03 May 2007

Stephen King's Return To Toronto

Stephen King is coming to the GTA this June as part of "Booked!", a new authors festival that runs concurrently with the "Luminato Festival Of Arts And Creativity" "and "BookExpo Canada", where he'll receive a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Booksellers Association.

Incredibly, it's his first "official" appearance, although early in his career he made appearances on MuchMusic and hung out for an afternoon at the classic rock station Q-107. He was also seen at this past year's Giller Prize festivities, where he kept a low profile despite a brouhaha over the presence of some of his novels on display. He also hung out on the set of "Storm Of The Century", his miniseries shot in Toronto and nearby Oshawa, Ont.

Literary snobs and anti-populist phonies will no doubt will have a field day bemoaning his presence at the fest, but those who truly love reading and appreciate great storytelling in all its forms will know that King has won more than his fair share of prestigious awards, has been published in The New Yorker more than once, and is a major philanthropist and supporter of the literary scene who devotes much of his semi-regular Entertainment Weekly column to promoting up-and-coming writers (and those of you who insist on dissing his work should do yourself a favour and read his short stories "The Reach" and "Everything That You Love Will Be Carried Away"...now...)

This truly special appearance will be hosted at the John Bassett Theatre (in the Metro Convention Centre) on Friday, June 8 at 7:30 pm. The press release promises an on-stage interview with a "surprise" celebrity guest (wouldn't it be great if King and local boy David Cronenberg hashed it out over his controversial adaptation of "The Dead Zone" ,which was shot in Niagara-On-The-Lake, doubling for "Castle Rock", Maine).

I scored my tickets earlier this evening (a reasonable $25 each)--amazingly, the event wasn't sold out. But that might be because the website provided in The Globe And Mail and on various online sites today is incorrect: make sure you go to www.bookedbetweenthecovers.ca, and not "dot-com" as initially listed.