Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

To Do: Thursday Morn

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To Do: Thursday Morn

After ten years of dreaming and planning, a brilliant new literary and very Canadian project is taking off and at 11 a.m. this Thursday morn, you can be a part of the official launch taking place at Playter Gardens in Toronto.

“Before the real city could be seen, it had to be imagined, the way rumours and tall tales were a kind of charting.” (In the Skin of a Lion, by Michael Ondaatje)

Project Bookmark Canada is a new, one-of-a-kind initiative that is working to "bookmark" locations across Canada that have been featured in Canadian stories and poems. Project Bookmark Canada will create a permanent presentation of literature in our public spaces by displaying a significant portion of text from stories and poems in a plaque format.

What makes Project Bookmark Canada unique is that these stories and poems will be placed, read and experienced in the exact locations where the stories and poems are set. This idea is so beautiful. And unique. While other cities and countries have tributes to literature and writers, no other initiative in the world creates a permanent, site-specific literary exhibit using text from imagined stories that take place in real locations.

Please find full details about the launch, featuring Project Bookmark Canada's Founder and Executive Director Miranda Hill, Mayor David Miller and Michael Ondaatje here.

Mayor Miller and Mr. Ondaatje will unveil a plaque (or, Bookmark) bearing a famous scene from Ondaatje’s legendary Toronto novel, In the Skin of a Lion, in which a nun falls from the Bloor Street Viaduct during its construction. This Bookmark is the first in a planned cross-Canada series intended to create a permanent presentation of literature in public spaces.

"Many cities have tributes to writers. What makes Project Bookmark Canada unique is that these literary scenes will be read in the exact locations where the stories and poems are set," says Miranda Hill. "Readers can step right into the stories, experiencing the authors’ visions and the real locales simultaneously."

“For me it is magical to live in a city that has been 'named' - by writers from an earlier generation such as Hugh Garner and Morley Callaghan and Margaret Avison, and also by contemporary poets such as Dionne Brand and Dennis Lee and Christopher Dewdney," says Michael Ondaatje. "So I feel very honoured by this."

Future Toronto Bookmarks will include a passage from former Toronto poet laureate Dennis Lee’s children’s poem, "The Cat and the Wizard" at Casa Loma and a scene from Anne Michael’s internationally acclaimed novel Fugitive Pieces on Grace Street. But Hill says that this is just the beginning for the new organization.

"These words by Ondaatje, Michaels and Lee inspired this project, so I am glad that we can pay tribute to them first. But there are countless stories and poems set in recognizable locales - from St. John’s to Toronto to Vancouver. I think it would be wonderful to Bookmark them all. My vision is that you should be able to read your way right across Canada."

A gorgeous vision.

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