Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Readers Write: The Art of Storytelling

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Readers Write: The Art of Storytelling

By Open Book reader Gisela Böhnisch. Gisela just completed a three-month road trip by bus and train across Canada volunteering at film festivals, couch surfing and keeping an eye out for interesting topics for documentaries. She is a self-confessed festival addict and blogs obsessively about her cultural adventures on http://lifeisafestival.wordpress.com.

I visited Toronto for the first time this September spending two fantastic weeks volunteering with the Toronto International Film Festival. Having followed Open Book: Toronto on Twitter for some time, I had also been very curious about the Ontario writing scene. So I was thrilled to be able to catch the launch of Irish-Canadian writer Emma Donoghue's latest Man Booker Prize nominated novel Room. The event was held on 15 September in a friendly Irish pub in Broadview called Dora Keogh's and presented by Ben McNally Books. After reading an excerpt from her new novel, Emma answered questions from the audience and also did a book signing afterwards. A great time was had by all, and it was lovely to get to speak with Emma, who is a fellow graduate of University College Dublin.

It was also one of those occasions when I was reminded that listening to someone read or tell a story well is one of those simple pleasures in life, which are really quite priceless. Little did I know that night that only a few days later, on a three-day cross-country train ride from Toronto to Edmonton, I would be part of another group of people intently listening to someone telling stories. It had been our third consecutive night on the "Canadian," and many of us had got talking to each other by then. As I'm not into card games and the onboard DVD collection existed of only two rather average movies, I suggested getting together for a little impromptu literary party up in the dome viewing car of the train after dinner. Two hours later 23 of us, perfect strangers when we had boarded the train in Toronto and hailing from all corners of the globe, spent a whole evening telling ghost stories while the prairies of Saskatchewan were flying past us in the darkness outside. I've had some pretty interesting adventures in the past few weeks but I can hardly remember a happier moment during my three-month roadtrip across North America.

Do you have a story to tell about your reading or writing? Send it to clelia@openbooktoronto.com.

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