Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Word on the Street interview series: Kristen den Hartog

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Kristen den Hartog

The Word on the Street is one of Toronto's favourite annual literary events and we at Open Book are thrilled to present an interview series with several of the authors appearing the Vibrant Voices of Ontario tent.

Vibrant Voices of Ontario is a brand-new element at WOTS, supported by the OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation), and featuring some of the best fiction, poetry and non-fiction being produced by writers and publishers in our fine province.

Our first Vibrant Voice is novelist and non-fiction writer Kristen den Hartog, who shares with Open Book a sneak peek inside the WOTS tent.

Stay tuned to Open Book: Toronto this month for more interviews and a series of exciting contests in partnership with Word on the Street!

Open Book:

Tell us about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Kristen Den Hartog:

I’ll be reading from my novel, And Me Among Them, about a girl named Ruth who grows to giant proportions.


Have you attended Word on the Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?


Yes, I attended the year my novel The Perpetual Ending was nominated for the City of Toronto Book Award. This year I’m most looking forward to chatting on a panel with fellow authors Bonnie Bowman and Cordelia Strube, and to bringing my daughter along to "KidStreet". She’s seven, and a real source of inspiration for me. We spend a lot of time discovering great books together, and I write about them in an online mother-daughter reading journal called Blog of Green Gables.


The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book.


I’m not one for picking favourites, but the first book that comes to mind is Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro. I read it when I was quite young, and Del’s small-town-girl story resonated with me. I was trying to figure out at that time what I really wanted to write about, and I was struck by the beauty of a book about ordinary people from surroundings that were familiar to me.


What’s the best advice about public readings you have ever received?


Read slowly, but not for too long! Choose a passage that stands alone, that can be lifted from the text and absorbed by an audience who knows nothing of the larger story.


Word on the Street happens simultaneously in Toronto, Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener and Halifax. If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival (in addition to Toronto) would you attend on September 25?


It would be nice to be in all those places, but I have a special fondness for Halifax and for the east coast.


What can you tell us about your next project?


It’s a collaboration with my sister, author Tracy Kasaboski. A few years ago we wrote a book called The Occupied Garden, about our dad’s family in Holland in WW2. This time we’re turning to our mom’s side and recreating our grandmother’s childhood in England in WW1. The research is fascinating and addictive.

Kristen den Hartog is the author of the novels Water Wings, The Perpetual Ending and Origin of Haloes, as well as The Occupied Garden: A Family Memoir of War-torn Holland, written with her sister, Tracy Kasaboski. Her latest novel, And Me Among Them, explores the life of a young girl who grows to giant proportions, and the impact her unusual condition has on the family as a whole. Kristen lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter. For details, visit her website.

For more information about And Me Among Them please visit the Freehand website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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