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TIFA Blog

A Final Look at #FestofAuthors20

Published on September 2, 2021

A laptop with the TIFA Re-release page open is sitting on a table next to a collection of books, a plant and a couch.

Throughout 2021, the Toronto International Festival of Authors has re-shared moments and events from #FestofAuthors20 by re-releasing its recorded events monthly. As we prepare for the 42nd edition of the Festival, coming this October, we are proud to offer our September re-release catalogue as the final installment of these monthly offerings. We welcome curious readers of every kind to relive the interviews, readings and performances that made up our first digital Festival, as we eagerly await TIFA’s 2021 edition.

To celebrate all the fantastic authors who joined us last year, here are some clips you might have missed.


Love & Sacrifice in Storytelling: Janie Chang & Louise Hare

Available now as part of our September re-releases, historical fiction writers Janie Chang and Louise Hare chatted with The Globe and Mail‘s Judith Pereira about the love and sacrifice showcased in their books. In this clip, Chang speaks to the process of writing her novel The Library of Legends, and how the finished draft differed from her original proposal. Watch the event here.

Critical Conversations: The Big Hoax

In 2020, we introduced a series of events called Critical Conversations. Each iteration offered a panel of authors and experts commenting on a specific and crucial topic of our times, such as climate change, Indigenous rights and the Black Lives Matter movement. In one such installment, Humber College podcasters and faculty members Lee Kuhnle, Alena Papayanis and Nathan Radke join us to talk about “The Big Hoax”: the ubiquity of media misinformation and its dangerous implications. In this clip, the three colleagues discuss QAnon and the surprising effect it had on people in their own lives.

Care & Share: Priya Basil

In October 2020, author Priya Basil spoke with Ann Hui about her book Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community and the Meaning of Generosity. Exploring how and when we extend our hospitality, Basil examined what our generosity says about our relationships and way of living today. In this clip, Basil discusses how the pandemic has changed the way we practice hospitality and take care of each other. Watch the event here.

Bridging the Gap

TIFA’s 2020 Festival showcased a rich roster of TIFA Kids events. From readings to panels with authors and illustrators, it gave young readers a chance to discover new books and stories. In the event titled Bridging the Gap, presented in partnership with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, we met authors Kyo Maclear, Serah-Marie McMahon and Tina Athaide in conversation with Brandon Mitchell about their non-fiction and historical books. In this clip, Athaide shares her favourite books as a child and the best part of reading. Watch the event here.

A Series of Fortunate Events: Sean B. Carroll in Conversation with Ziya Tong

In November 2020, award-winning scientist, author and educator Sean B. Carroll joined Ziya Tong for a conversation about the surprising power of chance in our lives and in the world. In his latest book, Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You, Carroll delves into tough questions that philosophers and theologians have pondered for millennia. In this clip, Carroll addresses extinction and the many ways the biodiversity crisis will show up in our lives.

Skin Hunger: Francesca Ekwuyasi

For the 2020 Festival, TIFA commissioned Skin Hunger: new writing commissions featuring distinct and internationally renowned writers, in reflection on collective feelings endured during the COVID-19 crisis. From isolation to fear, the new writings explore various perspectives and stories of these strange times. In this video, Francesca Ekwuyasi reads her Skin Hunger piece.

Pain of the Past: Michelle Good on Five Little Indians

Last year, Cree author and lawyer Michelle Good spoke with Waubgeshig Rice about her 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize-longlisted book Five Little Indians. The novel presents a fictional account of life after residential school and the struggle experienced by survivors. In this clip, Good shares why she chose to write about residential schools, and answers why Indigenous communities “can’t just get over it.”

Maternal Mysteries: Samantha M. Bailey & Marjorie Celona

Interviewer Katrina Onstad sat down with Samantha M. Bailey and Marjorie Celona in October 2020 to discuss their latest books and how they explored the experiences of motherhood within them. In this clip, Samantha M. Bailey talks about her novel Woman on the Edge, postpartum depression and the anxiety she experienced as a new mother.

Journeys of Self-Discovery: Billy-Ray Belcourt & Tyler Pennock

In October 2020, Driftpile Cree Nation poet and youngest winner of the Griffin Prize, Billy-Ray Belcourt, joined Jennifer Alicia Murrin and Tyler Pennock for a conversation about their unique journeys of self-discovery. In A History of My Brief Body, Belcourt explores his personal history and reconciliation with the world he was born into. In this clip, Belcourt discusses the importance of stories that feature queer Indigenous youth.

Kimiko Does Cancer: Kimiko Tobimatsu & Keet Geniza

Author Kimiko Tobimatsu and illustrator Keet Geniza joined Samia Madwar on stage at Harbourfront Centre during #FestofAuthors20 to talk about their book Kimiko Does Cancer. The graphic memoir explores Tobimatsu’s experience with breast cancer as a young, queer and mixed-race woman. Critiquing the mainstream cancer narrative, Tobimatsu explains in this clip why it’s important for doctors to understand the various experiences faced by people when diagnosed with cancer.


Don’t forget to check out the September re-releases before it’s too late, then keep watch for our #FestofAuthors21 programme announcement, which is only a couple weeks away!

A laptop with the TIFA Re-release page open is sitting on a table next to a collection of books, a plant and a couch.

TIFA Blog

A Final Look at #FestofAuthors20

Published on September 2, 2021

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