amongst books

amongst books

Sunday, October 19, 2008

opening day at the Writers Festival

was great fun.

the small press fair was a wonderful new addition to the festival. the Small Press Action Network (span-o) hosted half of the fair and the Ottawa Independent Writers Association hosted the other half. it was a pleasure to meet new small pressers, reunite with friends and tell passers by and vendors about Bywords and other small presses that we distribute.

the fair took place in the foyer of the Library and Archives Auditorium, which meant there was a lot of light and the bar was open. the marvelous Beau's beer was served in these funky mason jar glasses that everyone wanted to steal, but i hope no one did.

i acquired wonderful books from jwcurry's table, a neat pamphlet of visual poetry by Gustave Morin at Max Middle's table, a copy of the latest Ottawa Arts Review, the Puritan and new poetry by Ben Ladouceur and Cameron Anstee of In/Words.

after the fair there was an event called Meet the Movers and Shakers where a number of publishers, reading series organizers and writers groups were invited to speak. the most informative bit of the event for me occurred when John Buschek of Buschek Books spoke. He said that when he is deciding on books to publish, given two well-written books, he will choose the one whose writer has publishing credits because that shows that the writer's work is known in the literary world and may be an indication that the book will sell better. rob mclennan of Chaudiere Books echoed this.

it was the first time for this event and there were a few glitches, such as some people speaking too long and not giving the others much opportunity to speak (we were told in an e-mail that we had 3-4 minutes), but other than that i thought it was a good idea and hope the festival does it again with a few modifications and perhaps additions to the list of who moves and shakes the literary community. it was great to be invited to tell people about Bywords.ca and the Bywords Quarterly Journal, but i was so rattled by the lack of time, i'm not sure i said anything useful, alas. there was a decent turnout in the room.

the final event of the evening was the City of Ottawa Book Awards / Arc's Lampman Scott Award for Poetry.

English fiction was won by Elizabeth Hay for Late Nights on Air
the L-S was won by Shane Rhodes for the Bindery. more on the latter award over at the Ottawa Poetry Newlsetter blog.
English Non Fiction was won by Tim Cook, At the Sharp End: Canadians Fighting the Great War 1914-1916.
Création littéraire en français Andrée Christensen, Depuis toujours j’entendais la mer. Unfortunately Ms. Christensen was not able to attend as she wasn't well. the publisher of Les Éditions David accepted on her behalf.

the event was hosted by Alan Neal, Host of CBC Radio’s Bandwidth and Canada Live and Anne Michaud, cultural reporter for La Première Chaîne of Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau 90,7 FM. there was a huge turnout for this event, which was great to see.

more festival bits and bytes as the week progresses.

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