The 41st edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors kicks off in just a few days. With over 200 free virtual events and activities to experience over the Festival’s 11-day run, we’ve created this handy guide to help you navigate and make the most of #FestofAuthors20. Here are our insider recommendations:
1) Register in Advance
Get ready to attend the 41st Festival edition from the comfort of your own home. Start by signing up on our website to create your FREE account. If you already have a Harbourfront Centre account, use that to log in.
2) Create your Digital Itinerary
Find your events and activities in the Festival Calendar or by browsing the full Event Listing or Participant Listing. When you see an event you’d like to watch, add it to your personal Itinerary by clicking the yellow button to register. Your registered events will appear on your personal Itinerary page. Most events will be available to view for up to 72 hours after they launch, so feel free to double up on overlapping events.
3) Keep an Eye on your Email
All Festival event reminders and notices will be communicated to you through email, so please be sure to add us to your safe senders list (email@example.com). Otherwise, these alerts might go to your spam folder.
We will also be emailing you an event reminder notice one day prior to each registered event. Although most events will be streamed directly on the TIFA website, some select events will require a special link to view them on an external platform. If an event requires a special link, we will indicate this on the event detail page, and we will email you the link one day prior to the event.
4) Tune in On Time – Or not!
We will make our best efforts to start all events on time, so if you wish to experience an event at its launch time, please give yourself enough time to log in to the website and click your way to the event video stream (from your Itinerary page) before the event’s scheduled start time, so you don’t miss a thing. If you can’t make an event when it launches, have no fear, most events will also be available for viewing for up to 72 hours after they launch, so they can be enjoyed at your convenience. Exceptions to this rule will be indicated on the event details page.
5) Join us Daily
In addition to daily author talks and interviews, this year, we’re also proud to present a series of special Performances happening each day of the Festival. Each evening will offer a dose of creative storytelling expressed through theatre, music, film or dance. A series of Critical Conversations, covering the hot topic social and political events of the day.
6) Listen to a Podcast
Take a break from your screen during the Festival and plug in to a new original podcast. TIFA has commissioned several new limited edition podcast series this year, including Any Night of the Week: A Walking History of Toronto Music, produced by indie musician and writer Jonny Dovercourt; and Write in the Neighbourhood: Audio Walking Tour, featuring Toronto authors discussing the local neighbourhoods that inspired their writing. After they launch, podcasts will stay live on the website for the duration of the Festival.
7) Invite the Entire Family
The new TIFA KIDS! Weekend will take place October 31 – November 1, with special events and activities catered towards young audiences and the children’s publishing community. Don’t miss these family-friendly events, which include readings by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards winners, a panel discussion between the nominees of the 2020 Governor General Literary Awards for Young People’s Literature, and much more.
8) Experience a New Language
Several Festival events this year will take place in languages other than English. Tune in to experience storytelling in Bengali, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
9) Follow Us on Social Media
Interact with us on social media for the full Festival experience!
Don’t forget to use #FestofAuthors20 on social media to join the conversation.
10) Buy a Book
No Festival experience is complete without the addition of a new book (or more!) to your bookshelf. TIFA’s official Bookseller, the UofT Bookstore, is ready to take your online orders, and is offering free shipping on domestic orders of over C$100. All purchases will include a free TIFA bookmark (while supplies last). There is also a limited selection of signed copies. Support the writers participating in this year’s Festival with a visit to the virtual book store.
For more details and Festival support, please visit our FAQ page.
We look forward to giving you a warm, virtual welcome to #FestofAuthors20!
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 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)
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 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
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
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
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
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 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. 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 listing. Don’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)
Running October 22 – November 1, 2020, #FestofAuthors20 will be the largest Toronto International Festival of Authors yet. While we have many well-known authors joining us throughout the Festival, we also have an incredible lineup of emerging authors telling stories through fiction, poetry and memoirs.
Here are nine emerging authors to watch:
Toronto-based novelist, journalist and freelance editor Samantha M. Bailey became a national bestselling author with her debut novel, Woman on the Edge. Released in March 2020, the novel has reached #1 on the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail bestseller lists and has left readers longing for more.
