As you can see, I was actually invited to another festival, Wordsfest London, and was fortunate enough to spend the weekend there and to be paired up in an event with André Alexis, Giller Prize Winner. I managed to get there for the 10am event on the Saturday, and not swear too much nor fall through the glass table in front of us. So I call that a success. The moderator, Joel Burton, had read our books closely and managed to find some common ground between two very different styles of fiction writing. We talked about such things as the meaning of home in our work, what characters will do to protect each other and what little they might have, the role of class and marginalization, and about how André had Hermes and Apollo drinking Steamwhistle while I should, and WILL be sponsored by delicious Budweiser.
They did video this thing, so if I can find such a thing I’ll update this post with a link to the event.
The festival was going strong in it’s third year, and the turnout for all of the events was impressive. No doubt because of visiting writers and artists like André, as well as Emma Donoghue (who called London home for much of her life in Canada), Douglas Gibson, Teva Harrison, Mariko Tamaki, George Elliot Clarke, & Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. In any case, it was only my second invitation to the main card of a literary festival, after being at the Wild Writers Festival in Waterloo last year. If I can keep up this trend of not ruining them entirely, perhaps I’ll be back…
In the week or so before going to London, I was a delegate for the International Festival of Authors, with its many events and readings going on at the Toronto harbourfront. I’d recently been down to St. Catharines, Ontario as part of the IFOA Lit on Tour program, joining an event with cartoonist Nina Bunjevac. All of these were my first experiences at IFOA as anything but an attendee. All of it went well and I was glad to be part of the fest as both a travellin’ author and a delegate. You can check out my Twitter feed for the events I went to and covered for IFOA, and shortly there will be a blog post on their site that I wrote, based on the In Conversation with John Metcalf event on the final day of the fest (excellent Hardcastle event photography art appears above).
As most people know, Metcalf is my editor at Biblioasis, and said some amazing things that all writers might take to heart, such as: “If you think what you’re writing is sellable, you’re demented.” With that in mind, I gave him the last pages of edits for my forthcoming novel, In the Cage, to be published in fall 2017 by Biblioasis. There might still be a few minor changes to be made, but that thing is pretty well done with. Considering I first wrote a draft of it in 2010, and rewrote it two or three times while turning down the suck as a writer (likely due to nailing down my voice and writing skills through short stories), it is nice to see that book has come this far. I knew there was a good novel in there, but it took some years, and some surgical editing by John, to get it to where I could clearly see the bones of the book again and build it back up from that.
So yeah, that was a good end to a great festival. And my blog about it should be up very soon. In the meantime, you can see the already-published blog posts by other delegates who drank less IFOA lounge beer, like author Nancy Jo Cullen, by clicking on this whole line.
That is all that I got for now. Thanks to all of the IFOA and Wordsfest London people, especially Geoffrey Taylor, Josh Lambier, Catherine Coreno, Zviko Mhakayakora, Rebecca Hallquist, Riley Watson, Joel Burton, Nina Bunjevac, Jon Eben Field, and DEAN.
So long for now.