Shakespeare Lives at IFOA



As part of William Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, the British Council and IFOA are celebrating his enduring legacy as one of the UK’s greatest cultural icon with an innovative and unique programme at the 37th edition of IFOA. These events will fall under the Shakespeare Lives banner, an unprecedented global programme celebrating his work. Without further ado, here are the list of events:


Shakespeare Lives in Poetry workshop

Friday, October 21, 2016 | All Day | Main Loft, Harbourfront Centre

Local spoken word poets, whether beginners or veterans, can sign up for the Shakespeare Lives in Poetry workshop on Friday, October 21st lead by Deanna Rodger, former UK Poetry Slam Champion. Participants will explore how Shakespeare’s sonnets can be utilized by contemporary voices in fresh and unexpected ways. The workshop will culminate in a performance by the participants. Download the Sign up form and e-mail us at to participate in the workshop!

Lunatics, Lovers and Poets

Saturday, October 22, 2016 | 5:00PM | Lakeside Terrace

For our Shakespeare Scholars, IFOA has partnered with both the British Council and the Embassy of Spain to present Lunatics Lovers and Poets, a reading from an anthology of short stories inspired by Shakespeare and Cervantes. Internationally renowned authors Hisham Matar and Marcos Giralt Torrente will read and discuss their work with author C.C. Humphreys on Saturday, October 22nd at 5pm. This event is co-presented with the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain. Purchase tickets to this event HERE.

Graphic Sonnet Exchange

Sunday, October 23, 2016 | 3:30PM | Studio Theatre, Harbourfront Centre

For those who prefer their Shakespeare abridged, graphic novelists Jonathan McNaught from the UK and Toronto-based John Martz, will create their own illustrated responses to a Shakespeare sonnet in the graphic novel form. They will discuss their process during the Graphic Sonnet Exchange on Sunday, October 23rd at 3:30pm where everyone in the audience will receive a copy of their creation. Purchase tickets to this event HERE.

Slave to Mortal Rage

October 25-27 | 6:00-9:00PM on Tuesday and 4:00-8:00PM on Wednesday & Thursday | Main Loft, Harbourfront Centre

IFOA is also thrilled to welcome the Slave to Mortal Rage virtual reality installation, making its Canadian premiere at the Festival from October 25th-27th. Inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnet 64, it is the third virtual reality installation by CiRCA69, a company described by Cineuropa Magazine as “one of the most notable names in Europe to be dealing with VR”. This is a FREE event.


Who Are You Reading? IFOA Photo Contest



The 37th International Festival of Authors (IFOA) is approaching fast! Participate in our social media photo contest to join the celebration, and win fun prizes! Contest runs between September 14-21.


How to Enter:

1. Like/Follow IFOA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

2. Take a photo of the book you are currently reading, and share it. In the caption, write your answer to the question: “Who Are You Reading?” and add the hash tag #IFOA2016 to be automatically entered into the photo contest (Remember, you have to be following us on the social media platform you are using!)


I’m reading Anosh Irani! The Parcel is amazing, definitely looking forward to seeing him at #IFOA2016

A photo posted by JungEmily (@jungemily) on

3. On September 21, The IFOA team will Announce 3 lucky winners who will receive:

A tote bag with 3 books from #IFOA2016 and a Flex Pass ($90 Value) composed of 6 open tickets to the festival that you can share with family and friends!

Good luck, and happy reading!




2016 Festival Highlights

Excited about the 37th edition of Toronto’s Festival of Words & Ideas?
Here are some of the 2016 Festival highlights!


Full programme and tickets available September 20th.
Flex passes go off sale October 19th. Buy yours today!


Forest of Reading Festival of Trees 2015

On May 12 and 13, IFOA and Harbourfront Centre welcomed over 8,000 students for Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees and the Festival des Arbres, Canada’s largest literary event for children and teens. Along with award ceremonies and book signings, students enjoyed workshops hosted by the authors, the SANDS ALIVE! station, scavenger hunts, book trading and much more. Thanks to everyone involved for another successful year!



Photos © Tom Bilenkey



















Jess Walter on #BeautifulRuins and how writing is like building snowmans

The incredible Jess Walter took some time to chat with us before hopping on a plane and flying to Toronto for IFOA. If you missed it, here’s our recap via Storify.

All books are lovely failures.

Walter will appear in two fantastic IFOA events this weekend: a reading/interview on Saturday, October 27, and a reading Sunday, October 28.

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