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Canada 150


      Un Momento with John Calabro

      Jan. 13, 2014

      John Calabro is an extremely talented Toronto writer, publisher and advocate for social change. He has written two award-winning novellas, Bellecour and The Cousin, as well as a book of short fiction, Somewhere Else. Calabro is the president and a co-publisher of Quattro Books, a vibrant and growing independent publishing house that has single-handedly renewed some enthusiasm around the writing and publishing of the novella. He is also the president of the Association for Art and Social Change, which works towards increasing the development of the arts culture in Toronto.  Most recently, Calabro is the co-founder of an exciting international book fair that will launch in Toronto this autumn.

      What is Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair?

      Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair is Canada’s book exposition for all things print and digital. For one weekend in November [November 13 to 16], the Metro Toronto Convention Centre will be transformed into a book lover’s paradise; a city of books within a city of readers! The largest bookstore in the country. Whether you read science fiction, indulge in romance, devour cookbooks, or prefer poetry, you’ll find just what you’re looking for at the Fair. You can explore the Digital & New Media Zone where you’ll learn all about the latest digital innovations that are transforming reading as we know it; you can sign up for workshops in writing and publishing led by industry professionals and your favourite authors; you can browse the booths of publishers from across Canada; and you can return, time and time again, to the Main Stage and Stage 2 areas for author appearances, discussions, demonstrations and musical performances.

      Where did this idea come from and how did it get off the ground?

      It came from attending book fairs around the world as a visitor, an author and as a publisher. I was always amazed at how these book fairs were such enormous, exciting, creative spaces where reading, books and authors were being celebrated and where the public, children, teens, adults and seniors came in large numbers to participate in this celebration. That, with the realization that Toronto did not have one, prompted Rita Davies, former Executive Director of Culture for the city of Toronto, and I to do a study on the feasibility of having Toronto host a book fair. The study showed a lot of promise, and along the way we enticed Steven Levy, a businessman who for thirty years had started most of the successful consumer fairs in Canada, to join us in creating, Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair. We got a few investors together and started this incredible adventure.

      How will this help writers in Canada?

      It will be the greatest opportunity for the greatest number of Canadian authors and of publishers to showcase and celebrate the books published in 2014. There will be opportunities for readings, book signings, leading, participating and attending workshops and panel discussions. It will be a place where new and established Canadian and International authors can learn from each other, a place where authors can learn about the industry, a place where authors can help readers discover their writing. A place where authors may find a publisher, an agent or pitch a manuscript to a film or TV producer. With the slow disappearance of booksellers, such a book fair will galvanize and energize the industry. An opportunity for authors and publishers to sell books directly to the public.

      What do you hope readers will get from this festival?

      The Toronto International Book Fair is a place for readers to connect in the most immediate ways with those who write and with those who produce the books they love; a place where people can reconnect with the passion and enchantment of the world of reading. We want a place where readers discover a new book, a new author, where readers celebrate the fall literary season by hearing the various prizewinners of the year. Visitors can also participate in interactive exhibits and staged events.

      Will there be any Italian Canadian content or involvement at all?

      Of course. It will also depend on the Italian Canadian community that writes and publishes and on their willingness to participate. We are opening the book fair to everyone and encouraging Toronto’s diverse communities to participate. Publishers who publish Italian Canadian authors should participate by becoming exhibitors at the fair and present their authors to the programming director in order to have Italian Canadian authors participate in all aspects of the fair. At the same time, we are working hard at having Italy be the first featured country at the book fair and to celebrate Italian authors as well as Italian Canadian authors.

      What can writers, artists and readers who are interested in taking part in this festival do?

      There are three ways. They can contact the fair’s programming director at, have their publisher participate at the fair and propose a programming idea, or an author can launch their new book at the fair.

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