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The inaugural MOTIVE Festival, from the Toronto International Festival of Authors, is almost here! Featuring nearly 100 authors from Canada and around the globe, over 40 in-person events, and a variety of free outdoor events all weekend long, MOTIVE offers a lot to see and do.

No need to sleuth for clues on how to make the most of MOTIVE, because we’ve put together your ultimate guide to making the most of your June 3–5 weekend.


Get tickets early

While it may be tempting to wait until the last minute to get tickets, we recommend getting them before it’s too late! Be sure to browse the schedule and book your tickets in advance to guarantee your spot to meet the incredible authors joining us for readings, conversations and book signings.

Explore an entire event series

Along with single interviews and readings, MOTIVE offers several series of events that bring world-class authors and experts together to discuss fascinating themes that can’t be unpacked in just one session. Four events explore the politics and societal effects of real-life crime and mysteries under the banner name, Critical Conversations. Several Masterclasses demonstrate key facets of crime writing, while The Re-Read series explores genre classics through the eyes of contemporary crime writers. Learn from the best and get a new perspective on topics all in one weekend. Browse events here.

See it all with the All-Access Pass

Can’t decide what to see at MOTIVE, or want to spend all weekend with us? Get yourself an All-Access Pass! These passes grant you one admission to nearly all MOTIVE events (Masterclasses excepted). Once you book a pass, you can then register for all the events you wish to see at no extra charge by following the instructions in the confirmation email.

Take advantage of the student and youth discount

Attending events can be hard on a student budget, but with TIFA’s student and youth (aged 25 and under) discount, you can get tickets to a regular MOTIVE event for only $12.50. While it doesn’t apply to Masterclasses, there are over 40 in-person events where you can save money and still get to see your favourite authors.

Invite your book club and save

Bring your book buddies to the waterfront, listen to fascinating conversations and enjoy the outdoor ambiance of a waterfront festival. From cozy mysteries to chilling thrillers, there are plenty of events to suit a variety of reading preferences. Book Clubs can save 25% on ticket prices when booking five or more tickets to the same event, by calling the Harbourfront Centre Box Office 416-973-4000 (choose option 1).

Plan your way to Harbourfront Centre  

Plan your way to Harbourfront Centre before you leave, to avoid unnecessary troubles. You can find directions for getting here by train, TTC, car and foot here.  

If you are travelling to MOTIVE from Toronto Pearson International Airport, take advantage of TIFA’s UP Express discount. Use the code Motive22 on www.upexpress.com to get 25% off the adult rate.  

COVID-19 safety

After two years of virtual events and changing rules about COVID-19 safety, it’s understandable that you may have questions about safety protocol for MOTIVE. Following Ontario provincial health guidelines, as of May 2, Harbourfront Centre has lifted its mandatory masks and vaccination policy for visitors, but strongly recommends visitors continue to wear masks while on campus and inside venues. A mandatory vaccination policy for Harbourfront Centre and TIFA employees, as well as volunteers, continues to be in effect. Hand sanitization stations are available throughout the campus. For more information about health and safety at Harbourfront Centre, please visit: HarbourfrontCentre.com/safety

Check your email for your tickets

Once you have purchased tickets to see your favourite authors, keep a watchful eye on your email. All tickets will be sent via email. You will need your e-ticket to access the event. If you don’t see it in your inbox, be sure to check your spam or junk folder.

If you have any questions about tickets, reach out to Harbourfront Centre’s box office at 416-973-4000 or tickets@harbourfrontcentre.com.

Enjoy free activities all weekend

Harbourfront Centre’s campus will be buzzing with activity on June 4 and 5 with readings, book signings, activities and scavenger hunts. Everyone is welcome to scope out the fun at the TIFA Kids tents, Crime Writers of Canada meet and greets, Kobo Cabana Reading Lounge, Toronto Crime Tours stories and more! Don’t forget to stop by Indigo’s Festival bookstore to browse the collection of thrilling reads.

Join the conversation

Ask a question, take a picture or share your Festival experience with us on social media! Follow @FestofAuthors on:

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

Don’t forget to use #MotiveTO in your posts.

