At a time when some writers are accusing the Canadian publishing industry of not doing enough to promote and market their books, the Toronto Public Library is helping to fill in the gap by presenting a Can-Lit reading series at library branches all across the GTA this Spring. The timing for the cutely named “eh List Author Series” couldn’t be better; as the economy falters and more and more readers turn to the TPL in search of free reading material, what better way for local Canadian authors to self-promote than by giving free readings at your nearest library?
The lunch and evening series, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and continuing in the fall of this year, features twenty-one authors giving twenty-eight readings at eight different TPL branches. The selection includes a healthy mix of established and up-and-coming writers reading fiction and non-fiction books in English and French, with Can-Lit heavyweights like Governor-General Award–winning authors Miriam Toews and Nino Ricci, as well as Giller Prize–recipient Austin Clarke, joining lesser known novelists like Andrew Davidson (The Gargoyle) and Edeet Ravel (Your Sad Eyes and Unforgettable Mouth).
The TPL is also shrewdly catering to the CBC crowd by inviting a few familiar voices from Radio One, like As It Happens’ Mary Lou Findlay (reading Tuesday, March 24, 7 p.m. at the Barbara Frum Branch, appropriately) and everyone’s dad’s favourite storyteller, Bill Richardson (Thursday, March 5, 12:30 p.m. at the Toronto Reference Library). And Canadian political nerds can heckle legendary biographer Peter C. Newman twice—he’s doing readings at both the North York and Barbara Frum branches (April 29, 7 p.m. and June 23, 7 p.m.). Readings will include some Q&A as well as book signings and sales (so don’t worry about defacing library property with your favourite author’s signature).