Archive for the ‘Harbourfront Reading Series’ Category

John Irving on stage in Toronto

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

John Irving

Last Sunday I snuck away from regular family weekend activities to see John Irving at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) here in Toronto. Regular readers of this blog (both of you) may recall that John Irving has been an inspiration to me. The emotional impact of his writing and the laughs along the way make him one of my literary heroes. A Prayer for Owen Meany, quite possibly my all time favourite novel, restored my interest in fiction back in the late 80s, and I’ve never looked back. Needless to say, seeing him in person, along with hundreds of other fans as part of the IFOA, was a thrill.

He talked about this writing process, including his immutable first step of writing the last sentence of his novel first, before anything else. It was fascinating to hear him talk about how it all comes together. He then read from his new novel, Last Night inTwisted River. One thing I’ve learned in the last year, as I’ve read with other authors at a variety of festivals and readings, is that not all authors can read. There is an art to reading well, not to mention a smidgen of theatre. It is a performance of sorts. John Irving had the room spellbound. I can’t imagine anyone listening to him read and then walking by the book table without snagging one on the way out.

Finally, he was interviewed by Seamus O’Regan, one of our TV morning show hosts, before the floor was opened for questions. It was a memorable event for me. I’m about to start Last Night in Twisted River, said to be his most autobiographical novel to date.

Last Night in Twisted River

Harbourfront Update: I survived…

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

What a wonderful night it was.  I enjoyed a leisurely dinner beforehand with the other two accomplished writers on the program, Fred Stenson and Andrew Davidson, the host of the event Geoffrey Taylor, and Alison Pick, a respected poet and writer who introduced the writers on stage.  They are all warm and engaging people.  Then we headed over to the event in the Brigantine Room.  Fred and I sat in a dressing room of sorts backstage and signed books before we were all led out for the start of the reading.  As the rookie, I was relieved to be going on stage first.  I had quite a cheering section at the back that erupted when Alison introduced me.  Thanks to my family, bookclub friends and ball hockey teammates who were there for moral support.

When I took the stage, I discovered that the bright (and I mean really bright) theatre lights meant that I could nothing in front of me.  It was as if a black curtain had descended directly in front of the podium.  It was a little unnerving as I like to make eye contact with an audience, which is difficult when you’re essentially blind.  Nevertheless I made it through my 20 minutes with a few chuckles from the crowd.  It seemed to go well.  After Fred and Andrew read, we all signed books.  It was a great way to begin the many speaking and reading gigs lined up for the coming months.

Thanks again all those who attended and to Frances Bedford for getting me on the program.  Tonight, it’s Readings at the Roselawn in Port Colborne.

Harbourfront butterflies are circling…

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Tonight’s the night and my butterflies are already exhausted from abdominal flying.  I’m reading at Harbourfront as part of their International Readings program and will be sharing the stage with Andrew Davidson and his debut blockbuster novel, The Gargoyle, and Fred Stenson and his new novel, The Great Karoo. What wonderful and respected company I’m suddenly keeping.  I’ll be having dinner with them in advance of the reading and will bring my own copies of their novels to be signed (ever the star-struck literary fan!).

The Harbourfront reading marks the official launch of the M&S edition of TBLP now the books are starting to appear in bookstores across the country.  (I just walked into a local big box bookstore in downtown Toronto and there it was. Very cool.)


I’ll be back here to post about the event.  I’m also getting ready for another author night called “Readings at the Roselawn” in Port Colborne, about two hours south of Toronto.  It’s a sold out author series with 300 subscribers!  I’m the one and only author on the bill tomorrow night to kick off the season.  So I assume that some of my current butterflies bear the Harbourfront logo while others carry the Port Colborne brand.

Welland Tribune Story

Here’s the link to a story that ran today in the Welland Tribune about tomorrow’s reading.

The next part of this adventrue has well and truly started…

It’s going to be a busy TBLP fall!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

As I’ve been threatening to do, I thought I’d list the readings and other speaking events I’m doing this fall in support of the release of the McClelland & Stewart edition of TBLP.  Being on the author circuit will be a new experience for me but I’m really looking forward to it.  In the next couple of weeks, this blog will go through a make-over of sorts and there will be a separate “Appearances” page in case any of you have the twisted desire to know where I’ll be speaking or reading.

Upcoming Speaking and Reading Gigs

So here’s what’s happening in the coming weeks and months after TBLP arrives in bookstores across the country on Tuesday, September 23rd:

  • Tuesday, November 18, 2008: A reading and talk at a McMaster Alumni “Coffee and Conversation” evening event in Toronto.

Wow!  It’s going to be a busy time.  But I can think of nothing else I’d rather be doing.  Stay tuned for a revamped website with its own “Appearances” page where I’ll try to keep track of all of these engagements.