Buy the books

TIFA’s official booksellers are ready to get books into your hands! Whether it’s an ebook, audiobook, hardcover or paperback, Kobo and Indigo have everything you need to be well-read. Browse Kobo’s online catalogue at any time here, and be sure to drop by the Marilyn Brewer Community Space inside Harbourfront Centre to get your hardcopies at the Indigo Bookstore.


Have a question? See if it is answered on our FAQ page or email us at support@festivalofauthors.ca.

Browse the full schedule of MOTIVE events, readings and conversations here.

If you can’t join us in person at Harbourfront Centre, be sure to check out the 14 free, digital events available until June 8 here.

Meet some of Canada’s best crime writers live and on stage at the MOTIVE Crime & Mystery Festival, which marks the exciting return of in-person programming for the Toronto International Festival of Authors. MOTIVE runs from June 3 to 5.

Learn how these masters of the whodunit build immersive worlds, indelible characters and clockwork plots that will keep you turning the page late into the night. Just keep the light on!


Linwood Barclay

Linwood Barclay's headshot
Photo credit: Ellis Parrinder.

Linwood Barclay is an American-born Canadian author whose New York Times bestselling novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages and sold millions of copies around the world. Notable books include No Time for Goodbye, which The Daily Express called “a fast-moving rollercoaster of a read,” and Trust Your Eyes, a finalist for the Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read from the Crime Thriller Awards. Barclay’s newest novel, Take Your Breath Away, delves into the cold case of Brie Mason, a woman who mysteriously disappeared six years ago. When Brie’s lookalike returns, her husband Andrew must uncover a trail of accusations, lies and murder. Join master of suspense, Linwood Barclay, as he discusses his infectious new thriller.

Linwood Barclay will participate in the following events:

Take Your Breath Away: Linwood Barclay
Sunday, June 5 at 1:30pm ET, Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Rabbit Hole: Mark Billingham with Linwood Barclay
Saturday, June 4 at 5pm ET, Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton headshot
Photo credit: Iden Ford.

Ian Hamilton is the Canadian author of the acclaimed Ava Lee and Uncle Chow Tung series. The Water Rat of Wanchai won the Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel, The Disciple of Las Vegas was shortlisted for the Barry Award and The Wild Beasts of Wuhan was shortlisted for the Lambda Award for best lesbian crime/mystery novel of 2013. BBC Culture named Hamilton as one of ten mystery writers from the last 30 years who should be on your bookshelf. In The Sultan of Sarawak, Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant Ava Lee travels to Malaysia on the trail of the powerful Chong family, who have a criminal stranglehold over the province. Join Ian Hamilton as he discusses his brilliant heroine and intricately crafted plots.

Ian Hamilton will participate in the following event:

The Sultan of Sarawak: Ian Hamilton
Sunday, June 5 at 1:30pm ET, Brigantine Room in Harbourfront Centre

Robyn Harding

Robyn Harding's headshot
Photo credit: Tallulah.

Robyn Harding is a Canadian author of many books, including The Party, which was an international bestseller, and The Swap, which reached #1 on both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star bestseller lists. In The Perfect Family, Harding crafts a fast paced and character-driven thriller that explores the lives of Thomas and Viv Adler and their well-mannered children. When their Porsche is pelted with eggs, it sets off a cascade of attacks against the wealthy family. The police dismiss these as the work of bored teenagers, but the terrified Adlers begin to investigate on their own, only to discover family secrets better left hidden. Join Robyn Harding as she discusses her twisty, page-turner of a novel.

Robyn Harding will participate in the following event:

The Perfect Family: Robyn Harding
Saturday, June 4 at 2pm ET, Brigantine Room in Harbourfront Centre

Thomas King

Thomas King's headshot
Photo credit: Harlen Bigbear.

Thomas King is the Canadian-American author of Green Grass, Running Water; The Truth About Stories; The Back of the Turtle; Indians on Vacation; and the DreadfulWater mysteries. He has won numerous awards, including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the RBC Taylor Prize and the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. King’s latest crime novel, Deep House, continues the adventures of Cherokee ex-cop Thumps DreadfulWater, who has found peace in small-town Chinook, only to stumble upon a body at the bottom of a treacherous canyon. Join Thomas King as he lays out the clues with his signature wit and wry humour.

