Shortlists, awards, and writers festivals ... it's October again. Just yesterday came the news of the Governor-General's Award nominees and the winner of the Man Booker Prize. Tonight, the country's largest literary festival, the International Festival of Authors, kicks off in Toronto with eight writers on the G-G, Giller and Booker shortlists among it's many roundtables, interviews and readings.
Wed., Oct. 17
Tonight's PEN benefit featuring G-G nominated Margaret Atwood (poetry) and Scotland's king of crime writing, Ian Rankin (who's retiring his detective John Rebus) is sold out. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre
Thurs., Oct. 18
Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) with an adult collection of stories about love, joins the night of readings with Australia's Janette Turner Hospital, Gina B. Nahai (USA) and our own double-short-listed M.G. Vassanji. New to IFOA this year is the addition of a poet, who kicks off the night with a 10-minute reading. The first is one of the country's best: Ken Babstock. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre
Fri., Oct. 19.
A truly international evening of readings. Michael Ondaatje heads a lineup that includes Norway's Halfdan W. Freihow (whose book reads as a letter from a father to his autistic son), U.K.-based Marina Lewycka (with a follow-up to her award-winning debut novel, initially rejected 36 times before being published) and France's Céline Curiol. Margaret Christakos is the evening's poet. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre
David Gilmour (whose recent memoir is about raising his teenage son) in conversation with Daniel Handler and Bernard MacLaverty. Moderated by Richard Clewes. 8 p.m., Brigantine Room.
Sat., Oct 20
House of Anansi, the independent publisher that launched many Canadian literary careers celebrates its 40th anniversary. Hosted by actor Albert Schulz, the evening features Margaret Atwood, novelist Shani Mootoo, Elyse Friedman (poetry and fiction), author Graeme Gibson, poet Kevin Connolly and one of Scotland's best writers (who also does stand-up comedy) A.L. Kennedy. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre. Also, Booker-winner Anne Enright (Ireland) joins a compelling range of American writers, Amy Bloom and Shalom Auslander (a writer being compared to David Sedaris and Dave Eggers) and Vendela Vida. The poet is Souvankham Thammavongsa. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre
For fans of graphic novels. Award-winning Rutu Modan (Israeli illustrator with a graphic novel set in Tel Aviv) in a reading/presentation with American James Sturm (whose historical graphic tales are getting raves). Poet Emily Schultz reads. Noon., Brigantine Room
1 p.m., Marina Lewycka and Vendela Vita in conversation with Sandra Martin. 8 p.m., Shalom Auslander, Amy Bloom, Anne Enright and Vendela Vita.
Sun., Oct. 21
Poet and playwright Jonathan Garfinkel interviews Shalom Auslander author of A Foreskin's Lament, a dark and funny memoir about growing up and rebelling against Orthodox Judaism. 4 p.m., Brigantine Room
An international roundtable of acclaimed women. American writer (and psychotherapist) Amy Bloom, joins Emma Donoghue (Irish writer now living in Canada), debut novelist Nikita Lalwani (born in India, raised in Wales) and bestselling American writer Gail Tsukiyama in conversation with Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny. 2 p.m., Lakeside Terrace. Also today at noon: Anne Enright interviewed by Carolyn Weaver. 1 p.m. Diane Ackerman, Bernard MacLaverty, Valerie Martin and Eric Wright read. Poet is George Murray.
Mon., Oct 22.
The recently announced nominees for the Governor-General's Award for English fiction. David Chariandy, Barbara Gowdy, Michael Ondaatje, Heather O'Neill and M.G. Vassanji read. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre
Tues., Oct 23
Young IFOA features the world's most popular children's writer, J.K. Rowling. Hosted by Seamus O'Reagan. 10 a.m., Winter Garden Theatre.
Moshin Hamid (who went to Harvard Law School before writing novels including Booker nominated The Reluctant Fundamentalist) reads with Zimbabwe's young Ian Holding and even younger Aryn Kyle (USA), an accomplished American writer. David Leavitt. 8 p.m., Lakeside Terrace.
Wed., Oct. 24
The show featuring literary luminaries Isabelle Allende, Will Ferguson, Elizabeth Hay, Richard B. Wright and poet Ken Babstock is already sold out.
Up and coming Gil Adamson joins Michael Winter, Germany's Jakob Arjouni, British actor David Thewlis (with his debut novel). Poet is Jay MillAr. 8 p.m., Brigantine Room Thurs., Oct. 25
A evening of guaranteed entertainment. Outspoken U.K. writer Will Self and actor David Thewlis interviewed by bookseller Ben McNally. 8 p.m., Lakeside Terrace.
Newfoundland writer Bernice Morgan reads with another East Coaster, Beatrice MacNeil, Italian novelist Alessandro Piperno and one of Canada's top mystery writers, Peter Robinson. Poet is Catherine Beles. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre.
Also today: 1 p.m.: Young IFOA features Kenneth Oppel. At 8 p.m., readings by Barry Callaghan, Justin Cartwright and Anna Porter. Priscilla Uppal is the poet.
Fri., Oct. 26
A spotlight on the non-fiction Charles Taylor Prize. Featuring David Gilmour, Larry Gaudet and Rudy Wiebe. Margaret Christakos is the poet. The host, Charlotte Gray is a non-fiction star, too. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre
Author (and publisher of Penguin Canada) David Davidar reads with Canada's Carol Bruneau, British writer Will Self and historical novelist Tracy Chevalier. Poet is Stephen Cain. 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre
Also today: 1 p.m.: Young IFOA features Sean Cullen. 8 p.m.: Round table with Will Ferguson, Peter Robinson, M.G. Vassanji and Richard B Wright, moderated by Randy Boyagoda.
Sat., Oct. 27
The festival concludes with readings from the nominees of the Scotiabank Giller prize: Elizabeth Hay, Michael Ondaatje, Daniel Poliquin, M.G. Vassanji and Alissa York, 8 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre
Booker nominated Lloyd Jones (author of Mister Pip), in a reading and interview with Paul Quarrington. Poet is Janice Kulyk Keefer. 4 p.m., Premiere Dance Theatre