Fictionistas: The Ladies Literary Event

   Earlier this week I made my way to the Fictionistas literary event, held at Victory Café downtown Toronto.  The glorious weather brought a flock of people to this one coffeehouse. The patio itself was overflowing with a variety of cliques.

I have this inborn habit of analyzing large crowds, what I had witnessed here was a bunch of  caffeine junkies, winos, awkward mini dinner parties, work colleagues trying uncomfortably to relieve the day’s stress and the unmistakable circle of woman strictly there for public reading of Bernice Friesen, Theanna Bischoff, Angie Abdou and Lolette Kuby.

I filed myself into the line waiting to be seated and overheard the couple behind me whisper “they usually never open up the upstairs; I guess they had to, with the mob of people still trying to get in.”

In this type of setting, being a vertically challenged woman worked well to my advantage, as I squeezed through the crowd and ascended upstairs. 

The upper level resembled a long dining hall with a U-shaped bar, with upholstered seating cemented against the back wall and a few scattered couches, chairs and bar stools made up the rest of the space. I sat comfortable by the bar, perfectly parallel to the stage area where the novelists were appropriated to speak. 

Each of the four novelists were given fifteen minutes to read passages from their books and answer questions from the audience. The headliner Bernice Friesen addressed her works The Book of Beasts. I didn’t connect with this piece, where as with Angie Abdou, the second writer, the opposite was true . Abdou spoke about the intimate ties she carried towards her book The Bone Cage, since one of the main characters happened to be her brother. I found her 15 minutes of fame particularly illuminating as she spoke with sincerity and conviction. The Bone Cage is a story about the post Olympic wrap up of an athlete’s career. Abdou’s brother being the athlete. “The Olympics leaves its athletes broken souls. Mostly, the book focuses on the athlete’s realm, a world where the connection between body and identity are highly intensified, as are the ways in which individuals come up against the body’s limitations,” expressed Abdou.

Next on the agenda was the works by Lolette Kuby Out of Cleveland. Again, just not my taste.

Lastly, first time reader and the first novel by Theanna Bischoff took the stage. Unsubtly, I noticed her posse of supporters spread across the audience. Her book Cleavage is about a young woman’s reality of being diagnosed with breast cancer. “Having cancer gives Leah permission, in a sense, to do and say a lot of things that aren’t typically acceptable. Modern society really emphasizes rationality and keeping one’s emotions in check, but with Leah, I was able to really explore the dark side of a person’s psyche, and the cynical things we all think but don’t say aloud, ” expressed Bischoff.

The young and lovely Theanna Bischoff was the one who stole the show, in my opinion. She carried herself with poise, sharp wittedly answered the questions directed towards her and gave birth to a novel I am eager to read myself.

Save the best for last was the case at this year’s Toronto Fictionista event.

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~ by deliciousnoize on April 25, 2008.

One Response to “Fictionistas: The Ladies Literary Event”

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed the reading. Check out my website if you’re interested: http://www.abdou.ca

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