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Alan Bissett, Margaret Elphinstone, A.L. Kennedy, James Meek, Ian Rankin among Scots lined up for “Writing Scotland” at IFOA

TORONTO, August 19, 2009 ---- As announced by the Scottish Government in Edinburgh today, Toronto’s International Festival of Authors (IFOA: October 21–31, 2009) is delighted to present Writing Scotland, a focus on Scottish writers and writing, as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations. This partnership between two of the world’s leading literary festivals represents a first in IFOA’s 30-year history. The focus takes place during the year of Homecoming Scotland – the 250th anniversary of bard Robert Burns’ birth – with the goal of fostering ongoing opportunities for authors from both countries on an international stage.

Reaching out to the 4.2 million Canadians who claim heritage ties to Old Scotia, and shining a spotlight on Scottish letters, are the following Scots and Canadian authors of Scottish descent: Alan Bissett, Ron Butlin, David Byrne, Margaret Elphinstone, Jen Hadfield, Richard Holloway, Quintin Jardine, A.L. Kennedy, Linden MacIntyre, Martin Macintyre, Alistair MacLeod, Ken McGoogan, James Meek, Denise Mina, Alice Munro, Andrew O’Hagan, Ian Rankin, and Eleanor Thom.

IFOA includes three dedicated Writing Scotland round-table events, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival stage. Festival-goers are invited to follow Writing Scotland throughout IFOA with Scottish authors appearing in readings, round tables, interviews, book signings and social events across the 11 days of the Festival.

"This partnership with the Edinburgh Book Festival brings the highest ever concentration of Scottish writers to the IFOA stage," said Geoffrey Taylor, Director of Toronto's International Festival of Authors, "and ensures we can continue to present Scotland's most important contemporary writers to Canadian audiences for years to come."

Scottish Government Culture Minister Michael Russell said: “Writing Scotland will present the most vibrant and creative authors from Scotland to the people of Canada and their visitors. There are strong historical and modern day links between Canada and Scotland and in the Year of Homecoming, I’m delighted that so many people will have the opportunity to learn about Scotland and our culture at the IFOA.

“The rich and unique partnership between Edinburgh’s International Book Festival and the IFOA is significant. It will showcase the best of contemporary Scottish literature, further strengthening the cultural ties between our two nations and that is why the Scottish Government is supporting the project with £50,000 Expo funding.”

A number of Scottish book-industry professionals will also attend IFOA as part of the International Visitors Programme – a business component set up in 2008 to foster international publishing relationships. More information about the International Visitors Programme is available at

The International Festival of Authors takes place October 21 – 31, 2009, at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre: 235, Queens Quay West, Toronto. Tickets to four special events, including the opening night PEN Benefit with Alice Munro and Diana Athill, are already on sale.
Harbourfront Centre Box Office/Info: 416-973-4000;

The complete IFOA programme goes on sale September 15 and details of the lineup as it is announced can be found online at



1) Writing Scotland is made possible by
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