Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Book Lover's Ball Interview Series, with Kevin Sylvester

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Kevin Sylvester

It sounds like something out of a literary fairy tale — but the Book Lover's Ball is (luckily) not only a real event, but a fantastic fundraiser for the Toronto Public Library Foundation. The event sees more than 60 Canadian authors at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, as well as hundreds of supporters and donors, all gathered for an evening of literary entertainment.

As the February 7, 2013 gala approaches, we at Open Book: Toronto are pleased to feature a series of interviews with several of the event's fabulous guest authors.

Today we speak with Kevin Sylvester, author, illustrator, CBC personality and the creative mind behind the beloved Neil Flambé children's book series.

Stay tuned for more interviews with guest authors from the Book Lover's Ball.

Open Book:

Is this your first time attending the Book Lover's Ball? If so, to what aspect of the event are you most looking forward? If you've attended before, what is one of your favourite memories from the event?

Kevin Sylvester:

I was lucky enough to attend last year’s ball and had a blast! I sat a table with a group of sports lawyers, and was fascinated by the discussion of how contracts are negotiated and sometimes disputed. They were also really nice people.

We also had a blast watching the fashion show (the Atwood inspired 1980’s dance video was particularly intriguing) and just watching all those authors and book types hang loose.

OB:

This year the ball features book-inspired entertainment. Tell us a bit about your most recent book.

KS:

The third and fourth installments of my Neil Flambé Capers were released in late 2012. Neil Flambé and the Crusader’s Curse has my now 15-year old chef losing his ability to cook, thanks to a thousand year-old curse. He travels to Paris to battle a crazed religious zealot, putting himself and his friends in grave danger.

Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure opens with a new manga comic, called The Chef. The Chef, loosely based on Neil, fights the evil Lord Vegemight, using an arsenal of atomic avocadoes. Once the book itself begins, Neil is off to Tokyo to find his cousin Larry, who may or may not be dead!

OB:

What will you be wearing to the gala?

KS:

I like simple suits, with tiny touches of bookish colour. My favourite suit is a nice shiny gray suit from Lab, bought at Got Style… with my “Snoopy and typewriter” tie. It’s purple and shiny, and that’s cool. And as a writer/illustrator, Peanuts has special resonance for me at an event such as this.

OB:

This event raises funds for the Toronto Library System, the busiest urban library system in the world. With what Canadian writer, living or dead, would you most like to spend an afternoon in the library? What might you ask him or her?

KS:

There are so many! But let’s say Stephen Leacock. I’d like to sit, have a scotch and discuss what makes humour work.

I still laugh reading Leacock’s writing, and he was such a huge giant in the earlier days of Canadian writing.

Too bad he went to McGill. Maybe I’d also ask him why he didn’t choose UofT.


Kevin Sylvester is an award-winning writer, illustrator, and broadcaster. His books include the Neil Flambé series, Gold Medal for Weird and Sports Hall of Weird. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

For more information about Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure please visit the Simon & Schuster Canada website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

For more information about the Book Lover's Ball, please visit their website.

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