You’d think that having a ticket to the 4th Annual Booklover’s Ball would be exciting enough, but it’s always fun to have a little suspense added to your day. A bout of extremely windy weather had us all wondering if Brad Martin, President and CEO of Random House, and co-chair of the night’s big event, was going to be stranded in New York City. The word was that all flights had been cancelled.
Well, Brad must have pull somewhere. The buzz at the Ball, held at the Royal York Hotel, was that he had in fact gotten on to a flight – so the evening was set to go off without a hitch!
CBC news anchor Diana Swain was the host, and it was nice to see my fellow ex-Winnipegger looking gorgeous and doing a great job handling the unruly crowd. Each table included a noted author, with a guest list that included Margaret Atwood, David Adams Richards, and Debbie Travis.
But the authors in attendance were there to work for their fancy dinners. As Diana pointed out, the author at each table was responsible for providing wit and candour for the evening. Upon hearing that, our entire table turned to MG Vassanji, our guest author – and he did exactly as he had been instructed, most amusingly trying to sort out what he would do with the MAC mascara that he had received in his gift bag.
After dinner, we settled in for a fashion show inspired by Harlequin books over the past fifty years. The decorating duo Colin and Justin were there, doing quite a number in Canadian kilts…
The Booklovers’ Ball is a fundraiser for the Toronto Public Library, the largest library system in the world. It has books in more languages than anywhere else in the world, but the statistic that I found most surprising is that 73 percent of Torontonians use the library. That is a lot of people reading a lot of books books and accessing the many other services, and it was a pleasure to witness all of the money being raised to ensure that the TPL continues to flourish.