bookmarks, stickers, and posters!

Penguin Books of Canada SWAG!

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A great poster of Zadie Smith`s new release: N.W., published by Penguin Books.

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Penguin Classics mug: THE INVISIBLE MAN by H.G. Wells.

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Chef Mark McEwan

And then we dropped in on Chef Mark McEwan speak about his work as a Food Network TV host and his books, Great Food at Home and Fabbrica.

Chef Mark McEwan

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With all this book love and excitement, even the best of us have to take a break. Here’s the gang taking a rest with Bear Paw snacks and juice boxes before our next tent hop.

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David Suzuki

And it appears, I’m not the only author groupie around! Here’s my daughter, Mercedes, checking the Author Signing Tour Schedule for details. And because she’s so smart and is a green activist like Mommy, she just happens to be pointing at David Suzuki’s time slot.

Mercedes checking out the Author Signing Schedule. She’s keen on meeting authors, too, like her Mommy!

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Here are other tents we visited:

Book Thug.

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I was happy to see Book Thug at WOTS. I happily subscribe to their email for updates on their latest news of excellent literary work.

This Is Not the Shakespeare Stage Tent

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House of Anansi

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House of Anansi T-shirt.

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I was happy to see one of the other publishers I review for at WOTS: House of Anansi. And “A List” is right! P.S. I WANT THAT “A List” t-shirt!

The Remarkable Reads Tent (Random House of Canada)

The Remarkable Reads Tent, Random House of Canada.

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I dropped by the very popular Remarkable Reads Tent hosted by my friends at Random House of Canada. I kept my eye out for one of my favourite marketing teams: Lindsey and Cass, but didn’t catch them as I was thoroughly distracted by the number of speakers, readings, and books were on hand at the festival! Missed you guys!

I did, however, catch some author sightings and while I couldn’t see everyone I had hoped to see, to see one author in person is more than a book lover and blogger, and author groupie like myself could ask for.

Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak, author of the new release, THE WINTER PALACE.

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And if it wasn’t talented and famous authors to swoon at, it was every other kind of “bird.” Especially this one! She was promoting The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood at the Nightwood Theatre. She was good enough to pose for me in all her feathered glory! (Do you see what we do for you, Margaret Atwood?)

I love theatre! I love drama! I even love Margaret Atwood! But, I absolutely love The Word on the Street!

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Megan Crewe

And before I forget my YA followers and readers, can you guess who I saw at WOTS? Megan Crewe, author of the YA book, The Way We Fall, published by Hachette Book Group Canada.

Megan Crewe, author of YA novel. THE WAY WE FALL.

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And for even our younger readers, I wanted to share the buzz of the Kid Street Festival! Literacy can and should start at a young age. And to be able to see the joy of my own children reading makes me nostalgic of when I, too, fell in love with books for the very first time.

Though Michael and Mercedes were unable to snatch a Hobbit poster like most of the children, they were more than happy to shack up at the Children’s Activity Tent to join Debbie Ridpath Ohi and her interactive storytelling of her book, I’m Bored.

Michael taking a break at the Hobbit promotional tent. No poster, but still a great attitude!

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Kids Activity Tent

Here he is with his sister in the Kids’ Activity Tent giving me his best I’m Bored face, a new children’s book.

Michael’s best pretend face for the book, I’M BORED.

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Debbie Ridpath Ohi

And here’s the illustrator of the book, I’m Bored, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, encouraging the children to interact as she tells the story.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi, illustrator of the children’s book, I’M BORED.

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Here are other fun spots we visited:

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A little friend, Bear in Underwear, “hanging around” WOTS.

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And here’s Michael wondering where all the books went? I told him, it’s great news when the shelves are empty. It means more people have bought and received more books!

Michael at Mabel’s Fables.

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Arthur

Here the kids are posing with Arthur, one of their favourite book and television characters. They do own and have read all his books!

The kids posing with Arthur.

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The Children’s Book Bank

But most importantly, I had a conversation with the host of The Children’s Book Bank Tent and was pleased to discover their charitable work in providing free books to children from low-income neighbourhoods. My son even joined in the conversation and gladly offered his own books saying,

“I’ve read a lot of books and I’m done with them.”

How can you help? You can bring your new or gently-used books for children up to grade six to the Children’s Book Bank! And they are always in need of dictionaries!

Check out their website for details on hours of operation and other ways you can help by donating money or your time. If you love reading as much as I do, give the gift of literacy to those that need it most: children.

The Children’s Book Bank. An important book charity that places free books into children’s hands. Donate your books now!

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Kids Street Festival

But, the fun didn’t end there! My children were eager to meet their “friends” at the Kids Street Festival:

Chirp

Michael and Mercedes hanging out with CHIRP. Yay!

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Mercedes wasn’t shy! She went straight up to Chirp and gave him a great, big hug. And then she said,

“Chirp is wearing my red boots!”

She was in awe and so pleased that they were both wearing their red rainboots at WOTS.

And then other children flocked to Chirp!

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Kids Think About It!

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TVO Kids

And before we decided to go for a late lunch, Michael wanted to reaffirm that yes, he’s indeed a TVO Kid!

Michael, a TVO kid!

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Polkaroo

And if you’re as OLD as I am, you’ll get as excited as I was in meeting…yes, that’s right…POLKAROO!!

Michael giving Polkaroo a HUGE hug!

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Mercedes’ turn for a hug with Polkaroo!

