Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Book Lovers Ball Interview Series, with Mary Jackman

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Mary Jackman

Press your gowns and suits and shine your shoes — the Book Lover's Ball is happening tomorrow night, February 7, 2013! A fantastic fundraiser for the Toronto Public Library Foundation, the gala will see more than 60 authors in attendance.

Today we conclude our series of interviews with several of the event's guest authors, speaking with Mary Jackman, author of Spoiled Rotten (Dundurn) and owner of Toronto's iconic Peter Pan Bistro. Mary tells us about her crime-solving chef protagonist and her crush on a fellow Book Lover's Ball guest author.

And be sure to visit Open Book: Toronto tomorrow for our special interview with Heather Rumball, President of the Toronto Public Library Foundation.

Open Book:

Is this your first time attending the Book Lover's Ball? If so, to what aspect of the event are you most looking forward? If you've attended before, what is one of your favourite memories from the event?

Mary Jackman:

This is my first time to the Book Lover’s Ball and, unless you count spring prom which I don’t think you should, it will be my first ball of any kind, at least in black tie. I look forward to rubbing elbows with other authors and the good people attending this worthy charity event. It all sounds so amazing that I’m quite nervous but I’d be delighted to talk about myself if I sense that anyone is even remotely interested.


This year the ball features book-inspired entertainment. Tell us a bit about your most recent book.


I am currently working on the third in the Liz Walker series. Liz is a restaurateur who solves mysteries with the help of her wacky staff and a cop named Winn. In Spoiled Rotten, lack of money, over-zealous health inspectors and the murder of a despicable local butcher has the owner of Walker’s Way bistro running through the streets of Toronto trying to find his killer, especially since the main suspect is her star chef. Spoiled Rotten introduces the characters seen as regulars in the second book, Finger Food, and my current project, Take Out. Although the books are works of fiction, they are based on my own personal experience as the owner of Toronto’s long running Peter Pan Bistro, recently referred to as “historic” in Now Magazine.


What will you be wearing to the gala?


I am wearing a black short cocktail dress with enough bling to look fancy. Or, a full length grey satin skirt complete with crinoline and a velvet top. I can’t decide, depends on the weather.


This event raises funds for the Toronto Library System, the busiest urban library system in the world. With what Canadian writer, living or dead, would you most like to spend an afternoon in the library? What might you ask him or her?


The task of choosing a single Canadian writer to spend an afternoon in the library was complicated. I would have loved the opportunity to meet Mordecai Richler — a great Canadian legend, or Elizabeth Hay and Louise Penny, also two of my favourite writers, but I will pick an attending author, Giles Blunt, because I have a bit of a crush on him.

A mystery writer with a different approach than mine, Mr. Blunt’s characters are dark and intense and he reveals their secrets slowly until the case is solved. I like to run at mine full force, take everyone for a ride and then drop the murderer in their lap. It would be fun to compare our favourite authors. I wonder if they would be so different.

Mary Jackman was born in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1976 she co-opened the trendsetting Peter Pan Restaurant in Toronto. She has lectured at George Brown Culinary School, appeared in a televised documentary on celebrity chef Susur Lee, who worked for three years as chef at Peter Pan, and continues to own and operate her popular downtown Queen Street West eatery.

For more information about Spoiled Rotten please visit the Dundurn website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

For more information about the Book Lover's Ball, please visit their website.

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