literary event

The Event: IFOA Readings – Boyden, Taylor, Maracle | Beaton, Knelman, Glass

The Event: IFOA Readings – Boyden, Taylor, Maracle | Beaton, Knelman, Glass

“A lot of people in history die: I don’t want to spoil that for you.”

– Kate Beaton, IFOA, October 30th, 2011

Part two of my venturings through the always interesting waters of Toronto’s International Festival of Authors brings you two sets of readings events, each quite different in tone. A disclaimer before we begin: each reading included a poet, and I am supremely unqualified to comment on poetry, so I will not be spending much time with either David A. Groulx or Ken Babstock in this post.

October 26th: Joseph Boyden, David Lee Maracle, Drew Hayden Taylor, David A. Groulx

“Thanks for coming out in such miserable weather,” said host Stuart Woods, editor of Quill & Quire, on Wednesday October 26th. Indeed, the frigid autumn rain was pouring down, and the glassed-in terrace that had been turned into a stage area was not the coziest place to be.

As is the case with many IFOA readings and roundtables, I didn’t know the work of everyone I was to see that evening. I’d come for Joseph Boyden, with whom I’d fallen deeply in love after reading Through Black Spruce (with much of my family coming from northern Ontario, I enjoy orienting myself geographically in his work, and his ear for dialectical differences region to region). That Drew Hayden Taylor of Motorcycles and Sweetgrass fame was there was a bonus. I was unfamiliar with the other half of the program, Lee Maracle and David A. Groulx. It’s part of the fun of IFOA, the possibility of discovering an author without whom your literary world is incomplete. Continue reading “The Event: IFOA Readings – Boyden, Taylor, Maracle | Beaton, Knelman, Glass”

literary event

The Event: Will Ferguson (the Amusing) and the Translators (the Awkward) at IFOA 2011

“Pierre Burton showed me a Canada that was worthy of passion.”

Will Ferguson, IFOA, October 22nd, 2011

The events: International Festival of Authors: Shelagh Rogers interviews Will Ferguson; Wayne Grady hosts a roundtable on translation

When you’re preparing to host or be a guest at an International Festival of Authors event, part of your process should be a consideration of why people have purchased tickets. Why are you expecting a group of like-minded literary types to come down to Harbourfront and spend an hour of their time with you? What is the advertised topic of your event, what is the author’s style or genre, what interesting stories do you want to share with your audience so they feel like they’ve been a part of a fun or stimulating day?

October 22nd: Shelagh Rogers interviews Will Ferguson

I ventured down to the Festival twice this weekend. First up was Shelagh Rogers of CBC fame interviewing Will Ferguson, prolific humourist and most recently author of the book Canadian Pie. Rogers, I think, was as much of a draw as Ferguson. It’s always fun to see the face behind a radio voice, and Rogers was fearless as she started off the interview by reminiscing about the first time she and Ferguson met—“cheek to cheek” and naked but for a screen separating them as they received on-air massages at Temple Gardens spa in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. (Side note: I’ve been to Temple Gardens for some truly excellent mineral bathing and spa treatments, including an hour spent in zero gravity in the sensory deprivation tank.) Continue reading “The Event: Will Ferguson (the Amusing) and the Translators (the Awkward) at IFOA 2011”

literary event, short stories

The Event: TYPE Books and the Year of the Short Story

Carolyn Black (The Odious Child), Dennis E. Bolen (Anticipated Results), and Andrew J. Borkowski (Copernicus Avenue) celebrate the Year of the Short Story at TYPE Books.

TYPE Books is just one of those places in Toronto. Some book-loving friend will have told you about it a dozen times; or, you’re wandering Queen Street West and in between sculptural furniture browsing at Morba and the best brownies in the world (not made by my mom) and Americanos at the White Squirrel you see this quirky little bookshop. You go in. You fall in love. And no matter where in the city you live, you will be back. TYPE is a modern museum of wordsmithery, a well-curated collection of the most current heavy-hitters and the more obscure titles that you didn’t know you couldn’t live without, along with a superb collection of periodicals, journals, and odd gift items (fluffy stuffed chickens, silver skulls, etc.).

TYPE also plays host to eclectic book events, often featuring local writers. Last night was a celebration of the Year of the Short Story that brought together Carolyn Black ( The Odious Child ), Dennis E. Bolen ( Anticipated Results ), and Andrew J. Borkowski ( Copernicus Avenue ). I’d recently picked up The Odious Child after reading a review at I’d particularly enjoyed the title story and “Wife, Mistress,” so I made my way with a friend down to Queen West. A small crowd (about 20 or 30) of us enjoyed some pre-event browsing of TYPE’s eclectic shelves (one of those stuffed chickens nearly came home with me).We gathered in the centre of the shop for the readings, and while my high-heel-encased feet would have preferred the option to sit, standing in a group of excited, like-minded readers generated its own kind of cozy intimacy. Aforementioned Americano in hand, I leaned against the magazines and listened. Continue reading “The Event: TYPE Books and the Year of the Short Story”