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Q&A: Tahira Rahemtulla of BookMachine Toronto

BookMachine, a U.K.-based, international networking organization for members of the publishing industry, is hosting a series of social events on Sept. 25 to launch its upcoming online communication platform, BookMachine.me.

As part of its BookMachine Everywhere series, networking mixers are being hosted tomorrow night in Barcelona, Brighton, London, New York, Oxford, and Toronto. The Toronto event is being held at the Blake House (449 Jarvis St.), starting at 6 p.m., and features a talk by Sophie Kahan, manager of publisher promotions at Kobo.

Q&Q spoke with Tahira Rahemtulla, the host of Toronto’s BookMachine mixer.

What is BookMachine? BookMachine is an internationally read website and series of events for people in the publishing industry. It’s a way of bringing together various groups and individuals in a casual setting, and connecting them through BookMachine’s social networks and website, which is updated daily and features articles about the publishing industry.

How did it start? Founders Laura Austin and Gavin Summers started hosting events for U.K. publishers in 2010. Soon after, BookMachine.org was established. BookMachine spread out in the last year to international locations such as Barcelona, New York, and Toronto.

What do you hope to accomplish in Toronto? We would like to work with others, as we do in the U.K., to offer an alternative evening out for publishing folks in the city. Six cities are hosting a BookMachine event on Sept. 25 to celebrate the upcoming launch of BookMachine.me. This new site allows all members of the publishing industry to create a profile, and then connect with other members “ either because they’ve met at a BookMachine event, or because there’s an interest for collaboration. We hope it is useful for local publishers, too.

How does it work? Our events are usually casual mixers, where people sign up and see names of other attendees, and then meet and mingle at the event. Following the event, everyone who signed up to attend is added to the BookMachine email database, to help them keep up with articles on the website and informed of upcoming mixers. We also welcome our guests to let us know in advance if they would like to be introduced to a particular guest, or be put in touch with one another afterward.

This interview has been edited and condensed.