TIFA’s celebrates its 40th Anniversary

by | Nov 11, 2019 | A&E, News

John Grant
Sports Reporter

The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) held at the Harbourfront Centre showed the profound effect writing and books have in unifying people to discuss literature.

TIFA celebrated its 40th anniversary with more than 30 guest speakers throughout its 11-day festival, allowing attendees to listen to and learn from a wide selection of inspiring authors.

From Toronto-based author Emily Saso to American political activist Angela Davis, TIFA captivated the audience.

Don Winslow (left) on stage talking about his book The Cartel with Linwood Barclay (right) at TIFA on Oct. 24. (John Grant)

Award-winning writer Don Winslow appeared at the festival Oct. 24 to discuss his books in detail with Canadian writer Linwood Barclay.

Winslow penned 20 international bestsellers such as The Power of the Dog and The Cartel. Moreover, one of his books, called The Border, has been sold to the FX network, which will air in 2020. Winslow said events like TIFA, which was held at Toronto Harbourfront, are necessary for bringing people together for human interactions, something we don’t do as much anymore.

“We don’t get together and look at each other and talk as humans. see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices,” he said.

“Birds used to tweet, now we do,” Winslow said.

This event brought people together and allowed them to get back to what they used to do, which is to engage, embrace and share. The authors and audiences showed books are not dying and that there are always individuals wanting to learn and obtain knowledge.

“It was wonderful for me to have an opportunity to ask one of my favourite writers here to be able to talk to him,” said Barclay, a New York Times bestselling author and former newspaper writer. “So that for me was great. No, that was terrific.”

Winslow offered some advice to college students who want to continue to learn, flourish, and improve in their writing.

“The only way to get better, the only way I get better, is to write,” he said. “The secondary way, though, is read more. You know, it’s almost like food, isn’t it? You know, garbage in, garbage out.

“So, I would say write every day and read something good every day,” Winslow said.

Jennifer Marotta, a professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Innovative Learning, has been a part of the event for more than three years and has seen a multitude of great writers such as Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Hill and Roddy Doyle on the TIFA stage.

The event seems to be growing every year despite the growth of technology, she said.

“Anecdotally, from my perspective, it seems to be growing every year,” Marotta said. “Technology also makes it easier to plan your visit with your phone or computer.

“The festival is very busy, and the Harbourfront Centre was crowded with participants this past weekend,” she said.

TIFA started in 1974 and has garnered well over 9,000 authors from more than 100 countries, reflecting the popularity of the event.

The festival, the largest of its kind, is also the launchpad to showcase emerging writers to the world.