Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Housemaid's Daughter in Canada

I have just returned from a wonderful visit to Canada, where I had a busy schedule promoting The Housemaid's Daughter. You may remember that a year ago I met booksellers in Vancouver, this time it was Toronto's turn.

My Canadian publishers and distributers have been highly enthusiastic about the book, and it was a real pleasure to meet so many of them, see pic above at the Indigo headquarters. I signed copies in Ben McNally Books, a beautiful independent bookshop in downtown Toronto, and then moved on to two impressive Indigo bookshops, one of which had a grand piano to display the books to their best effect - and highlight the role of music in the novel. Later that day, I did a talk at the Beaches branch of the Toronto Public Library.

I had been expecting heat in Toronto because on previous trips the weather had been extremely warm. I therefore dressed for bright, hot sunshine but instead it turned out to be very like what I'd left behind in the UK: cool and showery. Out came the brolly!

My trip reconfirmed what a small, inter-connected world we live in: I met a lady who not only grew up in the Eastern Cape as I did, but also attended the same school! Indeed, everywhere I go I encounter South Africans who have made new lives abroad, and yet never manage to uproot themselves entirely. There's something about Africa that captures you forever; something about that combination of heat, light, vibrancy, and the unexpected... which is hard to find anywhere else. I worked hard in the book to invoke the spell that Africa casts, and so I was delighted to hear from several Canadian readers that, even though they had never been to the continent, they could feel the heat of the Karoo through my descriptions...

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