TOK Toronto Symposium

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TOK Toronto Symposium

September 20-22, 2019

 

TOK Toronto, a free three-day symposium for writers and readers that will take place September 20-22, 2019. TOK, is the digital magazine for the non-profit organization Diaspora Dialogues which publishes fiercely honest, freshly original writing from our cities, and from around the world.

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Day One will take place at the Heliconion Hall and include new workshops for emerging authors about pitching to agents and publishers. These sessions will be taped for later podcasts. All events are free but registration is required.

Day Two includes four on-stage interviews with eight authors, at Harbourfront Centre – Studio Theatre. Authors include Leslie Shimotakahara, Rebecca Fisseha, Melanie Florence, Joanne Vannicola, Zalika Reid-Benta, Becky Blake, Derek Mascarenhas and Anar Ali.

Day Three we will have two panel discussions for Word On The Street Toronto at the Harbourfront Centre  – Toronto Book Awards Tent. Writing While Black in CanLit and Writing In The Age of #MeToo.

More information: Helen Walsh, helen@diasporadialogues.com

Media enquiries, Hailee Mah, hailee@diasporadialogues.com, 647-479-8962 ext 240.

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Details coming soon…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

In Conversation with Leslie Shimotakahara + Rebecca Fisseha

Sept. 21, 2019; 12:30 –1:30pm
Studio Theatre, Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay, Toronto

On September 21, 2019 we will be hosting our TOK Toronto Symposium with Word On The Street for a live podcast taping and on-stage interview with Leslie Shimotakahara and Rebecca Fisseha moderated by Aparita Bhandari.

Free to the public, registration through Eventbrite required, availability on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Leslie Shimotakahara‘s memoir The Reading List won the Canada-Japan Literary Prize in 2012, and her fiction has been shortlisted for the KM Hunter Artist Award. She has a PhD in English from Brown University. She had a short-lived career as an English professor, before it became clear that what she really wanted to do was pursue her original passion, creative writing. Her debut novel After the Bloom, which draws upon her Japanese-American and Japanese-Canadian family history, received a starred review in Booklist, was praised by the National Post as a “deep and beautiful story,” and appeared on Bustle’s, Reading Group Choices’ and the 49th Shelf’s lists of spring/summer picks for 2017. In 2018, she served on the jury for the Governor General’s Non-Fiction Award. Her next novel Red Oblivion, a literary thriller set in Hong Kong, will be published in September 2019.

Rebecca Fisseha’s fiction and nonfiction explores the Ethiopian diaspora. Her short fiction has appeared in The Maple Tree Literary Supplement; Room Magazine; Aesthetica Magazine Creative Writing Anthology; Joyland Magazine; The Rusty Toque; and is upcoming in Addis Ababa Noir. Rebecca contributes to Selamta, the in-flight magazine of Ethiopian Airlines. Her play, wise.woman was produced by b current at the Theatre Centre in 2009 in Toronto.

Aparita Bhandari is an arts and life reporter in Toronto. She has been published in Canadian media including CBC, the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and Walrus magazine. Her areas of interest and expertise lie in the intersections of gender, culture and ethnicity. She is the producer and co-host of the Hindi language podcast, KhabardaarPodcast.com

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In Conversation with Melanie Florence + Joanne Vannicola

Sept. 21, 2019; 2–3pm
Studio Theatre, Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay, Toronto

On September 21, 2019 we will be hosting our TOK Toronto Symposium in conjunction with Word On The Street. Join us for a live podcast taping and on-stage interview with Melanie Florence and Joanne Vannicola.

Free to the public, registration through Eventbrite required, availability on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Melanie Florence is an award-winning writer of Cree and Scottish heritage based in Toronto. She was close to her grandfather as a child, a relationship that sparked her interest in writing about Aboriginal themes and characters. She is the author of Missing Nimama, which won the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the 2017 Forest of Reading Golden Oak Award and was a finalist for the 2017 First Nation Communities READ award. Her most recent picture book, Stolen Words, won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, was shortlisted for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, and was given a starred review by Kirkus, who listed it as one of the best picture books of 2017 to give readers strength. Her other books include Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Residential Schools and the teen novels He Who Dreams, The Missing, One Night, and Rez Runaway.

Joanne Vannicola began her professional career at the age of twelve (eight really, as a child on sesame street and in vocal studios), where she made her television debut in her hometown of Montreal. She ended up in Toronto to study and pursue her career and by the age of 17 had written her first play. Credits include Love and Human Remains, written by Brad Fraser and directed by Denys Arcand, which earned Vannicola a Genie nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Joanne reunited with Arcand for his film, Stardom, and won an Emmy for her work in Maggie’s Secret directed by Al Waxman. Joanne was also nominated for a Gemini award for best actress in a continuing role for the CBC series 9B, as well as an ACTRA award nomination for best voice/animation as Toot in the animated series Toot and Puddle. Her memoir, All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, was published on June 1st, 2019.

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In Conversation with Zalika Reid-Benta + Becky Blake

Sept. 21, 2019; 3:30 – 4:30pm
Studio Theatre, Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay, Toronto

Join us for our TOK Toronto Symposium in collaboration with Word On The Street for our live podcast taping and on-stage interview with Zalika Reid-Benta and Becky Blake moderated by Ryan B. Blake.

Free to the public, registration through Eventbrite required, availability on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Zalika Reid-Benta is a born and bred Toronto writer, TV fanatic and cheeseburger enthusiast. In 2011 George Elliott Clarke recommended her as a “Writer to Watch”. Her work has appeared on the CBC website, in the TOK 7 anthology and in Apogee Journal. She is an alum of the 2017 Banff Writer’s Studio and received an MFA in fiction from Columbia University in 2014. Her work explores matters of intergenerational cycles, race, identity and culture through the lens of second-generation Caribbean Canadians. Her collection of linked short stories, Frying Plantain, was released in June and she is currently working on a fantasy YA novel.

