Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick Recap of the Sarah Dessen Signing and Word on The Street

Last week was a busy week in terms of events that were being held in Toronto. On Wednesday, September 21, Sarah Dessen was in town to promote her novel What Happened to Goodbye. Since she’s one of my all-time favourite authors, I’d been hoping (after Jenny from Dreaming of Books told me in the summer that Sarah would be coming to T.O.) that Penguin Canada would schedule her on a day that I’d be able to see her.
Sarah, after I moved up to take a picture. Liz is in the left corner.
Luckily, Penguin Canada did; and so after class, I made my way over to Indigo Eaton Centre where there was already a huge line of people waiting to be seated. The seating space wasn’t large enough to hold everybody and so most of us (including me) ended up being stuck between the stacks and having to see Sarah from there. Still, we did get to meet her; and years from now, I’ll remember that experience much better than the fact that I wasn’t entirely happy with where I was standing.

Pic courtesy of Liz from Midnight Bloom Reads
Sarah arrived slightly after 7:00 PM, having been delayed because of a strike at Air Canada. She quickly read from What Happened to Goodbye and after, got a little bit of time to answer some questions.

Things I Remember Sarah Telling Us:
  • While Sarah doesn’t have a favourite book from the ones she has written because to her it almost feels like picking a favourite child, the novel she enjoyed writing the most was This Lullaby.
  • Someone Like You was inspired by the death of a popular guy from Sarah’s high school after he was killed in a motorcycle accident. It was the first time that she realized someone her age could die and it was shocking to her.
  • The mothers at Sarah’s daughter’s preschool have no idea that she is a writer! They only know that she works from home.
Sarah signing while I waited in lin
Then, it was time to get our books signed. Sarah was super nice, and after noticing that I was also holding a social psychology textbook, she told me that she used to carry a textbook around everywhere too when she was in college.

Anyway, a big thanks to Sarah for making two stops in Toronto and to Penguin Canada for bringing her here. Thanks also to Indigo Eaton Centre for hosting Sarah. 

For a full recap of Sarah Dessen's stop at Indigo Eaton Centre, check out Liz's post here.  


Then on Sunday, September 25, I went to Word on The Street for the first time. On my way over to Queen’s Park, I was actually able to ride the TTC’s new subway trains and liked them so much better. They look new (duh!) and have more space, but I’m wondering how (especially short) people are going to stop themselves from bumping into each other without poles to hang onto.

At noon, I went to see Kenneth Oppel at the Scotiabank Giller Prize Bestseller’s Stage. He read from his latest book, This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, before answering questions from Matt Galloway, the host, and the audience.

Things I Remember Kenneth Telling Us:  
  • Kenneth’s favourite book to write was Half-Brother because it’s unlike any of his other novels.
  • As a child, his favourite book was Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. He now reads it to his children.
Peter Rabbit in front of the Penguin Canada booth
Kelley signing books
After that, I wandered around for a bit and then at 2:15, I went to The Remarkable Reads Tent to see Kelley Armstrong. While waiting for Kelley, I met Ashley from Book Labyrinth and her mom and we chatted for a bit. Soon enough, Kelley arrived and read from The Gathering. Then we had some time to ask her questions and for her to ask us some questions. Those who answered Kelley correctly were able to get prizes like Derek, Tori and Chloe mugs, ARCs of The Calling, etc. that she had brought along with her.

Things I Remember Kelley Telling Us: 
  • Kelley doesn’t usually put pets in her novels because she tends to forget about them. For example, they get locked into garages and then conveniently appear in scenes when they’re needed.
  • She wrote her YA books when her daughter was a teenager so that her daughter had something to read. Now that Kelley’s and Melissa Marr’s sons are both in middle grade, they’re collaborating on an MG series based on Norse mythology. I'm already excited about that series! 
Kelley then signed books, and everyone who came to see her got cupcakes that were decorated based on The Gathering. 
Alyxandra Harvey on a panel with Lesley Anne Cowan, Teresa Toten and Heather J. Wood
The very crowded HarperCollins Canada booth
From there, Ashley, her mom, and I managed to catch a bit of what Alyxandra Harvey said. I heard something about ghosts and friends not wanting to visit her house. 

