The Finals: McNally’s December6, Windsor December 8.

As wintry cold and snow descended on the transportation burrows through which writers on book tours scamper, bringing joyful words of hope and cheer to shivering readers huddling in the darkness and chill, the Year of the Flood Tour wound to a close amid some last hurrahs. The two final events were:

1. Ben McNally’s Books and Brunch, on Sunday, December 6, at the King Edward Hotel, in which a room packed with happy croissant-inhalers saw Ben put on his light-up Xmas tie to introduce four writers, each of whom gave an account of self and book for ten minutes. Pictured here, along with the mess Margaret made on the tablecloth with her organic coffee – after which she then forgot the coffee-maker – are The McBenster himself, in red shirt; Graeme Gibson, with The Bedside Book of Birds, which on that very day got a stellar review in The New York Times Book Review; Edward Rutherford, with New York: The Novel,  another blockbuster from the author of Sarum and London; and Toby Lester, with The Fourth Part of the World, about the wondrous map that first showed the Pacific Ocean. A good time and fruit salad was had by all.

2. Then, on December 8, Graeme and I took the Via train to Windsor –@ 4 hours, the same amount of time it takes us to drive there, and much more restful – for an evening event at the Caboto Club put on in aid of the Windsor Bookfest by Martin Deck, the University of Windsor Bookstore’s secret treasure. Martin is one of the most dedicated bookpeople we know. Every spring, he comes over to Pelee Island and sells the books at the SpringSong migration festival (second weekend in May, thus May 7, 8, and 9 in 2010) — green bird race for the Botham Cup, banquet on the Saturday featuring Celebrity Writer and Celebrity Birder; book early, it sells out, Pelee Island Heritage Centre, www.peleeislandmuseum.ca). Martin is out and about in all sorts of ways, really knows and loves the books, and is much appreciated by publishers and writers.

After doing a short TV interview for Entertainment Windsor – belly dancers as a rule, we were told — we were introduced by Paul Vasey, novelist and well-known CBC voice – he always MCs for SpringSong, too, and is unparalleled, though sometimes mischievous. I took his picture afterwards and he said he hoped he had a criminal air. (Fat chance eh?) But speaking of criminal airs, our old friend, poet and Black Moss publisher Marty Gervais, was there, and I bought his terrific local-history book about the roadhouses and rumrunners in Windsor during Prohibition: The Rumrunners: A Prohibition Scrapbook. (Biblioasis.) Great stuff –lots of pictures. How wicked Windsor was!

In the afternoon I did an interview for The Drive Magazine about environmental things in Essex Country – especially ERCA and Ken Schmidt. It’s been a long time coming, but there is now momentum in this wonderful sun-rich region, which has lost 95%of its original Carolinian forest but is thinking hard about recovery. “This country is so temperate, so fertile and so beautiful that it may justly be called The Earthly Paradise of North America.” – Antoine de Cadillac, 1702.

We took the Via train back – here are some pictures of friendly Via staff, and some more pictures of the winter landscape unfolding. And so we bid farewell to The 2009 Tour, even as we bid hello to the big stacks of backlog work awaiting us…. Happy Holiday Reading!

3 Comments

Filed under 1, YOTF Tour Blog

3 responses to “The Finals: McNally’s December6, Windsor December 8.

  1. Marty Gervais

    HI Margaret

    Noticed this on the blog. Yes, Windsor was a “wicked” place. We had all sorts of ways of getting liquor across the border. it was fun doing the book, and talking to these old rumrunners and police officers and customs officials, and checking out secret tunnels running down to the river . . . Thanks for the mention.

    By the way, loved the reading! So entertaining. You looked like you were having such a great time.

    So glad Martin (Deck) brought you back to Windsor. Remember your visit with Warner Troyer years ago and one of the flood lights exploding and your quick wit: “God doesn’t like your questions!” Troyer was completely undone and shaking. You were cool as a cucumber.

    Marty Gervais

  2. Hi Margaret: I’m the one who interviewed you and Graeme for Entertainment Windsor. Still has not come up yet, but it will be posted on January 21. I hope. It was so wonderful interviewing both of you — truly a highlight in my life. I think we, the Windsor folk, were all in awe. I’m sounding gushy. Anyhow, finished reading The Year of the Flood and it is colourful — pink and swirly — excellent. And my children are thrilled with Graeme’s book, especially my 16 year old son Martin. Reading The Bedside Book of Beasts has reinforced his ideas about the world as it is.

    Graeme sort of invited me to join you for drinks after the signing. I wanted to, but had to get home to my Martin because I found out the day before that oddly enough, he is floundering in grade 11. So it was time for homework triage.

    Thanks again and hope the new year started off well,
    Ellie Csepregi

  3. P.S. Mostly I found The Year of the Flood to be very spiritual and thought provoking. I’m also reading Payback which is a perfect non-fiction complement to the novel. Both are timely.

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