IFOA NOIR Reading – Harbourfront.

By Sam Mooney

31st International Festival of Authors in Toronto

If you haven’t ever been to a reading at the International Festival of Authors maybe this is the year you should go.  Last night I heard 4 authors at a reading that’s part of the NOIR series in the festival.

You might be wondering why Mooney on Theatre is covering the IFOA.  We believe that author readings are akin to staged play readings or to monologues.  Not a lot of lights and music but they definitely engage the imagination and entertain. Person + stage + material+ audience = theatre.

Until November 5 IFOA is on the road so if you can’t make it to a reading in Toronto check the out of town schedule to see if there is a reading near you.

The reading was in the Brigantine Room at Harbourfront.  It was set up like a cabaret with small tables rather than with chairs in rows.  Nice and intimate.

Author readings are about the words rather than the performance.  Some authors are better readers than others.  Some readings capture the imagination more than others. Last year I went to hear authors whose books I had read and enjoyed.  This year I decided to hear authors whose books I hadn’t read.

Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall read from his first novel Ghosted.  It’s about a struggling writer who gets a job selling hot dogs from an amazing sounding cart and then becomes a professional ghost writer of suicide notes.

It was funny and sad and the imagery was wonderful.

I’ll definitely be reading it.

Elena Forbes read from her new novel Evil in Return. It’s the third book in her series featuring Mark Tartaglia, a London murder squad detective and is a murder mystery. He’s called in when an author is killed in a particularly horrid way.

I’m looking forward to reading the first two in the series before I read Evil in Return.

Len Gasparini is a poet. Before he read poems from Broken World – a collection of his poems written between 1967 and 1998 – he said that he was not sure why he was reading with crime writers but that he was enjoying it and was proposing a new genre – crime poetry.  He read “I was a Poet for the Mafia”, a very funny poem. I fell in love with his titles.  One of the other poems he read was “My Mother Loved to Dance the Tango”.

Poetry isn’t something that I’d read on my own but I do love hearing it read.

Thomas Perry is an American crime writer and Strip is  his latest novel.  He read two scenes, both very imaginative and funny.  His description of a man hiding out in the cab of a tower crane and then using the crane to fight of the bad guys was wonderful.

I’ll  be reading Thomas Perry in the near future.

It was a very enjoyable evening.


– IFOA continues at Harbourfront until November 31st with readings and round table discussions and in various locations around Ontario until November 5.
– Tickets are $18.00 and can be purchased online, by phone – 416-973-4000 – or at the box office (Harbourfront Centre Box Office, York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. The Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday, 1pm to 6pm 8pm on evenings with events.)
– See the IFOA schedule for venues and times