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'Have a beer, grab yourself a falafel and see what your neighbours are writing,' says Book Bash organizer

Don't expect a stuffy literary event, says organizer Jeremy Luke Hill
20170928 Jeremy Luke Hill KA
Book Bash Festival organizer Jeremy Luke Hill seen in his home office. Hill says the annual festival is not a stuffy literary event. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

Book Bash organizer Jeremy Luke Hill says each year when he has booked a venue for the one-day festival he has felt it was too big and every year local authors prove him wrong by filling it up.

“Every year I think, ‘there can’t be this many books again’ but next year there always is,” said Hill.

Now in its fourth year, the 2017 Book Bash Festival, a celebration of Guelph books, will be moving to a larger venue in the Lakeside Hope House.

This year, the festival will recognize more than 40 books published by Guelph authors in the last year.

Hill said the event is not intended to be a stuffy affair.

“This isn’t a threatening literary event — this is show up, have a beer, grab yourself a falafel and see what your neighbours are writing,” he said.

Because the event is celebrating a range of books published in the last year, Hill said there is something for everyone.

“You probably won’t like all of the books there, but I guarantee you will find something you like,” he said.

For the last two years, the Book Bash has been held at Red Papaya restaurant. 

This year’s Book Bash will also act as launch event for the Rhapsody Anthology, a collection which Hill said is a snapshot of this year in local poetry.

Hill, who is the publisher of Guelph’s Vocamus Press and the managing director of Friends of Vocamus Press, said he believes firmly in book culture, which he believes is becoming lost in today’s desire for instant gratification.

“For me, it’s not just about the books themselves, it’s the building of a literary public — people who are willing to say, ‘it’s valuable for us to slow down and read something well and have a conversation about and share it',” said Hill.

Today’s books that tend to go viral are rarely good books, contends Hill.

“We have all read Fifty Shades of Grey or Harry Potter or whatever the latest mega-best seller is, but we haven’t read a lot of good books together,” he said.

Aside from the 30 or more authors expected at the event, Hill said to expect local micropublishers, literary organizations, book stores and libraries to be in attendance.

“It’s very relaxed, very come and go. People mingle, chat with the authors, get them to sign things and the idea is have a fun day for Guelph books, get people to know who is publishing in the Guelph community,” said Hill, who added, “We try to make it a party for Guelph book culture all in one spot,” he said.

The 2017 Book Bash Festival will run Oct. 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Lakeside Hope House.


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Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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