I’ve had an insanely busy and bookish May so far. Last weekend I had the chance to attend the Toronto Comics Art Festival (aka TCAF), and it was my first time going to the event. For those who are not familiar, TCAF is a celebration of comics, art, and culture, and it takes place at the Toronto Reference Library. I went with my partner-in-crime, Kiki, and we went around exploring some of the major events that were occurring this year. One amazing event that was happening was the comics versus games panels, and in honour of this, there was a pop-up arcade on the second floor of Toronto Reference. Kiki and I ended up playing a game called Moon Hunters (I wrote an impression for RPGamer.com) and I really cannot wait for its release in 2016. It’s a lot of fun.
And comics! So many different kins of comics, local artists, folks from all over the world, coming and enjoying the event. I had the chance to meet a ton of talented artists, while also seeing friends who were participating as well. Here’s some folks I met!
Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile, Sisters, and Drama!
Noelle Stevenson, co-author of the Lumberjanes and author of Nimona! She’s SO CUTE AND NICE!
And Chip Zdarsky, who is a terrible, hilarious flirt, and artist of Sex Criminals. He will write pornographic things in your book!
And finally, the book haul (the part we all know everyone cares about the most!)
Overall, I had an amazing time at my first TCAF. Everyone, authors, comic fans, alike are just so friendly and they want to fanboy/girl their favourite artists and comics. It’s easy to get swept away in the positivity that surrounds the festival, and it’s impressive the kinds of guests that it attracts. If you live in the city, or love graphic novels and comics, you owe yourself the opportunity to come and visit Toronto while TCAF is on.
The second event I attended this month was the Ontario Library Association’s Festival of Trees. For those unfamiliar, it’s their Rock Concert of Reading, wherein they allow school children and teens to vote on their favourite Canadian novels over last year. Program Info Here!
A former classmate and I decided that since we both want to specialize in children and young adult fiction that we would go and investigate the Festival of Trees. The event featured authors such as Eric Walters, Vikki VanSickle, Heather Smith, Eve Silver, Kenneth Oppel and many more. Let’s just say, the authors were such amazing sports, signing autographs, performing workshops, and of course there were the awards themselves. Every author had long lines with students piled up waiting to meet and chat with them. I admit, I waited in line for Eve Silver and Vikki VanSickle, though they are my friends and I’m a huge supporter of both their works.
The winners ended up being…. (and I’ll just focus on Fiction in this case)
Blue Spurce (Picture Books!) – Maureen Fergus & Mike Lowery’s “The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten”
Red Maple (Non-Fiction!) – The Last Train: A Holocaust Story by Rona Arato
Red Maple (Fiction!) – Eric Walter’s “The Rule of Three” (which I reviewed here)
White Pine (YA!) – Eve Silver’s “Rush” (who I interviewed back in 2013 @ RPGamer)
All in all, The Festival of Trees was such a rewarding and unique experience. Honestly, seeing students get so jazzed about reading, voting and having a voice in literacy is so empowering for authors, publishers, library professionals and the students themselves. Events like this remind us that Canada has some amazing talent and that it needs to be more valued and recognized. Though with the 10,000 attendees, I feel like that statement is all the more successful. It’s clear that reading and writing are not dying arts, and to those who say that, I counter with: “So, did you check out the Festival of Trees. It’s the good kind of chaos.”
Finally, the last event I was able to attended occurred right after the Festival of Trees. I was given a personal invite to visit the Random House Canada office to meet Susan Juby, author of “The Truth Commission” and Susin Nielson, author of “We Are All Made of Molecules” (review). The event allowed local bloggers and bookstore employees the opportunity to have wine and snacks before Susan and Susin headed off for the Brampton leg of their #SusanSusin tour.
It was such a wonderful and casual event. Both authors mingled and chatted with everyone, and they were just so funny and down to earth. I was very nervous because I know how awkward I can be at times, but they both so kind. (I am sorry my flash blinded you, Susin!). It made me appreciate how open authors can be with fans and bloggers, and it’s totally appreciated. I know now though that I need to check more of Susan (Alice, I Think!) and Susin’s books (Seriously, Word Nerd, I need it).
It’s Susin Nielson!
And Susan Juby!
Huge thank you again to Random House Canada for the invite, I had an AWESOME time! And seriously, check out both their recent novels. I loved “We Are All Made of Molecules” and I started “The Truth Commission” on my train ride home last night — SO FUNNY and quirky! If you want to read some hilarious and truthful novels, look no further than both these releases.