By Neil Armstrong
Within eight hours of the Toronto Public Library putting up tickets for the May 28 evening with celebrated New York Times best-selling author and columnist for the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell, on its website on April 30 at midnight, the 500 tickets were gone by 8 a.m. and 300 more went just as fast.
Gladwell will be in conversation with Eleanor Wachtel of CBC Radio One’s literary show, “Writers and Company.” This is a major event of the Art & Literature Committee for the JA50 Celebrations whose co-chair, Paula de Ronde considers Gladwell one of “the rock stars of writing” and says the aim is to “celebrate the brightest and the best of literature and art with our fellow Canadians.”
He was appointed to the Order of Canada in June 2011. Gladwell was in Toronto in March to receive a Luminary Award from the University of the West Indies at its Benefit Gala.
He says Jamaica holds a special place in his heart and in the history of his family - his mother is Jamaican and his father is from England. He was born in England and grew up in Elmira, Ontario and studied at the University of Toronto before making New York City his home.
Influential Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996 and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of four books, “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference,” (2000), “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” (2005), “Outliers: The Story of Success” (2008) and “What the Dog Saw” (2009), a compilation of stories published in The New Yorker. All four book books were New York Times Bestsellers.
Gadwell is working on a new book about power that will be published in the Fall of 2013. Other events include a display of some of the masterworks from the National Gallery of Jamaica at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, July 12 to August 8.
The Committee also has a series of literary and cultural events showcasing the creative excellence and contributions of Jamaican-Canadian writers at the Toronto Public Library.
The series started in April and featured writers such as Peta-Gaye Nash, Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes, Jennifer Walcott, Quentin “Vercetty” Lindsay, Valerie Wint and Yvonne Blackwood. Martin Mordecai will be featured at the Bloor/Gladstone Branch on June 7, Afua Cooper on June 9 at York Woods Special Jamaica 50 Musical and Literary Gala with La Petite Musicale and on June 14, Fred Kennedy will be at the Parkdale library.