I believe the above photo was taken just as the event was beginning. As the (little) kids like to say "here is the church, here is the steeple, open it up and...
...look at all the people!" Man, were you there? It seems like mostly everybody was. 800 people, sold out! (Check out D+Q Chief Chris Oliveros and his sweetie, Marina, smack dab in the middle of the action, here.)
Lookee here…Two sixths of the best staff ever! Helen & Kira enjoying a moment of relative quiet before the book-buying onslaught began.
Check out the balcony! Packed! Here the fans are patiently waiting for me to finish my introduction, anticipating the stage entrance of one of the most celebrated authors in the world...
...and then she was there!! And all reports proved correct, Ms. Atwood was indeed a commanding presence; the crowd was rapt as she began her reading by singing "The Mole Day Hymn" from the second book in her fantastic MaddAddam trilogy, Year of the Flood. She even prompted a little singalong from the audience!
After reading selections from Year of the Flood and Maddaddam, it was conversation time with another of our all-time favourite writers, Sheila Heti! The talk veered from Margaret's time under Northrop Frye's tutelage to the source of her fictions - from the real world or wholly invented? - to her review of Dave Egger's newest book, The Circle (is that a manhole on the cover?). It was a conversation to be remembered: inspiring, insightful, and wide ranging, with Margaret's keen wit shining through and provoking some serious belly laughs from the audience.
Following a brief Q&A (and portrait-sketching session), Margaret hit the signing table (alongside Librairie D+Q's fantastic events coordinator, Aleshia Jensen). She cheerfully accommodated a lengthy line of anxious and star-struck admirers...
For proof of said cheeriness, see above. Seriously guys, there were several moments during the evening where I stopped what I was doing, looked at that face and marvelled that Margaret Atwood. was. actually. here.
Oh, here's an entirely unnecessary, yet somehow necessary photo of D+Q creative director Tom Devlin and CBC Wiretap's Jonathan Goldstein having a chat about....oh man, I don't know, something that I'm sure was super-interesting. I wouldn't know though because after this photo was taken, I went over to join them and they just walked away together into the night. Leaving me alone and wanting for some dry wit and erudite observations.
Again, people! How amazing was Sheila Heti? Such great work that eve. We were so happy that she was able to take time out of her busy schedule to be there. Here she is with some fellow admirers!
When the line's finished, that's when we here in the D+Q organization swoop in and grab some signing love from the author. Here we have D+Q associate publisher Peggy Burns getting her copy of MaddAddam branded with a little Can-Lit legend authentication.
And to finish this wax rhapsody off, here's a lovely photo of our two guests! A huge thanks to the both of them for agreeing to appear. It was an event to remember!
A serious thanks to everybody who helped make this happen: William Straw at the McGill Institute for Canadian Studies - who co-presented the event, the incredible staff at the Rialto, Ashley Dunn at Random House, and Michael Martin at PGC. A huge, massive thanks to all of you who attended! 800 people is a lot for a literary event and it means so much to us to hear so many kind words from you afterwards about the bookstore and feel such support for what we're trying to do by bringing these sorts of events to our wonderful city. You are appreciated, believe you me, and I look forward to seeing your faces again before our next event. Drop by soon, we have some signed copies of one of the best books of 2013!