Paul Quarrington honoured at Festival of Authors
Canadian writer Paul Quarrington, who is dying of lung cancer, was feted at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto in a celebration which included a musical tribute.
The star-studded event Saturday night included a performance by Toronto indie band the Rheostatics, whose members reunited for the 56-year-old author. Quarrington is in the last stages of his disease.
"Paul Quarrington: A Life in Music, Words and on Screen" included appearances by fellow scribes Margaret Atwood, David Bezmozgis, Roddy Doyle and Alistair MacLeod as well as actor Paul Gross.
Author Michael Ondaatje and Blue Rodeo frontman Jim Cuddy introduced film tributes to the Toronto writer.
The event was hosted by Rheostatics bandmember Dave Bidini, also an author.
"We don't have any intention of playing together ever again, really, but I think everybody wanted to kind of see Paul and hang out with him," Bidini said earlier this week.
"Paul's been a big contributor to our musical lives … so there was no convincing that had to be done. Everybody was right there."
The band, which broke up in 2007, took the stage with members Tim Vesely, Michael Phillip Wojewoda, Martin Tielli and Bidini.
Quarrington — whose book Whale Music inspired the band's album of the same name — performed with his own band the Pork Belly Futures
The Governor General's Award winner, whose books include King Leary, Galveston and The Ravine, recently captured the Matt Cohen Award, a $20,000 prize awarded by the Writers' Trust of Canada.
Quarrington revealed in June that he is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer.
He put his writing on hold this summer while he toured the East Coast with the Pork Belly Futures. Quarrington is a singer-guitarist with the blues-country group and recently recorded a solo album.