25th Trillium Award

On the Road with Grace O'Connell: The IFOA Ontario Interview Series

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Grace O'Connell (photo credit: Derek Wuenschirs

Many of Ontario's most passionate and dedicated readers live in communities spread across the province, so the International Festival of Authors (IFOA), now in its 33rd year, is taking its show on the road to bring its exciting program of literary events to 14 locations throughout Ontario. From October 16th to November 2nd, outstanding authors from Canada and across the world will visit Barrie, Brantford, Burlington, Hamilton, Markham, Midland, Parry Sound, Picton, Orillia, Owen Sound, Thunder Bay, Uxbridge, Windsor and Woodstock.

Our own Grace O'Connell will be reading in Picton on Saturday, October 20, along with Joanne Harris and Arno Kopecky. Grace's stunning first novel, Magnified World (Random House Canada), is a National Bestseller and has been getting incredible reviews since its publication this May.

For more information about the IFOA Ontario: Picton, visit our Events Page.

Open Book:

Tell us about what you?ll be reading at this year?s IFOA Ontario festival.

Grace O'Connell:

I'm going to be reading from my new (and first) novel, Magnified World. I've been reading from the first two chapters a lot recently, so I think I might mix it up a bit.


What are you most looking forward to about reading in the town of your IFOA Ontario event?


I would be happy to go anywhere with IFOA, but I have to admit I gave a cheer when I heard I was going to Picton. I've wanted to visit that part of the province for ages. Everyone raves about the scenery, the peaceful atmosphere and the wineries (I might re-order that list to put wineries at the top). And my favourite cider, Waupoos, is from nearby! I'm hoping to explore a bit while I'm there. I've also heard great things about the local booksellers.


How do you manage the shift between being solitary writer and a public reader?


Poorly, I suspect. But better than I used to. I don't get nervous at readings anymore, which is a relief, and I'm always excited to be invited. But I am a bit shy, or at least I'm more drawn to the role of the observer. Some people are naturals, but I think anyone can work at it and get better. I'm definitely more comfortable with the writing part than the accoutrements. My mother, who is a wonderful hostess and has lovely manners, made sure I knew how to make conversation and speak in public even if it doesn't necessarily come to me naturally. I'm certainly grateful for that now.


What is one luxury you allow yourself when you go "on tour" with a book?


A new dress.


What book (aside from your own) will you have with you in your bag while you travel to the location of your IFOA Ontario reading?


Emily Schultz's The Blondes.

Visit litontour.com for more details about IFOA Ontario.

Grace O'Connell is the author of Magnified World, which was published as part of the Random House Canada New Face of Fiction program. Her work has appeared in various publications including The Walrus, Quill & Quire, The Journey Prize Stories and Taddle Creek, where she also serves as Associate Editor. She has been nominated for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award, two National Magazine Awards and won the Great Canadian Literary Hunt. She writes a books column for This Magazine, works as the Contributing Editor for Open Book: Toronto and teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto.

For more information about Magnified World please visit the Random House Canada website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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