LuminaTO 2011 - Literary & Illuminations Programs

The fifth anniversary edition of Luminato takes place from June 10-19, 2011. Tickets for all Luminato 2011 programs will be available for sale as of April 16, 2011.

If you sign up as an "insider", you can get tickets starting April 11.
• For details, please visit

Complete Luminato 2011 Literary and Illuminations Programs:
Beirut39 at Luminato
Luminato partners with the UK’s prestigious Hay Festival to present Beirut39 at Luminato, a literary event featuring five leading Arab writers under the age of 39. Authors from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Morocco visit Toronto for an onstage conversation about contemporary literature in the Arab world.

Beirut39 at Luminato includes: Egyptian author Randa Jarrar, whose first novel, A Map of Home, won the Arab American Book Award; Moroccan poet, author and journalist Yassin Adnan; Beirutbased poet and novelist Hyam Yared; Saudi novelist, poet and journalist Mohammad Hassan Alwan; and Joumana Haddad, a Lebanese author, editor and administrator of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, a prestigious literary prize managed in association with the Booker Prize Foundation in London. Luminato is the Hay Festival’s first partnership with a Canadian cultural institution. Beirut39 at Luminato is hosted by Jian Ghomeshi (CBC Radio’s Q).

• Beirut39 at Luminato is produced in partnership with the Hay Festival and is presented on Sunday, June 12 at 1 PM at the Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West. $20.*

Modern Day Shahrazads
This year, in the Festival’s theatre program, Luminato pays tribute to one of the greatest folk-story cycles of all time, One Thousand and One Nights, narrated in the original Persian by Shahrazad, the skilled storyteller who distracted King Shahryar with her spellbinding tales. Building on this, Luminato highlights consummate female storytellers from around the world in multiple events across the city. Luminato presents solo readings and appearances by literary greats Joyce Carol Oates, Jeanette Winterson, Ann Patchett, Hanan al-Shaykh and Geraldine Brooks, and a panel discussion in homage to the female voice in fiction featuring Leila Aboulela, Elizabeth Hay, Maxine Hong Kingston and Miriam Toews.

Joyce Carol Oates
Prolific American author Joyce Carol Oates makes a rare Toronto appearance in support of her new memoir, A Widow’s Story. An unflinchingly personal tale, A Widow’s Story reveals both a devastatingly beautiful intimacy and the catharsis of the written word. Oates, who has written some of the most enduring stories of our time, is the winner of the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Art of the Short Story, and most recently is a recipient of the 2010 National Humanities Medal, the highest US government honour given to scholars, writers, artists and entertainers.

Joyce Carol Oates appears for a reading, discussion, Q&A and book signing on Wednesday, June 15 at 7 PM at the Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West. $20.*

Ann Patchett
Celebrated author Ann Patchett appears at Luminato for the Canadian launch of her new novel, State of Wonder. Winner of the EN/Faulkner Award and Britain’s Orange Prize for her novel Bel Canto, Patchett is also the author of the multiple award-winning memoir Truth & Beauty: A Friendship.

Ann Patchett appears for a reading and Q&A on Saturday, June 11 at 7 PM at the Al Green Theatre (Miles Nadal JCC), 750 Spadina Avenue (at Bloor). $20.*

Jeanette Winterson
At Luminato this June, Jeanette Winterson delivers the only Canadian preview of her much anticipated new memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. Winterson is the winner of Britain’s Whitbread Prize for her first novel and author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Sexing the Cherry and Written on the Body. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for her contributions to literature, and has been called “one of the most original voices in British fiction.”

Jeanette Winterson appears for a reading and Q&A at Luminato on Friday, June 17 at 7 PM in the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street.
• Produced in association with the Toronto Public Library.
• Free.

Geraldine Brooks
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Geraldine Brooks joins Luminato for the Canadian launch of her latest novel, Caleb's Crossing, a remarkable shard of history brought to life as it follows the story of the first Native American to go to Harvard. Brooks also authored The New York Times bestseller People of the Book.

Geraldine Brooks appears at Luminato for a reading and Q&A on Sunday, June 12 at 4 PM, in The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street.
• Produced in association with the Toronto Public Library.
• Free.

Leila Aboulela, Elizabeth Hay, Maxine Hong Kingston and Miriam Toews
Four superb storytellers, whose stories range from Canada and the U.S. to Arabic-speaking Sudan, come together to discuss their craft and share their latest works. Two books have their Canadian launch at this event - the newest works from Leila Aboulela and Maxine Hong Kingston. Aboulela, winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, presents her new novel, Lyrics Alley, a sweeping tale of desire, loss, and faith, while Maxine Hong Kingston, awardwinning author of The Woman Warrior, China Men and Tripmaster Monkey, presents her memoir I Love a Broad Margin to My Life.

