Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Devyani Saltzman

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Devyani Saltzman is a Canadian writer.

She is the author of Shooting Water, a memoir, as well as articles for The Globe and Mail, The Atlantic Monthly, Marie Claire, TOK: an anthology of new Toronto writing, The Literary Review of Canada and Tehelka, India's weekly known for arts and investigative journalism. Shooting Water received starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, and was called "A poignant memoir" by The New York Times. It has been published internationally.

Devyani graduated from Oxford University with a degree in anthropology and sociology and is currently Curator of Literary Programming for Luminato, Toronto's Festival of Arts and Creativity. She has brought Canadian and international authors, such as Ben Okri, Azar Nafisi and Roddy Doyle, to Toronto to discuss subjects as diverse as the future of African literature and fiction in the age of ebooks. Her work as a writer and curator has a strong focus on politics, social justice and human interest stories. Devyani has been a jury member for the National Magazine Awards and the Canada Council for the Arts and sits on the advisory committees for Project Bookmark Canada, The Toronto Museum Project and the Maharaja Exhibit at the AGO. She is currently working on her first novel.

On Curating and Writing, an Interview with Devyani Saltzman

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about Luminato's Literature and Illuminations Programs.

Shooting Water: A Memoir of Second Chances, Family, and Filmmaking

By Devyani Saltzman

"In Shooting Water, Devyani Saltzman recounts her experience straddling the separate worlds of her divorced parents in Canada and India — navigating between two religions (Hindu and Judaism), two traditions, two cultures, and two people — belonging to both and neither at once. This cross-cultural memoir chronicles her life-changing experiences in India and Sri Lanka, the struggle to produce the controversial Oscar-nominated film, and the emergence of a deeper understanding between mother and daughter."

For more information about Shooting Water, please visit the Newmarket Press website.

Recent Writer In Residence Posts

The New Yorker at Luminato

As part of Luminato 2011, we’re excited to partner with The New Yorker on a series of literary events over two days of the festival.

As the Middle East enters a new chapter, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, will lead a discussion among an international group of writers and journalists entitled Rewriting the Narrative of the Middle East. Panelists include Amira Hass, Mona Eltahawy and Hisham Matar. The event will be held at the Jane Mallet Theatre in Toronto.

In the lead up to this discussion, we thought we’d profile one of those journalists coming to share her insights.

Luminato 2011 - Celebrating New Writing from the Arab World

On June 12 Jian Ghomeshi (Q) will be interviewing five young writers at the Glenn Gould Studio in an event entitled Beirut39 at Luminato. Over the last four years we’ve had the chance to partner with some wonderful local and international arts partners – The New Yorker, the Toronto Public Library system, Diaspora Dialogues and The Atlantic. Back in September I reached out to an organization we’ve long admired, the UK’s Hay Festivals. Hay, which started in Wales in 1988, is an international festival of literature and ideas. Bill Clinton called it the “Woodstock of the mind.”

Luminato 2011 - Confessions of a Literary Intern

From time to time we will have guest bloggers in the lead up to Luminato. Today Mari Ferzli, Luminato Literary Program Intern and MA candidate in comparative literature, writes about her experience on the job:

Luminato 2011 - Notes from the Field – Montreal’s Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival

The 13th annual Blue Metropolis Literary Festival kicked off in Montreal last Wednesday. I had the pleasure of taking the train down for my second fest, and one which is especially dear to my heart because of Blue Met’s 2011 celebration of Indian writing timed with the Year of India in Canada 2011. As a fan of South Asian writing, I couldn’t wait to meet Amitav Ghosh, Booker-nominee for the incredible novel Sea of Poppies and author of The Glass Palace and The Hungry Tide. Blue Met’s line-up also included favourites Bernard Schlink (The Reader), Kate Pullinger (The Mistress of Nothing) and Gore Vidal.

A Brief History of One Thousand and One Nights: The Story Behind the Stories

From time to time we will have guest bloggers in the lead up to Luminato. Today Saima Hussain, former Books Editor for Dawn, Pakistan’s largest English language daily, writes about the history and adaptation of One Thousand and One Nights:

Due to its fantastical nature, One Thousand and One Nights has long been considered by western audiences to be more suitable for young readers. But given that slave girls, eunuchs, adulterous wives and violent husbands also feature prominently in the tales, this is hardly the case. It is therefore fitting that now, almost 126 years later, it is an Arab writer, and the first woman, who will adapt a selection of these legendary stories to be performed on stage this summer at Luminato.


About this time every year, I feel like a book lover and a wedding planner. It’s mid-April, and we’re two months out from mounting a large-scale, multi-genre arts festival – Luminato. My reoccurring June wedding. Ten days, dozens of venues. Theatre, literature, music, dance, visual arts. Five-hundred guest artists. Every year I bring over twenty-five Canadian and international authors to Toronto to share new work and celebrate the written word. Our past guests include Gore Vidal, Ben Okri, Neil Gaiman, Chimamanda Adichie, Yiyun Li, David Bezmozgis, Aravind Adiga and Dionne Brand among others.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.