Sunday, October 23, & Wednesday October 26 (IFoA) & Thursday, October 27 (JFT)
It was a busy week in Toronto for renowned poet, author and book designer/creator, Takashi Hiraide as he participated in two separate events during the International Festival of Authors. Mr. Hiraide’s time in Toronto was topped off by a special lecture hosted at the Japan Foundation, Toronto.
The first event, Interrupting Familiar Spaces, was held on Sunday at the Harbourfront Centre in downtown Toronto, and comprised of readings from poets Sylvia Legris and Sarah Pinder as well as Mr. Hiraide. The readings were followed by a panel Q&A session. Mr. Hiraide read the opening chapter of his New York Times best-selling novel, The Guest Cat, with the help of interpreter, Deirdre Tanaka. The audience was treated to detailed descriptions of the quiet setting of “Lighting Alley” in a Tokyo suburb, the house and garden of the author, as well as the introduction of the main subject of the book, Chibi the cat. After all authors had read, Mr. Hiraide answered questions from the audience, who were particularly interested in the process of translating such prose into different languages and how it affects the work. The event culminated in a book signing session with all three authors.
The second event, on Wednesday, was a more intimate affair which took place at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus. Readings by Mr. Hiraide and André Alexi, author of the Giller Prize winning Fifteen Dogs, were followed by a round table discussion facilitated by author Professor Andrew Westoll. The audience, comprising mostly of creative writing students, enthusiastically peppered the authors with questions about their work, and they also sought tips on developing their skills and careers.
To round out his stay in Toronto, Mr. Hiraide gave a lecture, The life of a book….somewhere between the Cat and the Walnut, where he discussed his exploration of the principles of the Japanese “I novel” (a genre of confessional, fictionalized memoir), Dada and Surrealism found in The Guest Cat, and how poetics, autobiography and playful linguistics merge in his collection of poetry, For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut. During the tail end of the talk, Mr. Hiraide presented works of his book design and ongoing mail art experiment which were on display in The Japan Foundation, Toronto gallery in the exhibit Takashi Hiraide —- Airpost Poetry Book Design for One from One, through November 5, 2016.