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Kathy Reichs, Mark Billingham and More Announced for Toronto International Festival of Authors

Lineup includes Thomas Enger, Kellye Garrett, Thomas King, Shari Lapena, E. Lockhart, Val McDermid, Beverley McLachlin, and more.

Kathy Reichs, Mark Billingham and More Announced for Toronto International Festival of Authors

The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) has announced the author lineup and programming for MOTIVE presented by Kobo Plus, Canada's newest and largest crime and mystery writing festival, taking place June 3 to 5, 2022 based at Harbourfront Centre. Marking TIFA's return to in-person programming after two years of digital presentations, the inaugural edition of MOTIVE features nearly 100 authors from Canada and around the world, with over 40 ticketed events, 13 free digital events, plus free outdoor events and activities all weekend long. Tickets are now on sale at and through the Harbourfront Centre Box Office by phone at 416-973-4000.

The opening night of MOTIVE will feature award-winning American author Kathy Reichs presenting her upcoming thriller Cold, Cold Bones, the 21st installment of her celebrated Temperance Brennan series; and internationally bestselling Canadian author Shari Lapena presenting Not A Happy Family, a thrilling domestic suspense novel and instant New York Times bestseller. Throughout the weekend, festival-goers can enjoy a wide variety of programmes including the return of TIFA's acclaimed Critical Conversations, a provocative series exploring thrilling new themes; The Hidden, a series of free, interactive performances - part mystery puzzle, part scavenger hunt - with the Brampton Library; a Canadian premiere musical performance by the Scottish band Fun Lovin' Crime Writers (featuring Mark Billingham, Val McDermid and more); hands-on Masterclasses with acclaimed authors and industry professionals; and a Spotlight on Nordic Noir in partnership with Nordic Bridges and Harbourfront Centre.

"This Festival is the realization of a two-year dream: when I arrived in Toronto I was struck by how passionate Canadian readers were for crime and mystery books. So it feels fitting to return to live, in-person events with the launch of MOTIVE, and to share this exceptional lineup of authors with audiences," said Roland Gulliver, Director, Toronto International Festival of Authors. "From cozy crime to police procedural, psychological thriller to Nordic Noir, the crime and mystery genre has created some of the world's best storytellers who offer perspectives on the world and explore contemporary social issues through captivating narratives."

"We are thrilled to work with TIFA to bring the MOTIVE Crime & Mystery Festival to life. As one of the most popular genres on the Kobo Plus all-you-can read subscription service, we have experienced first-hand how passionate readers are for the genre," said Bart Roberts, Director, Kobo Plus. "Readers who get hooked on mystery want to read everything they can uncover and we're pleased to offer stories from the best criminal minds in the world for one low monthly fee. Kobo Plus makes it easy to read as many books as you want, to explore new mysteries risk-free, and discover international authors you may not otherwise have found."

In-Person Conversations and Readings

From dark family secrets, to true crime, to paranormal plotlines, MOTIVE's in-person events spotlight many of this year's most anticipated crime and mystery releases, followed by book signings. Highlights include:

  • Award-winning American author Kathy Reichs as an opening night guest, presenting her upcoming thriller Cold, Cold Bones, the 21st installment of her celebrated Temperance Brennan series.

  • Multi-award-winning author Thomas King with the return of Thumps DreadfulWater in Deep House, a followup to Obsidian. In conversation with CBC's Shelagh Rogers, learn how King puzzles together such gripping police procedurals, and glean insight into his masterful use of wit and wry humour in his stories.

  • Internationally-bestselling Canadian author Shari Lapena will explore the mayhem of one family's gruesome secrets in her latest thriller, Not A Happy Family, in conversation with Shinan Govani.

  • Bestselling British author, radio and television contributor and guitarist for the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers, Mark Billingham, graces the MOTIVE stage to present his latest novel, Rabbit Hole.

  • Canada's own master storyteller Linwood Barclay introduces his latest psychological thriller, Take Your Breath Away, to MOTIVE audiences.