Thomas King will participate in the following event:

Deep House: Thomas King with Shelagh Rogers
Saturday, June 4 at 7:30pm ET, Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena headshot

Canadian Shari Lapena is the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House and An Unwanted Guest. Her books have sold seven million copies in 38 territories around the world. In her latest thriller, Not a Happy Family, Lapena delves into the lives of a rich and seemingly happy family in upstate New York. When Fred and Sheila Merton are brutally murdered the night after Easter Dinner, suspicion falls on their three adult children. Could one of them be a psychopath, and wouldn’t the other siblings know? Join Shari Lapena as she untangles this web of secrets, greed and revenge.

Shari Lapena will participate in the following event:

Not a Happy Family: Shari Lapena
Friday, June 3 at 6pm ET, Brigantine Room in Harbourfront Centre

Beverly McLachlin

Beverley McLachlin headshot
Photo credit: Jean-Marc Carisse.

Beverley McLachlin is a Canadian crime writer and #1 national bestseller for her book, Full Disclosure, which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best First Crime Novel Award. She is also Canada’s longest-serving Chief Justice. Her novels combine thrilling plot twists with realistic courtroom scenes that have been used in law schools to show how trials really work. In McLachlin’s latest bestseller, Denial, brilliant defence attorney Jilly Truitt must use all her legal acumen to untangle the truth in a bizarre “mercy-killing” case. Join Beverley McLachlin as she discusses her process for creating a gripping mystery.

Beverley McLachlin will participate in the following events:

Denial: Beverley McLachlin
Sunday, June 5 at 11am ET, Brigantine Room in Harbourfront Centre

Critical Conversation: The Ethics of Crime Writing
Friday, June 4 at 2pm ET, Outdoor Stage

Nita Prose

Nita Prose's headshot
Photo credit: Dahlia Katz Photography.

Nita Prose is a Canadian author whose debut novel, The Maid, was a #1 national and New York Times bestseller, and was also a pick for the Good Morning America and Cityline book clubs. Molly Grant is a young woman who struggles with social queues. She takes a job as a hotel maid, delighting in her orderly surroundings. However, when Molly comes upon the body of rich and infamous Charles Black during her rounds, her unusual demeanor makes her the prime suspect for the police. Join Nita Prose as she lays out her Clue-like mystery and hear her unique perspective on the publishing world as an editor-turned-author.

Nita Prose will participate in the following event:

The Maid: Nita Prose
Sunday, June 5 at 7pm ET, Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Marissa Stapley

Marissa Stapley's headshot
Photo credit: Dahlia Katz.

Canadian Marissa Stapley is a journalist, magazine editor and bestselling author of The Last Resort, Things to Do When It’s Raining and Mating for Life. Her newest book, Lucky, was a New York Times and national bestseller, and was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick. Meet Lucky Armstrong, a talented grifter who is on the run from the police. When Lucky buys a lottery ticket on a whim, she discovers it is worth millions. Only problem, how to collect her winnings without being arrested? Join Marissa Stapley on this rollercoaster ride of a heist novel that interrogates the ideas of punishment, redemption and forgiveness.

Marissa Stapley will participate in the following events:

Lucky: Marissa Stapley with Hannah Mary McKinnon
Saturday, June 4 at 2pm ET, Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Masterclass: Marissa Stapley on the Heart of Character Development
Friday, June 3 at 6pm ET, Main Loft in Harbourfront Centre

Crime Writers of Canada

Crime Writers of Canada logo

After seeing your favourite Canadian mystery writers live on Harbourfront stage, sleuth out the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) Tent and meet them in-person. CWC is a national non-profit for Canadian crime and mystery writers. All day Saturday and Sunday, authors will be signing books and chatting with fans. The tent and readings are some of the many free, outdoor events at MOTIVE this year, including readings, discussions and activities for the whole family.

