To celebrate the 2nd annual Canadian Authors for Indies Day, on Saturday, April 30, authors will give readings, volunteer as guest booksellers, and even engage in cartooning contests at independent bookstores across Canada. The full line-up for #AFI2016 can be found at authorsforindies.com and, for updates, follow @authors4indies on Twitter.
Want to explore the range of these shops? You’ll need sensible shoes, high protein snacks, and, above all, a schedule. To get your map-making juices flowing, here’s an exemplary itinerary that our own Lauren Stewart composed for the BookNet Canada blog:
TYPE Books, 883 Queen St. W.
I have a soft spot for this store, located in the heart of the Queen West shopping district across from the vast greenery of Trinity Bellwoods Park: it’s gorgeous, has unique titles I’ve not found anywhere else in the city, and employed me for over four years. Plus, TYPE is going hard on Authors for Indies in 2016, tying the event to a celebration of their 10th anniversary.
As with last year, they will have a limited number of special products for early-bird customers, and I plan to be in the lineup before the doors open at 10 a.m. to secure an exclusive, limited-edition hardcover of André Alexis’ Giller Prize-winning novel Fifteen Dogs, and a tote bag commemorating the store’s 10th anniversary designed by Back Alleys and Shoplifter‘s Michael Cho. Plus, the first 30 customers get tote bags stuffed with literary swag from HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Book Thug, Coach House, and Drawn & Quarterly!
A store as beloved and geographically blessed as TYPE will, of course, have a full slate of authors offering bookselling support; head over to their Facebook page to get the most up-to-date information.
Another Story Bookshop, 315 Roncesvalles Ave.
Visiting Another Story is a treasured activity on its own but I’m particularly excited to stop by at 11 a.m. when their first slate of authors starts working. I’m looking forward to meeting Teva Harrison and hopefully snag autographed copies of her newly released memoir about living with metastatic cancer, In-Between Days. There are many people in my life with whom I’d like to share her comics, which were previously serialized in The Walrus.
Once I’ve secured a few copies and discretely gobbled down a cookie (their snack game was on last year), I’ll move on—many more shops and authors to see—and my walk up Roncesvalles to the subway will surely offer plenty of distractions, with the neighbourhood’s rich mix of indie restaurants, shops, and community hotspots.
Complete Authors for Indies event details are available on the shop’s Facebook page.
A Novel Spot, 270 The Kingsway
This is one of two bookshops on this list that I will visit for the first time on Authors for Indies Day, and it’s safe to say I’m pretty excited. Visiting a new store is filled with anticipation: will we have the same taste? Will it challenge me? What treasure will I leave with? The store hosts a healthy number of events each month and I’ve only heard great things about the shop, the staff team, and their selection. Authors for Indies is a wonderful excuse to visit this newer shop in Toronto’s west end; I can’t wait to find out about their participating authors when I arrive!
A Novel Spot will tweet details of its confirmed author appearances @NovelSpotBooks.
Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St.
Ben McNally Books, one of the most gorgeous shops in the city, shines even brighter due to its location in the otherwise uninspired Financial District (to our Wolf of Wall Street fans reading today: no offense intended). Ben McNally is hosting Ian Brown‘s only Authors for Indies Day appearance, starting at noon. One of my favourite memoirists, Brown will be stumping until 1 p.m., giving me a hard deadline to make it to the shop from the west end.
Ben McNally will offer event listings on their website at benmcnallybooks.com.
Book City, 348 Danforth Ave. and 1950 Queen St. E.
As the day winds down, I will head east towards my own neighbourhood indies. My first stop off the subway will be the Book City location on The Danforth, a bustling location in the heart of Greektown and very conveniently located near famous smoothie and juice purveyor The Big Carrot. Juice in hand (sugar will be required to fuel the rest of this particular itinerary), I hope to make it to the Danforth location in time for Nettie Cronish, health-conscious cookbook author and protector of my waistline.
Once I pick Nettie’s brain for a new title for my ever-expanding cookbook collection, I will hop back onto transit and head over to Book City’s second location in The Beaches, hopefully in time to catch Canadian historian extraordinaire Ken McGoogan. The man has written over a dozen books on obscure pockets of Canadian history and identity, surely he can identify a book suitable for my grandfather, a voracious reader of the subject.
For Authors for Indies Day newbies, there are dozens of authors appearing at all Book City locations on Authors for Indies Day, so you really cannot choose a “bad” time to visit any one of their stores, IMHO. Take a breath and head to Book City’s Facebook page for information about the authors appearing at the chain’s various locations.
Great Escape Book Store, 957 Kingston Rd.
Great Escape is the second store I’ll be visiting for the first time on April 30, and I’m pretty excited to discover a shop in my new neighbourhood. They’ve got one author appearing on Authors for Indies Day: Jason Ramsay-Brown, whose book Toronto’s Ravines and Urban Forests I’m excited to pick up.
Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore, 991 Kingston Rd.
The final stop on my journey will be the new location of the beloved east end children’s bookshop, Ella Minnow. Recently relocated from its Queen Street East location in The Beaches, Ella Minnow is listing beloved plasticine artist (and author of dozens of picture books) Barbara Reid, in her sole Authors for Indies appearance. My journey brings me to this store near to its closing bell at 5 p.m., so my fingers are crossed that I’ll be able to meet my childhood hero.
Ella Minnow’s website promises forthcoming details on Authors for Indies.
Happy Authors For Indies Day 2016!