Word on the Street 2016

“Only 13 more hours!” Kelly shouted last night from the other room. I looked at the clock, and she was right. You’d think she was referring to Christmas from the joy in her voice. It was only 13 more hours until Word on the Street began.

Word on the Street is one of Canada’s largest, most popular and beloved book and author festivals. Word on the Street is celebrating it’s 27th annual event with diverse events programming, amazing authors, small press and a great vibe. This year it was held on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at the Harbourfront Centre from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Word on the Street, on artificial turf, at the Harbourfront. CN Tower in the background.
Word on the Street, on artificial turf, at the Harbourfront. CN Tower in the background.

If you are a budding author, you could have checked out What Literary Agents are Looking For at the Wordshop Marquee, presented by Olga Filina and Carolyn Forde.

Would you have preferred to hear an author read? You might have gone to Far From True at the Amazon.ca Bestsellers Stage with Linwood Barclay. Like Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Fiction or Suspense? How about North Stars: Canadian Science Fiction at the Genre Zone Stage, featuring Tanwa Adanlawo, Nathan Adler and Drew Hayden Taylor. Or maybe you stopped by Still Mine at the Great Books Marquee with Amy Stuart.

And that’s all before 11:30! I confess that Kelly makes it to the Festival more often than I do, but together we have managed to score some great finds. This year, we picked up more than a dozen books, including a free autographed copy of F’d Wide Open: The Rude Awakening of the Heart-Based New Humanity by Marja West.

Getting to the festival was a nightmare: there was a Jays game down near the same area, and the subway wasn’t running that far south, due to repairs. It took us on a long trip involving a bus and a streetcar – but at least we had a live serenade!

A guy on the streetcar serenading everyone with an acoustic guitar. Very nice!
A guy on the streetcar serenading everyone with an acoustic guitar. Very nice!

I bought In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court by Brittney Griner with Sue Hovey, and I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship, edited by Wade Rouse, both at the booth for Glad Day.

Me at the Glad Day Bookshop tent after picking up a couple of inexpensive books.
Me at the Glad Day Bookshop tent after picking up a couple of inexpensive books.

I stopped by the Nothing But the Truth tent and listened to Tom Slee talk about the theories in his book, What’s Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy. He made some telling observations about how sharing companies like Uber and Air BnB, are very big business. To paraphrase one particular statement that caught my attention:

If your name is Mohammed, are people going to give you the same rating they would give me, a middle aged white guy named Tom? Uber drops any driver with less than a 4.6 rating. How does that fit in with Canadian labour laws?

And the people, oh the people. Maybe only 1% of the people there are those book people. You know the ones: poorly socialized, unwashed and odorous, and aggressive book people. Those book people. After an hour of getting swamped with unpleasant smells, fighting to see what was offered at any given booth, and being elbowed out of the way once I finally got to a booth, well, my patience hit its limit. So we hit a local restaurant to enjoy our finds! Here’s the “unboxing” video for the Griner and Rouse books, just because I think they deserve it.

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