Samantha M. Bailey will participate in the following event:
Maternal Mysteries: Samantha M. Bailey & Marjorie Celona
Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 2pm (ET)
Photo credit: Dahlia Katz Photography
Eva Crocker is a freelance writer, poet and editor based in Quebec. In 2017, her debut short story collection, Barrelling Forward, won the Alistair MacLeod Award for Short Fiction and CAA Emerging Writer Award and was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ writers. Her debut novel, All I Ask, was published in June and many consider it a defining novel of a generation.
Eva Crocker will participate in the following event:
Finding our Ways: Eva Crocker & Marlowe Granados
Sunday, October 25, 2020 – 9pm (ET)
Francesca Ekwuyasi is a writer and multidisciplinary artist from Lagos, Nigeria. Her work explores themes of faith, family, queerness, consumption, loneliness and belonging. Her debut novel, Butter Honey Pig Bread, deals with food, family and forgiveness as it tells the interconnected stories of three Nigerian women: Kambirinachi and her twin daughters, Kehinde and Taiye. It was longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Francesca Ekwuyasi will participate in the following events:
Skin Hunger: Francesca Ekwuyasi
Thursday, October 22, 2020 – 12pm (ET)
Duty and Consequence: Francesca Ekwuyasi & Annabel Lyon
Sunday, November 1, 2020 – 9pm (ET)
Photo credit: Mo Phung
In Louise Hare’s debut novel, This Lovely City, she tells the heartbreaking but hopeful story of Lawrie Matthews, a Jamaican immigrant living in postwar London. Exploring race, community and love, the novel takes readers on a journey through the anger and fear of searching for a place to belong. Hare is a London-based writer and editor with an M.A. in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London.
Louise Hare will participate in the following event:
Love & Sacrifice in Storytelling: Janie Chang & Louise Hare
Friday, October 26, 2020 – 5pm (ET)
In January, Ethan Lou travelled to Beijing to visit his dying grandfather and while there, he unexpectedly witnessed the early stages of COVID-19 and the shockwaves it made around the world. As he tried getting home, Lou ended up in other hot zones in Asia and Europe, giving him a unique perspective on the crisis and providing the inspiration for his debut novel, Field Notes from a Pandemic: A Journey Through a World Suspended.
Ethan Lou will participate in the following event:
Critical Conversations: The Pandemic Paradox
Friday, October 25, 2020 – 7:30pm (ET)
Photo credit: Ke Yan
Noor Naga, an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai, studied in Toronto and now lives in Cairo, was the winner of the 2017 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Her verse-novel Washes, Prays (McClelland & Stewart) is about a young woman’s relationship with a married man and her ensuring crisis of faith. Her debut novel American Girl and Boy from Shobrakheit is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in Fall 2021.
Noor Naga will participate in the following event:
Modern Love, Betrayal and Ourselves: Shani Mootoo & Noor Naga
Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 4pm (ET)
Maria Reva’s enthralling debut, Good Citizens Need Not Fear, is a collection of short stories that gives readers a look into the interconnected lives of those living in a single crumbling apartment building in Soviet-era Ukraine. Reva was born in Ukraine and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, and works as an opera librettist.
Maria Reva will participate in the following event:
Entanglements: Sidura Ludwig & Maria Reva
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 – 7:30pm (ET)
Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and longlisted for the National Book Award, Douglas Stuart’s debut novel, Shuggie Bain, is a heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality and love. It’s a story that Stuart has been working on for over 10 years to provide readers with an intimate look at a young boy in a dysfunctional family as the bad gets increasingly worse. Douglas Stuart was born and raised in Glasgow and now resides in New York City.
Douglas Stuart will participate in the following event:
Coming of Age: Alex Pugsley & Douglas Stuart
Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 12pm (ET)
Photo credit: Martyn Pickersgill
Jesse Thistle is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Jesse chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction in his memoir, From the Ashes. Detailing his tumultuous experience with the foster-care system, abuse and racism, the book became an instant bestseller and was shortlisted for 2020 Canada Reads. He is a finalist for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, won a Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2016 and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar.
Jesse Thistle will participate in the following event:
Family, Identity and Future: David A. Robertson & Jesse Thistle
Friday, October 30, 2020 – 8pm (ET)
You can see more emerging authors joining us this year by browsing the full 2020 participant listing.