25th Trillium Award

IFOA Ontario: The Recommended Reads

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IFOA Ontario 2013

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. Canada is represented by some of our very finest, from Joseph Boyden?s epic novel The Orenda to Eleanor Catton?s thrilling New Zealand gold town mystery, The Luminaries. And the international writing scene is present in such talent as the Nordic noir of Thomas Enger and the madcap brilliance of American Sam Lipsyte. But it?s not only fiction writers at IFOA Ontario. Journalist Steve Paikin will be presenting his fascinating walk through the history of Ontario politics with Paikin and the Premiers. 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.

With too much literary goodness for one list, this is only the first of two Recommended Reads for IFOA Ontario this season. Hurry and move these titles up on your To Be Read stack because we?ll be back before the month is out with another 14 books and authors you won?t want to miss!

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

The Orenda (Hamish Hamilton Canada), by Joseph Boyden

Joseph Boyden won the Rogers Writers? Trust Fiction Prize and the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award for his debut novel Three Day Road. His second, Through Black Spruce, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was named the Fiction Book of the Year by the Canadian Booksellers Association and earned him the CBA?s Author of the Year Award.

His latest, The Orenda (Hamish Hamilton Canada), has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General?s Award. Fearlessly told in three voices, The Orenda begins as a story of kidnapping and massacre at the intersection of cultures — Iroquois, Huron and Jesuit — in the mid-17th century. Boyden then moves the reader among the voices as clashes among belief systems escalate and Canada begins to emerge from history.

Accusation (Goose Lane Editions), by Catherine Bush

As the author of bestsellers such as Claire?s Head and The Rules of Engagement, and as Coordinator of the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph-Humber, Catherine Bush lives and breathes words. In her latest book, Accusation (Goose Lane Editions), she explores the impact and legacy of words levied against others.

An acrobat from Montreal decides to create a circus, spotlighting both the talent and poverty of Ethiopian street children. The success seems to benefit everyone involved, until members of the circus begin claiming asylum and accusing the owner of abuse. A Toronto journalist, inexplicably drawn to the story, embarks on a journey to reveal who is hiding or revealing the truth.

Learn more! Go inside the MFA in Creative Writing at Guelph-Humber with Catherine Bush here.

The Luminaries (Little, Brown and Company), by Eleanor Catton

Already the youngest writer ever nominated for the Man Booker Prize, Eleanor Catton has recently added a Governor General?s Award nomination for her third novel The Luminaries (Little, Brown and Company).

Though born in London, Ontario, Eleanor calls upon her upbringing in Christchurch to tell the story of Walter Moody, a fortune seeker who walks into a bar in a New Zealand gold mining town in 1866. Moody joins a group trying to explain unsolved crimes in the small community. Expertly written period dialogue and details of the time weave several narratives into a single, stunning story of secrets and their consequences.

Three Souls (Harper Collins Canada), by Janie Chang

Now a Vancouverite, Janie Chang was born in Taiwan and spent her early years living in Thailand, Iran and the Philippines. In her debut novel, Three Souls (Harper Collins Canada), she invites readers to 1920s China, where the character Leiyin struggles against traditional attitudes even as China itself stumbles towards communism. Three Souls builds a fictional work, based on the life of the author?s grandmother, with meticulous cultural and religious details woven into a narrative of resistance against silenced womanhood in a changing China.

Read more about Janie Chang and Three Souls in Open Book Toronto?s At The Desk feature on Janie Chang here.

The Restoration Artist (Harper Collins Canada), by Lewis DeSoto

Lewis DeSoto?s first novel, A Blade of Grass, was an international bestseller and was longlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Prix du Meilleur Livre √Čtranger. Born in South Africa, he immigrated to Canada in his teens. His latest novel, The Restoration Artist (Harper Collins Canada), follows a painter as he flees the memories of a great loss only to find himself face to face with the art that could return a measure of love and living to him. France, as a nation and geographical place, is almost another character in the novel, so thoroughly realized is the setting.

Pierced (Atria Books), by Thomas Enger

Norwegian Thomas Enger, best-selling author of the Henning Juul crime series, returns with Pierced (Atria Books), the second instalment in a planned six-book series.

A former journalist, he calls on that past to create the complicated relationships that form this story, about a man scarred physically and emotionally from the loss of his son, and his need for justice. Enger?s ?Nordic noir? is psychological, and even philosophical, but it is also raw, with prose that does not hesitate to truthfully deliver the brutality characters and events bring to the book.

