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The Word On The Street Blog

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Interview with IFOA Organizers

October 20, 2016

To celebrate the start of IFOA this year, we sat down with the organizers to tell us just a little about what to expect, what’s new, and how to get the most out of this year’s festival.


WOTS: What are some event highlights for this year?


IFOA: It’ll be a challenge to keep it short, but we’ll try. We can’t help but point you to our Festival focuses. We have really fantastic artists coming as part of our graphic novel focus. Canadian cartoonist Seth chose five artists to feature in the Five Ways exhibit he curated for Harbourfront Centre. The same artists will be discussing the modern graphic novel at a round table moderated by Seth himself on Saturday, October 22 at IFOA.

We also recommend the Graphic Sonnet Exchange, a unique project in partnership with the British Council Canada where UK artist Jon McNaught collaborated with Toronto-based artist John Martz on a graphic novel based on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 12. All attendees will be receiving a printed copy of the graphic novel.

We always have a variety of non-fiction at the Festival, but this year we have dedicated October 30th for Stranger Than Fiction, a series of presentations by authors on specific topics. From undercover journalism to our profound connection to nature, the effect of technology on our identity, climate change and Ireland’s violent revolution, authors will present on their research.

We also can’t forget about the literary prize events, such as the GG’s @ IFOA, the Canada Council Killam Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize reading. And of course the live recording of CBC’s Writers & Company, a festival favourite!

All this and an assortment of fiction and poetry events. We have something for everyone!



WOTS: Do any of the events have signings or Q&As?


IFOA: Most of our events reserve time at the end for audience Q&As. We encourage audience members to participate, and hope they know that they can attend without having read the book in advance. Questions don’t have to be about the deep symbolism embedded in the setting of chapter 7, but instead could be about the passage the author read or the inspiration behind the title. We hope the Festival is not only an opportunity to come see the authors you love but discover new favourites!

Uh oh, we got off topic… There are definitely signings, and they do not require a ticket. These are free public book signings at our Festival Hub in Harbourfront Centre’s Marilyn Brewer Community Space. Check out the schedule in our programme or on the website and visit our Festival Bookstore while you’re here!



WOTS: What’s new or different this year?


IFOA: You mean other than 100+ authors with their new books? So much! Well, we are really excited about our partnership with the British Council Canada for Shakespeare Lives, marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. We have a number of unique events including a Virtual Reality experience, Slave to Mortal Rage, making its Canadian premiere at IFOA.

Also, this year we are working with Poetry Ireland and Culture Ireland to spotlight five contemporary writers for Ireland @ IFOA. We know many will come for Emma Donoghue and Paul Muldoon, but we encourage you to stay for emerging poets Julie Morrissy and Ciaran O’Rourke.


We hope to see you at the Festival!