Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Word On The Street interview series: Liz Bugg

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Liz Bugg

The Word On The Street is the highlight of many Torontonians' literary calendars. With hundreds of magazines, book publishers, writers and readers descending on Queen's Park Circle for a sunny day of readings, workshops, discussions and sales (not to mention donuts!), the festival is an essential feature of the fall book season. Don't forget to mark September 23, 2012 on your calendars!

To celebrate this terrific event, we at Open Book are once again partnering with The Word On The Street, both to bring you exclusive interviews with the talented authors featured in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario tent, and to offer exciting contests with fabulous prizes, which are sure to have book lovers drooling!

We're thrilled to launch this year's series with Liz Bugg, the author of Oranges and Lemons (Insomniac), which is the second book featuring Toronto PI Calli Barnow, a character who has already gained an enthusiastic following.

Liz talks with us about Calli, the value of a teaching background and the allure of Saskatoon.

Open Book:

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

Liz Bugg:

I will be reading from Oranges and Lemons, which was published in April 2012. It's the second novel in my Calli Barnow Series and it's set in Southern Ontario, primarily Toronto. It follows the adventures of PI Calli Barnow as she goes under cover to solve a case, while at the same time trying to deal with challenges in her personal life. It's a mixture of comedy, mystery and suspense, all seen from the slightly quirky perspective of the main character. Because I've been asked to read in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent, I've specifically chosen passages that reflect location.


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?


Yes, I have attended The Word On The Street before. It's a wonderful event. My favourite memory is spending an hour in the Crime Writers of Canada booth last year, where I was able to become acquainted not only with readers, but also with fellow writers.


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


Narrowing down to a favourite Ontario author or book is difficult, but I'm going to choose Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion. I've studied it, and I've taught it, and each time I've gone back to the book I've come away with a greater appreciation for the style and the content. One of the things I love about the book is how the city of Toronto comes alive on the page and functions not only as a setting but also as a character.


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


My first book, Red Rover, was published in 2010, so I've only been doing public readings for a couple of years, and I haven't yet received any advice; that of course could change. So far my background in acting and teaching has been very helpful. I always prepare for a reading, and I always strive to connect with the audience members and tell them the story, rather than just reading the words.


Word on the Street is happening simultaneously in Toronto, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener and Halifax this year as well as in Vancouver from September 28-30. If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival (in addition to Toronto) would you attend?


I would choose to be at WOTS in Saskatoon, if I could be in two places at once. It's a beautiful city with a vibrant arts scene, and I received a warm welcome there when I did a reading last year. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Saskatchewan, because it's where I grew up. Every fall I get really homesick, so I can't think of anything better than combining a book event with my favourite season on the prairies.


What can you tell us about your next project?


At the moment I'm working on two projects simultaneously. I'm in the late revisions stage of the third novel in the Calli Barnow Series, and I'm writing a non-fiction book about the life and work of visual artist, Joelle Circé. When I have those two projects under control I will return to work on my grandmother's immigration story that I began just over a year ago. I could really use more hours in the day.

Liz Bugg is the award-winning author of the Calli Barnow Mystery Series (Insomniac). She lives in Toronto where she also teaches and acts. Visit Liz at

For more information about Oranges and Lemons please visit the Insomniac website.

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

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