Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Frances Itani

Frances Itani
Photo by Maggie Knaus

Frances Itani , Member of the Order of Canada, is an award-winning author of 16 books: novels, poetry, short stories and children's books. Her new novel, about identity and belonging, is That’s My Baby, partly set during the jazz and big-band era of WW2. Tell (a follow-up to WWI novel, Deafening), was shortlisted for the Giller Prize in 2014. Other novels include Remembering the Bones (a bestseller, shortlisted for a Commonwealth Award), and Requiem, published internationally and chosen by The Washington Post as one of the top fiction titles in the U.S. in 2012. She has written three books of poetry, including A Season of Mourning, illustrated by Molly Bobak.

Born in Belleville, Ontario, Ms. Itani grew up in rural Quebec and has lived in 7 Canadian provinces as well as in England, U.S.A., Switzerland, Germany, Italy and other countries. She taught and practised Nursing for 8 years, completed a B.A. (Univ. of Alberta) and an M.A. (Univ. of New Brunswick). She has won many awards for her short stories, including two Ottawa Book Awards; she is also a three-time winner of the CBC Literary Award. She has taught Creative Writing at the Univ. of Ottawa, Banff Centre, University of New Brunswick, Trent Univ, etc. Her novel Deafening, a #1 bestseller translated and published in 17 countries, won a Commonwealth Prize for Best Book, was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, named Book of the Year (MacEwan University), won the Kingston Reads Award, and was chosen as a finalist for CBC's Canada Reads and Combat des Livres. Deafening has recently been optioned for film. Ms. Itani reviews occasionally for the Washington Post. She has been involved in humanitarian work all her life, and lives in Ottawa.

Writers Festival Appearances