Kobo and Seen Reading Surprise Commuters

I partnered with Kobo to get up to some fun with Toronto commuters, but you’ll have to wait to see just how much fun in a soon-to-be released video. Until then, see the below teaser of a street team production made in partnership with my ebook publisher HarperCollins.

What did we get up to? Let’s just say, we made a whack of readers very, very happy.

And I wore a form-fitting pink T-shirt.

Thanks, Kobo, for accentuating some of my finer features: tiny stories and even bigger, well, you’ll see. (Form-fitting pink T-shirt.)

For more happy times, buy Seen Reading before June 3, 2012 and receive $2 off!

Profile of Seen Reading at Toronto Standard

Last week, I texted Emily Keeler of Toronto Standard to say that I was early for our meeting and sitting on a patio just down the street from the cafe she’d suggested. Would she, on such a sunny day, mind if we tipped pints instead of lattes?

That went on for awhile, which led to this gem of a soundbite about my process. In my defense, I was asked if there’s an erotic charge to literary voyeurism.

Julie Wilson: Like if I were to see you, I would almost take in an image of your physicality and just blank out everything and hold onto a few key features, and if I could see the title of the book I might only remember one key word and maybe the last name of the author. That would be it. And then I would immediately jump on a computer or my phone and all of the pieces would fit in. I don’t know that I get an erotic charge out of it necessarily, but I like the idea that when I de-board a vehicle that I am walking away with the tools to rebuild a person into something that suits my needs. So what do you want to call that? The blow up doll of literature? A robotic playmate?

[TS laughs]

JW: No, it’s not, it’s really not. I don’t have a crush on all of the readers.

TS: Just some of them, right?

JW: Just some of them.

Read the whole piece — Text/Book: Narrative Impulses: An interview with Julie Wilson, the Book Madam and literary voyeur extraordinaire — at Toronto Standard.

And thank you to the writer, Emily Keeler, for being such a smart and entertaining profiler. I’ll never be allowed to leave the country again.

Review of Seen Reading at The 39 Pages

Thank you to The 39 Pages for this lovely review of Seen Reading and for enjoying the thrill of microfiction: big feeling revealed in few words.

Just like the subway is deceptively simple, these stories show the complexity of relationships. They also explore the growing pains of youth, and the humor that can be found in life when you least expect it. One would think you’d need a novel to make your heart ache, but these stories achieve it with such minimal language, that it is a feat to be proud of.

Read the full review here.

Toronto Public Library—reading and discussion

Title: Toronto Public Library—reading and discussion
Location: Spadina Branch (Toronto, ON)
Description: Julie Wilson’s Seen Reading: Tales of a Literary Voyeur

Seen Reading (Freehand Press/HarperCollins) is a collection of microfictions based on Julie Wilson’s sightings of people reading in public. Her thoughtful observations transform readers into fully realized characters who give shape to a fictional map of the city. Julie will be joined in discussion by Julie Booker, author of Up, Up, Up (House of Anansi Press). Together, they’ll explore the space between the reader and text, and how the public reader has emerged as a cultural celebrity worthy of gossip.
Start Time: 06:30 pm
Date: October 4, 2012
End Time: 07:30 pm

The Globe and Mail reviews Seen Reading

The Globe and Mail has reviewed Seen Reading and I couldn’t be happier.

In her review, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer offers the reader a template for the many ways to enjoy this book and the possibilities it holds. She does me a great kindness and a huge service. It’s a conceptual book; I appreciated her care and joy for the project.

From the review “Daring acts of voyeurism”:

I read [Seen Reading] as an act of voyeurism, in the spirit of its inception. Wilson writes in the prologue: “I am a literary voyeur.” That sentence fascinated me.

We are not given specifics on where each Toronto Transit Commission rider was spotted. In fact, we are not given much of anything specific. We are given imagined fleeting moments in the lives of these readers/riders, some of which, in fewer words than ought to be possible, accumulate to startling emotional breadth. We are given the tangible pressing up to the intangible. We know we saw this male Asian reader, reading this book, and we imagine this narrative for him.

But wait. We have neither seen nor imagined any of these things. What we have seen is Julie Wilson seeing, and so at one remove we are a kind of infinite-regress voyeur. We are reading! And for the voyeur, reading is the ultimate safe act. It’s a neat little trick.

Read the full review here.