Oct
22
Fri
Origin of a Deadly Pandemic: Elaine Dewar at TIFA
Oct 22 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Join Elaine Dewar at the Toronto International Festival of Authors! The event will take place on Friday, October 22 at 5PM EDT. More details TBA.

You can register for the event here!

 

ABOUT ON THE ORIGIN OF THE DEADLIEST PANDEMIC IN 100 YEARS

When the first TV newscast described a SARS-like flu affecting a distant Chinese metropolis, investigative journalist Elaine Dewar started asking questions: Was SARS-CoV-2 something that came from nature, as leading scientists insisted, or did it come from a lab, and what role might controversial experiments have played in its development? Why was Wuhan the pandemic’s ground zero—and why, on the other side of the Atlantic, had two researchers been marched out of a lab in Winnipeg by the RCMP? Why were governments so slow to respond to the emerging pandemic, and why, now, is the government of China refusing to cooperate with the World Health Organization? And who, or what, is DRASTIC?

Locked down in Toronto with the world at a standstill, Dewar pored over newspapers and magazines, preprints and peer-reviewed journals, email chains and blacked-out responses to access to information requests; she conducted Zoom interviews and called telephone numbers until someone answered as she hunted down the truth of the virus’s origin. In this compelling whodunnit, she reads the science, follows the money, connects the geopolitical interests to the spin—and shows how leading science journals got it wrong, leaving it to interested citizens and junior scientists to pull out the truth.

ABOUT ELAINE DEWAR

Elaine Dewar—author, journalist, television story editor—has been honoured by nine National Magazine awards, including the prestigious President’s Medal, and the White Award. Her first book, Cloak of Green, delved into the dark side of environmental politics and became an underground classic. Bones: Discovering the First Americans, an investigation of the science and politics regarding the peopling of the Americas, was a national bestseller and earned a special commendation from the Canadian Archaeological Association. The Second Tree: of Clones, Chimeras, and Quests for Immortality, won Canada’s premier literary non-fiction prize from the Writers’ Trust. Called “Canada’s Rachel Carson,” Dewar aspires to be a happy warrior for the public good.

 

Get your copy from Biblioasis here!

Sea Loves Me: Mia Couto at TIFA
Oct 22 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Sea Loves Me: Mia Couto at TIFA

Get close to Neustadt Prize-winning author Mia Couto and uncover his latest book, Sea Loves Me (translated to English by David Brookshaw, with Eric M.B. Becker), in this not-to-be-missed conversation with Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa. Known internationally for his novels, Mozambican author Couto first achieved success with his short stories. His new book celebrates the arc of his career, composed of 64 stories—36 of which appear in English for the first time—from early stories that reflect the harshness of life under Portuguese colonialism, to magical tales of rural Africa, contemporary fables and more. A rare opportunity to hear “one of the greatest living writers in the Portuguese language” (The Millions).

This event will be presented in Portuguese with English subtitles.

Register now here!

 

ABOUT SEA LOVES ME

New and selected fiction, over half in English for the first time, from the winner of the 2014 Neustadt Prize.

Known internationally for his novels, Neustadt Prize-winner Mia Couto first became famous for his short stories. Sea Loves Me includes sixty-four of his best, thirty-six of which appear in English for the first time. Covering the entire arc of Couto’s career, this collection displays the Mozambican author’s inventiveness, sensitivity, and social range with greater richness than any previous collection—from early stories that reflect the harshness of life under Portuguese colonialism; to magical tales of rural Africa; to contemporary fables of the fluidity of race and gender, environmental disaster, and the clash between the countryside and the city. The title novella, long acclaimed as one of Couto’s best works but never before available in English, caps this collection with the lyrical story of a search for a lost father that leads unexpectedly to love.

ABOUT MIA COUTO

Born in Beira, Mozambique, Mia Couto directed the Mozambican state news agency during the years following independence from Portugal. Since the late 1980s, he has worked as an environmental biologist and a writer. Couto is the author of more than thirty books, which have been published in thirty-five countries. He has won major literary prizes in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Brazil., Italy and the United States, including the 2013 Camōes Prize and the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He was a finalist for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize and the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award. Mia Couto lives with his family in Maputo, Mozambique, where he works as an environmental consultant

 

Get your copy of Sea Love Me from Biblioasis here!