  • Celebrated YA authors American E. Lockhart and Canadian Courtney Summers join in conversation to discuss their latest books for teens and adults alike. Lockhart will present her prequel to the hugely successful We Were Liars, while Summers will present The Project, about an aspiring young journalist seeking to reconnect with her estranged sister.

  • Toronto's Nita Prose, long-time editor and first-time author of The Maid (already a smash hit), will talk about what it has been like to switch seats in the publishing process, from editor to author.

  • Former Chief Justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin, the bestselling author of Full Disclosure, comes to MOTIVE with her taut new legal thriller Denial.

  • Diné author Ramona Emerson and Ireland's Stuart Neville explore what can happen when paranormal intruders step into the unsuspecting lives of the living.

  • A must-see panel for true crime enthusiasts, authors Paul Palango, Félix Séguin and Eric Thibault discuss their investigations into shockingly real Canadian crime stories.

  • "Murdoch Mysteries" creator Maureen Jennings, and Scottish husband-and-wife duo Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman (known by the pen-name Ambrose Parry) will dive into their newest works.

  • Winner of the 2021 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Mystery, Newfoundland author Emily Hepditch will present her latest book, Alone on the Trail.

  • Critical Conversations: TIFA's most provocative conversation series returns in partnership with Provocation Ideas Festival, exploring thrilling new themes for MOTIVE audiences. Each day of the festival, authors and industry experts will come together to examine a new facet of culture and politics. Event topics will include Policing Today; The Science of the Crime Scene Investigation; Crime, Punishment & Alternative Forms of Justice; and The Ethics of Crime Writing.

Special Events

  • A not-to-be missed experience, the Canadian debut of the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers, featuring crime-writing pals Mark Billingham (Guitar/vocals), Chris Brookmyre (Guitar/Vocals), Doug Johnstone (Drums/Vocals), Val McDermid (Vocals), Stuart Neville (Guitar/Vocals) and Luca Veste (Bass). Murdering songs for fun for all who will listen, the band has rocked crowds at book and music festivals all around the world since 2016.

  • The Hidden, a TIFA Kids event, is the Canadian premiere of an immersive and interactive theatre experience created by Visible Fictions. This series of performances set in a library is part mystery puzzle, part scavenger hunt, and designed for young people and families.It is presented for free with registration as part of MOTIVE, with the Brampton Library, June 3 to 10.

Spotlight on Nordic Noir

Nordic Noir spotlights celebrate the breadth and depth of this fast-growing crime and mystery subgenre. Spotlights include:

  • Icelandic author Lilja SigurðardoÌttir (Cold As Hell, translated by Quentin Bates) and American author Kellye Garrett (Like a Sister) with a salute to sisterhood in conversation about their twisty and character-driven new crime novels.

  • Internationally acclaimed Norwegian author Gunnar Staalesen, a mainstay in the Nordic Noir crime fiction genre, will virtually present the latest installment in his long-running Varg Vaum series.

  • Greenland-based author Mads Peder Nordbo and international bestselling author Daniel Kalla will present their thrilling new books, both set in some of the world's northernmost communities.

  • Finnish author Antti Tuomainen and Scottish author Chris Brookmyre have each infused humour and warm characters in their latest thriller novels: during MOTIVE, the authors will discuss how they turn the thriller genre on its head and why they mix fun into the chaos of crime.

  • Embracing the cold, atmospheric nature of noir fiction, Finnish author Max Seeck and German author Melanie Raabe sit down to discuss the art of keeping readers in suspense.

  • a??a??International bestselling journalist-turned-author Thomas Enger presents Unhinged, the third installment in the award-winning Blix and Ramm series, co-written with Jørn Lier Horst.

Nordic spotlights are presented in partnership with Nordic Bridges, a year-long initiative that connects hundreds of creators from Canada and the Nordic region throughout 2022 in an exchange of art, culture and ideas, led by Harbourfront Centre.

