BookCamp Halifax!

Literary lovers will be happy to hear that this year’s BookCamp is scheduled for a full-day of seminars, presentations and workshops on Saturday, September 24th at Saint Mary’s University in southend Halifax. Recently Arts East spoke with one of the event’s co-founders and organizers, Kimberly Walsh, about this year’s gathering.

AE: What is the core mandate of BookCamp?
KW: Our mandate is to simply bring together the books and publishing community in order to facilitate dialogue and learning. It's a very broad goal and I think each BookCamp brings with it a different learning opportunity because the attendees are different. Publishers have a much bigger representation at an event in Toronto whereas the Halifax event is a broader mix, everything from librarians to bloggers to journalists and authors.

AE: How has BookCamp evolved since its inception?
KW: The beauty of BookCamp is that by its very nature it has to evolve. We're an unconference about technology, and the digital world is constantly in motion. Every year brings something different. Last year, Halifax was the first to live-stream sessions from one room in order to allow those who were not able to attend in person to do so virtually. We were also the first to Skype in a session facilitator, Sean Cranbury from Books on the Radio in Vancouver.

AE: What is new for this year's happening?
KW: We've got a few surprises lined up mostly to do with sponsors and giveaways during the day's events. We'll also be having some fun at lunch with a game. Other than that the newness of each BookCamp comes with the different mix in the audience. There are always lovely learning surprises.

AE: What are some of the key "watch for" experiences this year?
KW: The line-up this year is shaping up to be quite stellar. Chris Benjamin (author of Drive-by Saviours and upcoming Eco-Innovators) will be leading a session on environmental journalism. Robbie McGregor (Invisible Publishing) is going to discuss free and open source software for publishing, promotion, and distribution. YA author Jo Ann Yhard will join me in facilitating a dialogue about multi-tasking in a digital world and how to use social media without distracting from your day job. We'll also repeat last year's successful Skype session with Sean Cranbury (Books on the Radio) who will be giving Halifax a preview of his "Beyond Piracy" presentation. He brought the house down last year with his unconventional views on copyright and Digital Rights Management.

AE: How would you like to see BookCamp grow in the years ahead?
KW: Recently it was announced that BookCamp Vancouver was shutting down after two successful years. In lieu of that they're holding a Tech Forum. BookCamp Toronto is "under new management." I'm hoping that the slower growth of the Halifax event and the more grassroots feel will allow us to continue well into the future. As I like to say, we're a city of innovators. This collaborative knowledge sharing experience is one that I think brings value to Halifax writers and this community. Last year we had a number of attendees from Toronto who were here for the Association of Canadian Publisher's AGM and that added to the dynamic. My hope would be that this event becomes one that attracts people not just from within Halifax and Nova Scotia but from other parts of Canada too. We have a lot to share and are eager to learn from others.

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