The basic idea of this proposal is to bring together all of Ottawa's writers' groups, publishers and literary organizations to host a large outdoor literary festival and book fair in Ottawa's Hintonburg district.
The first meeting to form an Organizing Committee will be on the second floor of the Carleton Tavern, 223 Armstrong Street, Ottawa (map) at 3 pm on Sunday September 28, 2014. The agenda will be to discuss the Prose in the Park (PiP) proposal.
The proposed PiP venue is the Parkdale Park in Hintonburg (between Parkdale and Hamilton streets and just north of Wellington Street West - map). The Parkdale Park is directly across from the Carleton Tavern so a site visit after the September 28 meeting will be offered to interested participants.
Depending on the response of exhibitors, we could also request the Parkdale Market administration to use the paved area immediately outside the park and across from the Carleton Tavern. In the case of an exceptionally high participation rate, a request could be made to the City of Ottawa to close off Hamilton Street to accommodate more exhibitors.
Date: To be determined but notionally one Saturday from late Spring to the end of Summer 2015. In the event of rain, the next day (Sunday) could be designated as a rain day alternative date. The possibility of doing a two-day event (Saturday and Sunday) could also be considered.
Duration: Seven hours (11 am to 6 pm).
Targeted audience: The goal would be to attract book lovers from the National Capital Region (NCR - Ottawa, Gatineau and their suburbs including Chelsea and Wakefield, Quebec). The notional target would be 2000 book lovers.
Exhibitors: The target would be 60-70 local authors; 10-15 out-of-NCR authors (e.g., from Montreal, Toronto, Kingston, and Perth); 10-18 publishers (including two major publishers (e.g. Harper-Collins, Random House); three to six out-of-NCR small pressses; and all NCR publishers, i.e. Loose Cannon, Bundoran, Chaudiere, Rennaissance, Deux Voiliers Publishing, Baico, Vents d'Ouest, Oberon, Borealis and Buschek. The Ottawa public library, NCR-based bookstores, literary online and print magazines, literary festivals, reading series and national/provincial writers organizations with members in the NCR would be invited as exhibitors. Applications from other exhibitors would be considered, space permitting.
Proposed Lead Organizations (TBC): The Ottawa Independent Writers, Deux Voiliers Publishing and the Hintonburg Economic Development Committee
The following organizations/groups will be invited to participate in the organizing committee (current status in parentheses).:
1) Hintonburg Economic Development Committee (accepted)
2) Hintonburg Community Association (pending)
1) Capital Crime Writers (accepted)
2) Ottawa Romance Writers Association (accepted)
3) Ottawa Science Fiction Society (accepted)
4) Association des Auteures et Auteurs de l'Outaouais (pending)
7) Quebec Writers Federation (pending)
Reading Series Organizers
1) Ottawa Story Tellers (accepted)
2) Chiarobscuro (pending)
3) Plan 99 (deferred while Plan 99 is on hold)
4) Magical Evening with Canadian Authors (MECA) (accepted)
5) Tree Poetry Readings (pending)
6) Factory Readings (declined for joining organizing committee, but may be interested in participating in event)
Literary Festivals/Book Fairs
1) Ottawa International Writers Festival (contacted and interested in helping down the road with advice and contacts)
2) CAN-CON (accepted in principle; needs to finish organizing upcoming CAN-CON)
National Capital Area Publishers
1) Deux Voiliers Publishing (accepted)
2) Loose Cannon Press (accepted)
3) Renaissance Press (accepted)
4) Bundoran Press (declined for joining organizing committee, but is participating in event)
5) Oberon Press (pending)
6) Borealis Press (pending)
7) Editions Vents d'Ouest (pending)
8) Éditions David (pending)
9) Éditions du Vermillon (interested in participating in event)
10) BAICO (pending)
11) Buschek Books (pending)
12) Chaudiere Books (declined for joining organizing committee, but may be interested in participating in event)
Other Organizations Promoting Literature and Reading in the NCR
1) Ottawa Review of Books (accepted)
2) Ottawa Writes/Write-Along-Radio (podcaster) (accepted)
3) Ottawa Arts Council (not yet invited - contact name needed)
4) Friends of the Ottawa Library (not yet invited - contact name needed)
Logistics and Division of Responsibilities (Ideas for Discussion)
Each participating writers group would be asked to take care of the part of the park assigned to its genre, e.g. The Capital Crime Writers could be assigned responsibility for all crime writers (CCW members and non-members). This would include finding tables, chairs and pop-up tents and doing the set-up and tear-down for its assigned area. The Ottawa Romance Writers could be assigned responsibility for the romance writers. CAN-CON organizers – the speculative fiction authors. And so forth. The OIW would take care of the other genres, e.g., general fiction, literary fiction, etc. The OIW could work with the Ottawa International Writers Festival / Ottawa Writers Fest to attract major publishers to attend and sponsor some of their major authors to headline the main panels. The Hintonburg Economic Development Committee and Hintonburg Community Association could be asked to work with the OIW on general organization, set-up of the sound system, providing tables and chairs, and encouraging local business to donate to the festival.
Organizational Double-Hatting - Representatives on the Organizing Committee would be allowed to represent more than one participating organization.
Budget, Funding and Fees
To the degree possible, Prose in the Park will be organized based on voluntary labour, free (social media and other) publicity and the loan of equipment and material by participating groups. Local businesses and other organizations will be permitted to donate money to finance paid publicity in exchange for official sponsorship status. The Ottawa Independent Writers has agreed to use its account for the receipt and disbursements of donated money. The Organizing Committee may explore applying for grant money from local, provincial and federal governments and from private charitable institutions, but the implementation of PiP will not be made contingent on obtaining this grant money. Entry to PiP will be free for the public. To the extent possible, no fees would be charged to exhibitors by the Organizing Committee. However, the participating writers groups will be given the latitude to levy a participation fee on those of their members who choose to be vendors (in the area of the park assigned to the group) in order to underwrite equipment costs (e.g., pop-up canopies) and targeted publicity.