Festival Odds & Ends

Festival Odds & Ends

It probably goes without saying that I like to read (and I'm particularly fond of fiction) but mostly I'm not someone who seeks out author readings or wants to learn more about the author. The stories themselves are all I'm after.

The Year of the FloodHaving said that, there were two authors I hoped to see at this year's Word On The Street festival in Toronto. One was my favourite Toronto Star columnist, Joe Fiorito. Anyone who doubts that Toronto has a heart need only read his column to be proven wrong. You can check out his Star columns dating back to January 09 here. The second was Margaret Atwood who was scheduled to appear in person in Toronto and simultaneously via LongPen in Halifax and Vancouver. I heartily enjoyed Joe Fiorito's appearance but unfortunately by the time we arrived at the Scotiabank Bestsellers' tent all the seats (predictably!) were long gone and a sizeable crowd had gathered outside, straining to see and hear what was going on within. After several minutes of squinting at Margaret Atwood in the distance, unable to hear a word of what she was saying (the PA system obviously wasn't set up with a crowd that large in mind!), we decided to implement Plan B, which was shuffling off to a nearby theatre to see one of the movies we'd missed at this year's TIFF.

I'm sure The Year of the Flood discussion was scintillating and I'm very much looking forward to reading it (after I make some serious progress on the book I'm currently working on) but we pushed on from a dystopian novel to a family drama film. The Boys Are Back, directed by Scott Hicks, is based on the memoirs of Simon Carr and tells the story of British sports writer Joe Warr (played by Clive Owen) who is living in rural Australia when he's suddenly widowed and must learn how to care for his young son alone. During the course of the film the two of them are joined by Joe's teenage son from his first marriage. Things do not go smoothly, to say the least, but it's a wonderful movie, emotional without being the least bit manipulative or maudlin. Clive Owen's young co-stars shine as does Owen who delivers a three-dimensional portrait of a grieving father who was never around much and is now forced to confront his shortcomings and decide what to do about them.

The Boys Are Back

I'm also hoping to watch Bright Star, another TIFF film that I missed out on, in the not too distant future, but for the next little while I need to knuckle down and write.

So if things are quiet around here for awhile you know why, but before I disappear I want to send my congratulations out to Tanita S. Davis whose fabulous YA book Mare's War has been nominated as an Amelia Bloomer book (an annual list of recommended feminist literature for readers from birth to the age of 18). You can read some of my thoughts on Mare's War in this August blog entry.
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