Thursday, August 20, 2009

International Festival of Authors gets Scottish funds

Toronto's International Festival of Authors (IFOA) has received a monetary gift through a new partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival to the tune of £50,000 ($90,000 Cdn) to promote Scottish writers.

This year's festival, running from Oct. 21 to 31, has a Writing Scotland focus that will feature three round table events in partnership with the Edinburgh organization.

"This partnership with the Edinburgh Book Festival brings the highest ever concentration of Scottish writers to the IFOA stage," said Geoffrey Taylor, director of Toronto's International Festival of Authors.

"[It] ensures we can continue to present Scotland's most important contemporary writers to Canadian audiences for years to come."

This year's festival features a roster of Scottish writers and Canadian authors of Scottish descent including CBC journalist Linden MacIntyre, Alan Bissett, Ron Butlin, David Byrne, Margaret Elphinstone, Jen Hadfield, Richard Holloway, Quintin Jardine, A.L. Kennedy, Martin MacIntyre, Alistair MacLeod, Ken McGoogan, James Meek, Denise Mina, Alice Munro, Andrew O'Hagan, Eleanor Thom and Ian Rankin.

"I am looking forward to going back to Canada," said Rankin, a mystery novelist whose Inspector Rebus series has gained a worldwide following.

"I always have a wonderful time there, and enjoy getting to know more of the talented Canadian writers and poets."

Not only is this the festival's 30th year, but it is also Scotland's Year of Homecoming, in which people of Scottish backgrounds are invited to visit the country. Some 4.2 million Canadians claim Scottish heritage.

"The rich and unique partnership between Edinburgh's International Book Festival and the IFOA is significant. It will showcase the best of contemporary Scottish literature, further strengthening the cultural ties between our two nations," said Michael Russell, Scotland's minister of culture, in a statement late Wednesday.

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