Stephen King to open Festival of Authors

Standard

The Kings are coming! The Kings are coming!

PEN Canada has announced that celebrated novelist Stephen King and his writer son, Owen King, will headline the opening night of the 34th International Festival of Authors on October 24 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

In his only scheduled Canadian event, Stephen will join Owen and moderator Louise Penny, an award-winning mystery writer, in a discussion of the writing life. Proceeds from the event, at $100 a ticket, will assist PEN in its work on behalf of literary freedom in Canada and abroad.

“We are thrilled that Stephen and Owen King are supporting the work of PEN,” said PEN Canada president Charlie Foran. “The evening promises to be a rare glimpse of an intimate father-son conversation about life and art.”

A native of Portland, Maine, Stephen King has become one of the world’s most successful writers, with more than 50 books published over a 39-year career. Son Owen is the author of Double Feature: A Novel and We’re All in This Together: A Novella and Stories. His writing has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Guernica, One Story, and Prairie Schooner, among other publications.

Tickets for the general public go on sale Thursday, and are available either by phone from the Harbourfront Centre box office or online at the Festival website.

Administered by Authors at Harbourfront Centre, this year’s 34th annual IFOA takes place from October 24 to November 3, 2013.

PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right, at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada.

Celebrated author kicks off annual Festival

Standard

A reminder that Giller Prize winning author Rohinton Mistry takes to the stage tonight with host Charlie Foran, PEN Canada president, and the CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel for the opening night of the International Festival of Authors.

Proceeds from the evening at the Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre will go to PEN Canada.

The recipient of the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, Mistry is the author of three novels: Such a Long Journey, A Fine Balance and Family Matters, all short-listed for the Booker Prize, and a collection of short stories, Tales from Firozsha Baag. His fiction, which has been published in 30 languages, has won the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

The annual Festival runs until October 28, bringing together some of the world’s best writers of contemporary literature for readings, interviews, lectures, round table discussions, and public book signings.

Highlights include readings by finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Governor General’s Literary Awards and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, as well as the awarding of the Harbourfront Festival Prize.

Glitz and glory brighten city’s literary skies

Standard

Glitz, glory, grants and glamour – the next five weeks promise to be a high-octane celebration of all things literary in Toronto.

On November 7, the Writers’ Trust of Canada will hand out $114,000 in prize money at its 12th annual awards event, to be held at the city’s Isabel Bader Theatre.

Headliner is the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, where five finalists will vie for honours as writer of the year’s best novel or short story collection. Each of the five will receive $2,500, with the eventual winner receiving a total of $25,000. Finalists were chosen by a jury of Lynn Coady, Esi Edugyan, and Drew Hayden Taylor from 116 nominated titles.

To give the public a taste of their work, finalists Tim Bowling (The Tinsmith), Tamas Dobozy (Siege 13), Rawi Hage (Carnival), Alix Ohlin (Inside) and Linda Spalding (The Purchase) will be reading at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on October 24 and in Owen Sound on October 25.

(The annual festival runs from October 18 to 28 and features such luminaries as Alice Munro and Rohinton Mistry.)

Also competing at the November 7 awards event will be three finalists for the Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, which recognizes new and developing writers for the best short story first published in a Canadian literary journal during the previous year.

Kevin Hardcastle (“To Have to Wait” in The Malahat Review), Andrew Hood (“Manning” in PRISM international) and Alex Pugsley (“Crisis on Earth-X” in The Dalhousie Review) will joust for the $10,000 Journey prize.

Four additional prizes for a body of work will also be presented at the ceremony:

  • Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life ($20,000)
  • Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature ($20,000)
  • Writers’ Trust Distinguished Contribution Award

Canada’s literary leaders will reconvene for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, with the crowning of the 2012 winner set for a November 12 gala at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

The five finalists were chosen from a slate of 104 titles by former Ontario lieutenant-governor James Bartleman, past prize finalist Charlotte Gill and writer Marni Jackson. They are Kamal Al-Solaylee (Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes), Modris Eksteins (Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery, and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age), Taras Grescoe (Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile), J.J. Lee (The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit) and Candace Savage (Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape).

After all that praising and prizing, literary benefactors will start topping up the till again at the annual Writers’ Trust Gala to be held Thursday, November 15 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel. Proceeds from the event  fund  programs and initiatives that include the organization’s literary awards program, Berton House Writers’ Retreat and scholarship program with Humber College.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing.