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More than 1,000 free books set to hit downtown Toronto streets October 16

TORONTO, October 14, 2008 --- To raise awareness of this year’s authors and events, the 29th annual International Festival of Authors (IFOA: Oct. 22 – Nov. 1) will bestow Random Gifts of Reading on booklovers in downtown Toronto. With the aim of capturing new audiences and highlighting this year’s impressive roll-call of Canadian and international wordsmiths, 1,000 FREE books – all paperback backlist titles by authors participating in IFOA later this month – each wear a belly band asking: If you’ve never been to a book festival before, isn’t it time you opened up a new chapter? The Random Gifts of Reading make their appearance before and during morning rush hour on Thursday, October 16, 2008.

This year’s International Festival of Authors features 135 writers from 15 countries, participating in 67 events. Authors present a range of subjects and styles, from historical fiction to crime and mystery, from biography to poetry, from graphic novel to children’s books. The Random Gifts of Reading represent books from every genre. In total, more than 1,000 books will be handed to Torontonians – a gift of reading with a value in excess of $20,000.

Books will be left in the following locations: Queen West and Harbourfront Centre (from Trinity Bellwoods to Nathan Phillips Square and on Queens Quay West books will be left on newspaper boxes and storefront window ledges), Financial District (at King & Bay IFOA staff will be handing books to commuters en route to the office), and atop copies of NOW magazine in the downtown core. A label screaming "TAKE ME!" will ensure confused passers-by know what to do.

A list of the titles included in the campaign will be posted to the IFOA Facebook Group to allow people to trade.

IFOA is grateful to NOW Magazine for their support in executing this campaign. Also to the publishers who generously donated backlist titles to make the campaign possible: Brick Books, Cormorant Books, HarperCollins Canada, H.B. Fenn & Company, House of Anansi Press, Key Porter Books, McArthur & Company, Penguin Group (Canada), Raincoast Books, Random House of Canada, Scholastic Canada, Simon & Schuster Canada, Thomas Allen Publishers.


Since its inception in 1974, Authors at Harbourfront Centre has hosted more than 5,000 authors from 100 countries, including 16 Nobel Laureates. Our season includes a weekly reading series (September to June); the annual International Festival of Authors (IFOA) (October 22–November 1, 2008), including YoungIFOA (October 28, 30, 31, 2008); the annual ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers (May 4–6, 2009); and Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™ (May 13–14, 2009).

Print: Becky Toyne; 416.973.5836
Lindsay Gulin; 416.973.4395
Broadcast: Shane Gerard; 416.973.4518
Althea Linton; 416.973.4644

General publicity inquiries can be sent to:

IFOA Media Site:
Download high res images of all IFOA authors and book covers, and pick up stock IFOA shots.

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