Literacy is the Word on the Street

Beneath a tent in Queen’s Park Canadian author, Elyse Friedman, signs copies of her book, “Long Story Short”. Excited and happy fans await their turn to meet her.

“I’m here reading for Toronto’s book awards,” Friedman said, “and the crowd is very excited to be here.”

The Word on the Street festival took place Sunday around the Ontario legislature building. It’s intended to promote the writing and reading of books in Canada. It’s been staged each year in Toronto since 2002. As well as promoting literature, the festival offers a venue to hear what well-known authors and literary figures have to say.

Friedman’s book is a package of short stories, with a story on a young man who is coping with the passage into adulthood.

“It’s been a fun experience here for me,” Friedman said, “with my readings and signing for people who enjoy my work… Being an author is my main aim and focus is literacy.”

This is Vahini Sivapalan’s who is a first time at the event.

“I love reading… so this is my kind of event,” she said. “It was nice seeing how everything was set up… also nice seeing how people and readers were interacting with their authors.”

Alex Moorshead organized this year’s Word on the Street.

“The event started out back in 1989, as a way for the Canadian authors and publishing teams to celebrate and showcase their literary work,” she said. “There are people who, come here for good deals on books, which we have, but there are a large number of people who are here to see and hear the authors speaking and reading from their works.”

A new aspect at this year’s Word on the Street was, a digital reader created by Sony. It’s designed to record nearly a hundred books onto an electronic format, much like an iPod. Mathew Hallis is a representative for Sony TV.

“We are here to raise awareness for literacy and reading, especially for our digital reader product,” he said. “We thought this would be a good way to show our product, since the event is based on reading and literacy.”