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Word on the Street Toronto 2013

 

 

word on the street toronto logo

Word on the Street Toronto 2013

09.23.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

If you’re a book lover and live in the GTA, you most likely visited the Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival in Toronto on Sunday. It’s an annual explosion of book extravaganza that features a number of book publishers, literary journals, authors, readings, and book signings. You can even get great book discounts and free goodies just for passing by.

My husband, and I, and our two young children visited last year’s event and had a blast. This year, since it was our wedding anniversary last weekend, we both decided to venture out alone without the kids (not to worry, they went to a party).

We drove to Etobicoke and jumped on the subway line to zoom through dark tunnels to reach Museum Station, a hop and a skip away from Queen’s Park, the annual host of Word on the Street in Toronto.

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(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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We passed a number of white tents filled with books and bookish goodies, but we also passed some great book characters along the way:

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Sophia the Wise of the Kids Think About It book series. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Sophia the Wise of the “Kids Think About It” book series. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Arthur hosting the Canadian Book Bank. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Arthur hosting the Canadian Book Bank. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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The Canadian Book Bank is a great non-profit organization that collects donated books and creates space for children to read and pick a book of their very own for free to take home. It not only encourages literacy, it provides children with books they love. If you have an opportunity, please drop by to either donate books or take your children for some quality time to read and explore.

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Lucy, book booth guard dog, NOT mascot! A sweet and shy pup who "kept the riff-raff away," as described by the booth host. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Lucy, book booth guard dog, NOT mascot! A sweet and shy pup who “kept the riff-raff away,” as described by her booth host. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Thanks to Lucy, a sweet and shy pup who “kept the riff-raff away,” as described by her booth host. She was the book booth guard, not a mascot—and a pleasure to meet.

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And in lieu of Hobbit Day (which was indeed September 22), the popular book was also featured at the festival.

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The Hobbit bean bag game. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The Hobbit bean bag game. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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We were wistful in seeing this and secretly wished our kids were with us. They would have loved a shot at playing this!

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And of course, we dropped by the Penguin Random House Remarkable Reads Tent to support writers. (We arrived at 10:45 a.m., so we were early enough to catch this!)

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Penguin Random House Reading Tent. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Penguin Random House Reading Tent. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Marthe Jocelyn, author of "Sneaky Art." (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Marthe Jocelyn, author of “Sneaky Art.” (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Since my husband and I arrived extra early to the Word on the Street Festival, we caught a presentation by Marthe Jocelyn, author of a fun, craft book called Sneaky Art. Better than that, we were also able to participate in making a craft of our own: a paper cupcake. Simple? Yes. Fast? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. I brought my craft home and look forward to showing my kids how to make one, too. (I also love baking cupcakes, so this craft was right up my alley.)

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My cupcake craft. Made at Word on the Street Toronto 2013. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My cupcake craft. Made at Word on the Street Toronto 2013. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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We were also able to hear Katrina Onstad, author of Everybody Has Everything, read from her novel that was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. (And when my husband and I went to Tim Horton’s for lunch, I ran into her in the ladies’ washroom! I’m not kidding.)

Katrina Onstad reading from "Everybody Has Everything." 2013 Toronto Book Awards Finalist and longlisted title for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2012. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Katrina Onstad reading from “Everybody Has Everything.” 2013 Toronto Book Awards Finalist and longlisted title for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2012. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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We were also able to catch a glimpse of David Macfarlane read from his book, The Figures of Beauty. His memoir, The Danger Tree, won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Non-Fiction and his novel Summer Gone was nominated for the Giller Prize and won the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Bravo!

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David Macfarlane reading from "The Figures of Beauty" in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
David Macfarlane reading from “The Figures of Beauty” in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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And I was absolutely thrilled to hear Nicole Lundrigan read from her new book, The Widow Tree. I loved her book, The Glass Boys (you can see my review here), and recommend her highly. What a wonderful writer and a lovely lady. It was such a pleasure to meet her in person.

Nicole Lundrigan reading from "The Widow Tree." (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Nicole Lundrigan reading from “The Widow Tree.” (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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But, because my husband and I had booked a canoe trip that same afternoon, we were unable to stay the entire day for the festival. We were, however, able to pick up a lot of S.W.A.G. (Something We All Got) in the form of book bags, posters, brochures, bookmarks, and buttons. (I picked up A LOT of buttons!)

