In May 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the Festival Of Literary Diversity (FOLD) in Brampton, ON and at the end of October, I attended some of the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) events.
Both festivals were excellent and gave me a new appreciation for what they offer.
FOLD is exactly as described. The festival is about diversity - author diversity, book diversity, books about diversity, reaching a wide range of diverse people so they can identify with something that might not always have a so-called place in literature (yet). It's fantastic!
This year was TIFA's 40th anniversary. The events for this festival are a little different but the same ideas of having writers and readers come together to talk about books, is the same. Both of these events will be on my to-do list again in 2020.
I have compiled my top 10 things about these festivals:
- The festivals are all about books! For a bibliophile like myself, nothing could be more exciting. There are talks about books, there are the books themselves, and everywhere you go... well, there's books.
2. NEW BOOKS
- this is a little different than #1. The festivals add to my already overflowing bookshelves. There are new, current books about topics that are important for right now!
- you could go to a library or talk about books at a book club, but what the festivals offer that is unique are the panel discussions and conversations with the actual authors. Sometimes these discussions only add to my appreciation of a book that I wouldn't otherwise have.
4. NEW AUTHORS
- we all have our favourite authors and they can be a great part of the festivals, but meeting the new authors is also exciting. It keeps me up on the new voices in our world.
5. MEETING FAVOURITE AUTHORS AND LOVING THEM MORE
- the only thing better than meeting a favourite author is liking them when you meet them. It is disappointing when we have a relationship with an author's work and we can sometimes imagine the author to be a certain way. Then we find out they are not as great as we thought. That's not their fault but it does happen. The opposite is also true. Sometimes our favourite author is as great as we imagined and sometimes they are even better than we imagined. Celebrate those times!
6. TALKING TO PEOPLE ABOUT BOOKS AND OTHER BOOK/AUTHOR EVENTS
- the people that attend these festivals also love talking about books. The books they are reading, the books they've read and what their next reads will be. It's also great talking about other festivals that are taking place that you might not have been aware of.
7. NO ONE'S EYES GLAZE OVER WHEN THESE DISCUSSIONS ARE TAKING PLACE
- it has been my experience that not everyone wants to talk about books all the time and they get that look, you know the one, where they see your lips moving and they are looking at your face to be polite, but they don't care about the characters and plot twist you just described. In fact, they have no idea why you are bringing up this fictional world to begin with. This has never happened at a book festival. People are engaged, interested and excited about these discussions.
8. INTROVERT PARADISE
- I am an ambivert with about 1% towards extrovert on this scale. So, these festivals really feed the part of me that doesn't mind being around people but doesn't really need to talk to anyone if I don't want. Introverts are accepted here, without question!
9. GOING SOLO
- You can go with your book club gals, a close friend, another book lover, but you can also go by yourself. In fact, you will be surrounded by many others going solo. And it's not weird at all. For most, it's how they want it.
10. SEEING PEOPLE READING WHILE WAITING IN LINE OR FOR THE EVENT TO START
- The first book festival I attended in New York City, I remember waiting in line and over half the people in line with me had their heads buried in a book. And it was totally accepted! Someone in the line, probably one of the extroverts, commented that the line was so quiet. It made them a little uncomfortable until they realized that this event draws a certain kind of person, you know the ones that have reading material with them at all times, and they want to read whenever they can. Those ones! Those people are at book festivals and it's one of the many reasons I love it.