Backstage at the International Festival of Authors

Toronto's International Festival of Authors is in full swing.I hosted two events last night. My photos aren't great, but they do convey the feeling of lurking backstage.img_8076This was the first round table Truth or Dare: Exploring the Human Psyche.Pictured are Miguel Ángel Hernández (talking with cap), Suzana Tratnik (almost hidden), Ruth Ware (hair tied up), Samantha Harvey (long hair), and moderated by the Toronto Star’s Deborah Dundas (beside Miguel).Not pictured in this photo are the incredible lives all these writers have led. It was my job to introduce them and I left with many more questions that I had time to ask. The next event was with award-winning biographer and historian Charlotte Gray and internationally acclaimed author Jane Urquhart. They discussed Canada’s identity and history through its people, ideas and objects.img_8083As a young(ish) writer, these two authors have played a huge role in my reading and writing life. It was an honour to meet them both--or to be more honest, I was quite starstruck.But it is hard to stay starstruck around women who are as friendly and warm as Jane and Charlotte. We had just got on to solving the problems of the Toronto real estate market when our conversation was cut short. It was time to go on stage.The authors described their discussion last night as part of an ongoing conversation.They had a fantastic rapport and listening from the side stage was like scoring a seat at the best dinner party I could imagine. They were not afraid to challenge ideas, draw out a line of questioning, or pay a compliment. All this made for a dialogue that crackled with energy.