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Friday, November 08, 2013


Left to Right: Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti, Janie Chang, Author, Lauren B.Davis, Author, Margaret Drabble, Author, Nicole Lundrigan, Author, Lewis DeSoto, Author & Host, Helen Argiro, Executive Director of the Markham Arts Council, Sheniz Janmohamed, Arts Administrator, Nirmala Armstrong, Chair of Markham Arts Council, Mary Pan, Vice Chair of the Markham Arts Council. — with Jeremiah Hill at Cornell Community Centre and Library.

The International Festival of Authors (IFOA) Markham had an all-women panel of authors comprising Janice Chang, Lauren B. Davis, Margaret Drabble, and Nicole Lundrigan reading at the Cornell Community Centre and Library. The theatre at the library has a warm feel to it, allowing for a more intimate relationship between the audience and the writer.

The little theatre at the Cornell Community Centre and Library in Markham has a warm feel to it. It allows for a more intimate connection between the audience and the writer. The connection turns magical when the writers are an eclectic group of woman that represent diverse experiences, even of three of them – Janice Chang, Lauren B. Davis and Nicole Lundrigan – were from Canada, and only one of them – Margaret Drabble – was a true celebrity.

Chang, from Vancouver, has lived in Philippines, Iran and Thailand. She read from her debut novel Three Souls, a historical novel narrated by a ghost. The novel “was inspired by the tragic story of her grandmother, whose life, like so many generations of women in China, was not her own.”  

Lauren B. Davis read from her semi-autobiographical novel The Empty Room, which is a story about a woman whose “worst enemy – and only friend – is the bottle.” Davis quit alcohol 18 years ago. A memorable line from the passage she read was: “The apartment was impossibly, accusingly quiet.”

Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire Margaret Drabble read a passage from The Pure Gold Baby about a single mother of an unusual daughter. When asked by moderator what compelled her to write, start a new novel, Drabble, who is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth and The Needle’s Eye, and biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson, replied in all seriousness: “Boredom.”

Nicole Lundrigan read from The Widow Tree, “which finds three teenagers facing life-altering consequences after they conceal a valuable discovery in a small village post-war Yugoslavia.

The Mayor of Markham Frank Scarpitti not only inaugurated the festival, and gave a brief speech, but sat through the entire session, visibly enjoying himself. 

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