Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

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IFOA Ontario: The Recommended Reads, Part 2

By Ginger Pharand

Lit on Tour presents IFOA Ontario 2013!

It's that time of year when the sweaters come out, the apples come down and the authors come to town! IFOA Ontario brings you an amazing lineup again this year: 28 Canadian and international authors, 14 Ontario locations and 16 incredible days.

Because there was just too much goodness to fit on one page, here is our second list of must-read books being presented by this year's IFOA Ontario writers. Canadian writers will shine with such titles as Guy Gavriel Kay's epic River and Stars and Ania Szado's stunning foray into the glamour of 1940s Manhattan, Studio Saint-Ex. Dame Margaret Drabble will be on hand to discuss her latest book, The Pure Gold Baby, and Kim Scott comes all the way from Australia to read from his novel of first contact, That Deadman Dance. And so much more! Two dozen other writers will be reading and signing and talking to crowds around Ontario from October 19th to November 3rd.

Keep up with all the IFOA Ontario happenings on Open Book's Focus On: IFOA Ontario page.

The Eliot Girls (Douglas & McIntyre), by Krista Bridge

Krista Bridge’s debut novel, The Eliot Girls (Douglas & McIntyre), takes place at the George Eliot Academy, a fictional all-girls private high school in Toronto. Enlightened thinking and a progressive education might be the school’s mission statement, but after earning a place among the privileged students who attend, teacher’s kid Audrey Brindle learns more about the baser qualities of elite education. Bullying, backstabbing and clandestine romances start Audrey on a collision course with her mother and the school she’s longed to attend for a decade.

Krista Bridge lives in Toronto. Her short fiction has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, and one of her stories was selected for the Journey Prize Anthology.

See what Krista Bridge has to say getting into the mindset of her characters in Shaun Smith’s
Fiction Craft feature story.

Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World (Hachette), by Janet E. Cameron

Coming-of-age stories often feature the awkward adolescent struggling with self-definition and the disclosure of that newly-emerging self to the world. In Janet E. Cameron’s debut novel, Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World (Hachette), high school senior Stephen Shulevitz has a bit more than the average teen to contend with in his 1987 Nova Scotia village when he finds himself up against a series of challenges to his identity. From his own sexuality to the narrow social constraints of his small town and confusing definitions of parental relationships, Stephen emerges as a bold and articulate voice for carving out life on one’s own terms.

Janet Cameron joins IFOA Ontario from Ireland, where she has lived since 2002. Find out more about her upcoming readings at IFOA Ontario in her Focus On: IFOA interview.

The Empty Room (Harper Collins Canada), by Lauren B. Davis

Canadian author Lauren B. Davis is a critically acclaimed novelist, essayist and teacher. Her bestselling novel Our Daily Bread (Wordcraft of Oregon)was longlisted for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize and named best book of the year by both The Globe and Mail and The Boston Globe. Her latest book, The Empty Room (Harper Collins Canada), takes readers through the depths of addiction and one woman’s raw struggle to find the courage to fight her way free from the grip of the bottle on her life.

Read more about bestselling author Lauren B. Davis in her Open Book Ontario feature,
Five Questions.

The Pure Gold Baby (Harper Collins Canada), by Margaret Drabble

In The Pure Gold Baby (Harper Collins Canada), Margaret Drabble’s latest novel, Jessica Speight is a bright young anthropology student in 1960s London. After an affair with a married professor, she finds herself a single mother to a sweet little girl, the “pure gold baby” of the title. As it becomes apparent that the baby will never be a "normal" child, Jess must wrestle with life’s larger questions of personhood, parenting and social responsibility.

Margaret Drabble became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008 for her contributions to contemporary English literature. She is the author of many novels and biographies and she has edited two editions of The Oxford Companion to English Literature.

The Cellist of Sarajevo (Knopf Canada), by Steven Galloway

Inspired by a true story, Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo won the 2009 Evergreen Award, the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature and the Borders Original Voices Award. It was also a Globe and Mail Best Book and was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. It is a haunting work that takes place in the midst of war in 1990s Sarajevo, and a testament to the capacity for human endurance in the face of war and the resiliency of the spirit in all its subtle and healing forms.

Steven Galloway is the author of Finnie Walsh (Raincoast Books) and Ascension (Knopf Canada). He currently teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

River of Stars (Viking Canada), by Guy Gavriel Kay

Award-winning author Guy Gavriel Kay returns to the invented setting from his novel Under Heaven (Penguin Canada) to bring to life his latest novel, River of Stars (Viking Canada). The story continues four centuries after the conclusion of Under Heaven, immersing readers in the decadent court culture of China’s Song Dynasty.

Guy Gavriel Kay is the author of 12 novels and a volume of poetry. A two-time winner of the Aurora Award, he is also a recipient of the International Goliardos Prize for his contributions to fantasy literature. His works have been translated around the world.

