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Grace O'Connell


April 24: Grace O'Connell is a Page Turner. Are You?

Grace O'Connell's Magnified World was published in 2012, and though it was her first novel, Grace's depiction of Toronto is so vivid that many readers now talk of "Grace O'Connell's Toronto" when referring to that city in fiction. Grace writes essays, columns and short fiction, and works as an editor and creative writing teacher. Today, Grace is a Page Turner, and reminds us that stories, and Bookmarks, can turn even homebodies into travellers. Join Grace on her Page Turner journey today, and you have a chance to win a copy of her book. Let's go!

I am and am not a traveller. That is to say, I'm mostly a homebody who likes to stay in (hello, Netflix), to walk the same streets, to know a city intimately over many years. But I'm a traveller in the sense that I love Hemingway's Spain and Fitzgerald's South of France, Paul Auster's New York and Heather O'Neill's Montreal.

In books, a reader can go anywhere, without ever having to wash your stockings in a tiny hotel sink. It is limitless and free – anywhere includes any time, any class, any background – and Project Bookmark is celebrating that freedom. The bookmarks are more than placemarkers; they're portals, as all great writing is.

In Kingston recently, I came across the Project Bookmark marker for Bronwen Wallace's "Mexican Sunsets". Wallace is one of my favourite writers, so I snapped a photo not knowing I'd ever have use for it. I simply enjoyed her words as I always had; the way they transported me to a surreal, contradictory town of staid church towers and harlot sunsets.

So I'm contributing a $20.00 Page Turner donation to Project Bookmark, and I hope you will too. Twenty dollars will never take you so far anywhere else.

And if you donate today, you could win a copy of my novel Magnified World, set in the city I know and love, Toronto:

I took the streetcar east and got off at River Street, walked across to the staircase. The stairs were just in front of the clock sign with The River I Stand In text, a little past the spot where King and Queen Streets ran into each other in a kind of crooked elbow. Below was the Don, flowing like a great vein. If the city were a body, this is where you would draw blood.