On Tuesday night, I joined a small but mighty crowd of book lovers in the upstairs of the Rose and Crown on 4th to hear this year’s shortlisted W.O. Mitchell Book Prize authors read from their nominated works. Those were:
- Glenn Dixon for Tripping the World Fantastic (Dundurn Press)
- Juleta Severson-Baker for Incarnate (Frontenac House)
- Tyler Trafford for Almost a Great Escape: A Found Story (Goose Lane Editions)
Dixon gave a multimedia presentation from his book which included a recording of an ancient Egyptian horn being played for the first and only time. Baker read a few pieces from her first collection of poetry, including some racy love poems about her husband. What made this reading all the better was that her mother-in-law was in the audience! (I was most the likely the only one who felt awkward about this, judging by everyone else’s reactions). And Trafford didn’t even read from his book, he regaled the rapt audience with the story of the emotional genesis of his first full-length book, which was a great way to end the readings. To cap off these great performances, the crowd was treated to past winner Marcello Di Cintio starting off the Q&A period with some rousing questions of his own. I worked up the courage to ask a question and requested that Di Cintio give the shortlisters some advice on what it’s like to be nominated for this award-and hopefully win it! His advice was humorous, as I had hoped and expected. If you’re curious as to what it was-looks like you should have been there!
So, the mixture of non-fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction all worked together to create a memorable evening of readings, and I don’t say that very often, because I’ve been to some terrible readings in my time. Buy me a few drinks and you’ll hear all about those, but for now, I’m content to brag about the amazing writers I’ve heard read and perform like I am here. Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors, you’re all deserving in my mind, but may the best book win!!!