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Becky Blake is a two-time winner of the CBC Literary Prize (for non-fiction in 2017 and short fiction in 2013), Becky Blake’s stories and essays have appeared in publications across Canada. Her first novel, Proof I Was Here, was published by Wolsak & Wynn’s Buckrider Books imprint in May 2019. Becky teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education, and also offers private mentoring and manuscript consultation. She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph, and is currently working on a second novel and a memoir-in-essays.

Ryan Patrick is a writer, editor and journalist with more than a decade of experience covering and writing about all things IT. His work has been featured in trade pubs such as CIO Canada, ComputerWorld Canada and Network World Canada.

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In Conversation with Derek Mascarenhas + Anar Ali

Sept. 21, 2019; 5 – 6pm
Studio Theatre, Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay, Toronto

On September 21, 2019 we will be hosting our TOK Toronto Symposium with Word On The Street. Join us for a live podcast taping and on-stage interview with Derek Mascarenhas and Anar Ali moderated by Shanda Deziel.

Free to the public, registration through Eventbrite required, availability on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Derek Mascarenhas is one of four children born to parents who emigrated from Goa, India, and settled in Burlington, Ontario. A backpacker who has travelled across six continents, Derek currently resides in Toronto, where he balances his creative pursuits with a career in Market Intelligence. His short story collection titled, Coconut Dreams was released in April 2019.

Anar Ali was born in Tanzania and raised in Alberta. Her first book Baby Khaki’s Wings, a collection of short stories, was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Best First Book, Canada & the Caribbean), and the Danuta Gleed Literary Prize. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Globe & Mail, The Little, Brown Reader, among others. She holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia. Her second book, Night of Power debuts August, 2019.

Shanda Deziel is the Books for Young People editor at Quill & Quire. The award-winning Toronto journalist spent 12 years at Maclean’s magazine as an entertainment writer and editor. Her work has also appeared in Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, The Globe and Mail, and other national publications.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

 

Writing While Black in CanLit

Sept. 21, 2019; 10-11am
Toronto Book Awards Tent, Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay, Toronto

When discussing the primary goal for her anthology Black Writers Matter, Whitney French said: “How do we tell our stories by magnifying our dignity in the everyday?” DD explores the nuances of writing while black in Canada and the ways in which black authors are creating spaces for the community to tell their own stories with writer and founder/co-editor of the Root Zine Whitney French; poet and playwright and literary critic George Elliott Clarke and more. Moderated by Sarah Hagi.

Whitney French strives to develop, foster, facilitate and distribute unique stories that are not often heard about in the Canadian literary cannon. To encourage and eventually support this continual growth in storytelling, Whitney French Writes creates books, personalized poems and workshops that stir a love of writing within young people, marginalized peoples, community members and aspiring writers alike. While valuing self-determination, creative spirit, high aesthetic and literary experimentation, Whitney French Writes is an incubator that will propel a movement of alternative modes of learning for those seeking a holistic and life-long journey in the arts.

George Elliott Clarke is a revered poet. Now teaching African-Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, Clarke has taught at Duke, McGill, the University of British Columbia, and Harvard. He holds eight honorary doctorates, plus appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. His recognitions include the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellows Prize, the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, the Premiul Poesis (Romania), the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry (US), and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award.

Sarah Hagi a writer of essays, journalism, television, and criticism. Apart from working as a writer at both VICE and Complex, she has been published in The New Yorker, GQ Magazine, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, The National Post, and other publications. Hagi also appeared on numerous radio shows and podcasts for networks like the CBC, BBC, and Gimlet.

Free to the public, registration through Eventbrite preferred but not required, on a first-come-first-serve basis.

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Writing In The Age of #MeToo

Sept. 21, 2019; 1:30-2:30pm
Toronto Book Awards Tent, Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay, Toronto

In 2018, Molly Ringwald revisited her filmography, saying she felt The Breakfast Club was “troubling” now seen through the prism of the #MeToo era. DD examines how the movement has affected authors’ writing processes – if at all – and whether the current debate has prompted them to appreciate or denounce books, movies and art they loved in the past. With poet, essayist and thinker Gwen Benaway; award-winning poet and writer Téa Mutonji; and best-selling novelist S.K. Ali.

Free to the public, registration through Eventbrite preferred but not required, on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Gwen Benaway is an emerging Queer/Two-Spirited Anishinaabe/Métis poet who has often been described as the spiritual love child of Truman Capote and Thompson Highway. Her first collection of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, was published by Kegedonce Press in 2013. In 2015, she was the recipient of the inaugural Speaker’s Award for a Young Author from the Speaker of the House for the Ontario Legislative. Her poetry has been published in literary magazines internationally and scrawled within bathroom stalls at truck stops across Ontario.

Téa Mutonji is an award-winning poet and writer. Born in Congo-Kinshasa, she now lives and writes in Scarborough, Ontario where she was named emerging writer of the year (2017) by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization. Shut Up You’re Pretty is her first book.

S.K. Ali is a teacher based in Toronto whose writing on Muslim culture and life has appeared in the Toronto Star. Her family of Muslim scholars is consistently listed in the The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, and her insight into Muslim culture is both personal and far-reaching. A mother of a teenage daughter herself, S.K. Ali’s debut YA novel, Saints and Misfits is a beautiful and nuanced story about a young woman exploring her identity through friendship, family, and faith.


View Hailee Mah’s author profile.