The rain may have been coming down in buckets outside the VPL, but that certainly didn’t put a damper on the festivities going on inside. What a day!
For most of us the fun began around 11 am as thirty authors and illustrators started setting up their stations.In no time the entire Alice McKay room was buzzing. The very organized organizers were constantly on the move providing help wherever it was needed, while the participants whizzed around their tables, taping, stapling, hanging, banging, stacking and tacking. And visiting. There was a lot of that going on too. That’s one of the bonuses of events such as the Book Hatching. Those of us who write and illustrate spend so much time holed up in our offices and studios, that it is a real treat when we get to put on something other than sweats and mingle with real people.
Once I was as set up as I was going to get, I started cruising the room to see what great things everyone else was doing. Dan Bar-el had a very creative fill-in-the-blank story happening, which I couldn’t resist trying out. I ended up with a lot of spitting, burping, and hiccupping. Dan assured me I’d gotten all the good stuff, so I moved on to the next table feeling quite proud. Tiffany Stone had brought her marketing director with her – aka her young son, Emery, and in a matter of seconds, he was selling me his mother’s books. Why can’t I find an agent like that? Cynthia Nugent spent much of her time documenting the day with photos, but I did catch her during a brief pit stop, practicing her ukulele. (Later in the day, she treated the assembled masses to a fun version of Wonderful Copenhagen.) In addition to the author and illustrator displays, there was a booth set up for face painting, a food table with much appreciated goodies from Purdy’s Chocolates and Davie Street Cobbs (yummy cinnamon buns), as well as coffee provided by Blenz. Of course Blackberry Books had a booth set up too with copies of all the titles being hatched.
The public started arriving around 1 pm, and in a matter of minutes, the place was packed. Book hounds swarmed the tables, getting their passports autographed or just chatting with a favorite author or illustrator. Student reporters roamed the room, conducting in-depth interviews, including such questions as, “How has your career as a writer affected your family?” Aagghh! Panic! This is too hard! Whatever happened to “Where do you get your ideas?”
The writing community is a very supportive one, so it was no surprise to see so many writers out to cheer the rest of us on – Shelly Hrdlitschka, Norma Charles, Sandra Diersch, and Irene Watts to name a few. I’m not sure, but I think I may have glimpsed Ron Jobe there too.
The presentation part of the program was emceed Bonnie Nish and Sita Carboni from Pandora’s Collective. They introduced the authors and illustrators who spoke (or sang) briefly (90 seconds) about the books they were hatching, prompting the audience to make a beeline for the Blackberry booth to buy their favourites. Unless, that is, they were lucky enough to win the many books provided by publishers and creators.
Hopefully the Spring Book Hatching, sponsored jointly by CWILL BC, Blackberry Books, The Vancouver Public Library and Pandora’s Collective, with support from ING Direct and Purdy’s Chocolate will become an annual event. Many thanks to all the people who worked so hard to make it happen.