Alice Munro & Cockburn/Ondaatje Events Support PEN

TORONTO, Sept. 21 /CNW/ - PEN Canada is thrilled to announce that its opening night IFOA fundraiser with Alice Munro and Diana Athill is sold out. But, tickets for their Cockburn/Ondaatje event have just gone on sale, giving their fans an opportunity to witness a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration.

"As an as organization that defends freedom of expression and advances literature and literary dialogue, we are extremely pleased," says PEN Canada President Ellen Seligman, "to launch our 2009-2010 season of PEN events with Alice Munro and Diana Athill, followed by Michael Ondaatje and Bruce Cockburn in creative collaboration."

The opening night gala at IFOA will be Ms Munro's only onstage interview connected with the launch of her much-anticipated collection Too Much Happiness! Joining Ms Munro will be esteemed British editor and celebrated memoirist Diana Athill, whose most recent book, Somewhere Towards the End, was published last year, when she was 91. CBC Radio personality Matt Galloway will host the evening, and author/broadcaster Bill Richardson will moderate the conversation between Munro and Athill.

The second event in PEN Canada's fall literary lineup on November 19, will bring together two Canadian legends, Bruce Cockburn and Michael Ondaatje in a rare collaboration of music and words, with a conversation about the joys and challenges of the creative life. CBC Radio Two's Laurie Brown will host the evening. The event will take place at Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $50 and are on sale now. This event is in honour of Constance Rooke (1942-2009), who was a past president of PEN Canada and a passionate advocate of freedom of expression and the arts.

Event proceeds will go to PEN Canada in support of its vital work on behalf of writers in prison, writers in exile, and freedom of speech.

About PEN Canada

PEN Canada is a centre of International PEN that campaigns on behalf of writers around the world persecuted for the expression of their thoughts. In Canada, it supports the right to free expression enshrined in Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the past five years, PEN Canada has helped to free over 40 writers from prison.

About the IFOA

The International Festival of Authors was inaugurated in 1980 with a mandate to bring together the best writers of contemporary world literature. Like the weekly reading series, the IFOA includes readings, interviews, lectures and round table discussions as well as public book signings and a festival bookstore. The IFOA also presents a number of special events including readings by Scotiabank Giller Prize, Governor General's Literary Awards, and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize finalists, as well as the awarding of the Harbourfront Festival Prize.

    PEN Canada Fall Literary Events:

    October 21, 2009, opening night of the IFOA
    Too Much Happiness!
    Diana Athill in conversation with Alice Munro
    Reception 6:30pm, event 8:00pm
    Fleck Dance Theatre
    207 Queen's Quay West

    November 19, 2009
    Cockburn & Ondaatje
    An evening of music and words
    7:00pm, Glenn Gould Studio
    250 Front Street West
    Tickets: $50, includes tax receipt

Purchase by phone through Roy Thomson Hall at 416-872-4255 or online at


For further information: For further information: Media contact for PEN Canada: Kendra Ward:, (647) 235-0946 or Bruce Walsh:, (416) 465-5237; Media contact for IFOA: Becky Toyne, Communications Coordinator, Authors at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario, M5J 2G8, Office: (416) 973-5836,

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