October 25, 2012

IFOA envy



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.

Which reminds me what I’ll be doing tonight instead of attending the Anansi party.  I think it was Aristotle who said, Write now, party later, dudes.

A photo from the Anansi event in Mtl, taken by DD

6 comments:

Samantha said...

Aw, it's too bad you can't be here for IFOA!

saleema said...

One day I'll stop whining and just make the trip!

Teri said...

I admit that I sometimes get stressed out by all of the event options in Toronto. There are too many and I value my at home time too much to go to everything I want. PROBLEMS!

Thank you for the shout out to my dorky Junot Diaz picture! This also made me realize my site isn't working :/ Oops, will fix that.

Alice Zorn said...

One day you'll be invited to be a guest!

Alice Zorn said...

And yes, I liked that Rawi Hage had friends read.

saleema said...

My call for instrumental clarification has been heeded by the lovely Diane via Twitter: "Amir Amiri played the santur, an Iranian hammer dulcimer."

Teri, you should spend a year going to EVERYTHING and then get all Toronto-blasé about it all and stay home and write two more novels...then start the cycle all over again.

Alice, wouldn't that be nice?? I won't jinx it via imagination, though.