The best curated bookstore in Toronto, Ben McNally Books, is hosting a series of readings for women authors called In Her Voice. I'm lucky enough to be taking part in the first event in honour of Emma Richler's new novel Be My Wolff. It's on February 27 at 6:30 pm at Dora Keogh in Toronto. Stop by if you can. More details here.
For those of you who don't know, Ben McNally is a store, yes, but also a person. Some may argue that he is in fact a series of persons, clones in fact, given how he seems to be everywhere at once. Seriously. If there's a book event in Toronto, chances are Ben organized it. If you bought a book, Ben likely sold it to you. If you are reading a book review, Ben probably guided the journalist over to the back wall of his shop, handed a copy to her and said those two magical words: Read it.
Man or clone, not only does Ben give excellent recommendations, but he is a tireless supporter of local authors. Case in point: I went in to browse the other day, found my book in his shelves (yippee!), and we starting chatting. He was remarkably kind to me, took my email address and said he'd be in touch soon. I didn't expect to hear back. After all, my book has garnered little media attention and no prize nominations. Basically, I am a big-fat zero in CanLit. But Ben didn't care. He was interested, engaged. And he followed through -- with an invite to read at In Her Voice.
This is how important local bookshop owners are. They organize. They promote local authors from small presses. They hand-sell. They give a damn. All things that Amazon will never ever do. So please, support your indie shops. Because they support the writers who fill the shelves.
Thanks to Ben and Danielle McNally for including me in this event (and Emma Richler!), and for being the beating heart of the Toronto literary community.