BookFest Windsor 2012 kicks off Thursday, Oct. 25 in the southern Ontario border city. Among the many authors, poets and publishers scheduled to appear are Sheldon Cohen, Sheila Fischman, Marty Gervais, Phil Hall, James Laxer, Alison Pick, Noah Richler and John Ralston Saul. Most of the events take place at the Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre. We spoke with co-founder Lenore Langs about the 11th annual edition of the festival, and about a special-edition poetry collection featuring Leonard Cohen being launched at the event.
Where and when will BookFest Windsor specifically take place and what can audiences expect?
BookFest Windsor events will be held at our main venue, the Capitol Theatre (while a few site-specific presentations take place at other venues announced in the programme and online) . . . We have an especially exciting line-up this year. Given the brisk pre-show sales, we anticipate selling all tickets, both those for adults and those for younger artists included.
BookFest a fantastically exciting set of offerings, especially the way it's evolved and branched into drama, translations, graphic novels, music, JFPresent series and, one of the most gratifying activities of all that we host ... going into the schools in the area.
It's hard to choose just one or two highlights over 11 years because there are so many and even I can't believe the way it's accomplished so much on a shoestring budget and is still not in debt. Everyone seems to be; but, not us. We're healthy and really happy with our sponsors and ardent supporters.
What is JFPresents?
Judith Fitzgerald Presents II: Six of One is an elegant Alison Dilworth-created limited-edition set of six hand-crafted broadside poems (by seven poets) – plus bio-notes and a silver-on-black hand-crafted holder-folder envelope – that showcases poems from George Bowering, Leonard Cohen, Judith Fitzgerald, Maxine Gadd, C. H. (Marty) Gervais, Karl Jirgens and Daphne Marlatt, It's custom-made throughout and numbered 1 through 52. All the proceeds go, without exception, towards ensuring BookFest Windsor's continued healthy existence.
Cohen himself called it "an eminently worthy and world-class enterprise." Each one costs $25 and they'll be on sale when the festival opens.
This interview has been condensed and edited.