The IFOA house was packed tonight by the time Maeve Binchy's voice came over the loudspeaker. Groups of booklovers mixed with local authors like Catherine Bush and Shyam Selvadurai. Novelist and poet Alison Pick was our gracious host, introducing award-winning poet Lorna Crozier who started off the night.
Crozier, who is always a consummate performer, took the stage reading some greatest hits - The Sex Lives Of Vegetables series - and some newer works from her latest collection, The Blue Hour of the Day. I was happy she read one of my favourites- a poem about how she misses smokers and heavy drinkers now that she's more of an asleep-by-10 lady. Who doesn't miss the naked revelers padding through the host's living room covered in shaving cream?
Next came a funny Normal Mailer story by newbie Nathaniel Rich, editor of the Paris Review, before reading a funny section from his first novel. Patrick Lane had a chance to respond to wife Crozier's sex poem with some wit of his own, before reading from Red Dog, Red Dog.
Damon Galgut managed to keep us going with a chapter about a hermit poet unraveling, and Joseph Boyden, on the verge of celebrating his birthday, with both his mom and a Montreal writing-class fanclub in the house - read beautifully from his new novel, the one I can't stop raving about.
A great way to end off my festival.