Page Turners event holds City Wide Read’s culminating reception

Published 8:33 pm Thursday, May 2, 2024

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In the culmination event of the Austin Page Turners’ City Wide Read this year, a reception was held for author Emma Törzs at the Austin Public Library Thursday night.

The author’s book, “Ink Blood Sister Scribe,” was this year’s selection for the read, the group’s first fantasy novel selection in the 22 years of the event.

“It’s quite fun and makes me feel really special,” Törzs said of the event. “It’s nice to be greeted by a bunch of community members who are interested in telling me about the town and telling me about the library and the workshop. I feel like it’s a little window into a place I’ve never been to before.”

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Earlier in the day, Törzs was at the head of a writer’s workshop and during Thursday night’s reception mingled and read the prologue to her book before sitting down and answering questions.

The event is a boon for not only the Page Turners and Törzs herself, but also the community and places like the library who benefit from events that allow the public to meet the authors of their favorite books.

“It’s really amazing because authors are so different and what I love about it is whether or not you loved the book or didn’t love the book, the authors are always interesting,” said library Executive Director Julie Clinefelter, who is also a member of the Page Turners. “Bringing them for more than just the evening discussion so they get to see Austin and we get to see them … it’s always one of my favorite days.”

A teacher at Macalester College in the St. Paul, Törzs’ “Ink Blood Sister Scribe” has collected several accolades since coming out two years ago including being a Sunday Times Bestseller, a Good Morning America Book Club pick, one of NPR’s Best Books of 2023 and many more.

Her stories have also been printed in a number of journals as well.

The list of achievements is a long one for an author who describes her journey as somewhat unplanned.

“I never planned to be a writer,” she told Thursday’s audience. “I just got on the train … and forgot to get off.”

She said the book itself had a fairly modest start and came primarily from a desire to please a family member.

“I think the only thing I can easily trace back is that my younger sister has always asked me to write a magic sisters book and so I finally decided I would try and grant her request,” Törzs said. “Luckily, my sister really loved it. Thank God she liked it. I think she’s happy.”

Törzs describes herself as not being much of a sentimental author and feels that after two years she’s somewhat removed from any hard connection to the characters in her book.

That disconnect can sometimes come out in presentations and talks she gives.

“Sometimes it’s funny because I don’t feel like I wrote them anymore,” Törzs said. “I’ve done a lot of talking about them as characters and so they don’t really feel like mine as much as they used to.”

However, she feels it can sometimes be strange talking about those characters that for so long lived solely in her head.

“It’s very surreal to talk with people who have read the book that you have written,” she confessed. “You write a book alone and you’re living with people living in your imagination for years at a time. It’s very strange to talk with people who use their names as if they know them or met them. It’s like sharing a weird, imaginative play with other people.”