|(c) Word on the Street|
Hi everyone! I attended The Word on the Street, a Canadian literary festival, here in Toronto yesterday, a cold, crisp September-y day. I didn’t stay for long because it was chilly, and I guess I wasn’t dressed as warmly as I should have! I mainly went to see Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire.
I headed straight for the Remarkable Reads tent when I got to WOTS and there were Angel from Mermaid Visions and Christa from More Than Just Magic. I also met Jessica, a former blogger, and Leonicka in the tent freezing our tushies. =p
Elizabeth Wein was introduced by Deirdre Baker, the Toronto Star Children’s Book Reviewer. Deirdre is well-known in Toronto for having an incredibly historical knowledge of children’s books – she also teaches the children’s literature course at University of Toronto sometimes.
Deirdre mentioned that Elizabeth’s writing reminds her of Rosemary Sutcliff‘s writing, and she actually got a little teared up even talking about CNV and RUF. I’m glad that someone else feels that way about the books!
Elizabeth then got up and said that Rosemary was one of her biggest influences. She read the passage from Rose Under Fire when Rose gets captured in her plane in by two of the Luftwaffe – German “swallow” planes. Elizabeth is one of the most passionate readers I’ve ever heard – her voice is so genuine and Rose sounded like one of us in her voice.
After that, Deirdre did a Q & A with Elizabeth, followed by some questions from the audience. A few highlights were finding out that Elizabeth grew up in Pennsylvania and built Rose’s backstory around her childhood. She also loved Edna St. Vincent Millay (the poet) as a teenager, and the epigraph of Rose Under Fire was her high school yearbook quote in senior year.
She talked about how she really went crazy with form in Code Name Verity, and how freeing that was – so much so that she had to continue doing that with Rose Under Fire. She also said that even while she was writing the books, she wondered who would want to read them, and whether she even had the right to be writing the accounts of Ravensbruck, the concentration camp that Rose ends up in in RUF. Someone in the audience asked if she wrote Code Name Verity chronologically, or whether the two halves of the story were written simultaneously. Elizabeth said that she definitely wrote Verity’s story first, and she felt that that was why Verity had such a vibrancy in her voice.
Afterwards, there was a long line-up for signing, and I met up with quite a few other bloggers, including former blogger Wendy, Rhiannon from Diary of a Bookworm (sans baby – *sad face*), Michele from Just a Lil Lost, Audrey from Holes in My Brain, Ashley from Book Labyrinth, and Avery from Avery’s Book Nook. Jen from Lost in a Great Book was also there, along with Lindsey from Random House and quite a few other bloggers!
Meeting Elizabeth was a total starstruck moment for me. I’ve gotten a lot better chatting with authors, but I was completely tongue-tied while meeting her and told her that I was the annoying person tweeting her throughout the reading, and that the books were amazing, while blathering on about how nervous I was. I guess that’s what happens when it’s an author you really, really admire!
Jessica and I then went running around to various booths to look for discounted books. We didn’t get anything at the HarperCollins booth because it was INSANE – $3 for books, so there was a huge crowd and everyone was pushing to see and buy books. We did get to meet the HCC Frenzy team and got Allegiant swag! =)
We then stopped by the Toronto Public Library workers booth to get our photos taken with fake librarian eyeglass masks (Wendy was putting them on in the signing line the entire time, haha!), then strolled down to the Simon & Schuster Canada booth, where Jessica picked up Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick. I didn’t get anything because I’m really trying to cut down on physical books!
After that, I went to grab food and Jessica went back up to check out a few booths. I ended up meeting up with one of my best friends, putting Code Name Verity in her hands, then heading over to the Queen West Art Crawl with her (and buying lots of jewelry!).
All in all, a very fun, but cold day! So glad I got to see and meet bloggers, and SO happy I met Elizabeth Wein!
Did you go to Toronto Word on the Street? What did you think? Did you go to any other panels? Do you guys get tongue-tied around authors? Let me know in the comments!