It’s that time of year again! From October 18 to 28, Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre will be wall-to-wall authors, books, and words. And, as usual, there are way more events than you can count on all your fingers and toes!
The festival opens with the traditional PEN Canada Benefit. This year’s event promises to be an evening full of performance, words, and music with Rohinton Mistry in conversation with Eleanor Wachtel. Tickets are $50 and all proceeds go to PEN Canada, an organization committed to defending the freedom of expression of writers, in Canada and around the world, who have been forced into silence.
The benefit is just the start of things, too. Hundreds of authors will be participating in readings, round tables, and signings, so check out the IFOA schedule (pdf) to find events featuring Emma Donoghue, Dennis Lee, M. G. Vassanji, Annabel Lyon, Cory Doctorow, Miriam Toews, Hiromi Kawakami, Ayesha Chatterjee, José Luís Peixoto, Irvine Welsh, and dozens and dozens of other great authors.
I’d love to hear in the comments about any events you’re planning to check out or authors you can’t wait to see. And I promise to report back on the PEN Canada Benefit. Let the readings begin!
Edit: Well, I fell off the edge of the world and completely failed to report back as I had promised, so here, very belatedly, is my report. As expected the PEN Canada Benefit was excellent—I think it was even better than last year’s. Rohinton Mistry performed a funny and touching recounting of his childhood and his move to Canada as a young man. The setting and his welcoming manner made it seems almost as if he were inviting us into his home, and yet he had clearly decided (and fair enough) exactly how much of himself he wanted to share—I think we were in his parlor, not his kitchen, and it was still an amazing treat. He regaled us with stories of his schooling, home life, his rock ‘n’ roll aspirations, and his travels. And with chameleon ease transformed into the crooners of his childhood, everyone from Bing Crosby to the Beatles. I wish I could say that this performance were posted on the CBC’s website, but I’m afraid it isn’t. Instead I found a notice there saying that, though it aired on Radio One, it won’t be streamed. But who knows? Maybe if enough of us ask very politely, they’ll change their minds. I’d like very much for you to experience it, too.