I went to HarperCollins Canada’s booth after getting Alyxandra to sign my copy of Haunting Violet and though it was still pretty crowded, I managed to find and buy Arthur Slade’s Empire of Ruins.  
Catherine Austen talking about reading and writing dystopians
Lesley and Robert signing their books
I got back to the This Is Not The Shakespeare Stage in time to hear a bit from Catherine Austen about her novel All Good Children before Robert Sawyer and Lesley Livingston went on stage for their chat about fantasy and sci-fi. After Robert read from his newest book, Wonder, and Lesley read from Once Every Never, they told us that the main difference between fantasy and sci-fi is that fantasy attempts to make the implausible sound possible whereas sci-fi tries to make what might be possible work according to the laws of physics. Robert also told us that rather than subscribing to the two theories about time-travel, he chooses to believe that changing time creates a parallel reality (I think!) whereas Lesley hasn’t fully decided which theory she supports. Clare, her character who can travel through time by touching certain artifacts, doesn’t care much about how her actions will change time, but it seems that at the end of Once Every Never, something might have been altered.

After getting Lesley to sign my copy of Once Every Never, I went home, tired but happy about getting to see so many Canadian authors in one day.


  1. I was at both of these events and had a blast too! You're so lucky to have Lesley sign your book, I wish I'd had mine with me. Glad you had a blast! :)

  2. Sounds like both events were fun! Wish I had been there. :) Great recap!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I first heard about Word on the Street last year. I would love to attend. Hopefully next year, I'm a Montrealer and we have almost no events to attend.

  5. Wow Zahida, it looks like you got to go to two amazing events! I still need to read a Sarah Dessen book, I've yet to do so and I hear she's absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience and your photos!

  6. Doooooooooooood! You should see how GREEN I am right now. You're life is awesome.

    Thanks for sharing about SD. I still remember the shock I went through when someone from my high school class died right after we graduated. It was such a wake up call.

    Also, a Armstrong and Marr collab? Epic Win!

    Great pictures, Z. Thanks for posting them.

  7. Ahh yes I totally forgot about the pets thing from Kelley's talk. Too funny.

    WOTS was a lot of fun; I would've loved to have seen Sarah Dessen as well. Well... next time perhaps?! =)

  8. Wow! It looks like you had a blast. =)

  9. Looks like you had fun, Zahida! I've never been to a signing, or book event, but I hope to attend ALA this January, we'll see ;D

  10. I found you through Missie's blog and now a new follower!

    I had a blast meeting Sarah Dessen at ALA in Chicago which was over 2 years ago. Even though I know that authors are people just like us, I can't help but get starstruck. LOL

    An Armstrong and Marr collaboration sounds awesome. I have read anything by Armstrong yet, but I plan to at some point.

  11. I must move to Toronto if I want to meet authors, it seems. Or kidnap them and bring them to Alberta. Or just live vicariously through your post, reading all about what the authors had to say :)

  12. Hey Zahida, looks like you had fun. I remember when I first found out about the Sarah Dessen event I was so jealous of you Torontonians.

  13. lucky you!! It seems the event was really amazing! holy molly, I wish one day authors will come to Montreal. I wish we have events like those sniff!!

    Have a great week my dear =)

  14. O.o <- This is my expression after not realizing how I could have possibly missed reading your recap post earlier!! *facepalm*

    No problem about the pic, Zahida. It was busy and I really thought the Indigo should have set up more space for seating. But I'm glad you still had fun meeting her.

    I've still never been to WOTS but I'm hoping to go one year! It sounds like you and Ashley had a fun time that day! :)


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.