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 theater, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, fashion, film, and more.
Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity, has announced the Festival’s 2011 Literature and Illuminations programs, including the first Canadian appearances by renowned Arabic authors, premieres from some of the biggest names in fiction, and evocative storytellers discussing the transformative power of the written word.
Luminato’s timely focus on the Middle East continues with a slate of Arabic authors, poets and translators, many appearing in Toronto for the first time. Beirut39 at Luminato, a program in partnership with the UK’s prestigious Hay Festival, brings some of the freshest voices from the Arab world to Toronto from Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, including Joumana Haddad, author and administrator of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. For a night of Arabic Poetry, three award-winning Arabic poets discuss their craft and the art of translation in an evening of onstage readings, featuring award-winning poet and translator Khaled Mattawa, with Lebanese-Canadian poet John Asfour and Libyan novelist and poet Hisham Matar.
Authors debuting or previewing their newest works at Luminato include Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Patchett, Jeanette Winterson, Geraldine Brooks and Miriam Toews. This program, titled Modern Day Shahrazads, is a rich lineup featuring discussions and readings from some of the strongest women in fiction, including free events with Winterson and Brooks. Modern Day Shahrazads is inspired by Luminato’s 2011 production of One Thousand and One Nights, featuring Shahrazad, one of fiction’s consummate storytellers — a powerful woman whose skill at weaving a tale and constructing cliff-hangers, night after night, has forever placed her in our literary imaginations.
For the fifth consecutive year, Luminato presents its Illuminations series, a collection of free discussions featuring Luminato authors and artists. Esteemed writers, poets, directors and playwrights — including Judith Thompson, Deepa Mehta, Laura Simms and Tim Supple — explore the art of the written word, the healing power of story, and how modern works are adapted from classic tales.
“Luminato’s literary program features some of the most exciting and relevant storytellers in the world,” said Chris Lorway, Artistic Director of Luminato. “It’s a fresh and innovative line-up, and this year has a serendipitous Middle Eastern focus. The free Illuminations program complements the literary offerings and includes phenomenal talent, who are sure to inspire thought-provoking discussion.”
“It’s a pleasure to showcase such a diverse group of writers in Toronto, especially strong, young voices from the Arab world,” said Devyani Saltzman, Curator, Literary Programming and Illuminations. “I’m so excited for Luminato to be part of a larger conversation about the Middle East, especially from a cultural perspective. That, paired with a strong focus on women authors, makes our fifth anniversary program particularly exciting.”
One of the most anticipated events at this year’s program is 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; Beirut-based 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).
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. For details, please visit www.luminato.com.