The trio of authors on stage at "Up All Night" (Event #27) were serious welterweights. By the calculations of Ian Weir, the evening's moderator, Scott Turow, Jo Nesbø and Lisa Moore have sold some 50 million books between them. A number that no doubt increased by a bump after their insightful and candid time on the Performance Works stage last week.
Event 80, hosted by Paul Grant, was a sold out event; the final event held at Granville Island for the 2012 festival. The Afternoon Tea, an annual fixture at the festival, lures in readers who most enjoy their books with a cup of tea and something sweet. And after five days of events, devoted attendees with a literary hangover may have needed a little something extra to keep their strength up! Seated intimately at small round tables, the room buzzed with conversation and the clattering of cups and saucers. The authors were not expected to discuss their craft, to postulate, theorize, draw parallels, reveal their methods, or even take questions from the audience; they simply took to the podium to read.
The first author introduced was the local and much adored historical fiction author Mary Novik, who read from her latest novel, Muse.
Chatting on stage solo with an author is a bit unnerving, but it is made even more so when the audience is mostly high school students. I am pulling double duty here, blogging about an event I did with bestselling author and YA sensation Maggie Stiefvater. We chatted on stage for an hour, she pulled up some audience members to read from her new work, The Dream Thieves and we learned about her fear of the fog. It was a good time.
An Hour with Anne Carson (Even 67) brought hundreds—of an impressively varied sort—to Performance Works. Carson, 63 and nearly unearthly at the podium in her large glasses and black outfit, is one of the most acclaimed poets alive on the planet and seems to touch us on multiple rungs: she’s a brainiac’s poet (replete with arcane references and mimicries of ancient Greek syntax); but she’s also a romantic’s poet. One reading—taken from her latest book, Red Doc>—described the red monster G. as he witnesses the death of his mother: “And the reason he cannot bear her dying is not the loss of her (which is the future) but that dying puts the two of them (now) into this nakedness together that is unforgivable. They do not forgive it. He turns away. This roaring air in his arms. She is released.”
Event 47: Drunk Mom saw an older-mom-aged group of women (and even a few guys) crowd Studio 1398 on Friday morning to get a dose of everyone’s favourite medicine—the confessions of another. Author Jowita Bydlowska discussed her harrowing relapse following years of sobriety into a stretch of binge drinking and blackouts when she found herself spending days alone her newborn son. Bydlowska was sober throughout her pregnancy but, even while breastfeeding, found herself timing her drinking schedule so breast milk wouldn’t be tainted.