Authors at Harbourfront Centre

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Authors at Harbourfront Centre
Authors at Harbourfront Centre stage.jpg
Type Literary Arts
Founded 1974
  • 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Canada
Key people Director, Geoffrey E. Taylor
Board of Directors:
Avie Bennett, President
William Boyle
Richard Clewes
Lewis DeSoto
Karin Eaton
Jeffrey Smyth

Authors at Harbourfront Centre (AUTHORS), located on Toronto, Ontario's waterfront, plays an important role in the cultural life of Canada by presenting the finest international novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers and biographers in a wide range of literary arts events, while simultaneously providing Canadian writers with an internationally recognized forum in which to present their work.


Since its inception in 1974, the mission of AUTHORS programming is to promote interest and enthusiasm in writing and reading on both a local and international level; to showcase the excellence and variety of Canadian literature; to introduce young readers to the wonders, pleasures and possibilities of reading and writing; to provide Canadian and international authors with an opportunity to meet and to exchange ideas; and to offer programs and events for a wide range of communities and age groups that increase the awareness of all forms of literature.

Incorporated in 1986 as a non-profit organization with a mandate to ‘cultivate and advance the cause of literature,’ the organization operates, year round, under the principal sponsorship of Harbourfront Centre, Toronto’s leading multidisciplinary centre for contemporary arts. AUTHORS is home to a weekly literary event series (September to June), the annual International Festival of Authors (IFOA) (October), including YoungIFOA and IFOA Ontario, and ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers with Forest of Reading Festival of Trees (May).

The Festival and weekly series together have held readings, round table discussions, interviews and performances involving over 7,500 authors from more than 100 countries. Annually, AUTHORS’ programs attract over 80,000 audience members. The majority of attendees come from the Greater Toronto Area, but there is a growing percentage of audience members that come from across Ontario, the United States and internationally.


AUTHORS programming runs throughout the year with several different categories of programming. Each AUTHORS event is digitally recorded on photo, video and audio. Beginning in 2006, these recordings are sent to the holdings of the Library and Archives Canada. This not only allows researchers and documentary makers extensive use of the archives, but acts as a permanent documentation of AUTHORS’ extensive programming.

Authors at Harbourfront Centre Weekly Event Series[edit]

Running from September to June, the weekly event series includes authors taking part in events like readings, round table discussions and interviews.

International Festival of Authors[edit]

The International Festival of Authors (IFOA), one of the most celebrated literary festivals in the world,[1] was inaugurated in 1980 with a mandate to bring together the best writers of contemporary world literature. Like the weekly series, IFOA includes readings, interviews, round table discussions and talks, as well as public book signings and a festival bookstore. IFOA also continues to present readings by Scotiabank Giller Prize, Governor General’s Literary Award and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize finalists, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction recipient, and the awarding of the $10,000 Harbourfront Festival Prize.

IFOA Ontario[edit]

Beginning in 2007, AUTHORS sought to grow their audience base by introducing the IFOA’s touring program, IFOA Ontario. This touring program visits communities in numerous cities and towns across Ontario. In 2010 IFOA Ontario featured 16 events in 14 towns and cities, from Windsor to Picton and Hamilton to Sudbury.[2]


An integral part of the IFOA, YoungIFOA was born as a way to include a younger generation of readers in a festival of international repute.

ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers[edit]

ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers was also introduced in 2005, featuring some of the world’s leading authors for young people. In 2010, ALOUD was incorporated as part of the Forest of Reading Festival of Trees.

In May 2007, AUTHORS hosted the first annual Forest of Reading Festival of Trees on the 10-acre Harbourfront Centre site. Now Canada’s largest children’s literary event, attracting 8,000 audience members annually, this action-packed festival celebrates the shared experience of reading through award ceremonies, workshops and activities. The Festival of Trees is presented with the Ontario Library Association.