Crime Writer of Canada Tent
Saturday, June 4 at 11am to 7pm ET, west lawn at Harbourfront Centre
Sunday, June 5 at 11am to 7pm ET, west lawn at Harbourfront Centre

Crime Writers of Canada Readings
Saturday, June 4 at 6pm ET, Outdoor Stage
Sunday, June 5 at 2pm ET, Outdoor Stage

Linwood Barclay's headshot as the featured image

From June 3 to 5, Toronto International Festival of Author’s inaugural MOTIVE Festival will take you on a worldwide crime and mystery tour as authors from around the globe gather at Harbourfront Centre. After two years of only virtual events, we are excited to celebrate the buzz of activity and wide variety of conversations, readings and special performances together again.

With storytellers from Germany, Iceland, Scotland and more, don’t miss this rare opportunity to see these incredible authors in person.


Mark Billingham (UK)

Mark Billingham's headshot
Photo credit: Steve Best.

Mark Billingham is an English writer known for his bestselling Inspector Thom Thorne novels, which Sky 1 adapted into a hit series. He has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for Crime Novel of the Year. In his latest standalone thriller, Rabbit Hole, Billingham follows ex-cop and long-term patient Alice Armitage as she investigates a murder in her acute psychiatric ward. Will Alice be able unravel the mystery without succumbing to her lingering PTSD? Get the scoop on this latest novel as he sits down with Canadian bestselling author Linwood Barclay in person at MOTIVE.

Mark Billingham will participate in the following event:

Rabbit Hole: Mark Billingham with Linwood Barclay
Saturday, June 4 at 5pm ET, Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers in Concert
Saturday, June 4 at 7:30pm ET, Concert Stage at Harbourfront Centre

The Re-Read: Mark Billingham on Dashiell Hammett
Sunday, June 5 at 1pm ET, Main Loft in Harbourfront Centre

Val McDermid (Scotland)

Val McDermid's headshot
Photo credit: KT Bruce.

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year Award and the CWA Golden Dagger Award, Scottish author Val McDermid has sold over 17 million books around the world. In her newest novel, 1979, McDermid introduces rookie reporter Allie Burns, who must navigate the newsroom boys’ club while investigating a terrorist plot close to home. Join Scotland’s Queen of Crime in person at MOTIVE for discussions about her writing, Agatha Christie and a special performance.

Val McDermid’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Scottish Books International.

Val McDermid will participate in the following events:

The Re-Read: Val McDermid on Agatha Christie
Saturday, June 4 at 1pm ET, Main Loft in Harbourfront Centre

Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers in Concert
Saturday, June 4 at 7:30pm ET, Concert Stage at Harbourfront Centre

1979: Val McDermid
Sunday, June 5 at 1pm ET, Brigantine Room in Harbourfront Centre

Adrian McKinty (Ireland / US)

Adrian McKinty's headshot
Photo credit: Leah Garrett.

Irish author Adrian McKinty has written over a dozen crime novels and is the winner of the Edgar Award, the International Thriller Writers Award and the Ned Kelly Award. In The Island, his latest novel and soon to be Hulu series, McKinty explores a family vacation gone horribly wrong. Separated from her new husband and surrounded by murderous locals, what will one woman do to keep her step-children safe?

Adrian McKinty will participate in the following event:

The Island: Adrian McKinty
Saturday, June 4 at 11:30am ET, Lakeside Terrace at Harbourfront Centre

Melanie Raabe (Germany)

Melanie Raabe's headshot
Photo credit: Marina Rosa Weigand.

Winner of the Stuttgart Crime Fiction Award, Melanie Raabe is a German author and journalist whose work has been published in over 20 countries. Her latest novel, The Shadow, spent 18 weeks on the Der Spiegel bestseller list. After a homeless woman prophesises the date when Norah Richter will kill a man “with good reason and of your own free will,” Norah must decide whether she should hate someone she has never met.

Melanie Raabe’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Goethe-Institut.

