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5 Things To See at the Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair

Anyone paying attention to Canada’s—and Toronto’s—literary scene has to acknowledge that fall is the big season for books: publishers put out their big-name releases, retailers provide deep discounts, and awards are handed out by the truckload.

The latest addition to Toronto’s literary calendar is the Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair, a brand-new trade show where authors, publishers, and readers will gather to share stories and exchange dollars, all for the love of books. Dozens of authors will be in attendance, including big names like Margaret Atwood (The Stone Mattress), Anne Rice (Prince Lestat), William Gibson (The Peripheral), Kelley Armstrong (Sea of Shadows), and Jim Gaffigan (Food: A Love Story). There are also numerous workshops, readings, booths, and of course, books.

Inspire! gets underway at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Friday, November 14 and goes through Sunday, November 16. Tickets are $15 for access to the whole three days (seniors & students pay $10, children are free). There’s also a “Lift-Off! Opening Party” on Thursday, November 13 at 7 PM. Tickets for that event will cost you $25, and all tickets can be purchased in advance through the Inspire! website.

I’m headed to Inspire! myself, and I’ve made a list of five things worth checking out if you’re going as well.

  • TD Children’s Stage (All weekend) – If you’re coming with kids, this is a place to let them soak up some literature with one parent while the other frantically runs around to enjoy the rest of the show. Plus, with almost hourly presentations, there’s plenty of material to help you decide what books to use next to distract your little ones.
  • Prepare To Be Thrilled (November 14, 5 PM, Inspire! Main Stage) – Canada’s thriller writers sell books, but they don’t get love in the press like authors of literary fiction. Five of the best—Kelley Armstrong, Andrew Pyper, Nick Cutter, Maureen Jennings, and Peter Robinson—talk about their styles and approaches to thriller writing in this one-hour panel.
  • Grant Seminar for Writers (November 15, 2 PM, Room 202B) – If you planned on hitting any of the seminars, you had to register in advance. This one, however, didn’t have a fee attached. I’ve always been interested in how people get money from the Canadian government to write their works, so I’m hitting this to find out how free money could be mine. Hey, grants do have better odds than the lottery…
  • Create, Publish, Sell: Indie Authors on the Rise (November 15, 6 PM, Inspire! Main Stage) – Presented by self-publishing company Blurb, this hour-long session features independent authors talking about how they took control of the publishing process.
  • Self-Publishing: 10 Things Writers Should Know Before Leaping In (November 16, 2 PM, Discovery Stage) – Presented by the Canadian Authors Association, this session is a must for up-and-coming writers wanting to explore their options beyond the traditional publishing system.

Headed to the Inspire! Toronto Book Fair? What are you most looking forward to at the show? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



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