A memory, the festivals

I moved to Toronto and the first significant thing I did when was to volunteer at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA). This was more than 10 years ago. I moved to the city to go to school and to write. Going to IFOA seemed like the perfect way to mark this passage.

I wanted to hear this author I liked. I saw him read on stage. I got in for free because of the volunteering. I was student-broke. Sitting in the auditorium listening to the reading felt glamorous, exhilarating.

Later on, I was at an after-party event at the penthouse of the Westin hotel where I did my volunteering thing, which was serving drinks and napkins and small edible things. The penthouse is on the top floor of the hotel and it overlooks the city. I walked around the room with my tray, dizzy with the city outside dark but lit up, like Lite-Brite. Inside it was yellow and dimmed-orange of lamps and everyone was wearing a black dress and a suit and everyone was drinking bad white wine in clinking glasses and talking about books. This was it.

This year I get to experience the festivals as an author. This seems incredible to me. And I am so looking forward to seeing you there – after all, you are the reasons why the festivals exist, why I got invited this year, why we celebrate books. This is it.


One for the Road Jowita Bydlowska & Ann Dowsett Johnston Readings & Conversation

Saturday, September 28, 2013  at  4:30–5:30 pm  

Bellevue South 40




Bookmarks: A selection of Festival artists (Jowita Bydlowska, Douglas Glover, Sue Goyette, Elizabeth Ruth) share insightful, accessible and playfully irreverent tips on the joys of page-turning, as they divulge their approach to reading their own writing and the work of others.

Thursday, October 17 at 12 noon

Arts Learning Centre – EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts

True Confessions: The realities of alternative parenting and unconventional upbringings are on display as these memoirists confess the truth behind remarkable stories. With Jowita Bydlowska, Helen Humphreys, Priscila Uppal, and Alison Wearing.

Saturday, October 19 at 4:30 pm

Calgary Public Library, John Dutton Theatre


Just me talking about me. Actually, hopefully, talking about WRITING.

Host: Andreas Schroeder
Friday, October 25, 2013 – 10:00am – 11:30am
Studio 1398

In the Beginning: Four writers talk about the starting places for their memoirs and where they’ve arrived as a result.

Host: Andreas Schroeder
Friday, October 25, 2013 – 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Granville Island Stage


READING: S. Bear Bergman, Jowita Bydlowska, Wayson Choy, Alison Wearing

November 3 2013 – 11:00 AM

Authors S. Bear Bergman, Jowita Bydlowska, Wayson Choy and Alison Wearing share their most recent works.

Messages from the Bottle

November 3 2013 – 3:00 PM

Female authors discuss writing about addiction.