Atwood and Whitehead to shake the book at the Toronto International Festival of Authors

The annual literary festival goes virtual again this year

Margaret Atwood, Omar El Akkad, Colson Whitehead and Randy Boyagoda are among the writers who will be attending this year’s Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA).

The annual literary festival goes virtual again and will heat up with the debut Graeme Gibson Talk, which is named after the late Canadian writer and will feature his partner Atwood.

Handmaid’s Tale author will discuss dystopian literature with Egyptian-Canadian author and journalist El Akkad and CBC Radio Ideas host Nahlah Ayed. The virtual panel is free and will be streamable for 72 hours.

The conference takes place on September 22 – before the main festival – and is a partnership between PEN Canada and CBC Radio. According to a description of the event, the authors will discuss “themes of dystopian literature, as well as the positives – the freedoms and limitations of our time and their implications – through the lens of their fiction.”

El Akkad’s latest novel is What Strange Paradise, about the global refugee crisis. Atwood is due to publish a collection of essays in 2022 titled Burning Questions.

After the festival, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Whitehead will discuss his latest book, Harlem Shuffle, with Toronto writer and critic Boyagoda. The virtual conference will take place on November 17 and will also air for 72. Tickets are $ 38 and include a copy of the book.

Whitehead is the author of The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, which Barry Jenkins recently turned into a miniseries for Amazon Prime Video. Harlem Shuffle is billed as a ‘love letter’ to New York City in the 1960s and is part of a family saga / detective story that addresses themes of morality, power, and race.

Participants can register for both events via The 42nd annual event takes place October 21-31.


Darcy J. Skinner

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