Last month the industry was abuzz with word of a new-and-improved book fair that could come to Toronto. On August 8, “A Re-Imagined Book Fair” feasibility report was publicly released, detailing the need for and structure of a national book fair. In uncertain times, the clear vision of the Fair, and the refreshing message which informs all its proposed programming, is one that industry and public can all get behind: to be a place to champion the book, and to be recalled to the “enchantment of the world of reading.”
The report was launched in January, 2013 in response to the challenges currently faced by the book and publishing industry. Led by Rita Davies (Culture Capital) and John Calabro (Association for Art and Social Change), and with advice from an Advisory Committee comprised of leading figures in the industry, the team researched the local and national literary landscape over a five-month period in order to determine the feasibility for and potential structure of a national book fair in Toronto. The findings of the report indicate that a fair which provides for professionals and the public alike; which caters to all genres; which showcases the breadth of talent of Canadian writers in both official languages; and which highlights the diverse writings of the multicultural communities of Toronto and Canada, is the “galvanizing” event the industry so urgently needs.
Moreover, the potential fair would be a reinvigorating feature to Toronto and Canada’s literary landscape as a whole; as Martin Knelman so worded it in The Star, “the most tantalizing prospect for most people would not be the gatherings designed for workers inside the book publishing trade, but the public component, which would draw book lovers who like to browse and talk about books, see them and feel them.”