Snakes and Ladders

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - 7:00pm
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St. W.
Snakes and Ladders

This Is Not A Reading Series presents an all-ages evening of fun and games to launch Shaun Smith's YA novel Snakes and Ladders. First, Quill & Quire Books For Young People editor Nathan Whitlock will interview Smith while they play a giant version of Snakes and Ladders. Then you can grab some chips and dip and settle in to play classic games like Scrabble and Clue, as well as groovy new games (courtesy of Scooter Girl Toys) like Blokus, Qwirkle and Wacky Stacky. Games Masters Shannon Abel and Myrocia Watamaniuk will be calling out Twister moves and settling disputes at the Scrabble board.

For as long as 13-year-old Paige Morrow can remember, the tree fort in the giant oak near her cottage in Ontario’s Muskoka has been her sanctuary. Now everything is changing. It’s the summer of 1971, and she and her little brother, Toby, have been at their cottage with their mother since school let out. But this year, Paige feels more alone than ever. Her father has stopped coming up from the city on weekends, while her mother buries herself in whiskey and writing. Paige retreats to her tree fort, but becomes concerned when the farmer who owns the property hires a creepy arborist — a "tree doctor," Paige's mother calls him. Is something wrong with the farm’s apple orchard or with her tree? When Paige befriends the arborist's troubled teenage daughter, Janine, and her group of rowdy locals, she is pulled into a maze of dark secrets and shocking truths that leads to a life-and-death confrontation.

Shaun Smith is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Toronto Life, Chatelaine, the Globe and Mail, The Writer and on CBC Arts Online. He is a regular book reviewer for the Toronto Star and a contributing editor at Quill & Quire. A former coordinator of This Is Not A Reading Series, he lives in Toronto. Visit him at

Shannon Abel is a writer and film programmer. She is Senior International Programmer at Hot Docs and has produced numerous industry sessions at the Toronto International Film Festival. As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in Quill & Quire and on CBC online. Also a screenwriter, Abel has several projects in development; her most current is a feature-length comedy.

Myrocia Watamaniuk is a host, producer, and film programmer. She hosted Daytime Toronto for Rogers Television, produced “CounterSpin” for CBC Newsworld and appears on CBC Television's "Living in Toronto". Watamaniuk programmed and managed various film festivals including Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival, Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival. She lives in Toronto.

Nathan Whitlock is the Books For Young People Editor of Quill & Quire magazine. His writing and reviews have appeared in The Toronto Star, Saturday Night, The Globe and Mail, Maisonneuve, Toro, Geist, and elsewhere. Whitlock released his bestselling debut novel, A Week Of This, last year. He grew up in the Ottawa Valley and currently lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.