In the upcoming weeks Toronto will be hosting another of it's famously international festivals - the International Festival of Authors (IFOA).
IFOA, not unlike TIFF, brings world class talent to our city, in this case authors instead of directors and actors. And the spirit is the same where the chance of hearing and perhaps even talking to one of your favourite authors can be as exciting as running into a Scorcese or Soderbergh. Difference is, IFOA tickets are easier to get, and the authors are made far more available to the public.
This year's IFOA is particularly exciitng for me as TVO is invited to host, interview and/or moderate several events.
TVO Parents' Cheryl Jackson will be in Thunder Bay, 7pm on Sunday October 16 hosting an evening of readings from authors James Bartleman, Johanna Skibsrud and Jane Urquhart. Cheryl will be back with the IFOA on Tuesday October 25, 7:30 pm in Barrie to host Aboriginal Authors Festival featuring a round table discussion with Joseph Boyden, David Broux, Drew Taylor Hayden and Lee Maracle. I happen to have inside information that Cheryl is currently reading Boyden's Through Black Spruce and is loving it. Then 2pm on Sunday October 30, Cheryl hosts readings by Clarke Blaise, Wayne Johnston, Madeleine Thien and Meg Wolitzer in Owen Sound.
TVO's Piya Chattonpadhyay takes hosting duties on Tuesday November 8, 2011 in Toronto at Harbourfront's Brigantine Room.
And then there is me....
I show up in Durham at the Whitby Centennial Building in the Regal Room on Thursday October 20 7:30 pm. I will be moderating a reading and interview with two up-and-coming UK authors, Yvette Edwards and Sarah Winman. There will be a book signing afterwards and I, for one, am not above asking for an inscription in the jackets of my personal copies of their books. I am currently in the midst of reading Edwards' A Cupboard Full of Coats and am feeling a bit stunned by the level of accomplishment this first novel acheives. Gripping, and every sentence is a joy to read.
Winman's cleverly titled, When God Was A Rabbit is scheduled to be my next read.
The next night, Friday October 21 at 7:30 pm I will be in Markham I will be hosting an evening with authors Francisco Goldman, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Dany Laferriere and Bharati Mukherjee. Ms.Mukherjee won't remember, but years ago when I was working at the Author's Festival as a publicist, I spent some time with her. I look forward to nudging her memory.
Finally, on Wednesday October 26, 7:30 pm in Burlington I host an event moderated by Rachel Giese. Trivia? Rachel was the book reporter on CBC's PLAY a arts and entertainment show with Jian Ghomieshi. I was one of the show's film critics. Rachel will be moderating a panel that includes authors Anne Enright, Tom Perrotta and John Burnham Schwartz.
I am moved to stillness having just finished reading Perrotta's brilliantly concieved novel The Leftovers.