Top 2021 Toronto International Writers Festival Events

42nd Annual Literary Event Goes Virtual This Year


The country’s largest literary festival is entering its 42nd year as a virtual event, with more than 200 events taking place over 11 days. From October 21 to 31, the Toronto International Writers Festival (TIFA) is the perfect place to discover some of the hottest names in literary fiction and non-fiction, including nine of the 12 authors vying for the this year’s Giller Award.

These 10 author readings and discussions feature some of the most talked about authors of the year, as well as a look back at a local literary classic. All are free but you must register to attend, and some will be broadcast online in the days following the live event. We’ve included links to each below.

Alan cumming

TIFA starts off with a Hollywood speech. Actor, cabaret artist and professional talker Cumming does a pre-festival Q&A with festival director Roland Gulliver days before the release of his second memoir, Baggage: Tales From A Fully Packed Life. The book chronicles his Hollywood career and relationships after he recovered from depression at the age of 28. Expect anecdotes involving Stanley Kubrick and the Spice Girls.

October 19. 12:30 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Kei Miller and Ian Williams

Two authors who have recently written on non-verbal forms of discrimination and communication will take the TIFA virtual stage. Giller Prize winner and University of Toronto professor Williams discusses his collection of essays Disorientation: Being Black In The World; and Jamaican writer Miller discusses his own collection, Things I Have Withheld.

21st of October. 3 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Eden robinson

One reliable and entertaining interviewee is acclaimed First Nations author Haisla and Heiltsuk, Robinson, who released the final installment of her supernatural Trickster coming of age trilogy earlier this year. The TV version may have come to an untimely end, but Robinson concludes it on his own terms. She will discuss Return Of The Trickster with Wab Kinew.

21st of October. 5 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Karl Ove Knausgaard

One of the biggest international names in this year’s lineup is Norwegian author Knausgaard, who will be speaking about his latest novel The Morning Star. This is his first work of fiction since completing his ten-year six-volume autobiographical series, My Struggle, and the book sees him enter the realm of the supernatural.

October 23. 6 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Esi Edugyan

Giller’s double winner’s debut non-fiction book was one of our most anticipated fall releases. Inspired by the author’s Massey lectures, Out Of The Sun: On Race And Storytelling examines how visual art, literature, and film have approached race. This lecture will see her meditate more on this topic before doing a question-and-answer session with Rinaldo Walcott.

October 27. 8 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Tomson Highway

The Cree author and playwright recounts his childhood in Permanent Astonishment: Growing Up In The Land Of Snow And Sky – the first of five planned autobiographies. The book encompasses his nine years in residential school, which he recently said NOW was a positive experience. ” I laughed a lot [during that time], mainly because the Cree language is the funniest language on earth, ”he said. “A story that takes place in what is theoretically a tragic place might shock people. I was lucky.”

October 30. 3.30 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Rosanna Bruno & Anne Carson

This session covers an interesting collaboration from south of the border. Poet / essayist Carson and artist Bruno reinvent Euripides’ Women of Troy in black and white comic book form. This is Carson’s second foray into cartoons and Greek tragedy – after reworking Antigone in 2012 – and it redefines the characters as animals to bring a modern twist to this dark tale of war and its aftermath.

October 30. 5 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Meg Remy

US Girls musician and former NOW cover star will perform, read and chat during this eclectic session of the festival. Begin By Telling by Toronto-based American Meg Remy distils her experiences of her native media culture into memoirs – much like her music unwraps societal narratives through experimental pop songs.

October 30. 8:30 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Brian Thomas Isaac and Katherena Vermette

Métis author Katherena Vermette is at TIFA to support her second novel, the intergenerational saga The Strangers. The book is about a woman struggling with an addiction who reconnects with her separated daughters. It’s a dark subject, but as Susan G. Cole said, “Vermet has a way of seeing light through a crack in the wall of a dark room. She will chat with Brian Thomas Isaac, who published his first novel, All The Quiet Places, at age 71.

October 30. 8:30 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

Anne Michel

One of Toronto’s biggest names at this year’s festival is the author and poet, who will return to his international bestselling Fugitive Pieces. Published in 1996, Michaels’ Lyrical Review of Faith and Compassion is considered one of the most influential novels of the past 25 years and was recently reissued for its anniversary. She will chat with writer / director Simon McBurney.

October 31. 5 p.m. To free. festivaldesauteurs.ca

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Darcy J. Skinner

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