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TRAVELLERS, POETS AND PRIZE-WINNERS READ IN FIVE APRIL EVENTS AT IRAH

Pico Iyer, Don Domanski, Michael Ondaatje and Jhumpa Lahiri among authors presenting their work at Harbourfront Centre this month

TORONTO, March 18, 2008 ----- April at International Readings at Harbourfront (IRAH) gets underway with the return of the bi-annual Ben McNally/International Readings Travellers Series. Charles Foran, Pico Iyer and Chuck Thompson share tales of their travels from Thailand to Toronto, Bangkok to Bogotá with stories personal, political and spiritual. IRAH is delighted to welcome two 2007 Governor General’s Award winners this month: Don Domanski (Poetry), and Michael Ondaatje (English-language Fiction), who both read from their winning books. Domanski is joined on April 16 by Randall Maggs and Alison Pick for an evening of poetry readings in honour of National Poetry Month. And among the other notable names appearing on stage at IRAH in April are “New Face of Fiction” Padma Viswanathan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri, and Granta Best of Young British Novelists author Andrew O’Hagan. Readings take place on Wednesdays and select other evenings at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

On April 2, local bookseller Ben McNally hosts the Ben McNally/International Readings Travellers Series. Writers sharing tales of their travels this month are: Charles Foran (Canada), who reads from Join the Revolution, Comrade: Journeys and Essays, an “impressive quest through culture, politics, and language … [that] … enlists us in the war of thought against cliché.” (Ronald Wright, author of A Short History of Progress); Pico Iyer (U.K.) presents The Open Road, a moving and personal account of the hidden life of the 14th Dalai Lama; and former Travelocity magazine editor Chuck Thompson (U.S.A.), who reads from Smile When You’re Lying, a no-holds-barred account of the less travel-mag friendly moments in his peripatetic career.

On April 9, Anthony De Sa (Canada) reads from his debut collection of stories, Barnacle Love. In “this year’s Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures” (Toronto Life) the back alleys of Toronto’s Little Portugal are as vivid a character as the father and son at the book’s centre. In Kill All the Judges, a sequel to April Fool, William Deverell (Canada) brings back his most popular characters for a fast-paced, hilarious tale of madness, mayhem, and murder. And Padma Viswanathan (Canada) reads from her hotly anticipated debut novel. Ten years in the writing, The Toss of a Lemon has drawn comparisons with Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things in its scope and semi-autobiographical nature.

On Wednesday, April 16, IRAH welcomes three poets in honour of National Poetry Month. Don Domanski (Canada) reads from his Governor General’s Award-winning All Our Wonder Unavenged. Master raconteur Randall Maggs (Canada) wraps the story of hockey in the character of one of its greatest goalies in Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems; the collection has garnered praise from books and sports commentators alike. And award-winning poet Alison Pick (Canada) reads from her elegant new collection, The Dream World, a guidebook to the lush and varied backcountry of human experience.

On Tuesday, April 22, Michael Ondaatje (Canada) reads from Divisadero, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, and a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. This multi-layered novel is about the often discordant demands of family, love, and memory. Also on April 22, IRAH is delighted to welcome Jhumpa Lahiri (U.K./U.S.A.), whose Interpreter of Maladies was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She reads from Unaccustomed Earth, eight dazzling stories that take the reader from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand in an exploration of the secrets at the heart of family life. Lewis DeSoto (Canada), author of the Booker nominated A Blade of Grass, hosts.

Until April 20, a short story by Lewis DeSoto, Poplicus, is on display in Harbourfront Centre’s new exhibition space dedicated to architecture. Admission is free, and the gallery is open until 8pm on Wednesdays to allow IRAH audiences to visit the exhibition prior to attending a reading.

Providing the month’s finale on Wednesday, April 30 are André Alexis (Canada), Steven Galloway (Canada), and Andrew O’Hagan (U.K.). Alexis, the Trillium Book Award-winning author of Childhood, reads from Asylum. Set in Ottawa and Tuscany, it is the story of unconnected people whose lives become inextricably linked. Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo is the powerful story of a cellist who, having witnessed a mortar kill 22 people lining up to buy bread, vows to sit in the hollow where the mortar fell and play Albioni’s Adagio once a day for each of the victims. Granta Best of Young British Novelists author Andrew O’Hagan presents Be Near Me, the story of an English priest and his takeover of a Scottish parish where not everyone is ready to accept him. “It is hard to imagine a better, more beautiful novel being published this year,” said the U.K.’s Spectator.

Readings take place in the Brigantine Room, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, at 7:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted). Tickets are $8 to the general public, free for members and 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 purchase tickets, the public may visit www.readings.org or call the Harbourfront Centre box office at 416.973.4000.

Harbourfront Centre’s architecture gallery is located at the York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. For more information the public may visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com.

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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 (IFOA) (October 22–November 1, 2008), including YoungIFOA (October 28–31, 2008); the annual ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers (2009 dates TBC); and A Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees (May 21–22, 2008).

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