37 Reasons to attend the 37th Edition of IFOA

Wondering what the IFOA has to offer YOU? Here, in no particular order, are 37 reasons to attend the 37th edition of Toronto’s International Festival of Authors:

1.    You follow Canadian cartoonist, Seth, and found out he designed our poster

 IFOA Poster_v2.jpg

 2.    You love Irish literature and the Festival is inviting a number of contemporary Irish writers.

 3.    You love the waterfront and the IFOA takes place at Toronto’s beautiful Harbourfront Centre, in the heart of the city and right next to the lake.

Where the City Meets 1

 4.    You attend every year.

 5.    You can rub shoulders with Toronto’s literary community.

2010 IFOA Welcome Party (c) readings.org.JPG 3

 6.    October is the perfect month to cozy up to a new book

 7.    Your favourite author will be there and you just cannot pass up a chance to meet them.

 8.    You love #CanLit.

 9.    You have a few months to complete your new year’s resolutions to become a reader.


10. It’s the best place to encounter international literature.

11. You’re an aspiring writer and want to learn more about the industry.

12. You’re an established writer and want to learn more about the industry.


 13. You need fresh book recommendations. Look no further!

 14. Authors are your kind of celebrities.

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15. You pride yourself in attending all the major festivals in Toronto.

16. Reading for pleasure is your favourite pastime.


 17. This is your chance to meet authors you’ve been reading for years.

 18. It’s the perfect book club outing.

 19. You want to get your favourite books signed.

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 20. You like to plan ahead and a beautiful signed book is a perfect gift for that special someone on your Christmas list.

 21. You’re a student and found out our events are FREE for you! Bring friends!


 22. Where else will you find hundreds of prize-winning authors in one place?

 23. You’ll be surrounded by other book lovers.

 24. You don’t live in Toronto but found out that authors are toured around Ontario. They could be coming right to your hometown!

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 25. There’s something for all ages! The Toronto Public Library and IFOA are presenting Book Bash!

 26. You are new to the publishing industry and heard that the IV (International Visitors) Programme, brings professionals from all over the world.

 27. An IFOA stage is the best venue to hear an author read live.

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 28. You know you won’t have to go through Festival withdrawal, because there’s a weekly reading series throughout the year. Score!

 29. You are hoping to meet a bookish crowd/mate!

 30. You want to be part of a literary tradition that’s been going on since 1974.


 31. You’re a librarian or teacher looking for new book ideas for your students.

 32. You’ve followed us on Twitter for ages and now you want to see what the fuss is all about!

 33. You want to visit Toronto and take in the best culture the city has to offer

 34. You can get an awesome deal with our flex pass, and get 6 tickets for $90!

(Call our box office at 416-973-4000 for details/purchase inquiry!)

Twitter Flex Pass

 35. The Festival invites authors from over 15 different countries.

 36. You want to check off another Word Alliance festival from your bucket list.

 37. It’s going to be great and you don’t want to miss out!


Some IFOA 2016 Book Covers We Love

We love book design at the IFOA! Here are just some of the great covers from this year’s library:

The never-ending news cover of Fauxccasional Poems:

Scott Tysdal, Fauxccasional Poems


Nina Bunjevac’s gorgeous illustrations for Fatherland:

Bunjevac, Fatherland


A Long Watch‘s gentle ocean:

Galappatti, A Long Watch


The beautiful profile on The Pain Tree:

Senior, The Pain Tree Cover


Fire‘s historical woodcut-inspired graphics:

Humphreys, Fire


The torn-paper landscapes of The High Mountains of Portugal, dotted with characters:

Martel, The High Mountains of Portugal



The Naturalist‘s combination of new and old scientific images and notes:

York, The Naturalist


The tempestuous graphics of Hag-Seed:

Atwood, HagSeed


The vivid colouring of The Little Communist Who Never Smiled:

Lafon, The Little Communist Who Never Smiled


Wild Rose‘s gentle ombre:

Butala, Wild Rose


The hungry goose on the cover of A Number of Things:

Urquhart, NumberofThings


The dark highway of I’m Thinking of Ending Things:

Reid, Im Thinking of Ending Things


The nightlights of Bright, Precious Days:

McInerney, Bright Precious Days

Stay tuned for these and many other attractive covers at the 37th edition of the International Festival of Authors, coming to Harbourfront Centre from October 20th-30th!


IFOA 2016 poster art is here!

We are very excited to share IFOA’s 2016 festival poster art, designed by acclaimed Canadian cartoonist Seth!

Seth has appeared multiple times at past IFOA events, and his art is part of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s permanent collection. His illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, The Walrus, and Canadian Notes & Queries, and his comics have appeared in New York Times Magazine, Best American Comics, and McSweeneys Quarterly.

