As two authors working to bring readers and authors together, we felt it was vital that we have someone representing the reader and book club as part of our team. To that end, we welcome Fiona Ross to The Authors’ Book Club.
Fiona is an avid reader, a teacher librarian, and a current member of two book clubs. She is also the past chair of the Secondary Fiction Review Committee at the Peel District School Board and currently serves on the planning committee at the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).
We look forward to Fiona’s input and her unique perspective as a reader and book club member. We are confident that her contributions will further support our efforts to connect readers with authors across Canada.
Read Fiona’s post about being a book club addict! Follow her on Twitter.
Hello, my name is Fiona, and I am a book club addict.
I am currently the member of two book clubs, but I have also been part of book clubs at work and review committees for work and book magazines. I started reading novels at age 6 (Enid Blyton) and have never stopped since. Full disclosure, I am an English teacher, drama junkie, teacher librarian and a member of the planning committee for a wonderful literary festival called the FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity). I adore the printed word.
One of my greatest joys as a book club member and organizer has been actually meeting Canadian authors. Hearing in person the behind the scenes stories makes everything more vivid and alive.
The wonderful Ann Y.K. Choi was the first author to attend our book club, it was advice she received early in her career from fellow author, Terry Fallis. So, thanks to Ann, my book club met her in the spring of 2016 and Terry in the fall to discuss Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety and One Brother Shy respectively.
This past fall we also hosted Uzma Jalaluddin to talk about her romantic reworking of Pride and Prejudice called Ayesha At Last. It was yet another very successful meeting with fantastic conversations and insights. When organizing with an author I have reached out via Twitter for a contact email and have found authors surprisingly forthcoming. Our book club has met with authors at a restaurant and we cover their meal as a thank you for their visit, although Terry chose to meet us at one of our homes.
Canadian authors have so much to offer us. They can entertain and instruct while using art to hold up the proverbial mirror and let us see our strengths, weaknesses and follies. They deserve to be supported and promoted and book clubs, those gatherings of voracious readers and purchasers of books, are an ideal place to combine both of those passions. Please read and buy Canadian, and if an author is available to speak with your book club, take them up on it. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
It was the day before Christmas of 2019, and Ann Y.K. Choi and I were having lunch, reminiscing on an eventful year for each of us. Ann had worked hard on her new novel, and was still in the midst of relentless edits; she had completed a children’s book, to be released the following year; and there was all her other regular work: mentoring young writers, working full-time as a teacher, and speaking about her first novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety. I had released my first novel, Undercard, that February, and had spent the year adapting to being a published author, a thrilling, rewarding, and often overwhelming experience.
Ann is the first person I met at my first literary event as a published author. It was at the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) 2018, just a few months before my book would be released, and entering the building my publicist bumped into Ann, whom she had worked with previously. Ann was immediately personable, encouraging, and friendly, and I thought, wow, people in the literary community really are nice (they are, although Ann is at another level). Since then Ann has been a supportive friend, and a wise counsel for a new author.
During lunch she asked me if I was speaking at many book clubs. While I have spoken at some, I found it difficult to connect with them. I would gladly speak to many more, but there’s no repository I know of where book clubs are listed, or where I can list my name as available to book clubs. Ann said, someone should do that. And it was only moments later that we both agreed we should do that. And so began the concept of The Authors’ Book Club.