Welcome to a sneak preview of TOK Magazine.
TOK is a new platform for fiercely honest, freshly original writing, from our cities and around the world.
We officially launch in April 2018, but between now and then, you’ll find stories, poems, interviews and podcasts in these pages that surprise, delight and challenge, with content updated biweekly.
Over the coming months, we’ll also be kicking off experiments with an ambitious range of further pieces, such as reviews, opinion, analysis, interactive video, audio walking tours, TOK’s “Three Questions from the Writers’ Tent” (profiling writers at literary festivals across the globe) and more.
Why This, Now?
Our world is urbanizing at record speed, with populations and attitudes on the move. Michael Adams, president of the Environics Institute for Survey Research and author of Could It Happen Here? Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit, offers the following startling statistics:
- 55% of Canadians live in the country’s 10 largest cities (if you factor in the suburbs—it’s 31%, if just the downtown core).
- The greater Toronto region clocks in at 17% of Canada’s population; New York, in comparison, is home to just 6% of the United States population. Montreal and Vancouver are the second densest cities.
- Our cities are some of the most diverse on Earth: the populations of Toronto and Vancouver are almost half foreign-born, and more than two-thirds are first- or second-generation Canadian.
Our society and its literature bursts with this new energy, from a talented generation writing across backgrounds, styles or limiting definitions. A dance of voices, each with their own obsessions, observations, wit, experiences, longings.
That’s the stuff great writing is made from. And a digital magazine is the perfect way to accessibly showcase such work: we want to introduce you to authors we love, who’re writing our literary future.
Writing the Next Chapter
TOK is a new project of Diaspora Dialogues. For fourteen years, DD has helped writers tell their own stories, in their own voices. Catherine Hernandez. Lawrence Hill. Mayank Bhatt. Mia Herrera. Ins Choi. Alyssa York. MG Vassanji. Jordan Tannahill. Vincent Lam. The list of those who have been involved with DD is long: more than 700 writers and artists have participated as mentors or mentees, emerging playwrights or dramaturges, commissioned artists or panelists, readers or performers.
More than 400 new literary works have been created through DD programs, 200 events produced and a live audience well exceeding 150,000 Canadians has attended those events. Alumni of our mentoring programs enjoy a success rate that’s among the highest in the country in getting their stories, poems and books published, and/or plays produced—here in Canada, as well as in the US and UK. DD alumni have gone on to be nominated for or win prizes ranging from the City of Toronto Book Award to the Governor General’s Literary Awards.
We see TOK as the logical extension of the work we’ve done over the past decade and a half. In a world whose reading habits have changed, the publishing landscape irrevocably altered, we’ve designed TOK to be a fluid, responsive network. A way to showcase and support writers across backgrounds and styles. And we’re committed to collaborating with partners across literary, artistic and community realms, to do our bit in fostering a non-zero-sum culture.
Since we couldn’t have done any of this without our supporters, I also want to take this opportunity to thank them. We’re particularly grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council, who invested in something transformative by providing targeted startup funding for TOK Magazine.
Dive In With Us
So, enjoy! Revisit favourite authors, and embrace the new.
For TOK updates and invitations to upcoming events in Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg—including our formal launch—sign up for our newsletter.
Your input during this public beta is very much welcome and desired: this soft launch period is meant to ensure we’re able to share the magazine early with passionate readers and writers, and to hear what you think. So please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback and suggestions.
TOK is a collaborative effort, and we want to build in partnership, diversity and authenticity from the beginning. No retrofitting needed here!