Liberating literature

Pages' Unbound festival takes the written word out of the box


PAGES FESTIVAL + CONFERENCE: UNBOUND today through Saturday (March 13 to 15) at the Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst) and Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick). $15, all-events pass $50, students half-price. pagesfestival.com.


In the digital age, books are no longer safely tucked away in their own niche. That’s the message behind the inaugural Pages Festival and Conference, a series of creatively curated events that, like the This Is Not A Reading Series that inspired it, looks at the many ways artists relate to the written word. Here are some of the key happenings.

REMEMBERING DAVEY THE PUNK

Stringband guy Bob Bossin’s dad led a very a colourful life as one of the city’s most notorious bookies in the 30s and 40s. Bossin launches his memoir, Davey The Punk (Porcupine’s Quill), via an onstage interview with his college pal Bob Rae. Stringband reunites for the event with a special assist by Rae at the piano. Thursday (March 13), 8 pm, Randolph

ATOM EGOYAN: SCREENWRITING SECRETS

The Oscar-nominated director talks about writing screenplays, adapting works for the screen and directing the scripts of other writers with Pages artistic director Marc Glassman. Friday (March 14), 7 pm, Randolph

ARTISTS AND THE BOOK: A CRAZY LOVE AFFAIR

Visual artists reflect on the power of the book in this panel discussion featuring photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, subject of the film The Ghosts In Our Machine and author of We Animals (Lantern Books) Carol Condé and Karl Beveridge, soon to release a mammoth online catalogue of their work and Derek Sullivan who, among other things, has created a four-part sculptural installation celebrating the iconic riverside book stalls of Paris. Friday (March 14), 9 pm, Randolph

SOUNDING OFF

What musicians inspire your best work? This is one of the questions preoccupying a trio of accomplished writers hosted by Dalton Higgins, author of Far From Over: The Music And Life Of Drake (ECW). Panelists include Misha Bower of Bruce Peninsula, whose short story collection Music For Uninvited Guests (Cringles) is available as an audio book Stuart Berman, author of This Book Is Broken: A Broken Social Scene History (Anansi) and Vivek Shraya (God Loves Hair, Arsenal Pulp). Friday (March 14), 10 pm, Tranzac Club

URBAN NARRATIVES

Visuals dominate this event celebrating Toronto’s essential influence on all kinds of artists. Coach House author Shawn Micallef’s slide show cruises T.O. neighbourhoods NFB producer Gerry Flahive examines the impact of giant buildings here and elsewhere and Track Toronto member Chloe Doesburg presents songs about Toronto, some going back 150 years. Saturday (March 15), 3 pm, Randolph

THE MANY TALES OF SUSANNA MOODIE

This panel, hosted by me, features artists inspired by 19th century writer Moodie, including Charles Pachter, illustrator of Margaret Atwood’s poetry collection The Journals Of Susanna Moodie and Xenophile Media’s Alex Mayhew and Conor Holler, who alongside illustrator Willow Dawson give a sneak preview of Moodie’s masterpiece Roughing It In The Bush, adapted by the late Carol Shields and now presented as chapters in an interactive graphic novel. Saturday (March 15), 7 pm, Randolph

AN EVENING WITH SETH AND FRIENDS

The graphic novel is turning into the most powerful literary hybrid all over the world. Seth, Fiona Smyth and Michael DeForge present their work onscreen and discuss the intimate details of their craft at an event hosted by Jeet Heer, author of In Love With Art: Françoise Mouly’s Adventures In Comics (Coach House). Saturday (March 15), 9 pm, Randolph

susanc@nowtoronto.com | @susangcole

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