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Media Contact: Stephen Myers

Something For Everyone: 26th Annual IFOA To Feature Four Man Booker Nominees, The Queen of Chick Lit and Three Comic Book Kids

Toronto, August 17, 2005—International Readings at Harbourfront Centre is pleased to announce the line up for the 26th annual International Festival of Authors. Taking place in various venues throughout Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), the Festival, which runs October 19 through 29 features seventy world class writers from eighteen countries around the globe. Participants include 2005 Man Booker Prize nominees Tash Aw, Julian Barnes, Ali Smith and Zadie Smith, Orange Prize winner Diana Evans, Chick-lit hero Candace Bushnell, buzzed horror maven Elizabeth Kostova and His Excellency John Ralston Saul.

In addition to these literary giants, the Festival also shines its spotlight on a new crop of rising international stars including American wunderkind Jonathan Safran Foer, twenty-one year-old British prodigy Helen Oyeyemi, young Canadian heavyweight Craig Davidson and Nigerian whiz kid Uzodinma Iweala. “These are some of the most talented young authors in the world and we’re delighted to introduce them to Harbourfront Centre audiences,” says Geoffrey Taylor, Director of International Readings.

The Festival also presents a groundbreaking feature focus on graphic novels, with two visual arts exhibits and a once in a lifetime roundtable discussion featuring legendary comics creators Charles Burns, Seth and Chris Ware. Other special events include readings by the 2005 Governor General’s Award English Language Fiction nominees, an exclusive reading by American master John Irving followed by an interview with Ann-Marie MacDonald and the Festival’s closing gala featuring readings by the Giller Prize nominees and the awarding of the Harbourfront Festival Prize.

Tickets for most International Festival of Authors events are $15 ($10 for members or free for students with valid ID) and will be available Tuesday, August 30. For more information or to book tickets the public may visit or call the Harbourfront Centre box office at 416.973.4000.

Please read on for full details on Festival participants

Daniel Alarcón (Peru/U.S.A.) was born in Peru and raised in Alabama. His short fiction has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker and Salon. He reads from War by Candlelight, a devastating collection of stories portraying the effects of war, dislocation and economic crisis on those living on the margins of a globalized society.

Mohammed Naseehu Ali’s (Ghana/U.S.A.) fiction and essays have been published in the New York Times, Mississippi Review, Bomb, Gathering of Tribes and Essence. He reads from his debut, The Prophet of Zongo Street, a collection of fiction blending folkloric myth and modernity in a Ghana community.

Tash Aw (U.K./Malaysia) was born in Taipei and brought up in Malaysia, moving to London in his teens. He reads from his first novel The Harmony Silk Factory, which juxtaposes three accounts of a haunting episode in a Malaysian Chinese family’s history against a backdrop of a country in crisis.

Alongside his successful career as a creator of comedic radio and television programmes, David Baddiel (U.K.) has published a number of books, including the novels Time for Bed and Whatever Love Means. The Secret Purposes marks a change for the comedian as he explores British anti-Semitism during the Second World War.

Melissa Bank (U.S.A.) exploded on the literary scene with her debut book of stories, The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing. She reads from The Wonder Spot, a new collection of interconnected stories following a young woman through adolescence to adulthood as she searches for personal and professional contentment.

Zsuzsa Bánk (Germany) is the recipient of numerous prizes and fellowships and has quickly found success in Europe with her debut novel. She reads from The Swimmer, a touching story about migrant children travelling through Hungary in the 1950s with their depressive father.

Julian Barnes’ (U.K.) novels including, Flaubert’s Parrot and A History of the World In 10 ½ Chapters have enjoyed commercial and critical success across the English speaking world since the mid-eighties. He will read from Arthur and George, a new novel about crime and spirituality, guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race.

David Bergen (Canada) is the author of three highly acclaimed novels; See the Child, The Case of Lena S and A Year of Lesser, which won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. He reads from The Time In Between, a new novel about the struggles of two generations exploring the beautiful and painful history of Vietnam.

John Berendt (U.S.A.) is the author of the New York Times bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He reads from The City of Falling Angels, a new book featuring a cast of real life characters encountered while investigating the fire that destroyed La Fenice opera house in Venice.

