It was another busy literary week, starting with a lunch on Tuesday at a King Street restaurant called Buca, to celebrate the culling of over 2,000 story entries for the Toronto Star Short Story Contest. I won’t say much about this because the competition is still unfolding, except this – our bleary-eyed judges were glad to pass on the long list and to settle down for a lunch of “salumi”, as the various cured meats are called in this cooler than cool basement. restaurant.
On Wednesday, I launched my novel, Underground, to a room of about 120 people at Ben McNally’s bookstore on Bay. (There will be a bigger launch/reading on April 13 at Harbourfront).
Friends and writers at that even included Lawrence Hill, Don Gillmor, Joe Kertes, Susan Swan, Karen Connelly, Anthony de Sa, Wayson Choy, Richard Scrimger, Kim Moritsugu, Erna Paris, Sally Cooper, Michael Helm, Andrew Clark, Catherine Bush, Anne Denoon, Michael Redhill, Eva Stachniak (who wrote a big review in a major Polish newspaper), John Bentley Mays, Margaret Cannon, Marni Jackson, Russell Brown, Donna Bennett, Andrew Westoll, Dawn Promislow, Nathan Whitlock, Leo Kamen, Katherine Ashenburg, Marni Jackson; journalists Mark Medley and Stuart Woods; publishers Lynn Henry, Marc Cote, and Jack David, and probably a few I forgot (so many names to drop – so little time). Friends, the whole Thomas Allen publishing team, and family warmed the room.
We drank lemon vodka frozen into a block of ice, homemade blackcurrant cassis and Lithuanian beer and ate bacon buns and napoleon cakes.
On Saturday, I was off to London, Ontario, for a Humber School for Writers event in the morning with Joan Barfoot at the London Public Library. We did mini-edits on first pages of writing for about twelve writers and I took 40 pages home for homework, promising to send back my results.
In the afternoon, I did a signing at Chapters in London, and then it was dinner with friends and a nighttime drive home to Toronto at midnight.
Too revved up from the drive to go to bed, I did a few emails and found a new review of Underground from the Vancouver Sun. It was a fine review and a good companion to the Tanqueray Rangpur gin nightcap I took before retiring to bed.