Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Word on the Street Interview Series: Gillian Savigny

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Gillian Savigny

The Word on the Street is almost upon us! It's just three more sleeps until Queen's Park in Toronto will be transformed into a book lover's playground. With readings by some of the country's finest writers in every genre, amazing and interactive children's programming and a marketplace populated by publishers of all your favourite books and magazines, The Word on the Street is a highlight of the literary calendar and a great community celebration of the love of reading.

Today we speak to Gillian Savigny, author of Notebook M (Insomniac Press) as part of our The Word on the Street interview series. The poems in Notebook M have been called "eloquent and utterly surprising" and "worldly and adventurous", drawing praise since their publication.

Gillian talks to Open Book about filling in for Darwin, the rhythm of the city and an upcoming project that examines collecting, hoarding and much more.

Gillian will be reading in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario tent at the Toronto The Word on the Street festival on September 22 at 12:00 p.m. The Word on the Street will also take place in Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Halifax on September 22 and on September 21 in Kitchener.

And don't miss our exciting contests in partnership with The Word on the Street — right now you can enter now for a chance to win a set of fantastic non-fiction titles, and stay tuned for more!

Open Book:

Tell us about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Gillian Savigny:

I’ll be reading from my collection Notebook M, which was published in October 2012. It's a kind of re-imagining of one of Charles Darwin’s notebooks — one he was scribbling in while he was working on the theory of evolution, but which he reserved for thinking about metaphysics, morality, and expression. My book brings together the techniques and procedures of poetry and science to explore the implications of the theory of evolution for how we think about human behaviour, emotions, memory and creativity.


Have you attended The Word on the Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?


Attending Word on the Street has been an annual ritual for me for several years now. It’s always so nice to run into old friends wandering through the booths in Queen’s Park and see what’s new. I find schedules in the summer tend to be erratic and so many people leave the city for cottages and travel. The Word on the Street feels like that moment when everyone returns and the rhythm of the city picks up again.


The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book.


There are so many! Most recently, I’ve been enjoying Gary Barwin’s The Porcupinity of the Stars and Ma href="" target="_blank">Adam Dickinson’s The Polymers. Both display a sense of wonder and imagination that I admire.


What’s the best advice about public readings you have ever received?


Try to read your audience and be ready to adapt to them.


Word on the Street is happening simultaneously in Toronto, Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Halifax on September 22 this year (as well as in Kitchener on September 21). If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival, in addition to Toronto, would you attend?


I would choose Saskatoon because of all the cities where Word on the Street will be taking place it is the only one I haven’t visited yet.


Do you have a favourite spot in Ontario?


Again, so many! But I’ll say Bone Island in Georgian Bay where my aunt and uncle have a cottage. My family has been gathering there every summer or thanksgiving weekend for a number of years. It’s a beautiful place where it’s easy to forget about the rest of the world and just enjoy being outside with good company, good food and lots of wine.


What can you tell us about your next project?


My next project is about the line between collecting and hoarding and what happens when we try to collect the wild.

Originally from Vancouver, Gillian Savigny has studied and worked in cities across Canada. She holds a B.A. honours degree in English Literature from Queen's University and an M.A. degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Concordia University. She lives in Toronto, where she works in the nonprofit sector.

For more information about Notebook M please visit the Insomniac Press website.

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

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