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A special thank you to TVO Kids for bringing these characters to life for my children. It was surely a highlight of the day for them. (I was EXCITED to see my old friend, Polkaroo, too!)

Here’s the Polkaroo Gang at McDonalds for a late lunch. POLKAROOOOOOO!

The Polkaroo Gang.

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After lunch, the kids sat down for the TVO Kids show: Beatboxing! They had a really good time and even Daddy was impressed with the youth on the stage. Thanks TVO Kids!

The kids are excited. It’s a TVO Kids concert!

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The TVO Kids concert! Beat-beat-beat-boxing!

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Vincent Lam

But it wasn’t just an amazing time for the little ones, it was also a great day for me personally. I was able to catch a glimpse of Vincent Lam signing his new book, The Headmaster’s Wager. And I kept hitting myself, thinking,

“Why, oh, why, did I NOT bring MY copy to get signed?!?” Arghhh!

Vincent Lam signing SOMEONE ELSE’S book! I really should have brought my copy!

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Susan Swan

And a meaningful meet was when I accidentally ran into Susan Swan! I had planned on seeing her read at 3:15 p.m., but here she was, quietly signing her new book, The Western Light.

 She was my Prose Fiction professor at York University while I studied Creative Writing and English Literature many, MANY years ago!

I was excited to see her again in this context and she humoured me with a lovely photograph opportunity and asked for my blog’s business card. Thanks Susan, for always being a true lover of the writing craft and for remembering me.

Susan Swan, author of the new release, THE WESTERN LIGHT.

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Me with my former professor and highly acclaimed writer, Susan Swan. Ah, the nostalgia! 

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Thanks to Susan Swan for her patience and her gracious criticism of my work. She was extremely helpful, yet not unkind in showing me and others how to improve our writing. If you have a chance to purchase her new book, please do so! She’s a great writer and an excellent professor!

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SWAG

What a full day of author sightings, readings, interviews, SWAG, and book purchases. If you love reading and you love books, you’re not going to want to miss next year’s event. Look at all the fun stuff I was able to find on behalf of everyone’s promotion of literacy!

The Word on the Steet SWAG!

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Time to go home…and well…READ! Happy Word on the Street Day! And hope to see you all next year!

The kids (coerced) to show-off their activity artwork at WOTS.

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Michael says, “Ay Matey! See you next year at Word on the Street Toronto 2013!”

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Bye bye WOTS! Bye bye Chirp and Polkaroo! See you all next year!

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Did you attend The Word on the Street 2012 Festival at Queen’s Park?

What did you enjoy the most about it?

Which authors would you like to see featured next year?

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Continue reading Did You Hear the WORD ON THE STREET, Toronto? I DID!

Hey, Have You Heard the WORD ON THE STREET, Toronto? 09.07.2012

Hey, Have You Heard the WORD ON THE STREET, Toronto?

09.07.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

It’s that time of year again for book lovers everywhere! It’s THE WORD ON THE STREET Book and Magazine Festival Event that takes place in Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener, Toronto, and Halifax!

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And Toronto will be hosting its event on:

September 23, 2012

at Queen Park’s Circle

from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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And there are going to be hundreds of author events, presentations and workshops, and of course, the beloved marketplace where we can all browse the best showcase of Canadian books and magazines!

Now, if you’re like me, you might already anticipate doing one or more of the following things:

  1. Faint at the thought of all those beautiful books.
  2. Jump up and down from pure giddiness due to the literary buzz.
  3. Recruit your friends to attend so you have someone to help you carry your book purchases.
  4. Print the directions, the street map, and plan out your personal itinerary for the author events.
  5. Plan your wardrobe in advance, packing your camera, notebook, extra pens, and touch-up lipstick for those special author sightings.
  6. And sing and dance out of sheer joy from book love!

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Here are some highlight events that I know I’ll personally be visiting:

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The Scotia Giller Prize Bestsellers Stage – featuring the biggest names in Canadian literature

Remarkable Reads Tent – Random House and McClelland & Stewart will present favourite Canadian authors.

Penguin Pavilion – Penguin Books of Canada will feature Penguin authors.

Toronto Book Awards Tent – Nominees for the Toronto Book Awards read from their nominated works.

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And here are some of the authors I personally look forward to seeing:

Wayson Choy. (c) ABC Local

Wayson Choy: Scribendi.com Wordshop Marquee at 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM

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Katrina Onstad: The Remarkable Reads Tent at 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM

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David Bergen. (c) HarperCollins Publishing.

David Bergen:  Scotiabank Giller Prize Bestsellers Stage at 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM

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John Ralston Saul. (c) AGO.net

John Ralston Saul: the Scotiabank Giller Prize Bestsellers Stage at 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM

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Christine Putney. (c) Word on the Street.

 Christine Pountney: Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent at 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM

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Steven Heighton

Steven Heighton:  Great Books Marquee at 1:45 PM – 2:15 PM

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Vincent Lam

Vincent Lam: The Remarkable Reads Tent at 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Susan Swan

Susan Swan:  the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent at 3:15 PM – 3:45 PM

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For more details about The Word on the Street, click on the button at the top of this post!

Hope I run into you on September 23 in Toronto. (I’ll have a wide smile on my face, a camera around my neck, and books in my arms!)

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Have you ever attended The Word on the Street Festival in your city?

What are you looking forward to the most for this year’s WOTS event?

Which authors are you looking forward to meeting?

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