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26th annual International Festival of Authors Launches Tonight With Star Studded PEN Benefit

Toronto, October 19, 2005--“Literature is alive and well,” said Geoffrey Taylor this afternoon regarding the tremendous public response to this year’s International Festival of Authors which features a number of new and innovative events, including a focus on graphic novels and a roster highlighting writers at the beginning of their careers. “People thought we were taking a bit of a risk with so many young up-and-comers, but the proof is in the pudding.” As of today, advance ticket sales for this year’s Festival have already surpassed last year’s total attendance.

Following tonight’s sold-out PEN Benefit, which features Dionne Brand, Adrienne Clarkson, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Deepa Mehta and Alice Munro the Festival kicks into high gear over the weekend with Readings by young Brits Zadie Smith and Nick Laird as well as an Interview featuring Kate Mosse and Elizabeth Kostova, author of the New York Times bestseller The Historian. Other great weekend events include a Reading featuring Rick Moody and a special public celebration in honour of HarperCollins’ Perennial imprint relaunch.

Weekday highlights include Monday night’s Readings from the Governor General’s Literary Awards English Fiction Shortlist as well as Tuesday’s onstage Interview featuring American wunderkind Jonathan Safran Foer and This American Life contributor David Rakoff. Great events continue throughout the week with Wednesday’s crime fiction spectacular with storied genre master Minette Walters and Norway’s Karin Fossum, Thursday’s mid-afternoon lecture by Charles Taylor Prize winner Charles Montgomery and Friday night’s Reading featuring first-time novelist Tash Aw, who was up for this year’s Man Booker Prize. Saturday’s stacked schedule includes a Reading featuring Canadian top dog Craig Davidson and American youngster Nick McDonell as well as a Graphic Novel Round Table with Charles Burns, Seth and Chris Ware. The Festival closes Saturday night with Readings from the Giller Prize Shortlist and the awarding of the Harbourfront Festival Prize to Guy Vanderhaeghe.

Tickets for most International Festival of Authors events are $15 ($10 for members or free for students with valid ID). For more information or to book tickets the public may visit www.readings.org or call the Harbourfront Centre box office at 416.973.4000.

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IFOA Media Office:
416.869.1600 Room 3447
ifoamedia@harbourfrontcentre.com

Publicists:
Stephen Myers
Rebecca Webster
Linda Liontis
Amy Holmes
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