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TIFA Blog

Dazzling Debuts at #FestofAuthors21

Published on October 8, 2021

Genki Ferguson headshot

Over the years, thousands of authors have launched careers on the stages of the Toronto International Festival of Authors, from the world’s most established voices to captivating debuts. As we enter the 42nd edition of the Festival, taking place October 21 to 31, 2021, we are delighted to welcome back many esteemed bestsellers, but are equally excited to celebrate dozens of new stories and perspectives being shared by emerging authors whose stars are on the rise.

With memoirs, novels and poetry collections, here is a selection of just some of the new voices you won’t want to miss at #FestofAuthors21:


Kerri Arsenault headshotKerri Arsenault

After leaving her childhood home of Mexico, Maine, Kerri Arsenault began to understand the hazards caused by the working-class town’s primary business — an environmentally destructive paper mill that earned the area the nickname “Cancer Valley.” Mill Town is Arsenault’s debut investigative memoir, following the rise and fall of the working class, and ultimately posing the question: What are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival?

Kerri Arsenault will participate in the following event:

The Human Cost of Big Industry: Kazim Ali & Kerri Arsenault
Sunday, October 24 at 6:30pm ET

Photo credit: Erik Madigan Heck.

Mateo Askaripour headshotMateo Askaripour

After quitting his sales job in 2016, Mateo Askaripour became a writer, starting with essays. His debut novel, Black Buck, is a satirical commentary on racism in the American workforce and is loosely based on Askaripour’s real-life experiences. Initially struggling with the novel, a trip to the Rhode Island Writers Colony helped him realize that his book needed to address his own unresolved issues with startup corporate culture.

Mateo Askaripour will participate in the following event:

A New Way Forward: Mateo Askirapour & Natasha Brown
Wednesday, October 27 at 3pm ET

Photo credit: Andrew FifthGod Askaripour.

Kavita Bedford headshotKavita Bedford

Shortlisted for the 2021 Queensland Literary Awards, Australian-Indian writer Kavita Bedford’s debut novel, Friends & Dark Shapes, is a story of grief, gentrification, youth and friendship. Released in March 2021, Bedford’s novel takes place in inner-city Sydney, exploring the city’s vibrancy while simultaneously using it as a stand-in for gentrification worldwide, and following a nameless narrator as she processes the loss of her father and navigates her changing life.

Kavita Bedford will participate in the following event:

Edges and Changes: Aimee Wall & Kavita Bedford
Friday, October 22 at 8pm ET

Asha Bromfield headshotAsha Bromfield

Asha Bromfield is an actress, singer and writer currently based in Toronto. Known for her roles on The CW’s Riverdale and Netflix’s Locke and Key, Bromfield’s debut young adult novel, Hurricane Summer, was released in May 2021. The young adult novel is a coming-of-age story exploring family secrets, colourism and classism against the background of the protagonist’s time spent in Jamaica.

Asha Bromfield will participate in the following event:

Loss, Heartbreak & Hurricanes with Asha Bromfield & Courtney Summers
Sunday, October 24 at 2:30pm ET

Maisy Card HeadshotMaisy Card

Maisy Card’s debut novel, These Ghosts Are Family, is a sweeping tale of a family’s secrets, identities and traumas. The novel travels between New York and Jamaica, exploring the history of colonialism in Jamaica and its continued impacts. Card cites her own family history as inspiration for the novel and its characters.

Maisy Card will participate in the following events:

Journeys and Generations: Maisy Card and Lauren Francis-Sharma
Saturday, October 23 at 5pm ET

Can You Hear Me Now? Maisy Card
Tuesday, October 26 at 12pm ET

Photo credit: Marian Calle.

Therese Estacion headshotTherese Estacion

After surviving a rare, nearly fatal infection, Therese Estacion wrote her debut book of poetry, Phantompians. Estacion’s poetry takes inspiration from Filipino horror and folk tales and reflects on themes of grief, mourning and disability, piecing together her memories of recovering from her illness.

Therese Estacion will participate in the following event:

The Body Poetic: Therese Estacion & Charlie Petch
Wednesday, October 27 at 9pm ET

Photo credit: Angela Gzowsk.

Genki Ferguson headshotGenki Ferguson

Growing up in Calgary, Genki Ferguson looked forward to his family trips to rural areas of southern Japan where, absent the light pollution of the big city, he could finally see the stars and stare into space. Inspired by these childhood memories, Ferguson’s debut novel, Satellite Love, is set in a rural Japanese town in 1999, and is a heartbreaking science-fiction love story between a girl, a boy and a satellite.

Genki Ferguson will participate in the following events:

Can You Hear Me Now? Genki Ferguson
Friday, October 22 at 12pm ET

When Love and Technology Collide: Tahmima Anam & Genki Ferguson
Sunday, October 31 at 1pm ET

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia headshotCheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a lawyer, academic and writer who splits her time between Halifax and Lagos. Her debut novel, The Son of the House, is on the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist and is a finalist for the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021. The novel, drawing inspiration from Nigerian fables and cinema, follows two Nigerian women over four decades, celebrating female friendship and resilience in the face of a world dominated by men.

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia will participate in the following event:

Woman of the World: Scholastique Mukasonga & Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
Sunday, October 31 at 3:30pm ET

Meg Remy headshotMeg Remy

Meg Remy is an experimental pop singer and Juno Award nominee, under the name U.S. Girls. Her debut memoir, Begin by Telling, is told in a series of personal, lyrical essays. Through her essays, Remy weaves an extremely personal tale, discussing her experiences with topics including sexual assault and abortion, set against the backdrop of larger world events, such as war and acts of terror.

Meg Remy will participate in the following event:

Begin by Telling: Meg Remy
Saturday, October 30 at 8:30pm ET

Photo credit: Emma McIntyre.


You can learn more about all the 2021 authors, performers and artists joining us here.

Genki Ferguson headshot

TIFA Blog

Dazzling Debuts at #FestofAuthors21

Published on October 8, 2021

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