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 (and around) Halifax, by Whitney Moran, editor at Nimbus Publishing
125 Montague Street, Lunenburg
This brand-spanking-new bookshop in historic Lunenburg celebrates its grand opening weekend with Authors for Indies Day. Really, every day at this joint venture between children’s author Jo Treggiari, poet Alice Burdick, and children’s book enthusiast Anne-Marie Sheppard is a celebration of the mutual support between indie bookshops and local authors, but on Saturday, May 2, you can also check out YA author Sylvia Gunnery (Emily for Real, 12–2) and poet Alison Smith (Fishwork, Dear, 2–4). With a focus on fiction, poetry, small press, graphic novels, YA, and children’s books, the whole family is sure to discover something (and be treated to that new-bookstore smell!).
466 Main Street, Wolfville
This is no misnomer. Box of Delights in beautiful Wolfville is a veritable treasure trove. With easily the province’s best selection of Gaspereau and Conundrum Press titles, the shop also features a well-curated children’s section and Out of Print’s bibliophilic clothing line. Authors for Indies Day makes “honorary booksellers” of award-winning authors Ami McKay (The Virgin Cure)—eager to share what’s on her “teetering to-be-read pile”—Jan L. Coates (Rocket Man), and Karolyn Smardz-Frost (I’ve Got A Home in Glory Land), as well as journalist Dean Jobb (Empire of Deception), and everyone’s favourite nature photographer Nancy Rose (The Secret Life of Squirrels).
1533 Birmingham St., Halifax
I have a very strong connection to this magical yellow building in South End Halifax. It’s where I attended my first readings (Phoebe Gillman!), signings (Franklin the Turtle!), and my first creative writing workshop. When I stopped in to speak to co-manager Lisa Doucet, I picked up a few books. When she presented me with a hot-pink Woozles card, I realized the place miraculously hadn’t changed and neither had I. It’s still one of my favourite places in the city. In celebration of Authors for Indies Day, Halifax’s most wonderous bookshop will be counting on local writers Natalie Corbett Sampson (Game Plan), Melanie Mosher (Fire Pie Trout), and Linda Little (Grist) to hand-sell books. Doucet is looking forward to the authors’ suggestions for readers, young and old: “they’re so excited about being able to recommend some of their favourites,” she says.
Historic Properties Market Mall, 1869 Upper Water Street, Halifax
Nestled amongst works of fine art from all over the East Coast and the North, Carrefour’s selection of Atlantic books is unrivalled. Whether you’re looking for non-fiction, cooking, children’s, or a piece of folk art, this place is certain to please the East Coast enthusiast or eclectic art collector. Authors for Indies Day welcomes the phenomenal Donna Morrissey (Deception of Livvy Higgs), author/publisher Alison DeLory (Scotia Sinker), children’s author/illustrator Yolanda Poplawska, and non-fiction authors Blair Beed (Titanic Victims in Halifax Graveyards) and Joel Zemel (Scapegoat).
5686 Spring Garden Road, Halifax
Downtown Halifax’s go-to indie bookshop is tucked between a brewpub and the Public Gardens—the makings of a perfect day, if you ask me. Its cheery yellow shelves are forever bursting with a carefully curated selection of books, along with a hearty helping of paper goods and gifts, and the front windows shower busy Spring Garden Road with a never-ending celebration of local authors. Authors for Indies Day features Alexander McLeod (Light Lifting), Charlotte Mendel (Turn Us Again), Genevieve Graham (Tides of Honour), Vivien Shotwell (Vienna Nocturne), Rebecca Silver-Slayter (In the Land of Birdfishes), Chris Benjamin (Indian School Road), Marjorie Simmons (Coastal Lives), Kate Inglis (Flight of the Griffons), B.R. Myers (Butterflies Don’t Lie), and Quentin Casey (Joshua Slocum). Phew!
6350 Coburg Road, Halifax
This democratic shop, one of the only in the world run “by students, for students,” was initially a reaction to Kings University students’ dissatisfaction with the price of textbooks. But the mighty store has since become much more. A literary staple in the community with a yearly presence at Halifax’s Word On The Street festival, Kings is committed to getting books into the hands of Haligonians. Authors for Indies Day welcomes R.H. Downs (Sisters of Avalon) and Vivien Shotwell (Vienna Nocturne).
Not in Halifax? Check out our other itineraries for Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, or Winnipeg. Or see a full list of participating stores on the Authors for Indies website.