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SWAG from Word on the Street Toronto 2013. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
SWAG from Word on the Street Toronto 2013. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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I entered a few raffles, signed every petition Amnesty International laid out on their table, chatted with booth hosts, and even bought some very inexpensive books! One of my favourites that I’ve been waiting to buy and was able to get at the Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival was:

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"The Free World" by David Bezmozgis. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved,
“The Free World” by David Bezmozgis. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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I also want to thank the Ontario Teachers’ Federation for their generous supply of goodies for teachers, parents, and kids! I didn’t grab everything, but I certainly wanted to!

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SWAG (in buttons and more) from The Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival in Toronto 2013. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
SWAG (in buttons and more) from The Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival in Toronto 2013. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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And in support of Word on the Street (as well as my addiction to coffee and reading), I purchased a WOTS mug and only for the very affordable price of $5.00. (If you know me or follow my blog posts, you’ll know that I’m also an avid mug collector and a collector of anything bookish—so this goodie was a double-whammy!)

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My "Reading is always in style" mug in support of Word on the Street Toronto 2013. (c) Photo by Zara D, Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My “Reading is always in style” mug in support of Word on the Street Toronto 2013. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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If you missed this year’s event, be sure to visit Queen’ Park next fall. Word on the Street is free and accessible to the public.

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Did you visit Word on the Street in Toronto this year?

If so, which authors were you able to see and listen to?

What books did you get this year from the festival?

What was your favourite part of Word on the Street in Toronto 2013?

What else would you like to see at Word on the Street?

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zara bird autograph

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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Zara’s Literary Cocktail

By Zara Alexis D. Garcia-Alvarez

We writer types have been readily accused of suffering from melancholy, seclusion, and the vice of the drink.

In honour of this, I’ve created my own “literary cocktail.”

To my writing peers and friends in the craft, “clink” and cheers!

Zara’s Literary Cocktail:

4 strong characters
1 elusive protagonist
3/4 true setting
1 plot moving back and forth in time
3 1/2 tsp. of tension
1 shot of surprise
a dash of romance to add sweetness
a twist of drama (plus 4 squirts of harbouring resentment)
a gallon of excellent, pure narrative
a drizzle of lyrical prose
1 creative title
2 spell-checks
3 proofs
2 cover designs
1 snazzy jacket
100% recycled paper
11 pt. Trebuchet MS
1 editor (detail-oriented perfectionist preferred – avoid sloppy type)
1 smooth-talking, ethical agent (must be collegial and business savvy)
1 supportive publisher
1 literary grant
8 hours of quiet per day
25 quarts of concentration
100% creativity
1 extra-patient partner/companion/husband/wife
one million words of encouragement
350-380 pages
10 conversations with personal muse (articulate, wise)
180 oz. of luck
90% talent
150% tenacity
5000+ tweets
1 international audience (receptive audience preferred)
8 translations
garnished with swag bookmarks, tote bags, buttons, key chains, and/or mugs
4 book signings
15 book clubs
1 national tour
5 giveaways packs
1 black and white author photo
1 60-word biography for back jacket flap
1 renewable contract
50% royalties
1 CIP
2 ISBNS (pre-ISBN 13 included)
1 library catalogue
50 years copyright
a span of solitude
an hour of self-doubt
2 days of denial
1 week of procrastination
7 pills of anti-depressants
A whole lot of guts (not to be confused with fish guts, but of the brave sort)
Very little Glory
Some Respect
Even less Money
Written with precision, humility, passion, and care.
Stir well. Watch for froth.
For sweeter taste, add either 1 Giller Prize or 1 Governor General’s Award.
Chill with relief.
Serve with dignity.
Preparation time: 6 months
Experience required: A lifetime
Taste: Varies depending on reader
Cost: Everything
Available at:
Random Drink House
McClelland & Stewart Brothel
Doubleday Shots
E. Knopf Liquors
HarperCollins Pub
The Wobbling Penguin
Thomas & Allen Brewery
House of a Nancy
The Pub(lishing) Crawl
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(c) Zara Alexis D. Garcia-Alvarez