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Open Book Salon October 2014

On Wednesday, October 8, Open Book hosted a literary salon at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Guest authors Kamal Al-Solaylee, Camilla Gibb and Steven Heighton took the stage with moderator and Open Book columnist Becky Toyne for an evening discussing writing and place.

The discussion started around the idea of home, with Al-Solaylee saying at one point, "Home is simply where you can be yourself." A transplant to Toronto, he questioned whether he would have embraced the city with the same enthusiasm if he were to arrive in the Toronto of 2014.

The authors also noted the things that are constant to every culture, regardless of where one calls home. Heighton, who previously lived in Japan, noted "There are always equivalent proverbs in every language, which is fascinating." Heighton continued as the discussion turned to the idea of the outsider in a foreign culture, "It's good to be an outsider as a writer."

As the discussion moved on to craft, Gibb gave the aspiring writers in the audience comforting, noting that even she had projects that didn't work, saying, "Not everything needs to be published."

Gibb also contributed one of the most well-received remarks of the evening. Discussing whether any place can be inspiring, Gibb insisted that while travel can be illuminating, there's plenty of inspiration close to home. She said wryly, "I keep thinking Don Mills is romantic."

The evening also served as the launch of Open Book's newest initiative, the Open Book Explorer, an online portal connecting readers to literary Ontario.

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