News and Interviews

The Word on the Street Interview Series: Jowita Bydlowska

On September 25, 2016, Toronto's favourite literary festival The Word on the Street will take over the Harbourfront Centre on Queen Quay West, with dozens of Canada's most talented writers reading, discussing their work, and engaging with book lovers.

Jowita Bydlowska will be presenting her raw, darkly funny, and un-put-down-able new novel, Guy (Wolsak & Wynn), which follows the wildly narcissist titular character on his sexual adventures. She'll be reading in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent, part of an outstanding line up of authors. Guy is Bydlowska's second book, following on the heels of her acclaimed and best-selling memoir, Drunk Mom.

We're thrilled to launch our annual The Word On The Street interview series, where we talk to the writers from the Vibrant Voices tent, with a conversation with Jowita. She tells us about her favourite Ontario-authored book, offers some good advice for public readings, and reveals the idyllic Ontario location where the idea for Guy first came to her.

Don't forget to mark September 25, 2016 on your calendars to catch Jowita and dozens of other fantastic authors at The Word On The Street.

Open Book:

Tell us about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Jowita Bydlowska:

I’ll be reading a family-friendly fragment from my new novel Guy.


Have you attended The Word on the Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?


The Word on the Street is one of my favourite events in Toronto and I’ve been attending it for almost a decade now as a reader and once as an author. This year, I’m looking forward to meeting my readers — I found that part to be stressful last time I had a book out because it was my first book and I had no idea what to expect. This time around hopefully, I’ll be able to relax and devote my attention to readers instead of going on a neurotic ride in my brain.

Also, I’d love to check out the kids’ section with my son and shop for books with him.


The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book you've read.


How Should a Person Be by Sheila Heti is one of my favourite books ever. It’s nothing like any book I’ve ever read before. It’s a sort of an autobiography, a portrait of a generation — my generation — a study of relationships, and an artist’s quest for beauty (and more). It’s stylistically beautiful and quite accessible despite its challenging concepts — a pleasure to read. Smarter people said smarter things about it so anyway, just pick it up and read it if you haven’t yet.


What's the best advice you've ever received or the best advice you would offer about public readings?


Read slowly. Slower. Yeah, even slower than that.


Do you have a favourite spot in Ontario?


Sauble beach (which is when I first came up with an idea for Guy) and my friend Shawn’s beautiful cottage in Muskoka. In both places the sunsets are a bit over the top.


What can you tell us about your next project?


I’m hoping to find a publisher for my novel Wolves Evolve, which is a story of infidelity, marriage, mental illness, ugly pets, strange children and aquariums.


Jowita Bydlowska was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to Canada as a teen. She is the author of the bestselling memoir Drunk Mom. A journalist and fiction writer, she lives in Toronto, Canada.

Grace O'Connell is the Contributing Editor for Open Book: Toronto and the author of Magnified World (Random House Canada). She also writes a book column for This Magazine.

For more information about Magnified World please visit the Random House Canada website.

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