Miriam Toews, author of Summer of My Amazing Luck and A Complicated Kindness (winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award) reads from her just-released novel, Irma Voth.

Elizabeth Hay, author of A Student of Weather, Garbo Laughs, and the Giller Prize-winning Late Nights on Air, discusses her new novel, Alone in the Classroom. Hosted by Eleanor Wachtel (CBC Radio’s Writers & Company).

Leila Aboulela, Elizabeth Hay, Maxine Hong Kingston and Miriam Toews appear for readings and a panel discussion on Thursday, June 16, 7 PM, at the Al Green Theatre, (Miles Nadal JCC) 750 Spadina Avenue (at Bloor). $20.*

Hanan al-Shaykh
Hanan al-Shaykh, acclaimed author and translator of Luminato’s One Thousand and One Nights, speaks about her body of work and her role in translating the ancient tales of Shahrazad. Lebanese-born novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, al-Shaykh has been called “one of the most daring and controversial female writers of the Middle East.” Her books, which include Women of Sand and Myrrh, The Story of Zahra, Beirut Blues, Only in London, I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops, and The Locust and the Bird, have been published in more than 20 languages around the world.

A discussion with Hanan al-Shaykh takes place on Monday June 13, 7 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West. $20.*

Arabic Poetry

Award-winning poet and translator Khaled Mattawa visits Luminato to discuss the art of Arabic poetry. Mattawa is the long-time translator of Adonis (the Arab world’s most famous poet and favourite for the Nobel Prize). Mattawa is joined by Lebanese-Canadian poet John Asfour, and Libyan novelist and poet Hisham Matar, whose novel In the Country of Men won the inaugural Arab American Book Award.

Support for the appearance of John Asfour has been provided by The Province of Quebec.

• Arabic Poetry takes place on Tuesday June 14, at 7 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West. $20.*

Luminato’s Illuminations are events created to enhance Festival programming, featuring esteemed Festival guests in discussions about the artistic process, the healing power of storytelling, art as safe ground and modern takes on classic tales.

Art as Safe Ground
Acclaimed Canadian artists working in theatre, film and literature discuss how - or if - Canada provides a safe space for artistic expression, and what conditions are necessary in order for a safe creative space to exist and to be sustainable. The panel features playwright Judith Thompson, author Anna Porter and filmmaker Deepa Mehta. The event is moderated by Steve Paikin, host of TVO’s The Agenda.

• Art as Safe Ground takes place on Saturday June 18, 1 PM at Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West. Produced in association with Diaspora Dialogues. $20.*

The Healing Power of Story

Master storytellers Laura Simms and Dan Yashinsky discuss the transformative power of storytelling in this Illuminations program. Simms’s work includes bringing stories to Haiti and to New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina, and in work with child soldiers including her own adopted son, Ishmael Beah (author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier). Yashinsky is a Toronto-based storyteller, radio host, author, and community organizer. His work includes Talking You In, a modern Shahrazad story set in a neo-natal intensive care unit, which has been used in training programs for critical care medical staff. Yashinsky is founder of the Toronto Festival of Storytelling, and co-founder of the Storytellers School of Toronto.

The Healing Power of Story takes place on Sunday June 19 at 12 PM, at OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street.
• Free.

Modern Takes on Old Stories
Luminato 2011 examines modern takes on old stories, from its commission of One Thousand and One Nights, to Evie Christie’s adaptation of Racine’s Andromache, to Theatre Smith-Gilmour’s production of LU XUN blossoms. Join One Thousand and One Nights’ director Tim Supple, author Evie Christie, artistic director Dean Gilmour and renowned Columbia professor Muhsin al-Musawi, an expert on One Thousand and One Nights, for a rich discussion on the craft of adaptation and interpretation.

Modern Takes on Old Stories takes place on Saturday, June 18 at 4:30 PM at Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West.
• Free

Confluence: A Common Search for the Creative Spark
The co-creators of Confluence reflect on the nature of artistic partnership—and how it inspires their work. Join acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan and composer-musician Nitin Sawhney as these two extraordinary artists explore their common search for that “indefinable spark” and discuss how the chemistry of collaboration can unleash incredible creative power.

Confluence: A Common Search for the Creative Spark takes place on Friday, June 17 at 12 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West.
• Free.

* All ticket prices include taxes and handling fees.

For 10 extraordinary days in June, Toronto’s stages, streets, and public spaces are illuminated with arts and creativity. Luminato is an annual multi-disciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, fashion, film, and more. For more information, please visit