IFOA 2013 Preliminary Line-up Announced

Mark your calendars and crack those books! We are thrilled to announce our preliminary line-up for the 34th annual International Festival of Authors. From established literary heavyweights to emerging young authors, this year’s line-up features an incredible array of talent.

Over 60 authors—writing in categories from literary fiction to memoir, poetry to thriller—have been confirmed for the 34th annual IFOA. Among those confirmed are Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden, Anne Carson, Douglas Coupland, Stephen King, Sam Lipsyte and Lisa Moore.

For a full list of confirmed authors, please click here.

We are also pleased to announce that tickets have now gone on sale to three IFOA special events: readings by the authors nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Tickets can be purchased at the links above or by phone at 416-973-4000.

The 34th annual International Festival of Authors takes place October 24 to November 3, 2013.

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34th IFOA Opening Night Authors Announced

Stephen King

(c) Shane Leonard

Get your tickets! The 34th annual International Festival of Authors and PEN Canada are delighted to announce that Stephen King and Owen King will appear in conversation with Louise Penny at this year’s benefit event.

Stephen King and his son Owen will discuss the writing life as part of the annual event with all proceeds going to PEN Canada.

Owen King

(c) Danielle Lurie

The event takes place Thursday, October 24 at 8pm in the Fleck Dance Theater at Harbourfront Centre. Tickets are $100. Advance tickets go on sale to official Authors at Harbourfront Centre Patrons and PEN Canada Patrons at 1pm Tuesday, April 16. Tickets go on sale to the general public at 1pm on Thursday, April 18. Those interested in becoming a Patron of Authors at Harbourfront Centre can call 416-973-4760. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Harbourfront Centre box office at 416-973-4000 or visiting readings.org.

For more information click here.

The 34th annual International Festival of Authors takes place October 24 to November 3, 2013.

And the winner is…

Last night (April 3) a packed house at Harbourfront Centre celebrated National Poetry Month with Poetry NOW: 5th annual Battle of the Bards. Nineteen poets competed in a battle of words and creativity reading their poetry for five minutes each. A jury comprising the Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke, Authors at Harbourfront Centre Director Geoffrey Taylor and Artistic Associate Jen Tindall came together after all of the participants had their moment on stage to decide on a winner.

And the winner is…

Peter Norman, author of Water Damage, is the winner of the 5th annual Battle of the Bards.

Peter Norman

Peter Norman

As the winner, Norman receives an invitation to read at the 34th annual International Festival of Authors (October 24 to November 3) and an ad for his book in NOW Magazine. This is the fifth year AUTHORS has partnered with NOW Magazine for this unique event. NOW Magazine’s Susan G. Cole hosted the event.

AUTHORS has also invited 4 additional Poetry NOW participants to read at IFOA: Warren Clements (Bird Doggerel), Beatriz Hausner (Enter the Raccoon), Mathew Henderson (The Lease) and Christine McNair (Conflict).

For a look at the full press release click here.

An Evening with Andrew Pyper

Last night’s book launch for Andrew Pyper’s latest thriller, The Demonologist, proved to be entertaining, intriguing and even a little creepy. The room at the Gladstone Hotel was packed with Pyper’s family, friends and fans. After a short reading Pyper shared stories about the writing process, his beliefs in the paranormal and what makes a good scary novel. Interviewed by the Globe and Mail‘s Russell Smith, the audience hung on every word from the bestselling author. Below are a few photos from the event. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada who co-presented the event. Find out more about Andrew Pyper here.

Andrew Pyper reading from The Demonologist (c) readings.org

Andrew Pyper reads from The Demonologist (c) readings.org

Andrew Pyper interviewed by Russell Smith (c) readings.org

Andrew Pyper interviewed by Russell Smith (c) readings.org

Keep the Ray-Bans Handy: Understanding the World of Book Promotion

By Brian Francis

(c) Paula Wilson

(c) Paula Wilson

Like many authors, especially ones just starting out, I always considered getting my novel published to be the finish line. As soon as it hit the shelves, thousands—if not millions—of readers would be clamouring to the bookstore, demanding my latest work of fiction. I’d wear sunglasses during radio interviews and suffer from jet lag. I’d build shelves to showcase my awards and tactfully critique the movie versions of my novels.

