Media Release

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Lindsey Love 416.973.4147;

List Includes World Renowned Crime Writer Michael Connelly, Internationally Acclaimed “Chick-lit” Author Elizabeth Noble, and Award-winning Essayist Cynthia Ozick.

Toronto, June 8, 2006---International Readings at Harbourfront Centre is thrilled to announce the preliminary line up for its 27th annual International Festival of Authors (IFOA). From October 18, 2006 to October 28, 2006, the IFOA will play host to many of the world’s pre-eminent established and emerging literary artists for eleven solid days of readings, interviews, discussions, award presentations, and special events.

With 49 participants already confirmed, bestselling novelists appearing on the roster include Margaret Atwood, Michael Collins, Michael Connelly, Mark Z. Danielewski, Kiran Desai, Deborah Eisenberg, Nicole Krauss, Elizabeth Noble, Sarah Waters, and Louise Welsh, with award-winning non-fiction writers such as J.B. MacKinnon, Charlotte Gray, Rosemary Sullivan, and Cynthia Ozick also taking to the IFOA stages. Renowned poets include Frieda Hughes and Mark Strand. And appearing for the first time at IFOA are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Clifford Chase, Ryan Knighton, Gautam Malkani, and Tom McCarthy. YoungIFOA welcomes Julie Burtinshaw, Val Ross, and Eugene Trivizas as just a few of the writers who will interact with hundreds of young people from throughout the GTA during IFOA’s school programming events.

IFOA kicks-off with “Celebrating 100 years with McClelland & Stewart” on October 18, with the return of readings from Governor General’s Literary Award (English Fiction) finalists on October 23. IFOA presents the world’s first LongPen signing from Toronto to Montreal on October 28. This innovative and interactive event makes use of Margaret Atwood’s LongPen to allow IFOA authors to reach out to their fans gathered in Montreal’s Nicholas Hoare bookstore. Readings from Giller Prize shortlisted authors and the presentation of the Harbourfront Festival Prize round out the IFOA’s closing night (October 28).

Biographies of confirmed authors follow.

Since its inception in 1974, International Readings has hosted more than 4,500 authors from 100 countries, including fourteen Nobel Laureates. Our season includes weekly readings, the annual International Festival of Authors (October 18 - 28, 2006) and then annual ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers (February 13 - 17, 2007).

For more information on IFOA, including updates throughout the summer, the public may visit or call the Harbourfront Centre box office at 416.973.4000. For more information on the LongPen contact Bruce Walsh at Unotchit Inc.: 647.202.9393,

Caroline Adderson (Canada) is the author of four books, including A History of Forgetting and Sitting Practice. She is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including two Ethel Wilson Fiction Prizes, three CBC Literary Awards, and numerous nominations including the Governor General's Award, the Rogers' Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Adderson reads from Pleased To Meet You, a collection of nine razor-sharp stories.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria) holds and MA in creative writing from John Hopkins University. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was shortlisted for the Orange Fiction Prize and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. She reads from Half of a Yellow Sun, set before and during the late-1960s Biafran War.

Margaret Atwood’s (Canada) internationally bestselling fiction includes The Handmaid’s Tale, Wilderness Tips, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, The Penelopiad, and The Tent. She has been honoured with the Booker Prize, The Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award, the Premio Mondello, and Le Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She reads from Moral Disorder — a collection of ten interrelated short stories set in Toronto, northern Quebec, and rural Ontario.

Anita Rau Badami's is the author of Tamarind Mem and The Hero’s Walk which was the recipient of the Regional Commonwealth Writers Prize, Italy’s Premio Berto, longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Kiriyama Prize. She reads from Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? which tells the story of three women linked in love and tragedy that sweeps from the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, to the explosion of Air India flight 182 off the coast of Ireland in 1985.

Louis Bayard (U.S.A.) is the author of Mr. Timothy, a New York Times Notable Book, which the Washington Post called "clever…sly and wonderful." Bayard reads from The Pale Blue Eye — a tale of murder and revenge that features a retired New York City detective and a young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe.

Mark Billingham (U.K.) has worked as an actor and comedian. His first crime novel, Sleepyhead, was a bestseller throughout the U.K., with four others in his Tom Thorne series quickly following. He reads from the latest instalment in the series, Buried, which the Daily Mirror dubbed “a masterpiece of plotting, police procedural and criminal insight…oozing with confidence.”