Wonder & Mystery By the Water

Harbourfront Centre's waterfront campus will come alive with free outdoor activities for mystery fans of all ages. Entertainment will include author readings, book signings, pop-up surprises, musical performances and more. Visitors will also enjoy the Kobo Cabana Reading Lounge, and browse crime and mystery titles at Indigo's Festival Bookshop.


Learn how to craft compelling stories and bring captivating characters to life through hands-on creative writing masterclasses from acclaimed authors and industry experts.

  • Marissa Stapley on the Heart of Character Development: Bestselling author Stapley will demonstrate how to bring vivid and moving characters to life. Stapley's characters have hooked the hearts of many readers, including actress/producer Reese Witherspoon who made Stapley's novel Lucky the first Canadian title to earn a spot on Reese's official book club.

  • Doug Johnstone on Killer Editing: Bestselling Scottish author Johnstone will teach killer editing skills for producing stories that grip readers and propel plotlines. Johnstone is the author of A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), which were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year.

  • Karen Sullivan on the Path to Published: Sullivan, Founder and Publisher of Orenda Books, will introduce participants to the process of getting published, from the first stage of plotting an idea, to the final act of seeing work in print. Born in Canada, Sullivan moved to the UK where she began her career in publishing as an assistant and worked up the ranks to eventually become a commissioning editor and author.

The Re-Read

An exploration of influential books and writers who define a genre and have captivated readers for decades. Each session brings a contemporary writer sharing a favourite book or author, offering their insight as an author and sharing their joy as a reader. Events include: Kurdo Baksi on the work of the late Stieg Larsson; celebrated Scottish crime writer Val McDermid exploring the canon of Agatha Christie; and Mark Billingham, one of the UK's most popular crime writers, on The Maltese Falcon by American writer Dashiell Hammett.

Free, Digital Events

The TIFA virtual stage will also offer free access to some of the best crime and mystery writers in the world, including:

  • Crime Writers' Association Hall of Famer Denise Mina with her latest novel, Confidence.

  • Internationally acclaimed thriller author Deon Meyer to discuss the art of a well-planned plot, crafting corruption and the political weight behind Meyer's new novel, The Dark Flood.

  • New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben in conversation with Elisabeth de Mariaffi, on Coben's trademark suspenseful, jaw-dropping twists and mastery of the thriller genre, and Coben's latest novel, The Match.

  • Australia's psychological thriller master Michael Robotham in conversation with Linwood Barclay.

  • In Blood Grove, legendary author Walter Mosley presents a new mystery for Easy Rawlins fans. His virtual conversation on writing mysteries and creating iconic characters will be led by fellow American crime writer Joe Ide (IQ).

  • Global bestselling Dutch author Tica Morgan introduces her Inspector Zoë Janssen thrillers, the English translation of her hugely successful Kobo Original series.

  • Internationally acclaimed Spanish novelist and columnist Javier Cercas with his latest book, Even the Darkest Night (translated by Anne McLean).

  • Master of literary noir, Japanese author Fuminori Nakamura on their latest book, My Annihilation (translated by Sam Bett).

  • American Ben Mezrich, best known for his book The Accidental Billionaires (adapted for cinema as The Social Network), will be in conversation with Rakuten Kobo's Nathan Maharaj, about his own secret to telling great stories, and Mezrich's latest novel, The Midnight Ride.

  • Award-winning Scottish author Liam McIlvanney will present The Heretic, a story set seven years after the events of his popular 2018 novel, The Quaker, and talk about the art of well-crafted plots, deep characterizations and stylish prose.

  • Critically acclaimed Australian author Emma Viskic will talk about the highly anticipated finale of her groundbreaking Caleb Zelic series, Those Who Perish.

  • Since 1992, American author Donna Leon has been gripping readers with her acclaimed Venetian crime series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. She'll be discussing the 31st installment of the series, Give Unto Others, in conversation with Judith Pereira, Arts & Books Editor, The Globe and Mail.

Ticket prices for MOTIVE start at $16.50+HST ($12.50 for students and youth aged 25 and under). Digital events, The Hidden, and a selection of outdoor activities will be free.

Visit to view the full programme lineup and to sign up for events and to book tickets.

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