Awards and Honours in Toronto

Back from a whirlwind tour of Toronto. But in between a presentation, a
panel, an award ceremony,and dinners and lunches, I managed to visit the
Royal Ontario Museum (very large dinosaurs) and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The presentation was in Burlington, arranged through the library there and
with lots of volunteers to help out. My thanks to everyone who made this
event happen. About 170 people were gathered at the Holiday Inn, children,
parents and teachers, and they were such a responsive audience. I had a
grand time, spoke for perhaps 20 minutes, then lots of questions, and time
to sign books and talk directly to people, before heading back to Toronto on
the GO Train.

The next day there was a gathering of authors and publishers at
Harbourfront, then it was on to a panel at a meeting of CANSCAIP, the
Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers. I
really enjoyed meeting the authors (including Eric Walters, Anna Kerz and
Kathy Stinson), and other members of the audience. Two of us talked about
writers’ retreats (I go every January to an abbey in New Brunswick with a
group of women writers, and have a fine time. We also manage to get some
work done).

Thursday the 13th was the Silver Birch Award Ceremony at Harbourfront. I
wouldn’t have missed this for the world. They’d bussed in 4300 children, and
everything was so well organized except the weather – very cold and windy,
right on the shores of Lake Ontario. The actual ceremony had an audience of
1500 kids, who could have taught the audience at a rock concert a thing or
two about screaming. It was such fun – and what more can a writer ask for
than 1500 readers who are loudly enthusiastic about books?
I felt hugely honoured that The Nine Lives of Travis Keating was chosen as
an Honour Book.

That night I flew on a very small plane to St John NB (when I craned my
neck, I could see through the windshield to the lights on the runway as we
came in to land). Got in to the hotel at 1 am, up the next morning for the
Hackmatack Award Ceremony, again a wonderful gathering of children and
fellow authors. Congratulations to Ingrid Lee, who won for “Dog Lost.”

Home by suppertime, and I must say I took it very easy the next day!

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