(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.