Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

Focus On: IFOA Ontario, with Lewis DeSoto

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IFOA Ontario is a literary festival like no other, bringing writers from Canada and around the world to cities and towns throughout the province for readings and discussions at local bookstores, libraries and community centres.

If you live in Windsor, Burlington, Owen Sound, Thunder Bay or any of the ten other IFOA Ontario locations, your favourite authors will be coming right to your doorstep between October 19th to November 3rd. All month long, Open Book: Ontario will share feature interviews with writers who are busy packing their suitcases to get on the road.

Today, Open Book hears from bestselling author Lewis DeSoto, whose first novel, A Blade of Grass, was longlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. Born in South Africa, he immigrated to Canada in his teens. He will be reading from his latest novel, The Restoration Artist (Harper Collins Canada) in Parry Sound on Wednesday, October 23, in Creemore on Saturday, October 26, and in Toronto at IFOA Harbourfront on Sunday, October 27. Visit our Events page for details.

For more information about IFOA Ontario, visit our IFOA Ontario Page.

Open Book:

Tell us which books from the IFOA festivals you most look forward to reading.

Lewis DeSoto:

Books by Tamara Faith Berger, Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès, Serge Bramly and Grazyna Plebanek. Because I’m going to be on stage with them in Toronto talking about Love, Sex and Art. Other than death and rock n roll, I think we will have most of the ‘Big Serious Topics’ on the table.

I have always enjoyed the international aspect of the festival, so with writers from France, Poland and Canada joining me, I look forward to a fascinating discussion.


What is your preferred method of travel for a reading tour and why?


Trains. They are still romantic. Time stands still. Everything seems to stand still except the train. I pretend I’m on a spaceship. I pretend I’m running away from home.


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


I drink the champagne from the mini-bar in hotel rooms. If there isn’t any, I eat all the peanuts.


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?


Obviously something light — I mean in physical weight, not content. So, not the new biography of the painter Cezanne. It’s a doorstopper. It will have to be something that can relax me after all the extroversion, babbling, over-excitedness, brain-burning, anxiety and sheer delight of being part of the festival. I’m going to settle for a crime novel by James Lee Burke, preferably one set in the American west, featuring cows and cowboy boots, strong women and tobacco spittin’.

Visit for more details about IFOA Ontario.

Lewis DeSoto was born in South Africa and moved to Canada as a teenager. His first novel, A Blade of Grass, was an international bestseller and an International Book of the Month selection. Longlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, the novel was also a finalist for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. An artist as well as a writer, DeSoto authored a biography of the painter Emily Carr. He lives with his wife, the artist Gunilla Josephson, in Toronto and Normandy, France. Visit him online at

For more information about The Restoration Artist please visit the Harper Collins Canada website.

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

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