Giles Blunt’s (Canada) first John Cardinal series book, Forty Words for Sorrow, won Britain’s Silver Dagger Award, and he received the Arthur Ellis Award for excellence in crime writing for The Delicate Storm. He reads from By The Time You Read This, which has Cardinal unravelling his most personal case yet. “Giles Blunt writes with uncommon grace, style and compassion and he plots like a demon (Jonathan Kellerman).”

Clifford Chase’s (U.S.A.) first novel, Winkie, was hailed as a “hauntingly beautiful, lovely and strange, funny and sly, surreptitiously moving book” by David Rakoff. The story’s zeitgeist is assumed by a mild-mannered teddy bear that comes to life, finding himself on the wrong side of America’s war on terror. “This book is way too odd to be sentimental, and its political sensibility shuttles easily between the cartoonish and the shrewd. Chase puts himself in the same league as David Sedaris with this unclassifiable debut (Publishers Weekly).”

Michael Collins (Ireland/U.S.A.) is the author of many novels including The Life and Times of a Tea Boy, The Emerald Underground, Keepers of Truth, The Resurrectionists, and Lost Souls. His work has garnered numerous awards and has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC Prize. He reads from The Secret Life of E. Robert Pendleton, a tale of murder and literary ambition set on an American university campus.

Michael Connelly (U.S.A.) is the author of many mystery and crime novels, perhaps most notably for his books featuring detective Harry Bosch. Connelly's books have been translated in 31 languages and have won numerous awards. He reads from his latest Bosch instalment, Echo Park, which has Bosch getting close to the man he has sought for thirteen years.

Michael Cox (U.K.) is the editor of The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories and The Oxford Book of Victorian Detective Stories. He reads from The Meaning of Night, the story of Edward Glyver, booklover, scholar and…murderer. "A future classic. A masterpiece of literary style (Epsom)."

Stig Dalager’s (Denmark) work continues to be translated and performed internationally. He reads from his first novel to appear in English, Journey In Blue. The novel conjures Hans Christian Andersen and creates a vivid and fascinating portrait of this acclaimed writer.

Mark Z. Danielewski (U.S.A.) became internationally known for his first novel, House of Leaves. Ten years in the making, the novel also inspired an album by his sister, the musician Poe. He reads from his newest work, Only Revolutions, a shoot-from-the-hip road novel about two wayward, wild kids who careen across the American mainland.

Kiran Desai’s (India/U.S.A.) last book was the critically acclaimed Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard. Her prose has been described by Salman Rushdie as “welcome proof that India’s encounter with the English language continues to give birth to new children, endowed with lavish gifts.” She reads from The Inheritance of Loss, a novel set in a crumbling, isolated house in the Himalayas. “Desai's extraordinary new novel manages to explore, with intimacy and insight, just about every contemporary international issue: globalization, multiculturalism, economic inequality, fundamentalism and terrorist violence. Despite being set in the mid-1980's, it seems the best kind of post-9/11 novel (The New York Times).”

Robert Drewe (Australia) has been called one of “the most significant novelists currently working” by The Guardian. He reads from Grace, a novel about an urban woman who flees to the wilderness after being stalked by an erotomaniac.

Deborah Eisenberg (U.S.A.) is the author of numerous story collections and is the recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, a Rea Award, and a Whiting Writers’ Award. She reads from her latest collection, Twilight of the Superheroes: Stories, called “a terrific addition to the oeuvre of one of America's finest and most deeply empathetic short story writers” in a starred review from Publishers’ Weekly.

Bernice Eisenstein (Canada) is an illustrator, editor, and writer. She reads from I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors — a brilliantly crafted, utterly compelling memoir of her relationship to her parents, who met in — and survived — Auschwitz. “With her words and pictures working together, Eisenstein captures the insular world her parents shared with their group of other Holocaust survivors (Globe & Mail).”

David Gibbins (Canada) is an underwater archaeologist and the author of Atlantis. He reads from Crusader Gold, which details a quest to locate the Jewish menorah, stolen by the Romans during the last days of the crusades. “Fascinating….The Da Vinci Code of the deep sea (The Express).”

Charlotte Gray (U.K./Canada) is the author of several books, including Flint & Feather: The Life and Times of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwak; and Sisters in the Wilderness: The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill. She reads from Reluctant Genius: The Passions and Inventions of Alexander Graham Bell.

Kate Grenville (Australia) won the Orange Prize for her novel The Idea of Perfection, and her other works of fiction have won national awards in Australia. She reads from The Secret River, a dramatic and evocative historical novel set between the slums of 19th-century London and the convict colonies of Australia.

