"In response to the growing genre of books aimed at smart, savvy women, we felt a need to provide an alternative to the current 'chicklit' trend - and FICTIONISTAS was born!"
That mission statement behind FICTIONistas really does speak volumes. An evening that celebrates female authorship -- through having the authors themselves performing, reading and taking questions about their work -- is what it's all about.
A collaboration between Western Canadian independent publishers Coteau Books
, Signature Editions
, NeWest Press
, Turnstone Press
, Brindle & Glass
, and Freehand Books
, Fictionistas events are held annually across Canada.
This Winnipeg leg of the 2011 season will be held at McNally Robinson and features Angie Abdou
from Fernie B.C., Janice MacDonald
from Edmonton, Sue Sorensen
from Winnipeg, and Patti Grayson
from outside Winnipeg.
SCENE approach mystery writer Alison Preston
, who will be hosting the event, to find out just what being a Fictionista entails.
What do you think it will be like hosting an event with such a diverse group of authors representing their various western Canadian cities?
Well, lemme tell ya, I'm feelin' the pressure! I've never hosted an event before and there isn't even booze being served. I can read aloud till the cows come home but this is different. I will have to have my wits about me and I do hope that everyone is kind.
What are you looking forward to most at this FICTIONistas event?
Meeting other writers from western Canada, finding out what they are like in real life. And the travel. After Winnipeg we're heading out to Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary. There will be a different mix of writers in each city.
What can your readers look forward to at the event?
Four or so women at each event will read from their most recent publication for ten minutes or so, hopefully to a comfortable crowd of book enthusiasts. Following the readings there will be a question and answer session. I've also heard a pleasant rumour that there are door prizes and snacks.
How much do these collaborative events help writers like yourself develop new material?
Once I travelled to the Brandon library for a collaborative event with Winnipeg writer, Karen Dudley. Her husband Michael, drove. My greatest fear as an aloud reader came true. NO ONE showed up. We had a lovely lunch (Cobb salad) while the library workers searched fruitlessly to fill the void.
Then the librarians and one or two homeless people dutifully gathered to listen to us read and when it came time for the Q & A it turned out to be Karen and I asking all the questions. Of each other! Despite the lack of a real audience I will always remember it as a particularly enjoyable day, largely because of the company. I hadn't met either Karen or Michael before but we laughed our heads off all day.
I can picture using parts of that day in one of my books someday. It hasn't happened yet but it might.
Image in article: Winnipeg author Alison Preston (Tracey L. Sneesby)