Sunday, 20 June 2010
LEAVING TORONTO & THE BANQUET
Tonight we head to the airport to start the epic trip home: Toronto-London-Dublin-Galway. It's a sunny Sunday morning here in Toronto and we have a few hours to wander before the off. I have urgent shopping to do: I need a Toronto magnet for my fridge.
So, the banquet. It took place in the Executive Dining Room at York University. We sat with Chad Campbell, a young Canadian writer who had done a great job of introducing me and Licia earlier. Also our man in Romania, Philip Ó Ceallaigh, and two scholars from Michigan, who particularly love Irish writing, Patrick and Katie. The food was great: fresh salads, lentil mash and salmon and they even made pasta especially for the veggies. There was a toffee apple cheesecake for afters and a modest sup of wine. Clark Blaise read an essay on borders for our entertainment (the theme of the conference was The Border as Fiction). Juno woggled around the floor, flirting with everyone from Pulitzer prize-winners to waiters. What's she going to be like when she's a teenager??!!
Unlike Irish events, the night ended early (9.30pm) and we came back to our hotel (the uni is an hour away) but everyone adjourned to the bar for mega-expensie drinks and copious chats. I could barely speak for tiredness so I just had one drink and retired, leaving my husband in the capable hands of Liadain O'Donovan and Paddy O'Reilly and friends.
I want to thank, as always, Maurice Lee and Susan Lohafer who organise this conference. Ann Luttrell who organised the Irish posse. And Culture Ireland for sponsoring us. There are bids in from several countries to host the conference in 2012, so we may end up in Taiwan, England, Italy or the USA. Only time will tell!