Plentiful Portraits

Nicola Lagioia, Jon McGregor, Maile Meloy, Alison Pick

Plentiful Portraits

Moderator: Charles Foran

Event Number: 71
Tickets: $20.00

Plentiful Portraits

Nicola Lagioia, Jon McGregor, Maile Meloy, Alison Pick

Saturday, October 21
10:30am - 12:00pm
Granville Island Stage

1585 Johnston St.

A simple, traditional plot often features a single protagonist and some supporting characters to keep moving things along. These novels are not that. These fictions take a wide cast of memorable characters, and weave a web between them that reflects on a larger society. Maile Meloy gives us a panoply of nearly 20 characters, and you’ll remember each of them in her culturally savvy thriller. Jon McGregor’s portrait of the aftermath of a tragedy takes an omniscient view, like the eye of a hawk circling over each of the villagers attempting to go on with their lives. Nicola Lagioia won Italy’s Strega Prize for his cinematic portrait of the moral and political corruption of an entire society. And Alison Pick’s band of Jewish pioneers brings the harsh reality of 1921 Palestine to life.

Event Participants:

Nicola Lagioia


Nicola Lagioia is Italy’s foremost literary novelist. He has written three novels and one collection of short stories. He has also worked for many years as an editor for Minimum Fax, an Italian publisher. He has won many literary awards, including the Strega Prize, which is Italy’s most prestigious award. He is a regular host of Pagina3, a book and culture program on Italy’s national radio. Lagioia’s English-language debut, Ferocity, is a dramatic tale about a young socialite whose suicide sends her brother into a spiral as he finds out more about his estranged sister and her rise to prominence.

Nicola Lagioia’s appearance is made possible by the Istituto di Italiano di Cultura in Toronto.


Jon McGregor

United Kingdom

Jon McGregor wrote his first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, while living on a narrowboat. The book was so well received that he was chosen as the youngest contender and only debut novelist on the 2003 Man-Booker Prize longlist. His work is often described as experimental as he takes on different forms and styles. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham, where he edits The Letters Page, a literary journal in letters. He is the author of four novels and a story collection and his newest work, Reservoir 13 tells the stories of the many lives affected by one family’s loss.


Maile Meloy

United States

Maile Meloy is a writer of short fiction, essays and novels. Her Apothecary trilogy for young readers, the final book of which was released this year, was a New York Times bestseller. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and her essays and short fiction have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Granta and O. Some of Meloy’s short stories were adapted into a film which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Her new adult fiction book, Do Not Become Alarmed, is a harrowing novel about two families whose children go missing while on vacation.


Alison Pick


Alison Pick was the 2002 winner of the Bronwen Wallace Award for the most promising young writer in Canada. She is the author of three poetry books, and her novels, The Sweet Edge and Far to Go, were well-received bestsellers. Her memoir, Between Gods, which was published internationally, is about her conversion to Judaism as a young woman. Her latest novel, Strangers with the Same Dream, is a politically-charged novel that delves into the turmoil surrounding Palestine in the 1920s and how this conflict changed people and their aspirations.