Oct
24
Sun
Things Are Against Us: Lucy Ellmann at TIFA
Oct 24 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Things Are Against Us: Lucy Ellmann at TIFA

Following on from the global phenomenon, Ducks Newburyport, award-winning author Lucy Ellman jauntily tackles the obstinacy, incorrigibility and recalcitrance of things in her collection of essays, Things are Against Us. Join us for an entertaining conversation, led by interviewer Jessica Johnson, editor-in-chief of The Walrus, on everything from the annoyance of male supremacy to the nobility of buttons, and how she stitched together so many seemingly disparate ideas into such a cohesive, satirical collection. The event will take place on Sunday, October 24 at 1PM EDT.

Register for this event here!

 

ABOUT THINGS ARE AGAINST US

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. As Yeats pointed out, things have a lot to answer for. These satirical essays jauntily tackle the obstinacy, incorrigibility, and recalcitrance of things, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s unimpressive descriptions of the construction of bobsleds and door latches, and the way we try to stand on our own two feet, put our best foot forward, remain footloose and fancy-free, and inevitably put our foot in it. They also cover the first suggestion the internet offers when you look up the word ‘women’ (spoiler: it’s shoes) and other annoyances (some fatal) of male supremacy, the nobility of buttons, and what the rejection of tourists by Jordanian donkeys should mean for global travel (stop!). Ingrid Bergman and Jane Austen come into it somewhere (Helen Gurley Brown was forcibly removed).

Early versions of some of these essays have appeared in international outlets of record, but others are brand-new and ready for your delectation.

ABOUT LUCY ELLMANN

Here’s the thing: Lucy Ellmann is extremely shy. She’s so awkward and self-conscious that meeting strangers, or almost anyone, exhausts her. She’s lousy at remembering names. She cannot add or subtract. She hates having appointments in her diary and prefers to wear the same outfit every day. She’s a helpless iconoclast much prone to anger. She’s also distrustful, lazy, and easily hurt. She is not a team player. She prefers interrupting people to organising them, and cries if she doesn’t get her way. She fears she’s neglected everybody she knows, and vice versa—not to mention people she doesn’t know. She can’t stand protocol, committees, business hours, ceremonial occasions, and filling out forms. And she never wants to be carried through a crowd on a palanquin. Otherwise, the world’s her oyster! She has written seven novels, including Sweet Desserts (Guardian Fiction Prize) and Ducks, Newburyport (Goldsmiths Prize, James Tait Black Memorial Prize), and an illustrated book for adults, called Tom the Obscure. This is her first essay collection

 

Get your copy of Things Are Against Us from Biblioasis here!

 

Dark Secrets of History: Roy Jacobsen at TIFA
Oct 24 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Dark Secrets of History: Roy Jacobsen at TIFA

Hear from two of the most acclaimed and internationally awarded authors from the Nordic countries whose novels lift a veil on some of history’s dark secrets. Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen returns to TIFA to talk about the conflict of loneliness and human endurance, with White Shadow (translated to English by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw), the highly anticipated sequel to International Booker-shortlisted The Unseen. Finnish-Estonian novelist Sofi Oksanen unmasks a story of murder in the global fertility market with Dog Park (translated to English by Owen F. Witesman), a captivating story of intrigue and betrayal. Don’t miss this chance to meet the minds behind the pages, and uncover the love, history and lies that fill their pages. This event will take place on Sunday, October 24 at 4PM EDT.

Register now here!

 

ABOUT WHITE SHADOW

No-one can be alone on an island . . . But Ingrid is alone on Barrøy, the island that bears her name, and the war of her childhood has been replaced by a new, more terrible present: the Nazi occupation of Norway. When the bodies from a bombed vessel carrying Russian prisoners of war begin to wash up on the shore, Ingrid can’t know that one will not only be alive, but could be the answer to a lifetime of loneliness—nor can she imagine what suffering she will endure in hiding her lover from the German authorities, or the journey she will face, after being wrenched from her island as consequence for protecting him, to return home. Or especially that, surrounded by the horrors of battle, among refugees fleeing famine and scorched earth, she will receive a gift, the value of which is beyond measure.

ABOUT ROY JACOBSEN

Born in Oslo to a family that came from northern Norway, Roy Jacobsen has twice been nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literary Award. He is the author of more than fifteen novels and is a member of the Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Dublin Impac Award for his novel The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles. Another novel, Child Wonder, won the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. The Unseen, the first of a series of novels about Ingrid and her family, was a phenomenal bestseller in Norway and was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize and the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award, selected as a 2020 Indie Next pick in North America, and named a New York Times New and Noteworthy book. White Shadow, the second Barrøy novel, was published in North America by Biblioasis in 2021.

