I sure have!
Most of the people in the photo here are authors. A few are illustrators. How many can you identify? Can you find me in there? All but one of the authors lives in Canada. Can you find her? She’s really famous!
Meeting and hanging out with other authors is one of the great pleasures of being one. I’ve hiked up a mountain in B.C. with Ainslie Manson and walked a beach in Connecticut with Lena Coakley. I’ve done a crossword puzzle in Toronto with Julie Lawson and a jigsaw puzzle with Ting Xing Ye in Prince Edward Island. I’ve swum in Georgian Bay with Marie-Louise Gay and cross-country skied along the Humber River with Anne Laurel Carter. I’ve enjoyed coffee with Robert Munsch and Allen Morgan and wine with Ted Staunton and Budge Wilson. I’ve partied with Sharon Jennings, Claire Mackay, Hadley Dyer, Kevin Major, Barbara Reid, and many others.
I’ve met lots of other Canadian authors at CANSCAIP meetings and at readings and conferences across the country. I’ve also had breakfast and sung silly songs with my favourite New Zealand writer, Margaret Mahy, at a conference in the States, and enjoyed dinner and conversation with Philip Pullman at his home in Oxford, England.
A long time ago, when I was practically a new author, I travelled to England with Jean Little, Monica Hughes, and Camilla Gryski. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre sent us there as part of an exchange of Canadian and British authors. (American writer, Katherine Paterson, came with us, too, as Jean Little’s “guide dog”.) When the British authors came to Canada, they had dinner at my house. Imagine – Phillipa Pearce, Jan Mark, Jill Paton Walsh, and John Rowe Townsend all in my living room at the same time!
Years later, when I was one of the authors speaking at the first Stratford Book Festival, I met Peter Gzowski, a famous Canadian broadcaster and an author of books and articles for adults, who was also speaking there. I gave him a copy of my book, King of the Castle, because it’s about a caretaker learning to read, and Peter Gzowski was a strong supporter of literacy programs for adults. He phoned me a month or two later, then wrote a column about our meeting in what was to be his final ‘Gzowski’s People’ column for the Globe & Mail. You can read about it in Rae Fleming’s biography of Peter. Yes, I met Rae Fleming too. 🙂