Neil Bissoondath (Canada) is the author of the Governor General’s Award-nominated The Worlds Within Her and the Hugh MacLennan Fiction Prize-winning Doing the Heart Good. His first novel, A Casual Brutality, was nominated for the Man Booker Prize and won the Books in Canada First Novel Award. He reads from The Unyielding Clamour of the Night, a new novel which follows a family and a country through an undeclared civil war.

Dionne Brand’s (Trinidad/Canada) acclaimed poetry collections include Thirsty, No Language Is Neutral and Land to Light On, which won the Governor General=s Award and the Trillium Award. She reads from What We All Long For, a riveting novel exploring the many unique multi-layered voices of Toronto.

Charles Burns (U.S.A.) is the creator of the comics El Borbah, Skin Deep, Big Baby and Black Hole. His illustration work appears regularly on the cover of The Believer as well as in Time and the New Yorker. He presents his recently completed and collected comic Black Hole, a multiple Harvey, Eisner and Ignatz Award winner.

Candace Bushnell (U.S.A.) rose to fame with Sex and the City, her witty expose of the New York social scene which inspired the HBO series of the same name. She reads from Lipstick Jungle, a new novel featuring three women in their forties trying to maintain their positions at the top of the professional heap. 

Jonathan Coe’s (U.K.) novels include The Rotter’s Club, The Accidental Woman, A Touch of Love, The Dwarves of Death and What a Carve Up!, which won the 1995 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. He reads from The Closed Circle, a comedic novel revisiting characters from The Rotter’s Club in which Cool Britannia is forced to address its ongoing racial and social tensions at the turn of the 21st Century.

Michael Crummey (Canada) is an acclaimed poet, short story writer and novelist.  His novel River Thieves was a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award.  He reads from The Wreckage, a story of love crossed by the blindness of faith and fate set in the mid-20th century.

Craig Davidson (Canada) is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick’s Creative Writing MFA programme and the author of a number of dark fantasy stories published under a pseudonym. He reads from his short story collection Rust and Bone, an exploration of society’s more extreme expressions of manhood.

Anita Diamant (U.S.A.) is a prizewinning journalist whose work appears regularly in the Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting magazine. She is the author of the best-selling novels Good Harbour and The Red Tent, which was Book Sense Book of the Year for 2001. She reads from The Last Days of Dogtown, a new novel featuring the eccentrics and misfits of a 19th century Massachusetts hamlet.

Hadani Ditmars’ (Canada) work has been published in the New York Times, London Independent, the Globe and Mail, Time, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Newsweek and has been broadcast on the BBC and CBC radio and television. Her Ms. Magazine essay on Iraqi women has been adopted for several university courses. She reads from Dancing In The No-Fly Zone, her first book.

Josh Emmons (U.S.A.) received his M.F.A. from The University of Iowa Writers= Workshop and has taught writing at The University of Iowa and Loyola University. His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Magazine. Emmons reads from The Loss of Leon Meed, his inventive and engaging debut novel in which ten residents of Eureka, California are brought together by the inexplicable appearances and disappearances of a mysterious man. 

Jenny Erpenbeck (Germany) was born in East Berlin in 1967. She studied to become an opera producer and is now a freelance author and producer, living near Graz in Austria. Her play, Katzen haben sieben Leben will receive its first performance in Graz next year.  She reads from her English language debut Tale of the Old Child.

Diana Evans (U.K) is a graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Creative Writing MA  program and has published short fiction in a number of anthologies. She has worked as a journalist and an art critic and writes regularly for the Independent and Stage. Evans reads from 26a, her compelling debut novel about the bond between twins which recently won the Orange Prize for New Writers.

Will Ferguson’s (Canada) debut novel Happiness was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and won the Leacock Medal for Humour as well as the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. He presents Hitching Rides With Buddha, a comedic travelogue of his experiences with cherry blossoms and automobiles in Japan.

Anne Fleming’s (Canada) short fiction was selected for 2004's Toronto Life fiction issue and won a National Magazine Award. She is the author of the acclaimed novel Pool Hopping, which was nominated for the Governor General's Fiction Award, the Danuta Gleed Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. She reads from her new novel, Anomaly.

Jonathan Safran Foer (U.S.A.) is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, Everything is Illuminated and the editor of A Convergence of Birds, a collection of writing inspired by Joseph Cornell’s bird boxes. He is the co-editor of The Future Dictionary of America, a utopian writing project produced by McSweeney’s in support of progressive organizations working during the 2004 American election. He reads from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a new novel.

