25th Trillium Award

Five Things Literary: Hamilton, with David Collier

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David Collier (Photo credit: David Collier)

May is Whazamo month (graphic novel month) at Open Book: Toronto, and with that in mind we are speaking with graphic artist David Collier, the author of Hamilton Illustrated (Wolsak & Wynn). Hamilton Illustrated is a book that depicts the Hamilton he knows and loves through his artwork. In today?s edition of Five Things Literary, David tells us about five people who play a key role in Hamilton?s literary scene, including his book-loving author mother Sandra Collier, an enthusiastic comic book lover and Hamilton Public Library patron by the name of Jen, and Wolsak & Wynn Editor and Publisher Noelle Allen. These descriptions are each paired with some of David?s fantastic illustrations, which highlight these important people of literary Hamilton and their passion for books.

David Collier will be taking part in The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) on May 11, 2023. He will be signing copies of his books at the Conundrum Press table from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please visit the TCAF website for details.

Five Things Literary: Hamilton (The Illustrated Edition)

Noelle Allen:

The editor & publisher behind Wolsak & Wynn.

She put up her Five Things post too soon to mention a spot that has become one of Hamilton's most visible literary locations:
The Wolsak & Wynn "store.?

Since moving the company from an anonymous office building to a storefront location on James Street North in September, 2012, she's filled in a missing piece in the scenery-like "Art District,? which previously had been rich in visuals, but short on words.

My Son:

Mark Twain said: The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

And I can see how what Twain's said can easily happen, especially as one gets older , when you really have to fight against time and age-related problems of narrowing mindsets and diminished patience for the possibilities of serendipity.

Right now I'm lucky to be living in the same house as James Collier, whose enthusiasm for literature is infectious.

My Mom:

Sandra Collier doesn't actually live in Hamilton, but is close enough to visit.

She met my dad when she was a teenager working in the Windsor Public Library.
Later, she worked in the great Albert Britnell Bookstore in Toronto.

I'm lucky to have parents who love books.
Mom's written a few herself, including, for young adults, Mind Power & Wake Up to Your Dreams.

A Hamilton Public Library Patron (Jen):

Even today, in the age of Google, I've made my biggest mental leaps recently while wandering the rows of shelves in Hamilton's Central Library.
Spend time here also, and you?ll fall in love with the dedicated, hard-working staff.

I drew this picture of Jen, a library regular, at a signing event for my Hamilton Illustrated book.

I assume she's a huge comics fan, because she said she's read all my books.

Charlie Huisken ( At the other end of the GO Train line to Toronto):

In comparison with other places I've lived, like Saskatoon or Quebec City's tiny English community, Hamilton's literary scene does not exist in isolation.

It's very easy to get on a train, get off at Exhibition, and walk to the Gladstone Hotel, for instance.

(Having contributed some paintings to Serena McCarrol's All Citizens, I was determined that I wouldn't pay the cover charge for the book's launch. And in the end, Charlie Huisken, who I later recognized as an old friend, accepted my reason).

Since publishing his first essay in R. Crumb?s Weirdo magazine, David Collier has been known for his thoughtful comic essays, often biographies of endearing eccentrics like himself. With his strong feeling for rustic scenery, Collier has carved a niche drawing homely images of grain elevators and abandoned cabins for publications like The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Saturday Night and Geist.

For more information about Hamilton Illustrated please visit the Wolsak & Wynn website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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