 

Get your copy from Biblioasis here!

Elaine Dewar interviews Patrick Radden Keefe at TIFA
Oct 24 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Join Elaine Dewar (On the Origin of the Deadliest Pandemic in 100 Years) as she interviews bestselling author Patrick Radden Keefe on his latest work of nonfiction, Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty. Don’t miss a rivetting discussion about the family who built an empire on impunity, greed and human suffering in the early 20th century, and the mark they left on the world as the makers and marketers of Valium and OxyContin, opiod drugs that impacted on countless lives across North America. The event will take place on Sunday, October 24 at 8:30PM EDT.

Register here!

 

ABOUT ON THE ORIGIN OF THE DEADLIEST PANDEMIC IN 100 YEARS

When the first TV newscast described a SARS-like flu affecting a distant Chinese metropolis, investigative journalist Elaine Dewar started asking questions: Was SARS-CoV-2 something that came from nature, as leading scientists insisted, or did it come from a lab, and what role might controversial experiments have played in its development? Why was Wuhan the pandemic’s ground zero—and why, on the other side of the Atlantic, had two researchers been marched out of a lab in Winnipeg by the RCMP? Why were governments so slow to respond to the emerging pandemic, and why, now, is the government of China refusing to cooperate with the World Health Organization? And who, or what, is DRASTIC?

Locked down in Toronto with the world at a standstill, Dewar pored over newspapers and magazines, preprints and peer-reviewed journals, email chains and blacked-out responses to access to information requests; she conducted Zoom interviews and called telephone numbers until someone answered as she hunted down the truth of the virus’s origin. In this compelling whodunnit, she reads the science, follows the money, connects the geopolitical interests to the spin—and shows how leading science journals got it wrong, leaving it to interested citizens and junior scientists to pull out the truth.

ABOUT ELAINE DEWAR

Elaine Dewar—author, journalist, television story editor—has been honoured by nine National Magazine awards, including the prestigious President’s Medal, and the White Award. Her first book, Cloak of Green, delved into the dark side of environmental politics and became an underground classic. Bones: Discovering the First Americans, an investigation of the science and politics regarding the peopling of the Americas, was a national bestseller and earned a special commendation from the Canadian Archaeological Association. The Second Tree: of Clones, Chimeras, and Quests for Immortality, won Canada’s premier literary non-fiction prize from the Writers’ Trust. Called “Canada’s Rachel Carson,” Dewar aspires to be a happy warrior for the public good.

 

Get your copy of On the Origin from Biblioasis here!

Oct
25
Mon
Classics Made New: Mona Awad & Randy Boyagoda at TIFA
Oct 25 @ 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Classics Made New: Mona Awad & Randy Boyagoda at TIFA

Revisit the classics! Randy Boyagoda is joined by fellow Canadian author Mona Awad in a discussion about their latest novels and entertaining approaches to blending the old with the new. In All’s Well, Awad harnesses classic Shakespeare when a modern theatre professor struggling with chronic pain experiences the challenges of staging one of The Bard’s most maligned works with a rogue cast of characters. Dante’s Indiana, the sequel to Boyagoda’s Original Prin, is an hommage to Dante Alighieri, as Prin goes to a small town in Indiana where he must begin building a million-dollar Inferno-inspired theme park. Join us for this conversation to learn more about the inspirations behind these unexpected and hilarious mash-ups. The event will take place on Monday, October 25 at 9PM EDT.

Register for this event here!

 

ABOUT DANTE’S INDIANA

Middle-aged, married, but living on his own, Prin has lost his way. Desperate for money and purpose, he moves to small-town Indiana to work for an evangelical millionaire who’s building a theme park inspired by Dante’s Inferno. He quickly becomes involved in the difficult lives of his co-workers and in the wider struggles of their opioid-ravaged community while trying to reconcile with his distant wife and distant God. Both projects spin out of control, and when a Black teenager is killed, creationists, politicians and protesters alike descend. In the midst of this American chaos, Prin risks everything to help the lost and angry souls around him while searching for his own way home.

Following Original Prin, a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and Globe and Mail Best Book, Dante’s Indiana is affecting and strange, intimate and big-hearted—an extraordinary journey through the darkly divine comedies of our time.

