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James Ivory, Russell Banks among guest speakers for TIFF’s Books on Film series

James Ivory will discuss his adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End on June 18.

When the Toronto International Film Festival and Random House of Canada host a book club, the guest speakers are bound to be impressive.

The second season of TIFF’s Books on Film series, which screens cinematic adaptations of literary texts followed by discussion, is drawing big names from both the publishing and film industries.

Shane Smith, director of public programs for TIFF, says festival staff worked closely with the series host, CBC Radio’s Eleanor Wachtel, to determine the lineup and guest speakers. Eleanor’s well known for her work in literature, but she’s a big film buff as well, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of film, says Smith.

In determining this year’s program, Smith says, We looked at films we’d loved. Sometimes we’d drop a film and a book because we couldn’t get the right guest. Other times, the guest led the choice of film.

Russell Banks, who will discuss the Academy Award“winning adaptation of his novel Affliction on Feb. 27, was on our list from the get-go, says Smith. We’re thrilled we can get the book, get the film, and get him at the same place.

Other guests include filmmaker Atom Egoyan on his adaptation of William Trevor’s novel Felicia’s Journey (Feb. 6); feminist film critic and author Molly Haskell on Cary Fukunaga’s version of Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre (March 26); and author Will Aitken on Luchino Visconti’s adaption of Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice (April 16).

On May 14, Knopf Random Canada executive vice-president and publisher Louise Dennys will provide context for the 1949 thriller The Third Man, written by Dennys’ uncle, Graham Greene, and on June 18, James Ivory, director of some of contemporary cinema’s most celebrated literary adaptations, will discuss E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End.