Frieda Hughes (U.K.) is an artist and writer who has exhibited her paintings in several solo and group exhibitions in Britain, the United States, and Australia. She is the author of seven books for children and her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and London magazine, among others. Her debut collection, Wooroloo, was published to wide acclaim. She reads from her latest collection of poetry, Forty-Five: Poems.

Simon Ings (U.K.) has written four novels, including his acclaimed Painkillers. He reads from The Weight of Numbers — the powerful story of unforeseen consequences when a deal in human trafficking goes awry. “It is unlikely there will be a finer written fiction this year… Ings arrives at a new heart of darkness (The Guardian).”

Stephanie Johnson (New Zealand) is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished writers, whose work includes plays for stage and radio, poetry, scriptwriting, and novels. She is also co-founder of the Auckland Writers' Festival. She reads from John Tomb’s Head, a biting novel told from the perspective of John Tomb — dead for 200 years.

Ryan Knighton (Canada) is the author of a book of poetry and co-author of a collection of short fiction. He presents his nervy, riveting memoir, Cockeyed, which details his fifteen year decent into blindness and offers unexpected perspectives on ourselves.

Nicole Krauss (U.S.A.) is the author of the novel Man Walks into a Room, which was named Book of the Year by The Los Angeles Times. She reads from A History of Love, a book inspired by her grandparents and a pantheon of authors whose work is haunted by loss — Bruno Schulz, Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, and more. “Devastating….One of the most passionate vindications of the written word in recent fiction. It takes one’s breath away” (The Spectator).

J.B. MacKinnon (Canada) is an independent journalist and a contributing editor for Adbusters, Explore, and Vancouver magazines. He reads from his Charles Taylor Prize-winning book, Dead Man in Paradise — a (almost) true-life detective story in which the riddles of guilt, innocence, memory, and reconciliation, lead to an unexpected but satisfying conclusion.

Gautam Malkani (U.K.) is a journalist for The Financial Times. He presents his debut novel, Londonstani, which exposes a new urban society where young Asians struggle with white boys to assert their brand of “Britishness” in the shadows of their parents’ generation. “Londonstani is an enthralling book” (The Independent).

Colum McCann’s (U.K.) novels include Dancer, Song Dogs, This Side of Brightness, and Everything In This Country Must. He has received the Hennessey Award and the Rooney Prize. McCann reads from Zoli, which is based on the true story of an exiled gypsy poet who had the right words at the wrong time.

Tom McCarthy (U.K.) is an artist and author who has written several books, articles, and essays. He reads from his first work of fiction, Remainder, where his unnamed narrator receives £8.5m compensation following a mysterious accident, on the condition that he does not divulge what happened to him. “[Remainder’s] minatory brilliance calls for classic status (The Independent).”

Jon McGregor (U.K.) was the only first time novelist on the longlist for the Booker Prize in 2002 for his novel If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. He reads from So Many Ways To Begin. Set against the backdrop of post-WW2 Britain, the novel explores what happens when our lives fail to take the turns we expect, and the ways we learn to let go of the people we might have been.

Claire Messud (U.S.A.) is the author of The Hunters, When the World Was Steady, The Last Life and has twice been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She reads from her fourth novel, The Emperor's Children, which Publishers Weekly called “surprising and masterful” in a starred review. The book centres around three friends as they struggle toward their thirtieth birthdays and their dreams in post 9/11 New York.

Elizabeth Noble (U.K.) is the author of The Reading Group and The Friendship Test. She reads from her latest book, Alphabet Weekends — a tender, funny tale about love in all of its guises.

Cynthia Ozick (U.S.A.) is the author of more than a dozen award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Her essay collection Quarrel & Quandary won the National Book Critics Circle Award, with Fame & Folly chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She reads from The Din in the Head: Essays, which focuses on the essential joys of great literature and investigates writers ranging from Tolstoy to Sontag.

Eden Robinson’s (Canada) bestselling first novel, Monkey Beach, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, was a Giller Prize finalist, and was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She reads from her latest book, Blood Sports — a tough, gritty story of the brutal cat-and-mouse relationship between two cousins, set in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.

Mark Strand (Canada/U.S.A.) is a former Poet Laureate of the United States. He has received numerous honours and grants, including the Pulitzer Prize for his book of poetry, Blizzard of One. His other volumes of poetry include Reasons for Moving, The Monument, The Continuous Life, and Dark Harbor. Strand reads from his latest book of poems, Man and Camel.

