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Media Contact: Amy Holmes

June at the Harbourfront Reading Series

TORONTO, May 25, 2004---Now in its 30th year, the Harbourfront Reading Series is one of the oldest and most admired public reading programmes in the world. The Series is famous for bringing the most exciting Canadian and international writers to Toronto.

Please find full details below on fabulous June events with André Alexis, Margaret Atwood, Di Brandt, Barry Callaghan, David Gilmour, Leslie Greentree, Barbara Hodgson, Suji Kwock Kim, David Kirby, August Kleinzahler, Alistair MacLeod, Patrick McGrath, Anne Michaels, Lionel Shriver, Anne Simpson, Louis Simpson, Ann Vanderhoof.

A reminder that on May 26, this Wednesday, we are pleased to present an evening at the Premiere Dance Theatre with an exciting mix of writers from Germany, the United States and Canada.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004, at 7:30 p.m. ***in the Premiere Dance Theatre
Andrei Codrescu, Trevor Cole, Jim Harrison, Nina Jäckle
Hosted by Ray Robertson

“No one—and I mean no one—is more deeply in touch with the zeitgeist of this obsessive, lunatic age than Andrei Codrescu”(Robert Olen Butler). Louisiana-based Codrescu’s commentaries can be heard on NPR; his travel film, Road Scholar, has won a Peabody Award; his Web journal, Exquisite Corpse, has a highly devoted following; and his books include poetry, travelogues and the bestselling novels The Blood Countess and Messiah. His new novel, Wakefield, “zig-zags on wheels of comic brilliance, totally flattening a lot of useless architecture—physical and psychological—along the way” (Tom Robbins).

Trevor Cole is an award-winning journalist who contributes to major Canadian magazines. His darkly funny, debut novel about an out-of-work actor whose life has caught up with him, Norman Bray in the Performance of his Life, has been published to spectacular acclaim. The main character, Norman Bray, “is a character you cannot forget and you thank god he doesn’t live next door” (Paul Quarrington). “It’s no mean create a horror like Norman Bray and to keep us giggling, happily turning the pages” (Globe and Mail).

Jim Harrison “has quietly established one of the deeper canons in modern American letters” (Denver Post). He is the award-winning author of a bestselling memoir, Off to the Side; four volumes of novellas including Legends of the Fall which was made into a major motion picture; seven poetry collections including most recently Braided Creek, with Ted Kooser; two works of non-fiction; and seven novels including The Road Home, Wolf, A Good Day to Die and most recently, True North. “Reading Jim Harrison is about as close as one can come in contemporary fiction to experiencing the abundant pleasures of living” (Boston Globe).

Nina Jäckle is a discovery!” (Literaturen magazine) and makes her Canadian debut at this event. Born in 1966 and living in Berlin, Jäckle has published several radio plays and stories as well as two books. Her first short story collection Es Gibt Solche (There are those) was declared an “amazing debut, breathtaking and precise, without a trace of sentimentality” (Frankfurter Allgemaine Zetung) and her first novel, Noll, is being published in spring 2004. Among many awards, she received the 1996 Hamburg Literature Prize and she will be reading from three newly-translated stories.

Ray Robertson is the host for this event. He is the author of the novels Home Movies, Heroes, and Moody Food which was voted a Best Book of 2002 by both the Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun. Robertson recently published a collection of non-fiction, Mental Hygiene: Essays on Writers and Writing. He is also a regular book reviewer for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, appears regularly on TVO’s Imprint and CBC’s Talking Books, and teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Toronto.

LOCATION: Premiere Dance Theatre, third floor of Queens Quay Terminal (207 Queens Quay West).

TICKETS:  $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


Wednesday, June 2, 2004, at 7:30 p.m. *** at the MacMillan Theatre, University of Toronto
Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings

The Griffin Poetry Prize is the most lucrative prize to accept books of poetry from any country in the world. This year a record-breaking 423 eligible books from fifteen different countries, translated from seventeen different languages, were submitted. The Harbourfront Reading Series is please to present a brilliant evening of poetry with all seven finalists from the Canadian and International lists: Di Brandt, Leslie Greentree, Suji Kwock Kim, David Kirby, August Kleinzahler, Anne Simpson and Louis Simpson.

