Monday, November 8, 2010

Good Times at BookFest Windsor!

This past week I was back in the stomping grounds of my childhood and teen years for BookFest Windsor!

Some highlights:

- I read from my latest book, The Monkeyface Chronicles, and participated in a panel discussion called "Growing Pains" about writing for teens, with the fabulous Susan Juby and Tim Wynne-Jones, two of the best and most successful authors of YA books in the country. It was an honour (and a lot of fun!) working with them. Local celebrity Percy Hatfield did a great job as the panel moderator.

- I gave presentations at the Windsor Public Library, Roseville and David Maxwell Schools in Windsor, Amherstberg Public School (in Amherstberg, of course)and Jack Miner Public School in Kingsville. All of the audiences were terrific, and asked very insightful questions. I think I may have been hit in the face by volleyballs in each of those school gymnasiums as the token Uncoordinated Tall Kid on the Ruthven Public School volleyball team. . . but my memory is a bit hazy.

- I read from my latest book in a classroom where my thirteen-year-old self enjoyed cutting and drilling. Wait! Don't get the wrong idea! In grades 7 and 8, we were bussed once every two weeks to Jack Miner Public School, to take our beloved Technology and Design Courses (AKA "Shop and Home Ec"). The program has been since canceled, though, and that great shop room with the drills, jigsaws, and sanders is now a regular grade eight classroom (with lots of electrical outlets in the ceiling).

- Also in Kingsville, I had lunch at The Chuckwagon, which was a favorite hangout when I was a student at Kingsville District High School. When I mentioned the Chuckwagon on Facebook, I imediately got over a dozen responses from former KDHS freinds. And, yes, I did have the famous fries 'n' gravy - with Souvlaki for the protein component (see, the Home Ec teacher at Jack Miner taught me well!)

- The Vice Principal at Jack Miner is originally from Wallaceburg, Ontario, and she once visited the place where I got the idea for the chapter from Featherless Bipeds that I read to some of her students in the former shop classroom noted above. Yes, it is a small, cool world.

This year's BookFest had a distinctly local vibe, with many current and former Windsor and Essex Country residents on the roster of authors in attendance. I myself grew up in Olinda, Ontario, a speck on the map (albeit a lovely little speck!) near Windsor.

And what a roster of authors!
This was the third BookFest Windsor I've attended as an author, and it was possibly the best one so far! Hats off to Lenore Langs and her team for producing yet another successful literary event. Here's to many more!