Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Special Feature: The Book Lover's Ball Interview, with Heather Rumball

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Heather Rumball

Heather Rumball is the President and Director of Development for the Toronto Public Library Foundation. So if you are a library user or lover, she's the one you have to thank for keeping the Toronto Public Library — the world's busiest urban library system — going.

Tonight, authors and library supporters will gather at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto for the Book Lover's Ball, which is one of the main fundraising activities for the TPLF. Corporations and individuals purchase tickets and tables, with all proceeds going to the library, while guest authors donate their time, with one author seated at each table. This year's literary luminaries include CBC Canada Reads winner Terry Fallis, broadcaster and author Jian Ghomeshi, marketing guru and Dragon's Den star Arlene Dickinson, Book of Negroes author Lawrence Hill, Giller Prize winner Vincent Lam and many, many more.

Today we speak with Heather about the library and the pivotal role it plays, her own literary loves and how to make Margaret Atwood blush.

Open Book:

Tell us a bit about how the Book Lover's Ball came to be and how you became involved with the event.

Heather Rumball:

The Foundation wanted to create a signature event, not only to raise funds in support of Toronto’s Library, but also to grab the attention of people who care about Toronto but who might not realize how important the Library is to our city’s economic and social health

OB:

This event benefits the Toronto Public Library Foundation. Why is the foundation important?

HR:

Government funding pays for most, but not all, library programs, services and community spaces and Toronto’s Library is busier than ever. Donor funding allows the Library to provide the kinds of collections, programs and services and community spaces that the people of Toronto need and deserve. The Foundation also allows people who love the library to give back.

OB:

Over 60 Canadian authors join the donors and supporters at this event. What can they and the other guests expect on February 7? What makes this event special?

HR:

Our guest authors can expect lots of attention — our guests love being able to meet them!

And all guests can look forward to a glamorous book-inspired evening from start to finish beginning with a reception hors d’oeuvres drawn from the Chatelaine cook book “Modern Classics”; fabulous silent auction prizes (such as private book club dinners with Lloyd Robertson and Andrew Pyper); a gourmet dinner with an author seated at every table; the opportunity to give back by “adopting” a Library book, program or branch; a finale of spectacular novel-inspired entertainment; and fun additions like Balzac’s Coffee Roasters “Atwood Blend” and a “bed-time story” take-away

The Book Lover’s Ball really showcases all that Toronto Public Library offers: lots of food for thought, with something to appeal to everyone

OB:

Do you have a favourite memory from a past Book Lover's Ball?

HR:

That would be the snappy answer Paul Martin gave to the Live Eye interviewer at the BLB in 2009. The question was question something like “Who would you like to go home with tonight?”; his answer was, “Margaret Atwood, of course!” which made the room roar — and Margaret almost blush!

OB:

If you could spend an afternoon at the library with any Canadian author, living or dead, who would you choose? And what might you chat about?

HR:

Great question — and so hard to answer! I’ll say Alice Munro because she’s such an amazing discerner of human nature, and an extraordinary craftsperson; I’d love to learn about the influences and experiences that have shaped her writing

OB:

Once you've had time to decompress after the event, what book is next on your reading list?

HR:

Reading is exactly how I do decompress! Once I’ve finished my Christmas gift reads, I’m looking forward to tucking into (no surprise) Alice Munro’s Dear Life.


Heather Rumball is the President and Director of Development for the Toronto Public Library Foundation. She is a seasoned fundraising professional with over 22 years experience, and has shepherded the Book Lover's Ball to its current status as an exciting highlight in the Toronto social calendar and an essential fundraiser for the Toronto Public Library.

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

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