An Authors for Indies Itinerary: Winnipeg

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 Winnipeg, by editor, author, designer, and book marketer S.M. Beiko

On Saturday, May 2, local authors will be popping up behind the desk at your local independent bookstore. This is quite the switch from our usually solitary, some would say unhealthy, habit of staying firmly planted in our own worlds and locking the door behind us. But luckily, we love books, which is enough to lure us out of the house on any given day, and I think it goes without saying we are all excited to celebrate a mutual addiction to words.

Winnipeg may not be an enormous city, but the book community is thriving.

McNally Robinson Booksellers

1120 Grant Avenue, River Heights

McNally Robinson has been a Winnipeg staple for over 30 years now. If you’re an author of any stripe, you get an elbow to the rib knowingly: Having a launch at McNally’s? Needless to say, should you want to have any kind of event there (which they are always so willing to accommodate), book ahead! Their event calendar in all four major spaces is always packed to the hilt with fabulous authors, artists, readers, and musicians. Called ‘the world’s largest independent’, McNally is over 2,000 square feet of books and gifts, with the suspended second level devoted to children’s books and YA. And if they don’t have it, they’re more than happy to special order anything with an ISBN.

Since McNally is the hub of independent bookselling in Winnipeg, the bulk of Winnipeg’s authors will be there throughout the day on May 2. Be sure to say hi to S.M. Beiko, Steve Benstead, Dora Dueck, Joanne Epp, Alison Preston, Larry Verstraete, Shelly Saunders, Patti Grayson, and Karen E. Smith.

WHODUNIT Mystery Bookstore

165 Lilac Street, Corydon Village

Located in the heart of bustling Little Italy, Whodunit is Winnipeg’s only specialty mystery bookstore, offering a full range of crime fiction both new and used, with UK and Canadian authors prominently featured. In addition to its tightly curated stock, the store hosts a Mystery Reading Club and a Writers’ Group, and features readings and signings by a wide variety of authors passing through. They also offer a shipping and delivery service to out-of-town customers and those unable to reach the bookstore themselves. Author Catherine MacDonald will be on hand on May 2 to set visitors’ spines tingling.

These are some other stores that, while they don’t have any participating authors attending, are of note:

Bison Books

424 Graham Avenue, downtown core

A meticulously-curated downtown shop of over 20,000 old, used, and out-of-print books, Bison Books sets themselves apart from the plethora of used book shops peppered throughout the city. Addicts of first editions and antiquarian books will find themselves in good company here, with new acquisitions daily that guarantee you’ll find something unique every single visit.

Toad Hall Toys

54 Arthur Street, The Exchange District

This store is a bit of a bonus. Though not strictly a bookstore, a good third of Manitoba’s largest and oldest independent toy retailer carries a fabulous children’s book section chock full of whimsy and wonder. Anyone wandering the bistros and shops of the Exchange are remiss if they don’t stop in and recapture their inner child—and pick up an edition or two.

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