The Blue Guitar (Dundurn Press), by Ann Ireland

Ann Ireland is the author of four novels, including The Instructor, Exile and A Certain Mr. Takahashi, which won the $50,000 Seal First Novel Award. A past president of PEN Canada, Ireland also served on the Authors? Committee of the Writers? Trust of Canada. Her latest novel, The Blue Guitar (Dundurn Press), focuses on the hopefuls attending The International Classical Guitar Competition in Montreal. From technical struggles to ageism and sabotage, The Blue Guitar captures the fear and disappointment and elation in lives that can be decided by a single performance.

The Headmaster?s Wager (Doubleday Canada), by Vincent Lam

Dr. Vincent Lam, an emergency physician and a lecturer with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his first novel, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, which has been adapted for the screen and broadcast on HBO Canada.

His latest novel, The Headmaster?s Wager (Doubleday Canada), is set amidst the expatriate Chinese community of Saigon in the 1960s. The novel?s main character is Percival Chen, headmaster of a prestigious English school, whose personal excesses compete with his devotion to his family and the lengths he will go to in order to protect them from the politically volatile period in China and Vietnam.

The Fun Parts (Granta), by Sam Lipsyte

American author Sam Lipsyte is the New York Times-bestselling author of Venus Drive, The Subject Steve, Home Land and The Ask. His latest book, The Fun Parts (Granta), is a collection of short stories told in the modern equivalent of the breakneck banter of Noel Coward. There are no steps into the pool of Lipsyte stories; you agree to be shoved in the deep end when you begin them. A master at capturing the literary texture of trends, Lipsyte's writes stories that twist around details and humour until the sharp-witted edges are filed down enough to reveal a surprisingly sensitive centre.

The Sweet Girl (Random House Canada), by Annabel Lyon

Annabel Lyon?s first novel, The Golden Mean, won the Rogers Writers? Trust Fiction Prize and was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General?s Literary Award for English Fiction and a regional Commonwealth Writers? Prize. Her latest novel, The Sweet Girl (Random House Canada), returns readers to the ancient Greece of Aristotle, a place made familiar in The Golden Mean.

Alexander the Great has died, and the aging Aristotle must leave for the hills with his adolescent daughter Pythias, the sweet girl of the novel?s title. Pythias is fiery and intelligent, and after her father?s death she soon begins to question and rebel against the rigid systems that threaten her independence.

Paikin and the Premiers (Dundurn Press), by Steve Paikin

Anchor and senior editor since 2006 of The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO's chief current affairs program, Steve Paikin is one of Canada?s most respected journalists. He is the author of three previous books, two on politics and one on hockey. His latest work is Paikin and the Premiers (Dundurn Press), a look at over fifty years of Ontario premiers. From John Parmenter Robarts to Kathleen O?Day Wynne, Paikin uses interviews with the premiers to help shape his authorial insights on the journey and trajectory of Ontario politics.

Read Steve Paikin's IFOA Ontario interview here.

Red Planet Blues (Viking Canada), by Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer is the only Canadian to have won all three major science fiction awards: the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award and the John W. Campbell Award.

The author of over twenty works of fiction, Sawyer returns with Red Planet Blues (Viking Canada), his best-selling novel of Alex Lomax, the lone private detective in a Martian frontier town. With New Klondike set as a lawless Martian Wild West, Lomax finds himself facing off against gangsters, cops and immortal android-human hybrids when he becomes drawn into a cold case and discovers clues to the greatest fossil find on the red planet.

The Homecoming (Random House Canada), by Carsten Stroud

Celebrated novelist and author of the New York Times-bestselling true-crime novel Close Pursuit, Carsten Stroud returns to Niceville with his latest novel, The Homecoming (Random House Canada).

Ex-special forces officer Nick Kavanaugh and his wife Kate take in a character orphaned in the first book of the series, Niceville. But two plane crashes, supernatural events and a gut instinct that things aren?t as they seem with the new member of their household make for page-turning suspense in this dark thriller. Carsten Stroud lives in Toronto where he?s working on his next book.

This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla (Biblioasis Press), by Andrew Steinmetz

Andrew Steinmetz?s novel, Eva?s Threepenny Theatre, won the City of Ottawa Book Award and was a finalist for the Rogers Writers? Trust Fiction Prize. He is also the author of the memoir Wardlife and two collections of poetry, Histories and Hurt Thyself. In the fiftieth year of the now-classic film The Great Escape, Andrew Steinmetz is presenting This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla (Biblioasis Press), based on a young actor seen in the film as an SS officer for just under a minute. From his early life as a Jew who evaded the Nazis, to his suspicious death years later, Michael Paryla?s story is retold by Steinmetz using material he found in diaries, letters and his own journals to bring a quiet and fascinating life to centre stage.

Read Andrew Steinmetz's WAR Series interview here.

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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