Canadian Shortlist

Di Brandt is nominated for her fifth collection Now You Care. Brandt grew up in Reinland, a Mennonite village in Manitoba, and was one of the first women writers to break the public silence of Mennonite women in Canada. She currently teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Alberta and the poetry editor of Prairie Fire. Her many awards include the Gerald Lampert Award, and she has been shortlisted twice for the Governor General’s Award.

Leslie Greentree is nominated for go-go dancing for Elvis. Born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Greentree has lived in various parts of British Columbia and Alberta. She currently works at the Red Deer Public Library and she is also the author of the poetry collection guys named Bill.

Anne Simpson is nominated for Loop. Her first collection of poetry, Light Falls Through You, won the Gerald Lampert Award and the Atlantic Poetry Prize. Her first novel, Canterbury Beach, was shortlisted for the 2002 Thomas Head Atlantic Fiction Award and in 1997, her short story “Dreaming Snow” shared the Journey Prize. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies.  She lives in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and works at St. Francis Xavier University.

International Shortlist

Suji Kwock Kim is nominated for Notes from the Divided Country. Amongst many journals and anthologies, her poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, Poetry, Yale Review, Harvard Review, Threepenny Review and Asian- American Poetry. Kim won the 2002 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and she is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Centre.

David Kirby is nominated for The Ha-Ha. He is the author of twenty-two books including the poetry collections The House of Blue Light and The Traveling Library in addition to the collection of essays, What is a Book? Kirby is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, where he has taught since 1969 and lives in Tallahassee. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, Kirby writes regularly for The New York Times Book Review and other newspapers, and he has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

August Kleinzahler is nominated for The Strange Hours Travelers Keep. He has been a taxi driver, locksmith, and logger; he has also been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “one of the best lyric poets writing today.” Kleinzahler is the author of eight books of poetry, including Green Sees Things in Waves. His poems have also appeared in a wide array of publications including The New Yorker and Harper’s Magazine. He is the recipient of numerous awards including an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2000 he was awarded a Berlin Prize Fellowship.

Louis Simpson is nominated for The Owner of the House. He is the author of seventeen books of original poetry and his books of criticism, including A Revolution in Taste: Studies of Dylan Thomas, Allan Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell, have earned wide acclaim. Simpson has won the Pulitzer Prize and among his many honours are the Prix de Rome, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Columbia Medal for Excellence. Born in Jamaica, Simpson has taught at Columbia University, University of California at Berkeley, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

LOCATION: The MacMillan Theatre at the University of Toronto

TICKETS: $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


Wednesday, June 9, 2004, at 7:30 p.m.
Patrick McGrath, reading and onstage interview with David Gilmour
Hosted by Stephen Finucan

Patrick McGrath is a writer of astonishing accomplishment, creating “fiction of a depth and power we hardly hope to encounter anymore” (Tobias Wolff). McGrath was born in London and grew up near Broadmoor Hospital, where for many years his father was medical superintendent. One of today’s foremost neo-gothic authors, his books include Blood and Water and Other Tales, The Grotesque, Spider, Dr. Haggard’s Disease and Asylum. McGrath lives in New York City and London with his wife Maria Aitken. He reads from Port Mungo, a new novel, and his reading will be followed by an onstage interview with David Gilmour. Gilmour has been a fixture on Canadian television for the past fifteen years. He was the film critic for the CBC's The Journal, the host of the award winning Gilmour on the Arts and is currently the weekend host at the Documentary Channel. He has also written six novels.

LOCATION: The Brigantine Room at the York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West).

TICKETS: $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


Wednesday, June 16, 2004, at 7:30 p.m.
A Celebration of The Complete Stories by Morley Callaghan
With André Alexis, Margaret Atwood, Alistair MacLeod, and Anne Michaels
Hosted by Barry Callaghan

Although Morley Callaghan travelled widely, and lived in Paris for some time during the golden years of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, he spent most of life in Toronto producing fifteen novels, a memoir, and streams of short stories. As one of Canada's most prolific writers, Callaghan was scrappy and unflinching in his portrayals of criminals, prostitutes and hypocritical status-seekers. As a result, his books sometimes created controversy — one was even banned by Toronto public libraries. But Callaghan put modern Canadian fiction on the world map. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize of Literature and in Canada, he received a full host of honours. Hemingway said Callaghan’s early stories were the equal of Joyce and Tolstoy; of his middle years, The New York Times said, “If there is a better story writer in the world we don’t know where he is”; and Edmund White compared his later work to Turgenev and Chekhov.

