Saturday, October 22, 2005

IFOA On A Friday Night

Last night, Zesty and I went to see Diana Evans, Nick Laird, Helen Oyeyemi and Zadie Smith read at the International Festival of Authors. The IFOA was always one of those cultural institutions of Toronto that I've always wanted to go to, but never got around to getting tickets and/or organizing my lazy as to attend. This year, I've rectified that by getting a bunch of tickets for a few different nights, and as the readings start at 8 PM and are often over by 9.30 PM, it makes for much better entertainment then sitting in front of the television.

Annnywaaay. The four readers were presented as the best and the brightest young writers from Britain, all being thirty or younger (I guess? I could be wrong about that), but real "up and comers." With the exception of Zadie Smith, who came, arrived, flourished and now headlines. All four readings were very good, but the only book I was motivated to actually buy was Laird's, if only because I've already got 26a and On Beauty at home. His reading was very funny, that cutting Irish humour, and his writing seems fresh and lively, not unlike a drunken attraction at a party that you can't stop from happening, ending up hands all over each other in the company of people already sobering up, but you just don't care.

I stood in line to get my book signed, which I don't normally do, as I'm not much for the autographs, but wanted to see what he looked like up close, always interested in seeing the person so I can imagine them writing when I read the book. But I lost my sticky note with my name and then had to go through the normal rigmarole about how to spell it / say it, which is the bane of my existence. After three different trys, and me spelling it out like a grade-school teacher, he said, "That's a nice name." Heh.

His wife's reading was amazing, powerful, poised, and almost perfect in her delivery, and it's easy to see why Zadie Smith is the belle of the literary ball these days. All in all it was a great night, not too long, not too short, supporting the arts and all that jazz.

In fact, it's a weekend of supporting the arts: tonight it's John Irving (whee!) at the IFOA, then I'm going to Lee's Palace to see my RRBF's only Toronto stop on his whirl wind tour of Canada. And I can't wait. If you're not doing anything tonight, come out, it'll be a great show.

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