Last Thursday, June 19th, Su J. Sokol launched her new book, Cycling to Asylum, at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly! It was an unbelievably fun night, full of fans, friends, and family, not to mention more food than we could fit on the table.
Like, actually. This was no ordinary veggie platter. There were vegan meatballs, four different types of dips, and truffles, you guys. Truffles.
From the second the clock hit 7, the place was packed. By the time the event had started, the store was so full of people we were struggling to close the door. It was incredible to see so much support for Su. Particularly touching was seeing Su's mom, who got to hear all the amazing things people had to say about her daughter, and made this sappy lady sniffle more than once.
Here is yours truly giving an intro.
Su opened up the night by talking about how much of a dream of hers it was to have a book published. She mentioned she actually used to daydream about her acknowledgement page. Which is fantastic, because she had so many people to thank. The dozens of dozens of people in her writing groups and QWF workshops, the people who took the time to read drafts of Cycling to Asylum, her mother, who came from Massachusetts, her kids for working the door, her partner Glen (who not only brought over all the wine on his bike, but handed out truffles the whole night), her colleagues for letting her daydream at work, and someone called "Bicycle Bob." At this point Su voiced a need for an acknowledgement chapter, but says that’ll do for tonight. "I told myself I wasn't going to be nervous tonight but of course I am."
About Cycling to Asylum: In a near-future New York subject to an increasingly authoritarian and hostile government, Laek, a non-conformist history teacher, finds that he can no longer hide his radical past. After a brutal confrontation with the NYPD, he flees the United States with Janie, an activist lawyer, and their two kids, Siri and Simon. They cross the border by bicycle into Québec by posing as eco-tourists. In a Montréal that the future has also transformed, the family faces new challenges: convincing the authorities to grant them refugee status and integrating into Québec society. Will they find safety in their new home? Told from the points of view of the four family members, Cycling to Asylum is an unique work of interstitial fiction from an exciting new Montreal author.
Su read as each character (with props!), to the enjoyment of everyone in the room. At the end of the reading, Su asked if there were any questions, and the response was so telling of how beloved she is: "This isn't a question, but it's a comment: we are so proud of you. You are amazing; I can’t tell you the admiration and respect I feel for you. Montreal, Quebec, and Canada are so happy to have you." How's that for a review, y'all? Once again, thanks so much to Su and her family for the amazing event, to the audience who made it a blast, and to everyone involved!