What's on your nightstand?

We checked in with five renowned writers, all appearing during October's International Festival of Authors, and asked what's on their nightstand

Great reading

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Anchee Min author of Pearl of China
The book I have just finished is Rich’s Bed Poor’s Flesh: Stories of China’s Modern Concubines by Sha Ya in Chinese. The novel vividly portrays today’s Chinese women who, on the one hand, are fully aware of and take advantage of the ownership of their bodies, but on the other, have
no choice but to sell their bodies.

Anne Fortier author of Juliet
I just started reading Stealing Athens by Karen Essex because she never disappoints.
Her books are always both well-researched and deliciously seductive, and I love learning about the past while being entertained.

Emma Donoghue author of Room
I’m halfway through Richard Price’s Lush Life and only wishing everything else (including my own children and publicity for my book) would go away so I could plunge back into its white-knuckle ride through the devilishly subtle minefield of race and class in contemporary America.

Myla Goldberg author of The False Friend
Right now I’m reading The Return of the Native. The only other time I ever read Thomas Hardy was in 12th grade, and that was because I had to, so I thought it was time to take another crack at him.

DBC Pierre author of Lights Out in Wonderland
The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt:  I’m currently on volume five of the six full memoirs of Casanova, probably the most complete record of day-to-day manners in 18th-century Europe. Forget about the adventures; the work is a stunning chronicle of pre-French-Revolution life, in a voluptuous 19th-century English translation. Pure and detailed decadence,
it’s a drink on a stick.


The International Festival of Authors runs from  October 20 to 30 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.  For more information, visit