Kolia (House of Anansi Press), by Perrine Leblanc

Set against the backdrop of the 1960s Cold War in the Soviet Union, Perrine Leblanc’s debut, Kolia (House of Anansi Press), is the story of a boy born in a Siberian Gulag. Educated in basic survival, mathematics and languages by another prisoner, at the end of Stalinism, Kolia is unable to forget the Gulag. He joins a Moscow circus and finds a family among the performers, where he remains until the collapse of the USSR. A tender and haunting portrayal of how embedded memories can be in the decisions of our lives.

Kolia was originally published under the title L’homme blanc (Le Quartanier) in Quebec. This debut won the Governor General’s Literary Award for French Fiction and Quebec’s “Canada Reads” competition. It was also named a finalist for the Grand prix du livre de Montréal and Elle magazine’s Grand prix.

The Widow Tree (Douglas & McIntyre), by Nicole Lundrigan

In Nicole Lundrigan’s fifth novel, The Widow Tree (Douglas & McIntyre), Janos, Nevena and Dorjan, three young Yugoslavian friends on a school trip, discover a bag of Roman coins. The novel reveals the fate of the coins, and the students — whose friendship is questioned and tested when Janos goes missing. The Widow Tree is a story of the careful balance of relationships and the consequences of secrets.

Nicole Lundrigan is the critically acclaimed author of four previous novels, including Glass Boys (Douglas & McIntyre), which received glowing reviews and was a NOW magazine top 10 and an top 100 book of the year. Unraveling Arva (Breakwater Books Ltd) was selected as a Globe and Mail top ten, and Thaw (Breakwater Books Ltd) was longlisted for the Relit Award.

Nicole Lundrigan talks books and lit tours in Open Book Ontario’s IFOA Ontario interview.

The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be (Random House Canada), by J.B. MacKinnon

In his latest book, The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be (Random House Canada), J.B. MacKinnon makes the case for the illusion of wildness in our natural world. In the first of three sections, he examines the past when the true wilderness contained more life than we have envisioned. In the second, he presents the interference of man in the decimation of life on earth through his direct influence and his neglect as a result of forgetting the original bounty. And third, he suggest an “age of restoration” in which the world reconnects with its ancient nature.

J.B. MacKinnon’s first book, Dead Man in Paradise (Douglas & McIntyre), won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction. His book The 100-Mile Diet (Random House Canada) co-authored by Alisa Smith, was a national bestseller and inspired a TV series about the small town of Mission, B.C. that learned to eat locally.

A Marker to Measure Drift (Knopf Canada), by Alexander Maksik

A Marker to Measure Drift (Knopf Canada), Alexander Maksik’s second novel, follows the escape of a Liberian woman from her war-ravaged nation to become a refugee on the coast of Greece. As she struggles to survive in her new environment, she is haunted by the memories that return to her of what she has witnessed and the guilt of what her privileged upbringing allowed her to escape.

Alexander Maksik is the author of You Deserve Nothing (Penguin Canada). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Harper’s, Tin House, Harvard Review and The New York Times Magazine.

Learn more about what Alexander Maksik will be reading during this year’s IFOA in Open Book Ontario’s IFOA Ontario interview.

Stranglehold (Touchstone Books), by Robert Rotenberg

It’s just after Labour Day in Toronto, and Detective Ari Greene is in the fight of his life when he finds himself under arrest for first-degree murder and pitted against his protégé Daniel Kennicott. Set on the streets and in the courtrooms, Stranglehold (Touchstone Books), Robert Rotenberg’s fourth Toronto thriller, goes deep into the heart of trust among officers and friends.

Called “Canada’s John Grisham,” Robert Rotenberg is a bestselling Canadian author and one of Toronto's top criminal lawyers. His critically acclaimed debut novel, Old City Hall (Touchstone Books), was shortlisted for The Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey Dagger Award.

That Deadman Dance (Bloomsbury Publishing), by Kim Scott

The choices between the past and the future set the narrative stage for Australian writer Kim Scott’s novel. That Deadman Dance (Bloomsbury Publishing), told through the eyes of black and white, young and old, is a story about a fledgling Western Australian community in the early 1800s known as the "friendly frontier". That Deadman Dance is a novel about cross-cultural first contact and the possibilities of those beginnings that did not have to lead to war.

Kim Scott writes novels, short stories and poetry. He is the award-winning author of Benang: From the Heart (Freemantle Press), which won the Western Australia Premier’s Book Award and the Miles Franklin Award, Australia’s most prestigious literary prize.

Studio Saint-Ex (Viking Canada), by Ania Szado

Set among the emerging fashion industry and World War II Manhattan, Ania Szado has crafted a stunning tale in her latest novel, Studio Saint-Ex (Viking Canada). She has chosen as her subject the glamorous and tempestuous life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery and the love triangle in which he was involved as he wrote his classic work, The Little Prince.

Ania Szado is the author of Beginning of Was (Penguin Canada), which was shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and nominated for the international Kiriyama Prize. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Journey Prize and the National Magazine Awards.

Ginger is the Editorial Intern for Open Book: Ontario. She lives in Kingston, where she writes short stories, frightens squirrels with her bad banjo playing, and cross trains by running downtown then carrying home her body weight in books.


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