Hard on the heels of her bestselling The Winter Palace, Humber alumna Eva Stachniak launched her next novel about Catherine the Great, The Empress of the Night, at Ben McNally’s bookstore on Bay Street in Toronto.
Eva attended the very first Humber workshop over two decades ago, and reminisces about her time there in ablog post on her web site.
In keeping with the subject matter, the food included kielbasa and preserved mushrooms, but the real kick came with the drinks.
Vodka was on offer, in addition to the usual wine, along with pickled beets or pickled cucumbers, traditional chasers to straight shots. Although this kind of drinking is unusual in Canada, it is standard practice in Eastern Europe.
I was delighted when Cathy Marie Buchanan joined me in a traditional drink.
Just one, though. Modern drinkers don’t go in for the Tolstoyan excess. We want to be sober enough to dive right into the book when we get home.