A packed theatre at Toronto’s International Festival of Authors was treated to an appearance by Salman Rushdie last night. The U.K. author kicked off the Governor General’s Literary Award finalists’ readings with a charming tribute to his long-time publisher, Random House of Canada executive vice-president Louise Dennys, recipient of the second annual Ivy Award.
Rushdie told the crowd how he enjoyed a “ringside seat to her brilliant career” for 31 years. The two first met at the Harbourfront festival, during which they attended a demonstration against U.S. cruise missiles ““ soon abandoned for “drink and talk.” He praised Dennys for putting Canadian publishing on the map and for being one of the people he turned to in 1992 when launching an international political campaign to halt the Iranian fatwa against himself and the publishers, translators, and booksellers of his novel Satanic Verses. He also thanked Dennys for her work as the former president of PEN Canada, “as I know very well and remember with deep affection and gratitude.”
In 2012, Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton was published by Random House. Although he had an international team working with him on the manuscript, Dennys was the “editor with whom I worked with more closely ““ she was the one I paid the most attention to.”
Dennys thanked Rushdie, her husband, and her many publishing colleagues before addressing the audience: “Publishing at its best is a seamless web of passion, creativity, business, and hard work, woven together for the sole purpose of bringing narratives and the ideas of our authors to you, the readers.”