IWA members at ToRofest

ToRoFest, the 2nd Edition of the Romanian festival of literature, arts and music took place between Oct 5-6 in Toronto at a great venue, 918 Bathurst Street. Even if the main focus was the Romanian literature in three different languages – Romanian, English, and French – the visitors were spoiled with quality artwork (oil on canvas paintings, graphics and surrealism) and music concerts (piano and classical guitar). Among the 52 writers, artists, and musicians participating at ToRo, five were IWA members: Andreea Demirgian, Claudiu Murgan, Nina Munteanu, Diana Manole, and George Kun.

The book launches that took place throughout Saturday for both local and out-of-town authors, overpowered the panels run in adjacent rooms. The variety of genres highlighted the mosaic of creativity of the Romanian writers and gave them the chance to know about each other, connect and establish a stronger bond in an industry where any shred of help counts.

Children’s books, memoirs, travel notes, fantasy, science fiction, speculative and historical fiction, dystopias, how to write manuals, non-fiction, were the subjects of the books presented at the event. I bought some of the books on display as I’m always looking for inspiration and ways to improve my writing.

I personally moderated a panel called – “Publishing your book is not what it used to be. Think hard and pick one: traditional vs. self-publishing vs. hybrid” at which Nina Munteanu and Costi Gurgu, both established writers, shared from their experience. It was a lively debate which could have easily extended over the allocated time.
Authors met editors and publishers, writers-to-be met potential guides on their own path to fame, writers met old readers and made new ones. For a day and a half, the evanescent pot of creativity that was ToroFest stirred positive emotions and vibrations that only like-minded people could generate when getting together.
The writers’ lack of experience and knowledge about how to prepare for such an event came to the fore again. No banners, no business cards or bookmarks, no stands for a better display, no visible prices or sale options other than the traditional cash.
For those that were part of my launch team for ‘Water Entanglement`, this was thesubject of one of my short videos.
For me, which I missed last year’s edition, the event was a success as I experienced a bit from everything I mentioned above. Was it perfect? No event is. Towards the end of the day on Saturday, a couple of the panels had almost no attendees due to the activities happening in the main room. The organizers apologized to the moderators and promised to improve it next year.

Will I participate next year? Definitely. Why? Aside from the fact that might be the only annual event where I can meet new authors, ToRoFest is becoming an important milestone in the Romanian community, and I am convinced, that more visitors will attend as they will hear about this year’s success. Be an influencer and spread the word!

Claudiu Murgan

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