Discussing Callaghan’s work and reading from The Complete Stories are André Alexis, Margaret Atwood, Alistair MacLeod and Anne Michaels, who all contributed introductions to the series. This event will be hosted by Barry Callaghan.

André Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His short stories have appeared in literary journals and in anthologies, and his books have been shortlisted for numerous prestigious prizes. He has written for radio and theatre, has been playwright-in-residence at the Canadian Stage Company, and is a contributing editor for This Magazine.

Margaret Atwood is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her books have been published in over thirty-five countries. Atwood resides in Toronto.

Alistair MacLeod’s short fiction is described as “moving, powerful and beautifully crafted” (Joyce Carol Oates). His stories feature narrators haunted by pasts both immediate and ancestral. MacLeod resides in Windsor, Ontario, where he is currently a professor at the University of Windsor.

Anne Michaels is the author of several award-winning collections of poetry as well as the profoundly successful novel Fugitive Pieces. Her poetry has also been included in numerous anthologies. Anne Michaels was born and lives in Toronto.

Barry Callaghan is an esteemed journalist and poet as well as the author of several critically acclaimed books. Callaghan received the Toronto Arts Award for Writing and Publishing in 1993. He resides in Toronto.

LOCATION: The Brigantine Room at the York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West).

TICKETS: $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


Wednesday, June 23, 2004, at 7:30 p.m.
Barbara Hodgson, Lionel Shriver, Ann Vanderhoof
Hosted by Stephen Finucan

Barbara Hodgson is a Vancouver-based writer, photographer, and designer. Her illustrated novels include The Tattooed Map, The Sensualist, and Hippolyte's Island. In addition to these works she has collaborated with Karen Elizabeth Gordon and Nick Bantock on Paris Out of Hand, a fictional guidebook. Hodgson reads from her new work, The Lives of Shadows, a groundbreaking blend of text, ephemera, maps, antique books and mysterious handwritten notations. “Hodgson, using her talents as both a writer and artist, once again displays her gift for bringing charmingly idiosyncratic characters to life” (Publishers Weekly).

Lionel Shriver is the author of seven novels. Her latest work, the highly acclaimed We Need to Talk about Kevin, tells the story of a mother trying to understand why her son murdered fellow students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher at his school. “In crisply crafted sentences that cut to the bone of her feelings about motherhood, career, family, and what it is about American culture that produces child killers, Shriver yanks the reader back and forth between blame and empathy, retribution and forgiveness. Never letting up on the tension, Shriver ensures that, like Eva, the reader grapples with unhealed wounds” (Booklist, starred review). A gifted journalist, she has written extensively for The Wall Street Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Economist.

Ann Vanderhoof is an award-winning writer and editor who quit her job and A-type lifestyle to set sail in the Caribbean with her husband on a two-year adventure. Described as Under the Tuscan Sun meets the open sea, Vanderhoof’s delicious chronicle of her journey, entitled An Embarrassment of Mangoes, hit the bestseller lists within weeks of its release. “Finely crafted...portraits that prompt us to see and to yearn; what travel writing is all about” (Kirkus Reviews). Vanderhoof lives with her husband on their sailboat Receta which is currently berthed on Lake Ontario.

LOCATION: The Brigantine Room at the York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West).

TICKETS: $8 or free for members, available at 416.973.4000 or


The Harbourfront Reading Series
Since its inception in 1974, the weekly reading series has hosted more than 4,000 authors from 100 countries and thirteen Nobel laureates. The Harbourfront Reading Series gives Canadian authors an internationally recognized stage on which to present their work and brings the best of world literature to Canada. The annual International Festival of Authors (October 20 - 30, 2004) takes place over 11 days and has been the pinnacle event of the year-round Harbourfront Reading Series for twenty-five years.

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