ABOUT RANDY BOYAGODA

Randy Boyagoda is the author of six books, including the novels Governor of the Northern Province, Beggar’s Feast, and Original Prin. His work has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize, and named a Globe and Mail Best Book of the year and New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. An essayist, book critic and radio columnist, he is a professor of English at the University of Toronto, where he lives with his wife and their four daughters.

 

Purchase your copy from Biblioasis here!

Oct
27
Wed
Truth, Art and Memory: Russell Banks at TIFA
Oct 27 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Truth, Art and Memory: Russell Banks at TIFA

Don’t miss acclaimed American writer and twice finalist for the Pulitzer Prize Russell Banks grace the TIFA virtual stage to present his alluring new novel, Foregone! Join Banks in compelling conversation about the mysteries that unfold on a man’s deathbed through fragments of his ominous past, when memory and imagination dissolve and when truth and redemption compete with artistic ambition. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 27 at 5:30PM EDT.

Register here!

 

ABOUT FOREGONE

In his late seventies and dying of cancer, famed Canadian-American documentary filmmaker Leonard Fife, one of sixty thousand draft evaders who fled to Canada to avoid Vietnam, has agreed to one final interview, determined to bare all his secrets and demythologize his mythologized life. But the story that unspools in front of the camera and an intimate chorus of observers, including Fife’s wife, his nurse, and his acolyte and former star student Malcolm Macleod, is confoundingly unexpected, the dark and affecting account of a man entirely unknown to all.

A searing novel about memory, betrayal, love, and the faint grace note of redemption, Russell Banks’s Foregone is a daring and resonant work about the scope of one man’s mysterious life, revealed through the fragments of his recovered past.

ABOUT RUSSELL BANKS

Russell Banks, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is one of America’s most prestigious fiction writers, a past president of the International Parliament of Writers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Common Wealth Award for Literature. He lives in upstate New York and Miami, Florida.

 

Get your copy from Biblioasis here!

On Time and Water: Andri Snær Magnason at TIFA
Oct 27 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm
On Time and Water: Andri Snær Magnason at TIFA

In the next 100 years, the nature of all water on this planet will undergo fundamental change. The power of storytelling is crucial in this time of climate crisis, as the Earth’s tipping point looms before us. Andri Snær Magnason, one of Iceland’s most beloved writers, documentary filmmakers and public intellectuals, presents On Time and Water, a film response to his book of the same name (translated to English by Lytton Smith). Magnason was moved to create the work when a scientist posed this question: “If you cannot understand our scientific findings and present them in an emotional, psychological, poetic or mythological context, then no one will really understand the issue, and the world will end.”

Join the author and documentary filmmaker, along with musician Högni Eggilsson, as they present a rich and compelling performance of music, science, memories and images that collectively illustrates the reality of climate change—and offers hope in the face of an uncertain future. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 27 at 8:30PM EDT.

Register here!

 

ABOUT ON TIME AND WATER

A few years ago, Andri Snær Magnason, one of Iceland’s most beloved writers and public intellectuals, was asked by a leading climate scientist why he wasn’t writing about the greatest crisis mankind has faced. Magnason demurred: he wasn’t a specialist, he said; it wasn’t his field. But the scientist persisted: “If you cannot understand our scientific findings and present them in an emotional, psychological, poetic or mythological context,” he told him, “then no one will really understand the issue, and the world will end.”

Based on interviews and advice from leading glacial, ocean, climate, and geographical scientists, and interwoven with personal, historical, and mythological stories, Magnason’s response is a rich and compelling work of narrative nonfiction that illustrates the reality of climate change—and offers hope in the face of an uncertain future. Moving from reflections on how one writes an obituary for an iceberg to exhortation for a heightened understanding of human time and our obligations to one another, throughout history and across the globe, On Time and Water is both deeply personal and globally-minded: a travel story, a world history, and a desperate plea to live in harmony with future generations. Already a massive bestseller in Iceland, and selling in two dozen territories around the world, this is a book unlike anything that has yet been published on the current climate emergency.

ABOUT ANDRI SNÆR MAGNASON

Andri Snær Magnason is one of Iceland’s most celebrated writers. He has won the Icelandic Literary Prize for fiction, children’s fiction, and non-fiction. In 2009, Magnason co-directed the documentary Dreamland, which was based on his book Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation (forthcoming from Open Letter). In 2010, Magnason was awarded the Kairos Prize, presented to outstanding individuals in the field of intercultural understanding. Magnason ran for president of Iceland in 2016 and came third out of nine candidates.

 

Get your copy of On Time and Water from Biblioasis here!