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The International Festival of Authors – Thursday 29 October 2015

Each year in the autumn the leaves turn colour and fall from the trees and the International Festival of Authors return to Parry Sound, bringing four authors with international reputations for excellence in writing to the stage of The Charles W. Stockey Centre. This year, our eighth annual event we are presenting readings by Marina Endicott, Anne Enright, Nino Ricci and Deanna Young.

Nino Ricci is a renowned Canadian author. His first novel Lives of the Saints was awarded the 1990 Governor General’s Award for Fiction. He appeared at the Stockey Centre in 2009 to read from his book Origin of Species, and we are delighted to welcome him again to Parry Sound. His new novel Sleep is about a man who is deeply disturbed – conflicted about his upbringing and his relationship with his mother and brother, as he struggles in his marriage and his relationship with his young son. Everything is made even more difficult by a sleep disorder. Sleep is a dark and disturbing novel - but so brilliantly plotted and written.

Though Nino Ricci candidly talks about his own sleep disorder, managed with some of the same medications as his character in Sleep, fortunately he has not fallen into the same destructive madness. He is still happily married with children, and continuing to write.

In a recent interview his long-time editor, Martha Kanya-Forstner, describes Sleep as “a kind of a breakthrough. He’s had such an incredible career, and his books have all been extraordinary accomplishments in their own right, but there’s an intensity to this book, and a pulse and an energy, that I think just reveals this whole other side of who Nino is as a writer.”


Nino Ricci himself is quoted as saying, “I think a lot of my books were unlike previous books in certain ways. I’m always trying to set a new challenge for myself.” He also said that while writing Sleep, he kept thinking of Franz Kafka, who once remarked, “We ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading it for?” His intention with Sleep seems to be just that.


Sharing the stage will be Anne Enright, an Irish writer whose novel The Gathering about a large Irish family coming together for a funeral won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. This award brought her writing, more than ever, to the attention of an international audience of readers. Anne Enright’s novels are always exquisitely crafted, insightful and sometimes disturbing in the truths revealed.


Anne Enright’s most recent novel The Green Road is a story that follows the Madigan family from 1980 to the present time. There is a father who barely plays a part, a mother with her own interesting coping strategies, and the four children. A small family by Irish Catholic standards, but one with more than enough happening in their lives to fill a novel.


The Green Road is also a novel about leaving and returning – to the family and to Ireland. We are all familiar with the Irish Emigration of the far past when so many came to Canada, but the more recent emigration of the 1980s was not only because of the lack of employment in Ireland but also, as Anne Enright has said, “ because the moral atmosphere of the country was unbearably claustrophobic, and because in order to be themselves, they had to leave, in order to possess their own life. You had that feeling in the 80s that your life was elsewhere, that your real life was in New York or London, and not in this squabbling country that was always talking about goddamn contraception like it was the devil’s work.”

Early this year Anne Enright became Ireland’s first Fiction Laureate. This honour involves teaching creative writing to students in both New York City and Dublin, and promoting literary fiction.

It is truly an exceptional privilege for the International Festival of Authors Parry Sound to welcome Anne Enright when she will read from The Green Road from the Stockey Centre stage on Thursday 29 October at 7:30.

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