Oslo based crime fiction writer Karin Fossum (Norway) made her debut in 1974 with a collection of poetry. Her crime novels featuring Inspector Konrad Sejer have been published in sixteen languages. She reads from the latest instalment of the saga, Calling Out For You, in which Inspector Sejer and his partner are called to investigate the death of a newly arrived foreigner.

David Gilmour (Canada) is an acclaimed journalist and novelist. For many years he has been a fixture on Canadian television, as a film critic for The Journal and The National and as host of the award‑winning Gilmour on the Arts. He is currently the weekend host for the Documentary Channel. Gilmour reads from A Perfect Night to Go to China, a new novel about a child’s traumatic disappearance.

Katherine Govier is the author eleven books including Fables of Brunswick Avenue, Angel Walk and Hearts of Flame, which won the City of Toronto Book Award. She reads from her new novel, Crystal Water which delves into the majestic history of Japan’s 19th century pearl rush.

John Irving (U.S.A.) is the bestselling author of A Widow for One Year, A Prayer for Owen Meany and The World Acording to Garp.  He won an Academy Award for his screenplay adaptation of the The Cider House Rules. Irving reads from Until I Find You, a new novel of overwhelming melancholy and robust comedy.

Uzodinma Iweala (Nigeria/U.S.A.) was born in Washington D.C. in 1982 and currently lives part time in Lagos, Nigeria. He reads from Beasts of No Nation, his debut novel about the life of a child soldier in a war-torn African country.

Juris Jurjevics (U.S.A./Latvia) is a Vietnam veteran and the founder of Soho Press. He reads from The Trudeau Vector, a new thriller that superbly depicts the precarious, volatile area where science and global politics can clash with disastrous results.

Elizabeth Kostova (U.S.A.) graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan. She reads from her debut novel The Historian, an adventure of monumental proportions, blending fact and fantasy in a thrilling, centuries-spanning narrative following Vlad the Impaler’s barbarous reign in the past and present.

Robert Kroetsch (Canada) is one of Canada=s most respected poets. He won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction with his novel The Studhorse Man. He reads from his latest poetry collection The Snowbird Poems.

Lydia Kwa (Singapore/Canada) is the author of a collection of poetry, The Colours of Heroines and This Place Called Absence, a novel. She reads from The Walking Boy, a haunted story of love and longing, power and greed and an individual’s search for meaning in 8th century Tang Dynasty China.

Nick Laird (U.K.) is a London lawyer, poet and critic who grew up in Northern Ireland. His collection of poems, To a Fault recently won the Eric Gregory Award and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Laird reads from Utterly Monkey, his debut novel which chronicles the trials and tribulations of a young London lawyer with a dangerous past.

Jim Lynch (U.S.A.) has won national journalism awards and published short fiction in a number of literary magazines. A Puget 
Sound native, Lynch currently writes and sails from his home in Olympia, Washington. He reads from his first novel, The Highest 
Tide, in which a thirteen year old boy becomes a local celebrity.

Rabindranath Maharaj (Trinidad/Canada) is the author of three novels and two collections of short stories, including The Interloper, which was nominated for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. He reads from A Perfect Pledge, his latest novel about a sugar cane farmer who continually plots to improve life for his family and contemporaries, much to their dismay.

Andreï Makine (Russia/France) was born in 1958 and left the former Soviet Union a decade ago to live in France. His novel Dreams of My Russian Summers was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and won both the Goncourt and Médicis Prizes.  He reads from The Earth and Sky of Jacques Dorme, the stunning conclusion to the epic trilogy that began with Dreams of My Russian Summers.

Melania G. Mazzucco (Italy) is the author of four acclaimed novels and a number of works for cinema, theatre and radio. She reads from Vita, a story of 20th century immigration and the sometimes accidental search for roots in the old country.

Andrew Miller’s (U.K.) first book, Ingenious Pain won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Oxygen was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel Award. He reads from The Optimists, a new novel about a photojournalist who returns to Britain from Africa where he was involved in reporting on an atrocity.

Charles Montgomery (Canada) is the recipient of the 2005 Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction. He was awarded the Lowell Thomas Silver award for travel writing in 2003 and has won the Western Canada Magazine Award four times. Montgomery reads from The Last Heathen, a memoir documenting his experiences in Melanesia, a chain of volcanic islands in the South Pacific with a rumoured history of black magic, headhunting and cannibalism.

