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International Authors to See at #FestofAuthors20

Published on October 6, 2020

Our World Adrift_ Amin Maalouf
Photo credit: JF PAGA-Grasset

There are many ways the 41st edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors will be different this year, but one of the perks of going virtual is that it has made it easier for us to connect you with more authors from around the world. From Australia to Japan, we have a worldly lineup of international talent willing to share their experiences and bring you into their homes. 

Here are nine international authors to check out during #FestofAuthors20:  

Shokoofeh AzarShokoofeh Azar 

Shokoofeh Azar moved from Iran to Australia as a political refugee in 2011. She is the author of essays, articles and children’s books. Originally written in Farsi, Shokoofeh’s book The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is her first novel to be translated into English. The book has been shortlisted for Australia’s Stella Prize for Fiction and the 2020 International Booker Prize. 

Shokoofeh Azar will participate in the following events:

Home Sweet Homelands: Ayad Akhtar & Shokoofeh Azar
Thursday, October 22, 2020  – 9pm (ET) 

Skin Hunger: Shokoofeh Azar
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 – 12pm (ET)

Billingham, Mark - Headshot_Square copyMark Billingham 

British author Mark Billingham’s novels have been translated into 25 languages and have sold over six million copies. Cry Baby, his 20th novel, is part of the Detective Inspector Tom Thorne series and is a prequel to Sleepyhead, a Sunday Times bestseller that was made into a hit TV series on Sky 1. Mark lives in north London with his wife and two children. 

Mark Billingham will participate in the following event: 

First Piece of the Puzzle: Mark Billingham
Friday, October 23, 2020 – 5pm (ET) 

Photo credit: Steve Best

Roy JacobsenRoy Jacobsen 

Roy Jacobsen is a Norwegian novelist and short-story writer. Born in Oslo, he made his publishing debut in 1982 with the short-story collection Fangeliv (Prison Life), which won Tarjei Vesaas’ debutantpris. He is a winner of the prestigious Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature, and his novel The Unseen was shortlisted for the 2017 International Man Booker Prize and the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award. 

Roy Jacobsen will participate in the following event: 

The Landscapes of Us: Catherine Bush & Roy Jacobsen
Sunday, October 25, 2020  3:30pm (ET) 

Photo credit: Agnete Brun

Kawakami, Mieko - Headshot_Square

Mieko Kawakami 

Born in Japan, Mieko Kawakami made her literary debut as a poet in 2006. Her first novella, My Ego, My Teeth, and the World (2007) was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. The newly expanded Breasts and Eggs, originally published as a novella, is her first novel to be published in English. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers, the Granta Best of Young Japanese Novelist and the prestigious Akutagawa Prize. 

Mieko Kawakami will participate in the following events: 

Overcoming Expectations: Mieko Kawakami on Breasts and Eggs
Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 7pm (ET) 

Mieko Kawakami has also written a new work, commissioned by TIFA for the Festival. A reading of the work will be presented as follows:   

Skin Hunger: Mieko Kawakami
Thursday, October 29, 2020 – 12pm (ET)

This author’s appearance is supported by The Japan Foundation, Toronto. 

Photo credit: YUTO KUDO/ Madame Figaro Japon

Daniel KehlmannDaniel Kehlmann 

German author Daniel Kehlmann’s works have won many awards, including the Candide Prize, the Hölderlin Prize, the Kleist Prize, the Welt Literature Prize and the Thomas Mann Prize. This year at the Festival, Daniel will present Tyll, a retelling of the German myth of Tyll Ulenspiegel. The novel, a story of the 17th-century vagabond performer and trickster, was shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize.   

Daniel Kehlmann will participate in the following event: 

The Devil Plays the Best Tunes: Daniel Kehlmann’s Tyll
Sunday, October 25, 2020 – 11am (ET) 

Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Maalouf, Amin - HeadshotAmin Maalouf 

Amin Maalouf is a Lebanese-French author. Since publishing his first book in 1976, he has won many awards for his work, including the Prix Goncourt, the most prestigious literary award in France, for The Rock of Tanios. His work has been translated into 50 languages, and his newest nonfiction book, Adrift: How Our World Lost Its Way, tackles how civilizations have drifted apart throughout the 20th century. 

Amin Maalouf will participate in the following event: 

Our World Adrift: Amin Maalouf
Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 11am (ET)

Photo credit: JF PAGA-Grasset

Melchor, Fernanda - HeadshotFernanda Melchor 

Fernanda Melchor, born in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1982, is widely recognized as one of the most exciting new voices of Mexican literature. Her book Hurricane Season takes readers on an intense journey as a witch is found dead in a small village and speculation runs wild about her life and death. It has been shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize and longlisted for the National Book Award, and was the winner of the German literary award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis. 

Fernanda Melchor will participate in the following event: 

Tradition on Trial: Farzana Doctor & Fernanda Melchor
Thursday, October 22, 2020 – 6pm (ET)

Marta Orriols Orriols, Marta - Headshot

Marta Orriols is a Catalan writer based in Barcelona. Her novel Learning to Talk to Plants is the story of a young neonatologist whose partner dies in an accident and her attempt to rebuild her life. It has been translated into 11 languages and won the Òmnium Award for the best Catalan Novel in 2018. 

Marta Orriols will participate in the following event:  

Unpacking Grief: Marta Orriols & John Elizabeth Stintzi
Friday, October 23, 2020 – 6pm (ET) 

This author’s appearance is supported by Institut Ramon Llull. 

Gonçalo M. TavaresGonçalo M. Tavares - Headshot_Square

Gonçalo M. Tavares is considered one of the Portuguese world’s most critically acclaimed writers, and has won multiple national and international literary prizes. His books have been published in more than 50 countries, and his recent work, Plague Diary, provides a personal view of the COVID-19 pandemic through daily written entries. 

Gonçalo M. Tavares will participate in the following event, presented in Portuguese with English subtitles: 

Gonçalo M. Tavares: Plague Diary
Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 1:30pm (ET)

Photo credit: Alfredo Cunha


You can find more international guests in our full 2020 participant listingDon’t miss these additional special events being presented in the authors’ own language:  

Life Through Language: CanLit to Bengali (Presented in Bengali)
Thursday, October 22, 2020 – 6pm (ET)

Life Through Language: Bengali writers in Canada (Presented in Bengali)
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 – 6pm (ET)

Juan Pablo Villalobos in Conversation (Presented in Spanish)
Wednesday, October 28, 2020 – 2pm (ET)

Life Through Language: Marie-Andrée Gill & Chloé Savoie-Bernard (Presented in French)
Wednesday, October 28, 2020 – 5pm (ET)

Skin Hunger: Donatella Di Pietrantonio (Presented in Italian)
Friday, October 30, 2020 12pm (ET)



International Authors to See at #FestofAuthors20

Published on October 6, 2020

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