BY CRAIG MOY
The world’s most sought-after wordsmiths bring their latest novels, poems and works of nonfiction to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, which, from October 24 to November 3, hosts the another big edition of the International Festival of Authors. Here’s why you should head there, too.
SEE THE SUPERSTARS OF ARTS AND LETTERS
They don’t call it the International Festival of Authors for nothing: the event attracts a global contingent of some of the biggest names in the literary game—particularly, of course, when they have new books to promote. Worldly participants for the 2013 edition include British-Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam, Ireland’s Colum McCann, and New York-based Sam Lipsyte. The IFOA schedule also features a who’s who of Canadian writers, including Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden, Douglas Coupland, Annabel Lyon, Lisa Moore and Michael Winter.
KIDS CAN JOIN THE FUN
The adults may have George Elliot Clarke and Wayson Choy, but youthful readers get Gordon Korman—the creator of more than 70 beloved children’s books, including I Want to Go Home, Son of the Mob and the Monday Night Football series, is one of a number of writers scheduled to appear as part of the festival’s YoungIFOA series. In addition to meeting authors, kids can also get hands-on by participating in a weekday bookplate-making workshop.
CELEBRATE WORKS OF MERIT
Among the fest’s top draws are its reading nights with the shortlisted authors for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (October 30) and Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language fiction (October 28). Both events offer a great chance to judge the nominated novels for yourself before the juries select their favourites next month. An abundance of applause is equally assured at A Tribute to Alice Munro (November 2), featuring readings of some of the newly minted Nobel laureate’s most praised works of prose.
ADD TO YOUR LIBRARY
Like what you’re hearing from the festival’s featured writers, poets and pundits? It’s easy (perhaps too easy for the truly book-obsessed) to purchase their latest works before and after most readings, discussions and interviews. Revered Ben McNally Books is set up on site for the duration of the IFOA—to enable your literary addiction and ensure your shelves are well stocked with the season’s top tomes, from Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam to Rui Zink’s The Boy Who Did Not Like Television.
ENGAGE WITH MORE ART
Reading and listening to other people read are hardly the only things to do at the city’s lakeshore; Harbourfront Centre is a cultural hub that boasts ample programming year-round. After you’ve perked up your ears and engaged your mind by attending a few literary roundtables, why not partake in some visually aided contemplation at The Power Plant, a distinguished gallery which this season exhibits new and recent works by Toronto-based artist Micah Lexier. You can also take home some modern visuals by swinging by the Centre Shop, which offers gifts, accessories and home products by Canadian and international designers. Or hang around town into November, when Harbourfront’s dynamic Next Steps contemporary dance series kicks into high gear.