Winston interviews Devyani Saltzman

Devyani Saltzman with Winston

What is the Luminato Festival Of Arts And Creativity (June 5-14) all about? Winston gets the inside story from Devyani Saltzman, Curator of the Luminato Literary Program.

W: What is the mandate for the Luminato Literary Program?

D: Showcasing a wide range of Canadian and international authors in programs built around the festival's annual themes. For example, this year there is cross-genre programming celebrating everything gothic. On the literary front this includes a commissioned book of gothic stories set in different Toronto neighbourhoods.

W: Why does Luminato work so hard to establish partnerships with local arts groups, like This Is Not A Reading Series and Diaspora Dialogues?

D: It's important for such a large arts festival to work with fantastic organizations which bring such riches to our city. Personally, I love collaboration because the best ideas often come from it.

W: Where do you stand on that perennial conundrum: rock, paper, or scissors?

D: Like a rock.

W: The themes you are focusing this year are Gothic and the Guitar. Did you chose those because they both start with 'G'?

D: I like that answer. Let's stick with it!

W: Do you work in conjunction with the curators of the other programs that fall under the Luminato banner? Or are you basically autonomous?

D: The curators work quite closely, and I have to say I really enjoy how visual arts interprets the gothic theme (an installation by LA based artist Tony Oursler) or how theatre riffs off of it (a play about Edgar Allan Poe by Edmonton-based company Catalyst Theatre). It makes everything more exciting and is one of the reasons I like multi-arts festivals.

W: What books are currently on your bedside table?

D: Henning Mankell. When things get tough, I like Swedish murder mysteries.

W: How long does it take to assemble the Luminato Literary Program? Is it a year round gig?

D: It's a part-time year round gig. I work 3 days a week and spend the rest of the time writing. Just finished my second book, a novel called Army of Peace.

W: If you could have any super-power, which one would you chose?

D: To be invisible.

W: Who is your favourite Sesame Street character? Why?

D: Big Bird. He's yellow.

W: What five songs would you put on a mix-tape soundtrack for this year's Luminato Literary Program?

D: Monster Mash (and I mean that in a good way!)

For a calendar of the 2009 Luminato line-up, visit: www.luminato.com/2009