Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Book Lovers Ball Interview Series, with Tanis Rideout

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Tanis Rideout

If you're a library supporter and an avid reader, the Book Lover's Ball just might be your ideal event. A black tie fundraiser for the Toronto Public Library, the February 6 gala will gather more than fifty of the country's finest authors with bibliophile philanthropists to support one of the busiest urban library systems in North America.

As the ball approaches, we are thrilled to be speaking with several of the guest authors about their books and their writing and of course, the most important question of all — what they're going to wear!

Today we speak with Tanis Rideout, author of acclaimed historical novel Above All Things (McClelland & Stewart) and the poetry collection Arguments with the Lake (Wolsak & Wynn), which has been called "as consuming as it is invigorating".

Stay tuned for more interviews with guest authors from the Book Lover's Ball!

Open Book:

This year the Book Lovers Ball features entertainment that brings books to life on stage. Tell us a bit about your most recent book.

Tanis Rideout:

Last spring my collection of poetry, Arguments with the Lake, came out. It’s centered on Marilyn Bell’s swim across Lake Ontario, the 1950s and my own relationship with the lake. And just before that my novel, Above All Things, came out in paperback. It’s based on George Mallory’s 1924 expedition to Mt. Everest. The narrative is split between his attempts to summit the mountain and a single day in the life of George’s wife, Ruth, waiting for him back home in Cambridge.


What will you be wearing to the gala?


Hmmm… I’m still thinking about that. At the moment it’s a toss up between the only formal dress I have in my closet and a suit. We’ll see what strikes my fancy come the date. And what the weather’s like!


This event raises funds for the Toronto Public Library system, one of the busiest urban library systems in the world. What do you see as a library's role in the city? What has your own experience of libraries been like?


I go to the library at least once a week. I love it. Every time I come across a book I want to read I put it on hold at the library, then it’s kind of like Christmas when I go to pick up books — I never know what I’ll be reading next.

But that’s the most basic use for libraries — borrowing books. They’re gathering places, community centres; they provide access to programs, languages, and resources that most of us can’t access any other way. They’re sanctuaries and schools, museums and theme parks all in one, I think.


One of the unique things about the Book Lovers Ball is how it allows avid readers to meet some of their favourite writers. With what Canadian writer, living or dead, would you most like to sit at dinner? What might you ask him or her?


I’ve thought and thought about this. There are so many author’s I’d love to sit next to and have a conversation with — but the fact of the matter is, regardless of who it was, I’d probably be too painfully shy to actually speak to them. I’d probably say something ridiculous, confess that I’m a huge fan and run away.

Tanis Rideout's work has been shortlisted for several prizes, including the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and the CBC Literary Awards. She was named the Poet Laureate for Lake Ontario by the environmental advocacy group Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and has toured with Gord Downie and Sarah Harmerto promote environmental justice. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed novel Above All Things and the poetry collection Arguments with the Lake.

For more information about Above All Things please visit the McClelland & Stewart 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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