Media Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IRAH ANNOUNCES FORMIDABLE FEBRUARY LINE-UP INCLUDING
PULITZER PRIZE-WINNER GERALDINE BROOKS, GRIFFIN PRIZE-WINNER ANNE SIMPSON,
NATIONAL BESTSELLER LAWRENCE HILL

Toronto, 28 January 2008 ----- As the city prepares to "Keep Toronto Reading" throughout the month of February, International Readings at Harbourfront (IRAH) is delighted to announce a month's line-up featuring literary prize-winners and new voices alike. Australia’s Geraldine Brooks and Steve Toltz, the U.S.A.’s Julie Buxbaum, and Canada’s Mary Swan and Ahmad Saidullah all make their IRAH debut, while Canada’s Anne Simpson and Lawrence Hill both return to present new novels. The weekly Readings Series resumes on Wednesday February 13, and continues Wednesdays and select other evenings until June at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

Readings for 2008 get underway on February 13 with two debut novelists and a Pulitzer Prize-winner. In her new novel, People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks (Australia/U.S.A.) plunges new depths of historical fiction as she follows the Sarajevo Haggadah, a sacred illuminated manuscript, on a perilous journey through centuries of religious turmoil. Former attorney and Harvard Law graduate Julie Buxbaum (U.S.A.) presents her debut novel, The Opposite of Love, in which a young attorney tries to deal with the realisation that, in work, life and love, she is sabotaging her own happiness. Steve Toltz’s (Australia) debut, A Fraction of the Whole, joins narrator Jasper Dean as he recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries, taking the reader from the Australian bush to the cafés of bohemian Paris, and everywhere in between. Host Siri Agrell (Canada) is a reporter with the Globe and Mail.

On February 20, IRAH welcomes three esteemed ladies of Canadian letters to present their new novels. Governor General’s Award-winner Diane Schoemperlen reads from At a Loss for Words, a “post-romantic novel” about a woman who suffers writer’s block when an old flame walks back in to her life after thirty years. Griffin Poetry Prize-winner Anne Simpson explores the nature of love and loss in her second novel, Falling, in which, consumed by guilt over the death of his sister, a young man and his mother travel to Niagara Falls to scatter the sister’s ashes. Mary Swan, author of the acclaimed The Deep and Other Stories, presents The Boys in the Trees, praised by Alice Munroe as, “a mesmerising novel – it can truly claim to be filled with a ‘terrible beauty.’” Host Larry Gaudet’s (Canada) most recent book, Safe Haven, explores the notion of “sanctuary” and how it has evolved.

On February 27 IRAH is delighted to present Lawrence Hill (Canada) reading from his Giller-longlisted The Book of Negroes, a #1 national bestseller commended by the Globe and Mail as “a masterpiece, daring and impressive in its geographic, historical and human reach.” Ahmad Saidullah (Canada/India), reads from Happiness and Other Disorders, a collection of “found” stories, presented by their pompous, erudite, and at times wickedly funny narrator – a self-professed “keeper of secrets.” A third reader is still to be confirmed.

Readings take place in the Brigantine Room, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, now on sale, are $8 to the general public, free for members and full-time students (with valid ID).
IRAH is also pleased to offer a 50% discount to members of the following organisations: Writers’ Union of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets, and the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

For more information and 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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Since its inception in 1974, International Readings at Harbourfront (IRAH) has hosted more than 5,000 authors from 100 countries, including fifteen Nobel Laureates. Our season includes the weekly International Readings at Harbourfront (IRAH); the annual International Festival of Authors (October 22–November 1, 2008), including YoungIFOA (October 29–31, 2008); the annual ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers (February 12–14, 2008); and A Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees (May 21–22, 2008).

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Becky Toyne: IRAHmedia@harbourfrontcentre.com; 416.973.5836
Lindsay Gulin: lRAHmedia@harbourfrontcentre.com; 416.973.4395
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