Exceptional stories are being told all around the world, by masterful writers with fascinating perspectives. Every year, the programmers at the Toronto International Festival of Authors scour the globe to uncover brilliant writers beyond our borders, who are creating work that book lovers here at home need to read. This year’s 42nd Festival edition, taking place October 21 to 31, 2021, features award-winning and chart-topping authors from over 60 countries.
From Jamaica to Japan, and many nations in-between, here is a small selection of the international sensations you can meet virtually at #FestofAuthors21:
Born in Amman, Jordan to Lebanese parents and raised in both Lebanon and Kuwait, Rabih Alemeddine is a National Book Award and National Book Critics’ Circle Award finalist. His highly acclaimed work has focused on topics that include AIDS and the Lebanese Civil War. Alemeddine’s most recent novel, The Wrong End of the Telescope, was released in September 2021 and follows an Arab American trans woman’s journey among Syrian refugees on the island of Lesbos.
Rabih Alemeddine will participate in the following event:
Finding Humanity in Crisis: Rabih Alemeddine & Omar El Akkad
Tuesday, October 26 at 5:30pm ET
Photo credit: Oliver Wasow.
Tahmima Anam is a Bangladeshi-born British writer whose first novel, A Golden Age, debuted in 2007. In addition to being a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, she has been awarded the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and has been named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. Her most recent novel, The Startup Wife, was selected as one of the best books of 2021 by The Observer, Stylist, Cosmopolitan, Red and the Daily Mail.
Tahmima Anam will participate in the following event:
When Love and Technology Collide: Tahmima Anam & Genki Ferguson
Sunday, October 1 at 1pm ET
Photo credit: Abeer Hoque.
Karl Ove Knausgaard is a Norwegian author best known for his six autobiographical novels and has been described as “one of the 21st century’s greatest literary sensations” by the Wall Street Journal. His work has won a number of awards, including the Jerusalem Prize, the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature and the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize. At this year’s Festival, Knausgaard will present his 2020 novel The Morning Star.
Karl Ove Knausgaard will participate in the following event:
The Morning Star: Karl Ove Knausgaard
Saturday, October 23 at 6pm ET
Kei Miller is a highly acclaimed Jamaican poet, novelist and essayist who has won major awards for his poetry, fiction and non-fiction work. Miller is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been named as one of 20 “Next Generation Poets” by the Poetry Book Society. At this year’s Festival, Miller will present Things I Have Withheld, his newest collection of essays, which explores conversations on race, sex and gender.
Kei Miller will participate in the following event:
The Disorientation of Discrimination: Kei Miller & Ian Williams
Thursday, October 21 at 3pm ET
Photo credit: Naomi.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Eto Mori has been a literary star in Japan for over 30 years. Initially released over 20 years ago, Mori’s beloved and bestselling novel Colorful was released in English in July 2021 to great critical acclaim. Since its original 1998 release, Colorful has become a crucial part of the international literary canon, adapted into three different films and translated into seven languages.
Eto Mori will participate in the following event:
Colorful: Eto Mori
Friday, October 29 at 4:30pm ET
Eto Mori’s Festival appearance is generously supported by The Japan Foundation.
Photo credit: Toshiharu Sakai.
Born and raised in Central Finland, Sofi Oksanen is an internationally critically acclaimed writer whose work has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than two million copies, and been adapted into two films. Oksanen’s work has been compared to that of Margaret Atwood and Stieg Larsson, and she has been called the “Finnish-Estonian Charles Dickens.” At this year’s Festival, Oksanen will present her most recent novel, The Dog Park.
Sofi Oksanen will participate in the following event:
Dark Secrets of History: Roy Jacobsen & Sofi Oksanen
Sunday, October 24 at 4pm ET
Sofi Oksanen’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Nordic Bridges.
Born in London, Polly Samson is an author, lyricist and journalist. In addition to her three novels and two collections of short stories, she has written lyrics for four different number-one albums, including works by Pink Floyd. Published in 2021, Samson’s most recent novel, A Theatre for Dreamers, reached number two on the Sunday Times bestseller list.
Polly Samson will participate in the following event:
Breaking Free: Polly Samson & Zoe Whittall
Sunday, October 24 at 1:30pm ET
Photo credit: Harry Borden.
Russian poet and novelist Maria Stepanova has been described as “Russia’s next great writer.” Born and raised in Moscow, her work has been translated into English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Hebrew and Finnish. Stepanova’s most recent work, In Memory of Memory, received international critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize.
Maria Stepanova will participate in the following event:
In Memory of Memory: Maria Stepanova
Sunday, October 24 at 5pm ET
Photo credit: Andrey Natotsinsky.
Colm Tóibín is an Irish author, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic and poet who splits his time between Dublin and New York. Called “a champion of minorities” after his reception of the 2011 Irish PEN Award, Tóibín has been included in The Observer’s list of Britain’s 300 figures “leading our cultural discourse.” At this year’s Festival, Tóibín will present his tenth novel, The Magician.
Colm Tóibín will participate in the following event:
The Magician: Colm Tóibín
Friday, October 22 at 6:30pm ET
Photo credit: Brigitte Lacombe.
You can learn more about all the 2021 authors, performers and artists joining the 42nd Toronto International Festival of Authors here. Also be sure to check out events being presented in French, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and more here.