Melanie Raabe will participate in the following event:

Chiller Killers: Melanie Raabe & Max Seeck
Saturday, June 4 at 11:30am ET, Brigantine Room in Harbourfront Centre

Book & Brötchen with Melanie Raabe & Elizabeth Renzetti
Sunday, June 5 at 11:30am ET, Goethe-Institut Toronto 

Lilja Sigurðardóttir (Iceland)

Lilja Sigurðard's headshot

Lilja Sigurðardóttir is an award-winning Icelandic author, playwright and scriptwriter. The first novel in her bestselling Reykjavík Noir Trilogy, Snare, was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, while the third, Cage, won Best Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year and was a Guardian Book of the Year. Her latest thriller, Cold as Hell, follows Áróra as she returns home to find her estranged sister, who has gone missing in the midnight sun of the Icelandic summer.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Icelandic Literature Centre.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir will participate in the following event:

Sisters in Search: Kellye Garrett & Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Saturday, June 4 at 2pm ET, Studio Theatre in Harbourfront Centre


Virtual Events

If you won’t be in Toronto for #MotiveTO, or you are, but are looking for some events to watch from home, you can also check out these international authors virtually at festivalofauthors.ca/motive.

Javier Cercas (Spain)

Javier Cercas's headshot
Photo credit: LM Palomares.

Javier Cercas is an internationally acclaimed Spanish novelist and columnist. Cercas’s books have been translated into over 30 languages, while Soldiers of Salamis has sold more than a million copies worldwide. In his latest novel, Even the Darkest Night, convict-turned-cop Melchor Marín must uncover the truth about a brutal double murder in the remote town of Terra Alta. Learn from this master storyteller from the comfort of home as Cercas discusses his elegantly constructed thriller.

Javier Cercas will participate in the following event:

Even the Darkest Night: Javier Cercas
Saturday, June 4 at 8pm ET, Virtual Event

Tica Morgan (Netherlands)

Tica Morgan's headshot
Photo credit: Duco de Vries.

Bestselling Dutch crime novelist Tica Morgan brings her experience as a police-investigator to her acclaimed Inspector Zoe Janssen thrillers. In the series’ upcoming fourth novel, Hell’s Gate, Inspector Janssen must investigate a new mystery on the small islands of southern Netherlands. Join Tica Morgan for this special event, presented by Kobo Plus, as she discusses her new book, fascination with the crime genre and experience being published in multiple languages.

Tica Morgan will participate in the following event:

Hell’s Gate: Tica Morgan
Friday, June 3 at 5pm ET, Virtual Event

Fuminori Nakamura (Japan)

Fuminori Nakamura's headshot

Fuminori Nakamura is a Japanese author best known for The Thief (2010), his critically acclaimed first novel to be translated into English. Winner of the prestigious Ōe Prize and David L. Goodis Award, Nakamura creates fascinating puzzle box narratives that feature tantalizing strangers and enigmatic acquaintances. “Turn this page, and give up your entire life,” he writes in his latest novel, My Annihilation, a disturbing dissection of what motivates a killer. Join the master of the literary noir virtually as he discusses this journey into the darkest corners of the human mind.

Fuminori Nakamura will participate in the following event:

My Annihilation: Fuminori Nakamura
Sunday, June 5 at 12:30pm ET, Virtual Event

Ilaria Tuti (Italy)

Ilaria Tuti's headshot

Ilaria Tuti is an Italian author and winner of the Gran Giallo Città di Cattolica literary prize for her short story The Pagan Child. Tuti’s novels evoke her love of nature and Italy’s rich history. In The Sleeping Nymph, her highly anticipated next instalment of the Teresa Battaglia series, Superintendent Battaglia must travel to one of Italy’s most untouched regions to investigate a decades-old murder.

Ilaria Tuti’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Istituto Italiano di Cultura.

Ilaria Tuti will participate in the following event:

The Sleeping Nymph: Ilaria Tuti
Saturday, June 4 at 10am ET, Virtual Event

Emma Viskic (Australia)

Emma Viskic's headshot

Critically acclaimed Australian author Emma Viaskic has won the Ned Kelly Award, five Davitt Awards and has twice been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger Award. Her books are published worldwide and are frequently listed among the best crime novels this decade. In Those Who Parish, the hotly anticipated conclusion to the Caleb Zelic series, Viskic places her Deaf protagonist on an isolated island community under threat from a sniper. Will Caleb find his drug addicted brother before the sniper does?

Emma Viskic will participate in the following event:

Those Who Parish: Emma Viskic
Sunday, June 5 at 8pm ET, Virtual Event


See the full list of #MotiveTO authors and events here.

Melanie Raabe's headshot as the blog banner