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The Word On The Street Blog

Stay updated on the latest festival news, book reviews, and more!

Introducing Evan Munday, our new interim Festival Director

February 23, 2016

Evan Munday

As we start really revving up our 2016 festival, we’d like to take a moment and formally welcome Evan Munday to The Word On The Street Toronto! Evan has taken over as the interim Festival Director while Heather Kanabe is away for the year, and will be leading the action to our next event on Sunday, September 25, 2016.

We sat down with Evan to ask him the difficult questions and find out a little more about him.

 


 

You’re certainly no stranger to The Word On The Street. How else have you been involved with the festival in the past?

I’m pretty sure I’ve been involved in every The Word On The Street since moving to Toronto in 2004. I started back when the festival was on Queen West. I briefly served as a volunteer, but for most of those years, I was an exhibitor, working the table for my good friends and former employer, Coach House Books. As time moved forward, I started doing double-duty, sometimes presenting as an author, or — after leaving Coach House — becoming the weird bald guy who sometimes hosts the This Is Not the Shakespeare Stage.

 

That’s right, you hosted the stage just last year, in fact, and did such a fine job that you’re now the festival director. Well done. How has it been leading the festival so far?

So far, so good! Luckily, Heather Kanabe (festival director) left very detailed outlines and timelines, so I just have to make sure I’m keeping on top of schedules. But everyone has been very kind, from the staff to the board to sponsors and exhibitors. Of course, we’re currently in the planning stages for 2016. As it progresses, I imagine it will slowly degenerate to either a Lord of the Flies or Purge-type scenario.

 

Maybe we should be glad the festival doesn’t run past 7pm. As you’re no doubt already getting a firm grasp on the upcoming festival, what do you expect for this year at The Word On The Street? Are there any big changes planned?

With our second year at Harbourfront, we aim to work out some of the kinks and hiccups from our first year. Last year’s festival went very well – the weather certainly helped – but with any location change, there was a bit of a baptism by fire – or so I’ve heard.  But I see my role more as shepherd than true festival director. Though director Heather Kanabe left to have an actual baby, The Word On The Street is sort of her baby now, too. I’m just making sure I return it to her in good shape.

There are a few exciting new things to talk about in this year’s festival: namely a stage featuring the best of Canadian Magazines, and a genre-themed tent, focusing on the best in Canadian science fiction, horror, fantasy, and maybe some comic books. I also keep pushing for the opportunity to take a short pedal-boat ride with your favourite author in the Natrel pond, but people tell me that would be logistically problematic.

 

Has anything surprised you so far about being the Festival Director?

Though I anticipated the position would involve a lot of meetings, I was unprepared for the sheer quantity. In my former life as a book publicist, Arsenal Pulp Press’s publicist, Cynara Geissler, and I used to joke about one day being on the cover of Meetings & Conventions Magazine (which is an honest-to-goodness <a href=http://www.meetings-conventions.com/Magazine/“>magazine</a>). I feel I’m closer than ever to making that dream a reality as interim director of The Word on the Street.

 

Glad to hear your dreams may soon be realized. It sounds like you’re really having a good time with the position. But when you’re not in meetings, what are you reading?

Right now, I’m reading Under the Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland. Sutherland is a writer of middle grade and young adult novels whose work I’ve been enjoying for years. Her latest book is a really fun novel about the daughter of a legendary Toronto musician who takes up with a group of feminist video-game designers (that old story). Before that, I was reading The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul edited by Gina Freitag and Andre Loiselle. I spent my January completely immersed in horror films (as well as a new job, obvi) and this anthology of essays gave me a solid Canadian perspective on things. (There’s an especially good essay that positions Pontypool (2008) as a metaphor for the CRTC.)

 

What was your favourite book when you were growing up?

Probably my all-time favourite book growing up was Ray Bradbury’s intensely creepy Something Wicked This Way Comes, but I also had a severe attachment to James Howe’s Bunnicula, the tale of a dog and cat who attempt to convince their owners they’ve bought an evil, vampire rabbit.

 

We know you have a lot of projects on the go all the time. Have you started anything recently that you’d like us to know about?

My current hobby — aside from writing kids’ books and illustration — is recording an inane podcast with my friend Lucy Cappiello about Archie comics. If you’ve ever read Archie digests and have more than a little patience, you might enjoy our rambling analyses of the latest adventures set in Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe. We also dig up some solid trivia: did you know the Archie comics are based on a Mickey Rooney movie from 1938? (If that sounds fascinating, you might love this podcast.)

 

Evan Munday is the author and illustrator of Silver Birch-nominated Dead Kid Detective Agency series. The third book in the series, Loyalist to a Fault, debuts this September. He lives in Toronto, ON.