The annual International Festival of Authors party last night was packed after the doors were open for just 20 minutes. Publishers, publicists and media types rammed Harbourfront's Enwave Theatre. But it took some doing to find some actual writers.
Managed to catch up with Michael Ondaatje who was seen with his old English teacher Arthur Motyer. Ondaatje was getting set to read from Divisadero at the annual series of readings by Governor General's Award shortlisters just after the party. Also warming up for the readings was Barbara Gowdy, author of Helpess, who had to rush off to find her boyfriend, Christopher Dewdney, this year's Harbourfront festival Prize winner.
Alyssa York (Effigy) - flush with the news of her spot on this year's Giller short list - was enjoying a serious conversation with British writer Valerie Martin (Mary Reilly, among others).
Stopped to chat with playwright Jonathan Garfinkel, who reports having had a gas doing the onstage interview with Shalom Auslander, whose comic rant The Foreskin's Lament recalls being brought up in an Orthodox Jewish household. Easy target?, I wanted to know. Maybe, said Garfinkel, but fun anyway.
Kudos to festival director Geoffrey Taylor, who continues to green the fest and who's obviously overcome his fear of the microphone. We may not be able to tear him away next time.
Photos from the Party
Writer Andrew Pyper checks out the fest.
Author Michael Helm (left), with Harbourfront festival Prize winner Christopher Dewdney
Playwright and festival interview Jonathan Garfinkel
GG shortlister Barbara Gowdy
Giller shortlister Alyssa York (left) and author Valerie Martin
Festival director Geoffrey Taylor
Arthur Motyer (left), Michael Ondaatje's high school English teacher