Rosemary Sullivan (Canada) is the author of ten books including Cuba: Grace Under Pressure, and The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out. Her biography Shadow Maker: The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwen won numerous prizes including the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction. Sullivan reads from Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in France, a story of artists trapped and waiting for rescue in wartime France.

Timothy Taylor (Canada) is a recipient of a National Magazine Award, and winner of the Journey Prize. His first novel, Stanley Park, was a finalist for the Giller Prize. He reads from his second novel, Story House — a sophisticated and funny tale of two estranged brothers trying to come to terms with a lifetime of contradictions and conflicts.

Madeleine Thien (Canada) reads from her new novel, Certainty. Thien’s first book of fiction, Simple Recipes, won four awards in Canada, was a finalist for a regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and was named a notable book by the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. “I am astonished by the clarity and ease of the writing, and a kind of emotional purity” (Alice Munro).

Sarah Waters’ (U.K.) third novel, Fingersmith, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Orange Prize for Fiction. She reads from The Night Watch, set in London during and after the Second World War.

Louise Welsh (U.K.) is the bestselling author of The Cutting Room and Tamburlaine Must Die, and the receipient of the Crime Writers’ Association Creasey Dagger and the Saltire First Book Award. She reads from The Bullet Trick — an “adults only” suspense thriller set among the domains of contemporary Berlin, Glasgow, and London.
Bruce Whiteman (Canada) is currently the Head Librarian of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA. He reads from the sixth book of The Invisible World Is in Decline, his latest instalment in his long, prose poem that seeks to come to terms with some of the most basic human experiences, from sex and language to the central place of light in our lives.

Meg Wolitzer (U.S.A.) is the author of Sleepwalking; This Is Your Life; Surrender, Dorothy; and The Wife. She reads from The Position, a novel about sex within the context of a family, and how a group of people growing up in one house can become so very different from one another.


Jonathan Safran Foer (U.S.A.) is the author of two novels, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. He has also been widely published in the Paris Review, Conjunctions, The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Don McKellar (Canada) is an actor, screen writer, director, and broadcaster with numerous films, television shows, and plays to his credit. His Broadway musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, was recently nominated for thirteen Tony Awards.

YoungIFOA, School Programming

Julie Burtinshaw (Canada) is the author of two previous novels for young people, Dead Reckoning and Adrift, and is a member of the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable. She reads from her moving and inspiring new novel, The Freedom of Jenny, a story revolving around Jenny Estes — a girl born into slavery in the 1840s in Missouri. Through Jenny, Burtinshaw tells the true story of a group of African Americans who immigrate from the banks of the Mississippi to Saltspring Island, British Columbia, in the 1860s. Chapter Book. 184 pp. Ages 11 — 14.

Val Ross (Canada) is a renowned arts reporter for The Globe and Mail and she has won a National Newspaper Award. Her first book, The Road to There: Mapmakers and Their Stories, won the prestigious Norma Fleck Award for non-fiction. Ross presents her fascinating new book, You Can’t Read This: Forbidden Books, Lost Writing, Mistranslations, and Codes. A history of reading, You Can’t Read This explores the development of alphabets, the decoding of ancient languages, secret writing, and censorship, among many other topics. Chapter Book. 152 pp. Ages 10 .

Teresa Toten (Canada) is the author of Onlyhouse and The Game. The Game was shortlisted for a 2001 Governor General’s Award for YA fiction. She reads from her smart new novel, Me and the Blondes. “Set in the 1970s, an era famous for its nonconformity, Me and the Blondes pokes fun at groovy English teachers and chaotic open-plan schools….The dialogue is smart and the story dexterously plotted (Quill & Quire).” Chapter Book. 221 pp. Ages 13-16.

Eugene Trivizas (Greece) is one of Greece’s leading writers for children, with more than a hundred books and over twenty national and international prizes to his credit. Trivizas reads from The Last Black Cat, a story where a streetwise cat helps foil a plan to abduct all the cats on his island home. Chapter Book. 248 pp. Ages 9-12.

Sarah Withrow (Canada) is the author of The Black Sunshine of Goody Pryne, Box Girl, and Bat Summer, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Award and has been published in seven countries. She reads from her latest book, What Gloria Wants, a smart, sassy, and deadly accurate depiction of how difficult it is to juggle a new romance and a jealous best friend. Chapter Book. 178 pp. Ages 9-12.

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