An Authors for Indies Itinerary: Calgary

This Saturday, May 2 is Authors for Indies Day. At indie bookstores across Canada, authors will be volunteering as guest booksellers, and that’s just the beginning of the bookish fun in store. To help get you ready, we’ve got suggested itineraries and highlights for six major cities, written by local booklovers just for you.

Where to go in Calgary, by Kelsey Attard, Managing Editor at Freehand Books

The Battle of Alberta between Edmonton and Calgary will never end, but there’s no doubt that Calgary is winning when it comes to independent bookstores. Calgary can boast at least four bookstores taking part in Authors for Indies Day on May 2 (and a few other fine bookstores in town, besides).

Start your day at Shelf Life Books (1302 4 St SW), a booklover’s paradise. They call themselves a bookstore “for the unusually bookish,” and their shelves contain an expert (and, frankly, gorgeous) selection of surprises and treasures, from fiction to graphic novels to art books. You’re likely to see a local author anytime you’re in the store—Shelf Life is a hub of the community—but on May 2 you can expect to bump into novelist Fred Stenson, City of Calgary poet laureate derek beaulieu, and short story stylist Rosemary Nixon, among many others.

Then pop over to Monkeyshines Children’s Books (133, 2215 33 Ave SW), where you’ll find fun books for all the kids in your life. And books really are the best gifts for kids, aren’t they? (I hope my nephews and young friends who have birthdays coming up will agree. If not, too bad for them—they’re getting books anyway.) While you’re at Monkeyshines, you’ll see Shirlee Smith Matheson, author of 20 books, including several YA titles.

You can finish your day with a stop at Calgary’s longest established bookstore, Owl’s Nest Books (815A 49 Ave SW)—they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. You’ll find an event going on at Owl’s Nest nearly every night of the week (watch for their popular book club recommendation nights), and half the store is devoted to kids’ books. The authors who will be at Owl’s Nest for Authors for Indies this year include thriller writer Jeff Buick and YA and middle-grade novelist Janet Gurtler.

Calgary can be proud of its independent bookstores—we readers are very lucky!

Not in Calgary? Check out our other itineraries for Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, or Winnipeg. Or see a full list of participating stores on the Authors for Indies website.