Running October 22 – November 1, 2020, #FestofAuthors20 will be the largest Toronto International Festival of Authors yet. While we have many well-known authors joining us throughout the Festival, we also have an incredible lineup of emerging authors telling stories through fiction, poetry and memoirs.
Here are nine emerging authors to watch:
Toronto-based novelist, journalist and freelance editor Samantha M. Bailey became a national bestselling author with her debut novel, Woman on the Edge. Released in March 2020, the novel has reached #1 on the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail bestseller lists and has left readers longing for more.
Samantha M. Bailey will participate in the following event:
Maternal Mysteries: Samantha M. Bailey & Marjorie Celona
Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 2pm (ET)
Photo credit: Dahlia Katz Photography
Eva Crocker is a freelance writer, poet and editor based in Quebec. In 2017, her debut short story collection, Barrelling Forward, won the Alistair MacLeod Award for Short Fiction and CAA Emerging Writer Award and was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ writers. Her debut novel, All I Ask, was published in June and many consider it a defining novel of a generation.
Eva Crocker will participate in the following event:
Finding our Ways: Eva Crocker & Marlowe Granados
Sunday, October 25, 2020 – 9pm (ET)
Francesca Ekwuyasi is a writer and multidisciplinary artist from Lagos, Nigeria. Her work explores themes of faith, family, queerness, consumption, loneliness and belonging. Her debut novel, Butter Honey Pig Bread, deals with food, family and forgiveness as it tells the interconnected stories of three Nigerian women: Kambirinachi and her twin daughters, Kehinde and Taiye. It was longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Francesca Ekwuyasi will participate in the following events:
Skin Hunger: Francesca Ekwuyasi
Thursday, October 22, 2020 – 12pm (ET)
Duty and Consequence: Francesca Ekwuyasi & Annabel Lyon
Sunday, November 1, 2020 – 9pm (ET)
Photo credit: Mo Phung
In Louise Hare’s debut novel, This Lovely City, she tells the heartbreaking but hopeful story of Lawrie Matthews, a Jamaican immigrant living in postwar London. Exploring race, community and love, the novel takes readers on a journey through the anger and fear of searching for a place to belong. Hare is a London-based writer and editor with an M.A. in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London.
Louise Hare will participate in the following event:
Love & Sacrifice in Storytelling: Janie Chang & Louise Hare
Friday, October 26, 2020 – 5pm (ET)
In January, Ethan Lou travelled to Beijing to visit his dying grandfather and while there, he unexpectedly witnessed the early stages of COVID-19 and the shockwaves it made around the world. As he tried getting home, Lou ended up in other hot zones in Asia and Europe, giving him a unique perspective on the crisis and providing the inspiration for his debut novel, Field Notes from a Pandemic: A Journey Through a World Suspended.
Ethan Lou will participate in the following event:
Critical Conversations: The Pandemic Paradox
Friday, October 25, 2020 – 7:30pm (ET)
Photo credit: Ke Yan
Noor Naga, an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai, studied in Toronto and now lives in Cairo, was the winner of the 2017 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Her verse-novel Washes, Prays (McClelland & Stewart) is about a young woman’s relationship with a married man and her ensuring crisis of faith. Her debut novel American Girl and Boy from Shobrakheit is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in Fall 2021.
Noor Naga will participate in the following event:
Modern Love, Betrayal and Ourselves: Shani Mootoo & Noor Naga
Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 4pm (ET)
Maria Reva’s enthralling debut, Good Citizens Need Not Fear, is a collection of short stories that gives readers a look into the interconnected lives of those living in a single crumbling apartment building in Soviet-era Ukraine. Reva was born in Ukraine and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, and works as an opera librettist.
Maria Reva will participate in the following event:
Entanglements: Sidura Ludwig & Maria Reva
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 – 7:30pm (ET)
Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and longlisted for the National Book Award, Douglas Stuart’s debut novel, Shuggie Bain, is a heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality and love. It’s a story that Stuart has been working on for over 10 years to provide readers with an intimate look at a young boy in a dysfunctional family as the bad gets increasingly worse. Douglas Stuart was born and raised in Glasgow and now resides in New York City.
Douglas Stuart will participate in the following event:
Coming of Age: Alex Pugsley & Douglas Stuart
Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 12pm (ET)
Photo credit: Martyn Pickersgill
Jesse Thistle is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Jesse chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction in his memoir, From the Ashes. Detailing his tumultuous experience with the foster-care system, abuse and racism, the book became an instant bestseller and was shortlisted for 2020 Canada Reads. He is a finalist for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, won a Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2016 and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar.
Jesse Thistle will participate in the following event:
Family, Identity and Future: David A. Robertson & Jesse Thistle
Friday, October 30, 2020 – 8pm (ET)
You can see more emerging authors joining us this year by browsing the full 2020 participant listing.