The IFOA, International Festival of Authors, was founded in 1980 in Toronto. Writers and readers come from around the globe to discuss books, award prizes, and soak up the latest literary gossip. In some ways, it's the book industry's equivalent of the Academy Awards. It takes place in October each year.
Author readings are among the most popular events. Authors read from recent works for about thirty minutes and afterwards there is time for questions as well as book signings. Margaret Atwood once remarked, "Nowhere else do you get this kind of interaction among invited authors and the public."
Some of the writers who have appeared over the years include Gay Talese, Charlotte Gray, Colm Tóibín, Maeve Binchy and Shyam Selvadurai.
Panel discussions and author interviews take place, too. Many of these are later broadcast on CBC Radio's Writers and Company. You can find a schedule for this program at http://www.cbc.ca/writersandcompany. You can even listen to some of the shows online.
A number of prestigious awards are presented at the International Festival of Authors, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Governor General’s Literary Awards, Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize finalists, and the Harbourfront Festival Prize.
In 2003, the festival began including authors who write for children, such as Anita Desai, Dennis Lee, Eugene Trivizas, and J.K. Rowling.
The festival takes place at Harbourfront Centre Toronto, a large recreational and cultural playground along Toronto's busy waterfront. Here a combination of new and converted industrial buildings house theaters for professional dance performances and plays, lecture halls, indoor and outdoor concert stages, a film-screening room, native and Inuit art galleries, craft studios, boutiques, and restaurants.
Although the IFAO takes place in October, you will find author
readings at Harbourfront all year around. See the schedule at http://ifoa.org/. Sometimes they’re organized into themes, like
family stories, or travel, or children’s literature.
See also:Margaret Atwood's Toronto