Rick Moody’s (U.S.A.) fiction and criticism appears regularly throughout the English-speaking world. His books include The Ice Storm, Purple America, Demonology and The Black Veil. He reads from The Diviners, a new novel about contemporary America featuring the word man who coined the phrase “inspired by a true story.”

Lisa Moore (Canada) is the author of two collections of stories; Degrees of Nakedness and Open, which was shortlised for the Giller Prize. She is a regular columnist for the Globe and Mail and her fiction frequently appears in Canadian literary magazines. Moore reads from Alligator, a new novel.

Shani Mootoo (Canada) was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad. She has lived in Canada since the early 1980s. Her acclaimed first novel Cereus Blooms at Night, was published in fourteen countries and was a finalist for The Giller Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award. She reads from He Drown She In The Sea, her latest novel.

Donna Morrissey (Canada) is the author of two award-winning novels, Kit’s Law and Downhill Chance as well as a screenplay, Clothesline Patch, which won a Gemini Award. She reads from Sylvanus Now, a “breathtakingly beautiful” (Alistair MacLeod) love story set in mid-century Newfoundland.

Kate Mosse (U.K.) is an author, broadcaster and the co-founder of the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her novels include Crucifix Lane and Becoming a Mother. She reads from Labyrinth, a new novel which spans eight hundred years of history in the south of France.

Kenneth Oppel (Canada) is the bestselling author of Airborn, which won the Governor General’s Award. His Silverwing Saga has sold over a million copies worldwide and has won numerous awards, including the Mr. Christie’s Book Award and the CLA Book of the Year for Children Award. He reads from Skybreaker, the sequel to Airborn.

Helen Oyeyemi (Nigeria/UK) is the author of two plays, Juniper’s Whitening and Victimese. She is currently a student at Cambridge University. Oyeyemi reads from The Icarus Girl, a novel she completed just before her nineteenth birthday.

Toronto-based journalist and filmmaker Nelofer Pazira (Afghanistan/Canada) came to prominence with films such as Kandahar and Return to Kandahar. She reads from A Bed of Red Flowers, a new memoir about her childhood and family life in Kabul under Communist imperial occupation.

Alison Pick (Canada) was the 2002 Bronwen Wallace Award winner for most promising unpublished writer under 35 in Canada. Her first book, Question & Answer, was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award. She reads from The Sweet Edge, a new novel about the fragility of love and the inevitability of change.

Dorothy Porter (Australia) has written libretti, poetry and a number of young adult books. She has been shortlisted for several prestigious prizes and is the recipient of the  National Book Council Award for Poetry and the Braille Book of the Year for The Monkey Mask, a crime thriller written in verse. She reads from her newest verse novel, Wild Surmise.

Francine Prose (U.S.A.) is the author of thirteen works of fiction, including the novel Blue Angel, a finalist for the National Book Award. She is a recipient of numerous grants and awards, including Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships. She reads from A Changed Man, a new novel about a young neo-Nazi who makes a radical change in his life by joining forces with a Holocaust survivor.

David Rakoff (U.S.A./Canada) is a regular contributor to Salon, Outside magazine and Pubic Radio International’s This American Life. He is the author of Fraud, a collection of essays which involve impersonating Sigmund Freud and climbing icy mountains in cheap loafers. He reads from Don’t Get Too Comfortable, a scathing critique of contemporary first-world narcissism.

John Ralston Saul (Canada) is the author of numerous acclaimed works of philosophy and fiction including The Birds of Prey, Voltaire’s Bastards and The Unconscious Civilization. He presents The Collapse of Globalism, a new work exploring the early and unexpected demise of the 21st century’s most pervasive philosophy economics, governance and popular culture.

Lisa Rochon (Canada) is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto and an architecture critic for the Globe and Mail. She presents Up North, a new book on the legacy of modern Canadian architecture featuring extensive interviews with Frank Gehry, Arthur Erickson and many others.

Leon Rooke (Canada) is the author of seven novels including The Fall of Gravity, which was chosen by the Globe and Mail as one of 2000’s top books and Shakespeare’s Dog, which won the Governor General’s Award. He has published over 300 short stories as well as poetry and plays and is the founder of the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. Rooke reads from The Beautiful Wife, an endearing marvel of magic realist narrative.

