By: Ashton Osmak

"Get your free books, here!"

Ashton Osmak

The International Festival of Authors pep rally at Ryerson University last Tuesday morning was a wake-up call for students. Throughout the 12-day book fest that launched this week, students can get free tickets to events. People passing by Victoria and Gould on Ryerson campus around 10am on Tuesday were handed free books, written by authors appearing at the festival this year.

“The free tickets program is about 5 years old now but it seems to us that not enough students are aware of it,” explained Authors at Harbourfront executive director Geoffrey Taylor. Essentially, for each event 20 to 25 tickets are set aside for students. To get them, all you have to do is reserve in advance by phone and show your student card when you go to the box office to pick them up.

If you have never been to the IFOA, here’s what you’ve been missing. For about two weeks in October over 150 authors get on stage for a variety of events at the Harbourfront Centre. It is the largest annual literary gathering in Canada and attracts top writers from across the globe. On top of the standard events, which are readings, round table discussions and interviews, the IFOA also has special presentations.

An official sponsor of the IFOA, The Walrus magazine was at the Pep Rally handing out free magazines and promoting their big night on October 27th: Fleck, A Verse Comedy. This event will feature over 20 IFOA authors doing a dramatic reading of Alasdair Gray’s play with Walrus editor John Macfarlane acting as host.

Other special events include programming that is part of the Found in Translation series on the benefits and challenges of translating literature. The McLuhan 100 hits the IFOA for four events that pay tribute to media theorist Marshall McLuhan. Catch Canadian artist and novelist Douglas Coupland do a YouTube talk on Wednesday October 26th as part of this series.

Take advantage of the free student tickets to the 32nd annual International Festival of Authors. The festival runs October 19-30. Programing details are available online at and tickets can be reserved by calling: 416-973-4000.

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