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The Word On The Street Blog

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Welcome to the Team, Loribeth!

May 6, 2016

It is with great pleasure to announce the inclusion of a new member to The Word On The Street family, Loribeth Gregg! Loribeth is our new Programming Assistant and will be with us for a few months to help keep all the best parts of the festival running smoothly.


We took some time to talk with her this week regarding the deepest and darkest questions in life, and let us tell you, it hasn’t taken her long to become a part of the gang. Caution: If you really like couscous, you may be reading about your future best friend.



What book(s) are you reading now?

Too many at once! Birdie by Tracey Lindberg, Pastoral by Andre Alexis, and, because I am a total apple-polisher, our Festival Director Evan Munday’s Dead Kid Detective Agency (I should mention that that last one happens to be a great book, too. Goth kids, Canadian history, and murder? Doesn’t get better than that).


What part of reading brings you the most joy?

I suppose when I’m genuinely surprised by something. Not necessarily a dramatic plot twist, but something that hadn’t occurred to me is brought to light, or a character reacts in a way I didn’t expect. The first thing that comes to mind is in Andre Alexis’ Fifteen Dogs, when it was revealed to me what the structure of the rest of the book would be. I don’t want to go into detail for the sake of those who haven’t read it, but I will say that a mournful “Oh NOOOOOO” could be heard by anyone within 100 feet of my apartment.


Have you ever fallen in love with a character from a book?

Not in a romantic way, but there are some I love like sisters. Flavia from Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series is my best literary friend. She’s a brilliant 12-year-old girl who solves gruesome murders in small-town England in the 50s, and her musings on womanhood, sisterhood, and life and death always speak right to my heart.  In As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, Flavia is at boarding school in Toronto, and takes a walk across the Price Edward Viaduct to St. James Cemetery, which happens to be very close to my apartment. I nearly had a heart attack as I thought she might be coming round for tea. If only.


What does your reading space look like?

I tend to read whenever I have a spare moment and have had the foresight to bring a book with me. My most recent reading space was the back of the route 29 Dufferin bus. Other hotspots include the doctor’s office next to a child with whooping cough, and waiting for the GO train after just missing the one before it.


Do you judge a book by its cover? (don’t worry, we won’t judge you)

Absolutely, all the time. I have huge respect and admiration for the designers of a great book cover. The initial reason I was drawn to Pastoral was that endlessly intriguing cover with the portrait of the sheep. (Google it right this moment, I insist). I also judge books by their titles, but that’s a whole different conversation.


If you could chat with any living writer, whether they speak English or not, who would they be and what would your first question be for them?

Probably Joseph Boyden. I’ve almost met him several times: at literary festivals, in a Native literature class I took, and once as we crossed paths on the street but I got nervous and kept walking and regretted it for the rest of my life (thus far). I would probably ask him a question I’m sure authors hate: What’s next? I need more! (No pressure, Mr. Boyden.)


If you could commission a sequel to any book you wanted, which one would it be? And, if you’re brave enough, what would you want it to be called?

I’m generally not a fan of sequels, but now that I think of it, a continuation of Through Black Spruce would completely blow my mind. I would love to know more about Annie’s sister, Suzanne, and what exactly she was doing while Annie was looking for her. As for a title, I’m definitely not brave enough. As I said, I judge books by their titles, and would forever judge myself if I gave this theoretical book a bad one.


If you could come back in another life as an edible crop, what you want to be? And what dish would you want to be made in to?

The first thing that came to mind was couscous, though upon further research it turns out couscous doesn’t just grow out of the ground in tiny little balls of deliciousness. Apparently, couscous is made from semolina which is made from durum flour which is made from wheat. So I’d like to be a good ol’ stalk of wheat which will someday be delicious couscous.


Two men went into a restaurant. They both ordered the same dish from the menu. After they tasted it, one of the men went outside the restaurant and shot himself. Why?

The dish they ordered is the most delicious thing ever pulled out of the ground and crafted with human hands (it’s definitely couscous-based in my mind). The first man, a food critic, realizes he’ll never enjoy anything ever again as much as he enjoyed that meal. His life has lost all meaning, and so he decides to end it. The second man burned his tongue on a Tim Horton’s hot chocolate earlier that day and can’t really taste anything, so he lives. But the real question is: Who has suffered more?