Five Questions with…Carolyn Smart

Smart, Carolyn

IFOA: What inspired you to write Careen?

Carolyn: For the past few years I have been interested in writing the unrevealed truths behind certain historical figures. Reading a recent biography of the outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, I learned that their lasting fame was based on one set of staged photographs left behind in a getaway, and a 1967 Arthur Penn film that to a large degree invented their story. I was drawn to tell the more realistic tale: the hardscrabble existence of two young people with absolutely nothing to lose in Depression-era Texas, an area and time with which I have a personal connection: my maternal grandfather was a failed gun-runner who died in penury in Laredo.

IFOA: What is the hardest part about writing poetry that resembles dialogue?

Carolyn: I wanted the poems to have recognizable and distinct voices, to be revealing information but also working as rhythmic language; I wanted lyricism and narrative linked. And for this book I took the leap to write in dialect, which to me felt revolutionary.

IFOA: What piece of advice do you give to aspiring authors in your creative writing classes?

Carolyn: I encourage emerging writers to avoid self-censorship, to edit thoroughly, and to remember why you write: because you love it.

IFOA: What are you reading now?

Carolyn: I am reading “Inferno (A Poet’s Novel)” by Eileen Myles, also “Speedboat” by Renata Adler. I just finished “Night Sky with Exit Wounds” by Ocean Vuong and “Bluets” by Maggie Nelson.

IFOA: What’s next for you?

Carolyn: I’m writing poems about all kinds of different things, in lots of different forms. I’m not sure where it’s going yet, but I’m open to anything.

 

See Carolyn read live at Brick Books’ 40th Anniversary Celebration on May 25th at 7:30pm.

IFOA and the 24th Toronto Jewish Film Festival Co-present: Call me Bullie and Louis-Ferdinand Celine

We are delighted to partner with the 24th Toronto Jewish Film Festival to co-present two films about authors, stories and writing.mash-up trailer tile logo

TJFF presents feature films, documentaries and shorts from Canada and around the world, on themes of Jewish culture and identity.

Call_Me_Bullie
CALL ME BULLIE / KRAA LI BULLIE
Hailed by The New York Times as “Israel’s Faulkner,” and the recipient of the Israel Prize for Hebrew literature, A. B. Yehoshua is one of Israel’s most beloved authors. In this intimate portrait of the man known to his friends as “Bullie,” director Omri Lior offers invaluable insight into Yehoshua’s writing process and the meticulous research he undertakes for each novel.
Director: Omri Lior | Israel 2015, 61 Min. English

Sunday May 8 • 1:00pm • The ROM Eaton Theatre
Thursday May 12 • 5:30pm • Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk

Louis Ferdinand Celine

LOUIS-FERDINAND CELINE
Denis Lavant (Holy Motors, Beau Travail) stars in this elegant adaptation of Milton Hindus’ book The Crippled Giant. Filmmaker Emmanuel Bourdieu tells the true story of Hindus, a Jewish American professor, as he meets the notoriously anti-Semitic French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline. With the intention of writing a memoir, Hindus visits the now-isolated writer and discovers the charismatic but troubled man behind the books he so admires.
Director: Emmanuel Bourdieu | France 2016, 90 Min. French

Monday May 9 • 6:30pm • The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Wednesday May 11 • 8:30pm • Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk

For a full list of films and to order tickets visit: tjff.com

Calling all poets!

1 stage. 20 poets. 1 winner.

The popular poetry competition returns in 2016 to feature 20 of Canada’s upcoming and established poets! One poet will receive an automatic invitation to read at the 37th edition of the International Festival of Authors AND an ad for their book in NOW!

Poetry NOW is presented in partnership with NOW Magazine.11 Poetry NOW logo

Poetry NOW FAQ

IFOA is inviting submissions for Poetry NOW: 8th annual Battle of the Bards. However, with a special event comes some special rules. Even if you’ve submitted/presented work here before, please read on to find out what’s what:

AUTHORS

So what’s this all about, anyway?

In 2009, IFOA posted its first-ever open call for submissions. Poets 35 and younger were invited to be part of a celebration of our 35 years in the reading series business. The standard of entries was astonishing, and the resulting event was one of the highlights of our year. The event returned in 2010, but was opened up to published poets of all ages. 2010 also saw a new partnership with our friends at NOW Magazine, and that collaboration continues this year.

