André Alexis, David Chariandy, Angela Davis, Emma Donoghue,
Dave Hill, Nazanine Hozar, Mozhdah Jamalzadah, Lee Maracle, Linden MacIntyre,
Joanne Ramos and more attending 2019 Festival

TORONTO, September 12, 2019 – The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA), Canada’s largest and longest-running festival of words and ideas, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with an incredible lineup of events featuring Festival favorites as well as new and influential voices in the local and global publishing industries. From October 24 to November 3, the 11-day Festival will offer more than 60 events, including panel discussions, one-on-one interviews, readings, anniversary parties, book signings, theatrical and musical presentations and more; featuring more than 200 participants from over 30 countries. As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, this year’s Festival will offer a number of added offerings, including TIFA at 40: An Anniversary Exhibition and retrospective held at Harbourfront Centre. TIFA will also be returning to Toronto’s Union Station for three free events on October 26, 27 and 28, and has partnered with the Toronto Public Library and Library Archives Canada on a new archival podcast series titled Writers Off the Page: 40 Years of TIFA. 

“As we approach TIFA’s 40th anniversary, I can’t help but feel immense pride for the thriving book community in our city and around the world,” said TIFA Director, Geoffrey E. Taylor. “The Festival has grown from humble beginnings to the country’s longest-running and largest book bash and I’m proud of the Festival’s commitment to introducing emerging writers, welcoming back prominent authors, and offering rare opportunities to discover new voices and ignite important discussions.”

Conversations and Readings:

Celebrated authors will participate in lively and insightful conversations about their latest works, read passages from their books and sign copies for fans. Highlights include Samra Zafar, an acclaimed debut author who has become a beacon of hope for people facing abuse and gender-based violence; Tayari Jones, whose latest multi-award winning novel has been selected for both Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List and Oprah’s Book Club; comedian, musician, actor and radio host Dave Hill, whose laugh-out-loud literary debut takes readers on an adventure through his Canadian roots; and an eagerly awaited family affair among multi-award winner Lee Maracle and her daughters and co-writers, Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter, in a conversation about their book Hope Matters.The Festival will also feature conversations between authors whose stories connect via a common thread.

There will be sessions featuring 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists André Alexis, David Bezmozgis, Michael Crummey, Adam Foulds and Steven Price; bestselling author known for Room Emma Donoghue; Murdoch Mysteries creator Maureen Jennings; Order of Canada recipient, Thomas King; fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay; former host of CBC’s The Fifth Estate Linden MacIntyre; 2019 RBC Taylor Prize winner Kate Harris; bestselling author debut Joanne Ramos; Ojibway playwright and Indigenous rights activist Drew Hayden Taylor; science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer; among others. In addition, there will be thoughtful conversations between authors including masters of suspense, Don Winslow with Linwood Barclay, and international rising star author Nazanine Hozar with author and screenwriter John Irving.

International Author Spotlight:
A number of bestselling international authors will participate in various events at the Festival, encouraging book lovers to explore perspectives beyond borders and across languages. Audiences will hear from literary legends such as prolific German author and psychologist Frido Mann (with support from the Goethe-Institut Toronto); multi-award-winning Korean author Jung Young Moon (with support from LTI Korea); France’s celebrated author Wilfried N’Sondé (Toronto Cultural Office of the French Embassy in Canada); Norwegian poet and novelist Rune Christiansen (with support from NORLA); award-winning Japanese writer Kyoko Nakajima (with support from The Japan Foundation, Toronto); and bestselling Israeli author Zeruya Shalev (supported by the Consulate General of Israel in Toronto and Western Canada); among others. For the second year in a row, there will be a programme focused on South Asian stories with acclaimed international authors, which will include Haroon Khalid, Aanchal Malhotra, Anam Zakaria, Nadeem Zaman, Suketu Mehta and Naheed Mustafa.

Special Events:
Ahead of its film adaptation, TIFA in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Playing With Books Series, will present a theatrical response to Miriam Toews’ compelling new book Women Talking. This North American premiere consists of a 60-minute theatre performance, followed by an informative conversation with Toews herself. In addition, there will be a portrait exhibition from artist John Hartman titled Many Lives Mark This Place, which celebrates the richness of Canada’s literary fabric.
Hartman will be joined by his muses Michael Crummey, Susan Swan, and Guy Vanderhaeghe. Also, novelist and music critic Sean Michaels will host The Swingin’ Moonlight Reading Hour, which will see a group of Toronto’s most artful musicians accompany readings by some of the Festival’s most exciting authors, using words and music to bring literature to life. Acclaimed talk show host and performer Mozhdah Jamalzadah (also known as the Oprah of Afghanistan) will sit down with her biographer Roberta Staley, preceded by a musical performance.

Writers Off the Page: 40 Years of TIFA Podcast
Launching today, TIFA, in collaboration with Toronto Public Library and Library and Archives Canada, will release Writers Off the Page: 40 Years of TIFA, a smart and insightful 26-episode podcast series, hosted by novelist Randy Boyagoda, professor of English at the University of Toronto and principal of St. Michael’s College, that features curated and rare archival recordings of compelling conversations from the Festival’s 40-year history. Each episode will be between 10 and 15 minutes in length, released biweekly throughout 2019. Listeners will hear from familiar voices, such as Susan Sontag, Grace Paley, Jim Harrison, Bruce Chatwin, John Cheever, Gloria Naylor, Elmore Leonard and Doris Lessing, among others.

Free Events:
TIFA will present several eagerly anticipated free events, including the popular Toronto Poetry Slam, featuring 2018 winner Ahmed Knowmadic and more of the city’s most engaging spoken-word artists. The Festival’s Europe on Tour event returns (with the support of the EU National Institute for Culture) with a rare opportunity to hear leading contemporary authors recite their work in its original languages, from regions including Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, followed by a reception. There will also be a free semi-prose podcast live recording with Cherie Dimaline about her  latest novel, Empire of Wild. In addition, from October 26 to 28, TIFA will host pop-up events at Union Station with author readings and discussions on the topic of travel and journeys. In keeping with this event theme of travel, readers may pick up a free book and are encouraged to pass it along to someone new once they’re finished reading it.

Celebrations and Festival Favourites:
In addition to TIFA’s anniversary, there are several other literary milestones to celebrate at the Festival, including Harlequin at 70, Goose Lane Editions 65th Anniversary, 45 Years of the Toronto Book Awards, Book*hug 15th Anniversary, the Best Canadian Poetry of 2019, and GG Books: A Festival Celebration featuring the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards finalists in spirited round-table discussions. There will also be a number of events for young writers, including Black Box Session: Humber School for Writers, Love & Defiance Podcast; the TDSB Toronto Young Writers Conference; And the Winner is …University of Toronto’s Creative Writing Awards Presentation; and the 6th Annual Humber College
Liberal Arts & Sciences Conference.

About Toronto International Festival of Authors:
The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) is Canada’s largest and longest-running festival of words and ideas. Since 1974, it has hosted over 9,000 authors from more than 100 countries, including 22 Nobel Laureates and countless other award winners. Mandated to advance the art of literature, TIFA connects curious readers of every kind with leading authors and provides forums to showcase Canadian talent to the world. TIFA presents events and programmes all year round and will celebrate the 40th edition of the Festival October 24 – November 3, 2019. Based at Harbourfront Centre. To learn more, visit

TIFA gratefully acknowledges the support of Canadian Heritage – Government of Canada, the Canada
Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Ontario Creates and the
Toronto Arts Council.