Writer’s Words: Kevin Sylvester

This week’s guest post comes from Kevin Sylvester, who presented Neil Flambé and the Crusader’s Curse at the Children’s Reading Tent. Kevin gives an inside look at the what it’s like to present and exhibit at the festival.

I have been honoured to be part of the Toronto Word on the Street Festival for more than a decade.

As a presenter The Word On The Street crew always guarantee a full tent full of kids who are ready to listen to you read from your latest book. The presentations can be a little rock-and-roll sometimes (a monsoon hit halfway through my spiel this past year) but the crowd is always mixed and enthused. One challenge to be aware of is that the kids are often from a wide range of ages, so be ready to adjust your presentation to a broad audience. Nothing is as humbling as starting in on a story from my middle-grade books and having a 4 year old yell “boring”!

I have also rented a booth at The Word On The Street Toronto since 2002. This gives me a chance to present my whole range of books to kids of all ages and their parents. I also make connections to other authors and educators who are there to soak up the atmosphere. I make the money back by selling handmade bookmarks and back-list books, but the PR is the most important thing.

The festival is amazing because it always draws a great book-loving crowd, rain or shine (although shine is better).

There’s never a question about whether I’ll be at The Word On The Street each year. I love it.

Kevin Sylvester is an illustrator, writer and broadcaster based in Toronto. He is the author of the Neil Flambé Capers series. Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders won the 2011 Silver Birch award for Fiction. Neil Flambé and the Aztec Abduction was a finalist for the 2012 Silver Birch. Game Day was nominated for the Silver Birch in Non-Fiction. His book Gold Medal for Weird won the 2009 Silver Birch.


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