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October 21, 1999
Vassanji, Abdullah Hussein At Toronto Book Fest
A P Kamath in Toronto
Acclaimed Indo-Canadian writer M G Vassanj will discuss his newest book, Amriika, at the International Book Festival here.
Trained as a nuclear physicist, Kenyan-born Vassanji has authored several award-winning books including The Book of Secrets, for which he won the Giller Prize.
Vassanji will speak on October 28 at 5 pm at Lawrence Hill, Brigantine Room in York Quay Centre.
On October 27, 8.30 pm, Abdullah Hussein (Pakistan/UK) joins Wayne Johnston (Canada) and Ivan Klima (Czech Republic) to read in the Brigantine Room in York Quay Centre. Hussein reads from his first literary achievement, The Weary Generations.
Written in 1963, Hussein's award-winning novel was translated from Urdu into English, and is considered to be one of the earliest works of fiction to depict the struggle of the Indian people against the king.
Hailed as the largest literary event in the world, the International Festival of Authors showcases some 60 acclaimed novelists, poets, biographers and playwrights, many of them having received the Pulitzer and equally distinguished other awards, from more than 20 countries. The nine-day festival opens on October 22.
The seventh day of the festival features discussions with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard and main-stage readings by self-exiled Canadian author Nancy Huston, and travel writer, literary reviewer and social historian, Jonathan Raban.
More than 100 events are planned for the festival, including main stage readings, on-stage interviews by prominent Canadian personalities, the 'Public Lives' series of lectures, biographies and talks, in addition to the annual Tribute to a Living Canadian. This year, the Festival honors Carol Shields, the author of nine novels and short story collections, Shields has made a lasting contribution to Canadian literature. Among her award-winning works is The Stone Diaries, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Governor General's Award.
Canadian authors Anne Michaels and Timothy Findley will read alongside authors from more than 20 countries including Andrew Motion, this year's Britain's Poet Laureate, American novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Dillard, Ana Teresa Torres (Venezuela); Per Petterson (Norway), Ib Michael (Denmark), and Thomas Keneally (Australia), author of the critically acclaimed novel, Schindler's List.
Also included in the list of writers are the Americans, Sara Paretsky, William Least Heat-Moon and Grace Paley.
The finale will have the 20 authors, including Margaret Atwood and Rosemary Sullivan, celebrate the festival's 20th anniversary by reading original works prepared especially for the event.
Last year, the festival featured, among others, Shyam Selvadurai and Sharon Butala.
Selvadurai delighted audiences with his first novel Funny Boy, set in Sri Lanka, which won the SmithBooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Men's Fiction. The 33-year-old Sri Lankan native came to Canada with his family in 1983 and currently lives in Toronto. His newest book, Cinnamon Gardens, is also set in Sri Lanka.
Butala (Garden of Eden) writes of the vast Saskatchewan prairie and the simple life of those who live on it. The 58-year-old's most recent short story collection won the 1992 Authors Award for paperback fiction. Butala was also given the Saskatchewan Non-fiction Award and the 1996 Canadian Council on Ecological Areas Award.
Most of the readings take place in and around Harbourfront Centre. Festival tickets range in price from $ 8.50 to $ 25, and can be ordered from the Harbourfront Centre box office at (416) 973-4000.
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