Behind the Scenes: Partying like a Gentleman

WordFest recently hosted a party in partnership with the Writers Guild of Alberta at the Auburn Saloon in downtown Calgary. Todd Babiak, author of Toby: A Man, flew into town to give a stellar reading to commemorate Freedom to Read Week. A book-loving crowd of local authors and readers enjoyed “wordy” martinis, delicious mini-pizzas and a hilarious reading and commentary by Todd Babiak.

Having read Toby: A Man a few weeks before Todd arrived, I was eager to meet him in person. Would he resemble the gentleman character described in his novel, and would he have an obvious obsession with handkerchiefs? I was pleasantly surprised when we met. Todd is indeed a gentleman, and openly admitted to some similarities between himself and his protagonist. However, I did notice that Todd did not bring a handkerchief.

Inevitably, the topic of manners came up in the question and answer period following the reading, and aside from people noticeably sitting up straighter and using their napkins more frequently, the crowd remained in rollicking sprits, despite the serious tone of the ensuing conversation. What would a reading be without some intelligent discourse afterwards? Needless to say, the martinis kept flowing, and people stayed late into the night, chatting with Todd and local authors in attendance. All in all, it was a great night, and the extra bit of class that Todd added to the evening was warmly received.

My parting wisdom? Whether it be standing for a senior on the c-train, or avoiding the use of a sleeve as Kleenex, last week proved that proper etiquette is a worthwhile pursuit, not to mention well and alive in the Canadian literati of today.

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