A Sunday afternoon in a Presbyterian church is not normally my idea of a time and place for fun, but Sean Wilson’s successful Ottawa festival has made the church hall at Lisgar and Elgin a fine centre for literary events.
I followed a lively debate about Israel between two authors with widely differing views, and was delighted to see that my audience included authors like Charles Gordon and Denise Chong, political actors whom I published like Eddie Goldenberg, political columnists/friends like John Ivison and Jeffrey Simpson, and many old friends.
Although the podium could not be moved onstage (which left me strolling about at audience level, in front of the stage) the show seemed to go well, and my old bookselling friend David Dolan proceeded to sell out of all 25 copies he had ordered for the signing. Signed copies are a verifiable measure of success, very welcome in a world of vague compliments.
Much better than vague compliments were the comments on the blog of Ottawa’s Nigel Beale, who tells people to “run” to see my show, going on to compare it to performances by “Stephen Leacock. Charles Dickens even.” If you don’t believe it, see for yourself. I think I can state that this is the first and last time that I‘ll be compared to Charles Dickens, but I’m enjoying the moment.
The perceptive Nigel, who interviewed me later, liked the book, too. A fine place, Ottawa.
— Douglas Gibson