Look for his IFOA design on postcards, programs, and our site as we approach festival season!

IFOA Poster

Seth will also be curating the Five Ways exhibit in the Harbourfront Centre’s Artport Gallery.  

In this exhibition a spotlight is directed at five diverse contemporary cartoonists.  Each with a unique approach to the comics medium.  Each using comics for their own artistic expression.  Each quite different from the others. From fiction to memoir, from slice of life to the absurd, from tightly realistic to the expressionistic–five artists, five ways.The exhibition features the works of Nina Bunjevac, Michael Deforge, Nick Drnaso, Jon McNaught, and Chris Oliveros and we’re thrilled to have all these artists participating in the Festival this year.

Five Ways runs from September 24th to December 22nd, 2016.


Calling all poets!

1 stage. 20 poets. 1 winner.

The popular poetry competition returns in 2016 to feature 20 of Canada’s upcoming and established poets! One poet will receive an automatic invitation to read at the 37th edition of the International Festival of Authors AND an ad for their book in NOW!

Poetry NOW is presented in partnership with NOW Magazine.11 Poetry NOW logo

Poetry NOW FAQ

IFOA is inviting submissions for Poetry NOW: 8th annual Battle of the Bards. However, with a special event comes some special rules. Even if you’ve submitted/presented work here before, please read on to find out what’s what:


So what’s this all about, anyway?

In 2009, IFOA posted its first-ever open call for submissions. Poets 35 and younger were invited to be part of a celebration of our 35 years in the reading series business. The standard of entries was astonishing, and the resulting event was one of the highlights of our year. The event returned in 2010, but was opened up to published poets of all ages. 2010 also saw a new partnership with our friends at NOW Magazine, and that collaboration continues this year.

I’m pretty good, y’know. Will there be any sort of prize?

Oh yes. One reader will win an automatic invitation to appear at the 37th edition of the International Festival of Authors (October 20–30, 2016) AND an ad for their most recent book of poetry in NOW Magazine! Not bad, eh?!

Who is eligible for Poetry NOW?

You must be published by a trade publisher in a collection that is all your own work (so anthologies, literary journals and magazines aren’t eligible, sorry). Your book must have been published within the last five years, and it must be currently in print.

This one seems kind of obvious, but you must also be in Toronto on March 30 and available between 5pm and 10pm. (Sorry, we are unable to cover car/train/boat/plane or accommodation expenses.)

I was part of last year’s event, can I still enter for the 2016 event?

Absolutely. We’d love to have you back. Besides, maybe you have a new book out since last year’s event…?

What sets Poetry NOW apart from your regular weekly literary events?

We’ll be featuring 20 readers in one event, instead of our usual two or three. And we won’t be making a judgment call about who gets an invite. If you fit the criteria and your name gets pulled out of the hat, you’re in!

Do I need to pre-register? Or can I just sign up on the night?

Although we’re throwing open the call for submissions, we will be confirming the line-up several weeks in advance and liaising with publishers to promote the event according to our usual procedures. Submissions must be made by your publisher by Monday, February 29 at noon.

(See our submission guidelines for publishers below.)

What’s the closing date for submissions?

Monday, February 29 at noon.

How many authors will get to read at the event? And for how long?

20 authors will read for up to 3 minutes each.

How will you choose the readers?

Submissions that fit the above criteria will go into a draw. You have as much chance of being selected as the next person.

Who picks the winner?

Judges to be announced shortly.

When will I find out if I’m in?

Publishers will be notified and details confirmed by March 4. We’ll announce the line-up March 7.

What if I have more than one publisher? Can they both submit my work?

By all means, but we will only put your name in the draw once. (Also, see below re: books being for sale on the night of the event.)

Will my books be for sale at the event?

Yes, but we will require each presenting poet or their publishing representative to bring the books on a consignment basis. Your publisher can arrange these details with us once we have the line-up confirmed.

I have lots of friends/family/groupies. How can they all come and support me?

Tickets are $10 (free to our supporters, students with valid ID and youth 25 & under) and can be purchased online soon. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget that we offer a 50% discount to all our events to members of the League of Canadian Poets (and also the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada and TPL’s New Collection).

Will there be a bar?

You betcha!


Please submit eligible titles by email to programming@ifoa.org by Monday, February 29 at noon.

You must include the following information:

  • Name of Author
  • Brief bio
  • Eligible title(s) and their year(s) of publications

Please write “Poetry NOW” in the subject line.

And please let us know if we already have the book under consideration for our regular weekly event series.

Once the 20 authors have been picked, we will contact the relevant publishers to confirm details.

At that point, you will be required to send:

  • 3 copies of the book the author will be presenting
  • An author bio and brief synopsis of the book
  • An author photo and book cover image (both as high res. jpegs)