If you’re a writer who lives in Montreal, you may, like me, very occasionally suffer from jealous bouts of Toronto-publishing-world envy. So much of the book industry is located there, not to mention so many amazing writers, and during fall festival season, it’s hard not to feel a little left out of things here in Quebec. Sure, we have brioches and joie de vivre and, you know, bagels, but we are low on high-profile English-language literary events. Never mind the Giller, which at least I can watch online, it’s IFOA that really gets under my skin and turns it green. I would be so excited to go hear Zadie Smith read, or Michael Chabon, or any of a dozen amazing Canadian writers I’ve seen listed on the bill. (Amazing photos like this one from Teri V. – blogged about here – don’t help! Love both the fandom and the post.)
Luckily, Emily M. Keeler’s posts at Hazlitt almost make me feel like I was there. And some photos up here at Quill & Quire from the opening night party also furnish some good voyeurism.
It’s not all bad, of course. I’m sure if I was in Toronto right now, it would be much, much harder to finish editing my novel. Plus I’d be agonizing about which events to go to and which to miss. I might even waste time getting stressed out about the fact that my pointy black kitten heels are coming apart at the seams, or about my chronic inability to make small talk while simultaneously holding a canapé.
But tonight is the Anansi party, which I’m sad to be missing. When Anansi came to town for Rawi Hage’s launch earlier this month, I claimed (and I think I stand by this) that it was the best literary event I’d ever attended in this city. A certain amount of champagne-induced hyperbole might have been involved in this statement, but I stand by it remaining in the top five, for sure. Rawi Hage asked a few friends to read selections of their choice from Carnival, which struck me as utterly brilliant -- it added variety and kept things moving. This was followed by a transporting musical interlude on an lute-like instrument that was new to me (can anyone who was in attendance enlighten me?), plenty of sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvres, and (clearly the best part) a zillion of my favourite people in attendance. Not the least of whom was my editor (and Rawi's), who, bless her, gave me a much-needed six-day extension.
|A photo from the Anansi event in Mtl, taken by DD|