Vikram Seth (India) is the author of Equal Music, Golden Gate and the international bestseller A Suitable Boy. He reads from Two Lives, a true story about his great uncle, an Indian medical student in Berlin, and his great aunt, a young Jewish woman in Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

Seth (Canada) is the creator the series Palooka-Ville and numerous graphic novel collections as well as the designer of the critically acclaimed twenty-five volume Complete Peanuts. He recently collaborated with his father on a memoir of the Great Depression entitled Bannock, Beans & Black Tea. Seth presents Wimbledon Green, the story of the world’s greatest comic book collector.

Ali Smith (U.K.) is the author of Free Love and Other Stories, Like, Other Stories and Other Stories, and The Whole Story and Other Stories. Her second novel, Hotel World was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize. She reads from The Accidental, a new novel.

Zadie Smith (U.K.) burst onto the scene at the age of twenty-five with her debut novel, White Teeth which won the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Award. She reads from her third novel, On Beauty, the story of an American family and its members’ individual quests for meaning in contemporary life.

Robert Sullivan (New Zealand) is the author of a number of verse collections including Jazz Waiata, which won the 1991 PEN (NZ) Award for Best First Book of Poetry. He is also the creator of a celebrated graphic novel for children, Maui: Legends of the Outcast which won the New Zealand Post Book of the Year award. He reads from Voice Carried My Family, a retrospective collection drawing on ancestral and contemporary connections between New Zealand and Polynesia.

Hwang Sok-Yong (South Korea/U.K.) became a household name in Korea when his epic work Chang Kil-san was serialized in newspapers from 1974 to 1984. A dedicated political activist, he spent five years in prison as a result of his unauthorized trip to North Korea with the intent of inciting exchange between the artists of the divided country. He reads from The Guest, a new novel.

Minette Walters (U.K.) established herself as a luminary of crime fiction with the publication of her first book, The Ice House. She is the recipient of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for The Sculptress and the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for The Dark Room and The Scold’s Bridle. Several of her novels have been adapted for television by the BBC. Walters reads from The Devil’s Feather.

Chris Ware (U.S.A.) is the creator of the regularly serialized comic The ACME Novelty Library and the graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth. He edited the acclaimed and much sought after McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #13 which features more than two dozen of the world’s leading graphic novelists. He presents The ACME Novelty Library featuring the serialized story “Rusty Brown.”

Lauren Weisberger’s (U.S.A.) debut novel, The Devil Wears Prada was published in twenty-seven countries and became a classic of the chick lit canon. With her second novel, Everything Worth Knowing Weisberger introduces Bette, a young Manhattanite who leaves the world of finance for a job in public relations and a life of champagne, parties and gossip-column celebrity.

Louise Welsh’s (U.K.) debut novel, The Cutting Room won The Crime Writers’ Association’s Creasey Dagger award and was chosen by the Guardian as one of the best first novels of 2002. She reads from Tambourlaine Must Die, a thrilling historical murder mystery in which Christopher Marlowe is stalked by one of his own violent characters.

Christopher Wilson (U.K.) is the author of the novels Mischief and Bluegrass, which was nominated for the Man Booker Prize. He reads from The Ballad of Lee Cotton, an original, funny and profoundly thought-provoking new novel exploring conceptions of race and humanity in the southern United States.

Tim Winton (Australia) is one of Australia’s most respected authors. He has been shortlisted twice for the Man Booker Prize and has published nineteen books for adults and children. He reads from The Turning, a brilliantly realized work of seventeen overlapping stories set in the 1970s.

Ronald Wright (Canada) is a novelist, historian, and essayist. He is a frequent contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and has written and presented documentaries for radio and television on both sides of the Atlantic. Wright presents A Short History of Progress, a new work exploring the future through our past and present worlds.


International Readings
at Harbourfront Centre

Since its inception in 1974, International Readings has hosted more than 4,500 authors from 100 countries, including thirteen Nobel Laureates. International Readings provides Canadian authors an internationally recognized stage on which to present their work and brings the best of world literature to Canada. Our season includes weekly Readings, the annual International Festival of Authors (October 19 - 29, 2005) and ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers (February 13 – 19, 2006).
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