Gosh, it doesn’t take long for dreams to die.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy writing or consider myself unsuccessful, but the reality of the book business has tempered my naïveté. I’ve come to realize that publishing a book is really just one part of the writer’s journey. There’s a whole other world post-publication that many of us aren’t prepared for: the world of promotion.

Publicity 101, a workshop taught by me and Random House of Canada publicity manager, Adria Iwasutiak, aims to give emerging and pre-published authors an understanding of that world. And when you consider that most writers only have the attention of a book publicist for a short window of time (you should see the number of books one publicist is responsible for), you quickly realize that promoting your book, in many ways, ultimately comes down to you. This is especially true for self-published authors who don’t have the benefit of a publicist.

The good news? Promoting your book effectively doesn’t mean wearing a sandwich board (although don’t let me stop you). But it does take some navigation and know-how. That’s the aim of Publicity 101—to give you some tools and tips to maximize your promotional efforts, including social media, networking and reaching readers. At the very least, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of book promotion and what it entails.

The better prepared you are for all aspects of your writing career, the better your chances of success. Don’t throw away those Ray-Bans just yet.

Publicity 101 takes place March 16 at the Harbourfront Centre. Register here.

Calling all poets!

Submissions are open for Poetry NOW: 5th annual Battle of the Bards and we’re waiting to hear from you!

The Battle of the Bards gives upcoming and established poets a unique opportunity to appear on the IFOA stage. Twenty poets will participate in a night of readings at Harbourfront Centre on April 3, 2013, just in time for National Poetry Month.

Sandra Ridley Poetry NOW 2012

Sandra Ridley, winner of the Poetry NOW: 4th annual Battle of the Bards

“As every poet knows, it’s hard to get heard, at least initially, and the Battle of the Bards offered me that rare opportunity last year of a level playing field,” says Ayesha Chatterjee, one of last year’s participants. “It was exhilarating to be able to read to a new—and very knowledgeable—audience and to be in the company of such a wide range of talented poetic voices from across Canada.”

Interested poets must apply for a place in the event. The participants will be selected at random in advance, and invited to read for five minutes each. This year’s jury is made up of Authors at Harbourfront Centre Director Geoffrey Taylor, Artistic Associate Jen Tindall and a guest judge to be announced March 5 along with the participants list.

The winner receives an ad for their book in NOW Magazine and an invitation to read at the 34th annual International Festival of Authors (October 24 – November 3, 2013).

The submission deadline is February 28 at noon, so get on it! All the details here.

Charles Taylor Prize finalists on “the spark”

The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is a $25,000 purse awarded to an author whose book “best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception.” We’re excited to welcome the finalists to our stage on February 27, just a few days before the winner is announced on March 4. Leading up to what promises to be a fascinating evening, we asked some of the finalists to tell us about the spark that started it all.

Djwa, SandraSandra Djwa, author of Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page:

The spark for Journey with No Maps came about 25 years ago when I heard P.K. Page speaking autobiographically about her father, Lionel Page, at the Vancouver International Writers Festival. He was a military man and was General Officer, Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Command, during the Second World War when he died in harness. I was struck by the depth of emotion in her voice and begun to wonder about her life story. Would she have a biography? After her talk we happened to meet but I somehow couldn’t raise the topic although I knew then that I would like to write her biography. Aside from the fact that I admired her poetry and knew the period from writing a biography of F.R. Scott, I now suspect that a large part of the attraction to P.K. Page as a subject was the parallel between our military fathers—mine had been a captain in the Canadian Merchant Marine, carrying munitions from Halifax to England. But the idea didn’t take fire until a decade later, in December 1996, (after P.K. & I had collaborated on an interview for a special issue of The Malahat Review) when she phoned and asked if I would like to write her biography.

Ross King, author of Leonardo and the Last Supper:

(c) Judith Ghilks

(c) Judith Ghilks

I had wanted to write a book on Leonardo for a long time. But my mind was concentrated six or seven years ago when, in the heyday of The Da Vinci Code, I used to get invited to give lectures on the “real” Leonardo and the “truth” of the paintings described in the novel. I was forced to go back to the paintings themselves and to examine the documentary evidence. The material was incredibly rich and strange, from things such as how Leonardo got the commission to paint The Last Supper to what food he put on the table in front of Christ and the Apostles. The Da Vinci Code may tell a good story, but in my opinion the truth is—as so often—far more interesting and elucidating than the fiction.

All five finalists for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction will participate in a panel discussion at Authors at Harbourfront Centre on Wednesday, February 27.