Continuing the Major Book Festival Question

(This week I’m covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.)

To continue the point I made in this post, one of the things that separates what’s being done at Harbourfront Centre (the organization that puts on the IFOA) from similar literary festivals in the U.S. is that their program is year-round, and it’s a fairly well-developed framework–and it’s non-profit. Yes, there is a strong culture of literary events in certain U.S. cities, but it’s generally tied to bookstores or other for-profit enterprises, and we saw what could happen wen Cody’s Books in Berkeley closed rather suddenly, leaving Berkeley without it’s primary venue for author readings and events. (Fortunately, Berkeley Arts and Letters has sprung up to take up some of that slack, but it would have been better if Cody’s had never closed down to begin with.) Also, I’ve yet to find a U.S. organization that does a year-round schedule of events with the scope and systematization of what I’m seeing here.

Of course, I could be wrong, and I’d love to hear if there is something in the U.S. that fits this description . . . but, based on what I know of the U.S. scene, I think there’s a lot to be learned from what’s happening here in Toronto.

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Sounds interesting. Would love to know more about what you are learning in Toronto and how it can be applied here in the SF bay area.

The New Yorker festival, I’m told, is quite good.
There should be something like this. Do we know anyone wealthy enough to fund it? I’d be happy to run the damn thing.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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