Friday, October 27, 2006

Does the "A" Stand For Awesome?

The true title of this post should be "IFOA IV - Thursday" but that's so boring when last night was probably the best evening of readings I've ever had the pleasure of attending (with the exception of John Irving, which shall stand alone as the single most literary inspiring event I've seen; oh wait, and I saw Michael Ondaatje once, and he inspired me to write this, oh, nevermind).

Like the all-girls event Zesty and I went to last year, last night four inspiring, talented and lovely women read from their latest books of fiction: Madeleine Thien, Claire Messud, Jane Hamilton and Janet Fitch. All four of the readings were complimentary, three of which had more traditional themes of war (Second World War, Terrorism, War on Terror, respectively), and the forth, set in the heyday of the punk rock scene in LA, is perhaps war of a different kind (mosh-pit inspired), and all four women were great readers.

More often than not, I've read the book when I've gone to see an author at the IFOA. I'm thinking that maybe next year I'll do the opposite and go and see people where I haven't read their work. It's a fresh perspective, so inspiring to hear what books actually make the leap from the page into your imagination as told by the author herself. It's impressive, and I would absolutely read every single one of the books from last night.

And I really like how the IFOA balances the commercial-type fiction, like Fitch's, with the more literary fiction, like Thien's, showing that as diverse as the subject matter and styles actually are, the books fit together on that imaginary shelf like peas in a pod. And hell, going and supporting authors at the IFOA makes me feel good, like they deserve the giant round of applause at the end just for sitting in a room for hours, weeks, months, days, years, with their thoughts and a pen, maybe a keyboard, just toiling away to create something that matters.

Tonight, it's Margaret Atwood, one of my own personal literary icons, which should also be inspiring and all that other touchy-feely stuff I mentioned above.

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