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Kamila Shamsie, Adrian Tomine, Witold Rybczynski, Joan Thomas and others in a month of graphic novels, architecture and design, and fantastic new fiction

TORONTO, April 15, 2009 ---- Authors at Harbourfront Centre (AUTHORS) is delighted to announce its lineup for May. This month, in addition to two regular weekly readings, AUTHORS gets the fourth Toronto Comic Arts Festival underway with an event featuring graphic novelists/artists Seth, Adrian Tomine and Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and presents art and architecture writers including Witold Rybczynski as part of the fifth annual Festival of Architecture and Design. Both events are programmed to coincide with Visual Arts at Harbourfront Centre exhibitions, giving audiences an opportunity to view art works across disciplines in a single Harbourfront Centre visit. Kamila Shamsie, Jane Hamilton and Sherri Vanderveen present new fiction on May 13, and on May 27 there are readings from debut novels by Joan Thomas and Hans Eichner. Most events take place Wednesdays in York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West.

On Friday, May 8, AUTHORS helps jump start the 2009 Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) with an evening of world-renowned graphic artists/novelists. Seth (Canada), whose illustrations have appeared in most of the major Canadian and US magazines and on the cover of the recent Penguin The Portable Dorothy Parker, presents his just-released graphic novel, George Sprott: (1894–1975); and Adrian Tomine (USA), creator of the iconic Optic Nerve series, presents his first full-length graphic novel, Shortcomings (which had its Canadian debut at the International Festival of Authors in 2007). Tomine then interviews Yoshihiro Tatsumi, the Japanese artist recognized as the precursor to today’s graphic novel movement in North America, about his new, autobiographical tome, A Drifting Life. Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s appearance is a first in Canada. Christopher Butcher, manager of The Beguiling and Director and co-founder of TCAF, hosts.

This event, presented in partnership with The Beguiling and supported by Drawn & Quarterly, also features a visual art exhibition showing work by Tomine and Tatsumi, as well as Canadians Jeff Lemire, Doug Wright, Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki, Kagan McLeod and international participants Anke Feuchtenberger (Germany) and Emmanuel Guibert (France). Graphic Novels: The Creation of Art and Narrative, curated by Christopher Butcher, is located in Harbourfront Centre’s York Quay Centre and runs until June 21. The public may visit for more details.

Three impressive female writers present keenly awaited new novels on Wednesday, May 13. Jane Hamilton (USA) is the author of three previous novels, including the Oprah Book Club picks A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth. She reads from Laura Rider’s Masterpiece, a sassy story set in small-town Wisconsin in which an unusual three-way relationship develops behind a nom de plume. Kamila Shamsie’s (Pakistan) previous books include Kartography and Broken Verses. She reads from her epic new novel, Burnt Shadows, a story encompassing three families from the bombing of Nagasaki to New York in the wake of 9/11, by way of India at partition and Cold-War Afghanistan. The novel has received advance praise from authors including Salman Rushdie, Nadeem Aslam, Anita Desai and Tahmima Anam. Canadian Sherri Vanderveen’s debut novel, Belle Falls, was released to critical acclaim in 2007. Vanderveen reads from Absent, the story of a father who returns to his family 28 years after fleeing. Anne Hines hosts.

On Wednesday, May 20, AUTHORS takes part in the city-wide Festival of Architecture and Design (fAd) with an event featuring Canadian architect and architecture writer Witold Rybczynski and Canadian Glenn McArthur. Rybczynski reads from My Two Polish Grandfathers, a series of autobiographical essays about the author’s family, their flight from WWII Europe, and his own journey to becoming the leading architectural commentator he is today. McArthur presents A Progressive Traditionalist: John M. Lyle, Architect, a glossy photographic book that explores the history of many Toronto landmarks. As part of this event, audiences are invited to attend the exhibition currently running in Harbourfront Centre’s Architecture Gallery: Building on History, featuring installations by ERA Architects Inc., Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd. and Taylor Hazell Architects, plus Elegy for a Stolen Land, a photographic installation Peter Sibbald. This exhibition is free to attend, and is open to the public until 8pm on the evening of this event. More details on the exhibition are available at

Wednesday, May 27 features a reading from Hans Eichner’s (Canada) Kahn & Engelmann. First published in Austria and Germany in the early '90s, this powerful story of displaced European Jews became a bestseller, and this newly translated edition would have made Eichner a debut novelist in the English language at the age of 87. Eichner sadly passed away on the eve of the novel’s Canadian publication in April 2009 – a reading from the novel will be given on his behalf. Canada’s Joan Thomas won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book for the Canada and Caribbean Region for her debut novel, Reading by Lightning, from which she reads at this event. The book is also currently shortlisted for three Manitoba Book Awards. Reading by Lightning is a WWII story of a young woman’s journey from a small Canadian prairie town to urban England and back again.

Events take place in York Quay Centre, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, and begin at 7:30pm. Specific theatres vary – details on Tickets are $8 to the general public, FREE for members and students with ID. AUTHORS is also pleased to offer a 50% discount to members of the 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 or call the Harbourfront Centre Box Office at 416-973-4000.

Since its inception in 1974, Authors at Harbourfront Centre has hosted over 5,000 authors from more than 100 countries, including 16 Nobel Laureates. Our season runs from September to June and includes the annual International Festival of Authors (IFOA) (October 21–31, 2009), including YoungIFOA (October 27, 29 & 30, 2009); the annual ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers (May 4–6, 2009); and Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™ (May 13–14, 2009).


Becky Toyne:; 416-973-5836
Lindsay Gulin:; 416-973-4395

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