I’m pretty good, y’know. Will there be any sort of prize?

Oh yes. One reader will win an automatic invitation to appear at the 37th edition of the International Festival of Authors (October 20–30, 2016) AND an ad for their most recent book of poetry in NOW Magazine! Not bad, eh?!

Who is eligible for Poetry NOW?

You must be published by a trade publisher in a collection that is all your own work (so anthologies, literary journals and magazines aren’t eligible, sorry). Your book must have been published within the last five years, and it must be currently in print.

This one seems kind of obvious, but you must also be in Toronto on March 30 and available between 5pm and 10pm. (Sorry, we are unable to cover car/train/boat/plane or accommodation expenses.)

I was part of last year’s event, can I still enter for the 2016 event?

Absolutely. We’d love to have you back. Besides, maybe you have a new book out since last year’s event…?

What sets Poetry NOW apart from your regular weekly literary events?

We’ll be featuring 20 readers in one event, instead of our usual two or three. And we won’t be making a judgment call about who gets an invite. If you fit the criteria and your name gets pulled out of the hat, you’re in!

Do I need to pre-register? Or can I just sign up on the night?

Although we’re throwing open the call for submissions, we will be confirming the line-up several weeks in advance and liaising with publishers to promote the event according to our usual procedures. Submissions must be made by your publisher by Monday, February 29 at noon.

(See our submission guidelines for publishers below.)

What’s the closing date for submissions?

Monday, February 29 at noon.

How many authors will get to read at the event? And for how long?

20 authors will read for up to 3 minutes each.

How will you choose the readers?

Submissions that fit the above criteria will go into a draw. You have as much chance of being selected as the next person.

Who picks the winner?

Judges to be announced shortly.

When will I find out if I’m in?

Publishers will be notified and details confirmed by March 4. We’ll announce the line-up March 7.

What if I have more than one publisher? Can they both submit my work?

By all means, but we will only put your name in the draw once. (Also, see below re: books being for sale on the night of the event.)

Will my books be for sale at the event?

Yes, but we will require each presenting poet or their publishing representative to bring the books on a consignment basis. Your publisher can arrange these details with us once we have the line-up confirmed.

I have lots of friends/family/groupies. How can they all come and support me?

Tickets are $10 (free to our supporters, students with valid ID and youth 25 & under) and can be purchased online soon. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget that we offer a 50% discount to all our events to members of the League of Canadian Poets (and also the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada and TPL’s New Collection).

Will there be a bar?

You betcha!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR PUBLISHERS

Please submit eligible titles by email to programming@ifoa.org by Monday, February 29 at noon.

You must include the following information:

  • Name of Author
  • Brief bio
  • Eligible title(s) and their year(s) of publications

Please write “Poetry NOW” in the subject line.

And please let us know if we already have the book under consideration for our regular weekly event series.

Once the 20 authors have been picked, we will contact the relevant publishers to confirm details.

At that point, you will be required to send:

  • 3 copies of the book the author will be presenting
  • An author bio and brief synopsis of the book
  • An author photo and book cover image (both as high res. jpegs)

Tweet to WIN!

Celebrate IFOA by tweeting or instagraming your best IFOA photo. It could be a picture of one of our IFOA authors, you reading your favourite IFOA 35 book or something else—the more creative, the better. Tweet or instagram your photos throughout the day on tweetTuesday, October 21 for a chance to win the ultimate IFOA Golden Ticket: 2 tickets to an IFOA event of your choice (excluding the PEN Benefit) and an invitation to our exclusive Welcome Party, where you can rub elbows with some of today’s hottest authors. Be sure to hashtag your tweets on Tuesday and throughout the Festival using #IFOA35. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @IFOA and on Instagram @internationalfestivalofauthors!

Don’t have Twitter or Instagram? Send us your photo via email to media@ifoa.org. Good Luck!

NEW partnership between IFOA and The Word On The Street Toronto

The-Word-On-The-Street1It’s been quite an exciting day over here at IFOA headquarters! This morning, we announced our new partnership with Canada’s largest book and magazine festival, The Word On The Street Toronto. In 2015, The Word On The Street Toronto will relocate its festival from Queen’s Park Circle to Harbourfront Centre, rendering our lakefront property the city’s true literary hub. This partnership has been a long time in the works, so we’re thrilled to finally see our plans realized!

Click here for more info.