I’m settling back home to a beautifully green city after the FictionKNITstas tour which took me to reading events in Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto last week. Fictionistas is an initiative by regional presses that annually celebrates new women’s writing in Canada. The KNIT was put into Fictionistas this year because each of us were paired with a knitter who read our book and knitted something in response to it.
A number of us confessed to initial ambivalence about the notion. But, one thinks of some of the late publisher Jack McClelland’s marketing antics, such as staging Margaret Atwood’s first book signing in the men’s underwear department of the Bay or donning a toga on a cold Toronto day to promote a Sylvia Fraser novel. Wearing a lovely teal scarf in a funky Calgary yarn shop or the quiet ambience of Ben McNally’s on Bay Street is a great pleasure compared to that! Altogether, it turned out to be interesting and fun. At my three events, I participated with 10 readers and writer-hosts (Astrid Blodgett, Ali Bryan, Betty Jane Hegerat, Lisa Bird-Wilson, Nicole Dixon, Faith Johnston, Charlene Diehl, Cordelia Strube, Stella Harvey, and Ailsa Kay), all with books well worth checking out! Photos and other details at the Fictionistas link.
A Calgary highlight for me was meeting my knitter, Cheryl Anne Rector. She made not just one, but two pieces, in response to What You Get at Home! (We reflected on this for CBC Manitoba Scene.) Cheryl is a knitter of great skill and the scarves are truly exquisite and were much admired at the readings. The arrangement with the knitters was that they would get their work back and so the gorgeous white shawl is in the mail today — just the one, however, because Cheryl gave me the teal scarf as a gift! I’ll wear it with fond memories of our exchange and of the FictionKNITstas tour.