I think I passed John Irving on the way to the bathroom….


So I actually did send BJ a text that said…’I think I passed John Irving on the way to the bathroom.’ File that under things I never thought I would say.

An event kept popping up in my Facebook feed, for September 6th – it was a 25th anniversary event for the Cooke Agency and it was an evening featuring John Irving, Rupi Kaur and Jeff VanderMeer. Having just finished Ms. Kaur’s book (Milk and Honey), and seeing that the event was taking place a short subway ride from work, I forked over $30 (proceeds were supporting First Book Canada, so win win!).

Oddly enough, I have read all three authors. I read Irving’s A Widow for One Year, Kaur’s Milk and Honey, and VanderMeer’s Annihilation. Which made the evening more interesting and perplexing: all three authors are VERY different from each other.

I am skeptical when attending these types of author events. It’s hit and miss on how the author(s) will read and present, and who the moderator is. (Remind me to tell you about the time BJ and I saw David Mitchell in Ann Arbor…funny story!) However, in this case this was a delightful evening.

Mr. Irving read two chapters from a novel he is currently writing (it was quite good). Ms. Kaur read a few poems from her new book and did a spoken word piece called ‘Broken English’ – which was stunning. Mr. VanderMeer read a couple chapters from his book ‘Borne’.

I enjoy hearing authors speak about their work. I am passionate about books and reading, and authors are even more so. It’s pretty cool to hear where ideas come from, some of the background or even what books inspire them. I was actually shocked to learn that John Irving is a huge Charles Dickens fan. (As an aside: I am not a huge fan of Irving’s, so my knowledge of him is limited.) And I learned that he studied under Kurt Vonnegut (John Irving did, not Charles Dickens). I learned that Rupi Kaur did not speak English when she came to Canada (and is now a New York Times best selling author!!!)

Overall a good time was had. And, I might even give John Irving another shot.



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