Harbourfront Festival Prize[edit]

Established in 1984, the Harbourfront Festival Prize ($10,000 CDN) is presented annually in recognition of an author's contribution to Canadian letters – based on the merits of their own published work and/or the time they have invested in nurturing the next generation of literary talent.

2010 Harbourfront Festival Prize[edit]

Peter Robinson was selected for the 2010 Harbourfront Festival Prize based on the merits of his own published work and his substantial contribution to the world of books. Robinson was selected by a jury comprising John van Driel (VP Programming & Operations, Classical 96.3 FM), Mark Medley (Journalist, National Post) and Geoffrey E. Taylor (Director, AUTHORS & IFOA).[3]

Past Recipients[edit]

Prize Winners at Authors[edit]

Canadian Awards[edit]

Scotiabank Giller Prize[edit]

Governor General's Literary Award for English Fiction[edit]

Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction[edit]

Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize[edit]

International Awards[edit]

Nobel Prize in Literature[edit]

Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), 2010
Herta Müller (Romania. Germany), 2009
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio (France), 2008
Doris Lessing (UK), 2007
Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), 2006
Harold Pinter (UK), 2005
J.M. Coetzee (South Africa), 2003
Seamus Heaney (Ireland), 1995
Kenzaburo Ōe (Japan), 1994
Toni Morrison (U.S.A.), 1993
Derek Walcott (St. Lucia), 1992
Nadine Gordimer (South Africa), 1991
Joseph Brodsky (Russia), 1987
Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), 1986
John Polanyi (Canada/Hungary), 1986 (Prize in Chemistry)
William Golding (UK), 1983
Czeslaw Milosz (U.S.A.), 1980
Saul Bellow (Canada/U.S.A.), 1976

Man Booker Prize[edit]

Howard Jacobson (UK), 2010
Hilary Mantel (UK), 2009
Anne Enright (Ireland), 2009
Aravind Adiga (India), 2008
Kiran Desai (India), 2006
John Banville (Ireland), 2005
Alan Hollinghurst (UK), 2004
Yann Martel (Canada), 2002
Peter Carey (Australia), 2001, 1988
Margaret Atwood (Canada), 2000
J.M. Coetzee (South Africa), 1999, 1983
Ian McEwan (UK), 1998
Graham Swift (UK), 1996
James Kelman (UK), 1994
Barry Unsworth (UK), 1992
Michael Ondaatje (Canada), 1992
Ben Okri (Nigeria), 1991
A.S. Byatt (UK), 1990
Kazuo Ishiguro (UK), 1989
Penelope Lively (UK), 1987
Keri Hulme (New Zealand), 1985
Thomas Keneally (Australia), 1982
Salman Rushdie (UK), 1981 (and in 1993 – Booker of Bookers)
Penelope Fitzgerald (UK), 1979
Nadine Gordimer (South Africa), 1974

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction[edit]

International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award[edit]

Gerbrand Bakker (The Netherlands), 2010
Michael Thomas (USA), 2009
Rawi Hage (Canada), 2008
Per Petterson (Norway), 2007
Colm Tóibín (Ireland), 2006
Edward P. Jones (U.S.A.), 2005
Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), 2003
Alistair MacLeod (Canada), 2001
Andrew Miller[disambiguation needed] (UK), 1999
Herta Müller (Germany), 1998
David Malouf (Australia), 1996

Orange Prize[edit]

Marilynne Robinson (USA), 2009
Rose Tremain (UK), 2008
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria), 2007
Zadie Smith (UK), 2006
Andrea Levy (UK), 2004
Valerie Martin (U.S.A.), 2003
Kate Grenville (Australia), 2001
Carol Shields (U.S.A.), 1998
Anne Michaels (Canada), 1997
Helen Dunmore (UK), 1996


  • Fleck Dance Theatre
  • Brigantine Room
  • Studio Theatre
  • Lakeside Terrace
  • Sirius Satellite Radio Stage - outdoor concert venue
  • Miss Lou's Room


External links[edit]