A Spotlight on Black Authors at #FestofAuthors22

A Spotlight on Black Authors at #FestofAuthors22

11:59pm

Sunday, April 21, 2024

As Toronto International Festival of Authors enters it’s first weekend full of events, we are thrilled to have a talented group of Black authors joining us from Canada and around the world. From coming-of-age stories to a critical look at Canada’s often-touted openness and multiculturalism, don’t miss the chance to see these authors read and discuss their latest work.

Learn more about the authors and their upcoming events below.


Marie-Celie Agnant

Photo Credit: Clovis A. Desvarieux

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Marie-Celie Agnant immigrated to Quebec when she was 17. She is the author of 17 books that have been published in Québec, France and Haiti, and translated into many languages. In her childhood, books were her refuge while the country was experiencing repression and writing has been a love of hers since a young age. Themes of racism, exile and the conditions of women have been popular topics in her works, drawing most of her inspiration from her time in Haiti. Agnant will be presenting A Knife in the Sky (translated by Katia Grubisic).

Marie-Celie Agnant will be appearing in the following event:

Histories of Resistance: Marie-Célie Agnant & Kim Leine
September 25 at 2pm

Dionne Brand

Dionne Brand headshot
Photo credit: Clea Christakos-Gee.

Dionne Brand was born in Trinidad and is a poet, novelist, non-fiction writer, filmmaker, educator and activist. She is the author of 23 books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her writing has received many awards including the Governor General’s Award for English-Language Poetry, the Trillium Book Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Toronto Book Award. In 2022, it was announced that Brand would be the editorial director for a new imprint with Knopf Canada, Alchemy. Brand will be presenting Nomenclature.

Dionne Brand will appear in the following event:

Nomenclature: Dionne Brand
October 1 at 1:30pm

Lorna Goodison

Photo Credit: Hugh Wright

Lorna Goodison is the author of 14 books of poetry, three short-story collections, and an essay collection. She was Jamaica’s Poet Laureate from 2017 to 2020 and was the recipient of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2019. In 2013, Goodison received the Order of Distinction, a national order in the Jamaican honours system. Lorna Goodison will be presenting Mother Muse.

Lorna Goodison will appear in the following events:

Lorna Goodison Poetry Reading
October 2 at 6pm

Mother Muse: Lorna Goodison
October 2 at 12:30pm

Didier Leclair

Leclair, Didier headshot

Didier Leclair (Didier Kabagema) was born in Montreal to Rwandan parents. He grew up in Africa—Gabon, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast and Congo-Brazzaville—and returned to Canada in 1987. In 2000, his novel Toronto, I Love You won the Prix Trillium. He cites Chester Himes, James Baldwin and Carson McCullers as a few of his sources of inspiration. Leclair will be presenting Toronto, I Love You.

Didier Leclair will appear in the following event:

Toronto Through the Looking Glass: Didier Leclair & Mariam Pirbhai
October 1 at 1:30pm

Léonora Miano

Born in Douala, Cameroon, in 1973, Léonora Miano is one of the most important voices in francophone literature. She is a novelist, playwright and essayist, she is also the founder and director of Quilombo Publishing based in Lomé, Togo. The company’s mission is to provide a welcoming space for young writers, especially those from sub-Saharan Africa, make unexpected voices heard, reveal new imaginaries and promote oral literature. Miano will be presenting Twilight of Torment.

Léonora Miano will appear in the following event:

The Different Sides of the Story: Elise Levine & Léonora Miano
September 24 at 8pm

Shani Mootoo

Shani Mootoo headshot
Photo credit: Quinte Studios.

Shani Mootoo is a writer and visual artist. She was born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents and grew up in Trinidad before moving to Canada in her early twenties. She earned a Fine Arts BFA Degree at the University of Western Ontario, an MA in English and Theatre from the University of Guelph and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Western University. Her artwork has been displayed around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Mootoo will be presenting Cane | Fire.

Shani Mootoo will appear in the following events:

Poetry Reading: Pamela Mordecai & Shani Mootoo
September 25 at 4pm

Poetic Journeys: Shani Mootoo & Pamela Mordecai
September 25 at 1pm

Pamela Mordecai

Photo credit: David Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai writes poetry, fiction and plays. Her collections of poetry include Journey Poemde ManCertifiableThe True Blue of IslandsSubversive Sonnetsde book of MaryUp Tropic and A Fierce Green Place: new and selected poems. The first poem she ever wrote was when she was nine, about a hurricane that hit the island of Jamaica in that year. In 2013, she was awarded the Institute of Jamaica’s Bronze Musgrave Medal. Mordecai will be presenting A Fierce Green Place and de Book of Joseph.

Pamela Mordecai will appear in the following events:

Poetry Reading: Pamela Mordecai & Shani Mootoo
September 25 at 4pm

Poetic Journeys: Shani Mootoo & Pamela Mordecai
September 25 at 1pm

Téa Mutonji

Born in Congo-Kinshasa, Téa Mutonji is a poet and writer based in Toronto. She holds a degree in Media Studies and minors in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her debut collection of short stories, Shut Up You’re Pretty, won the Trillium Book Award and is the first title from Vivek Shraya’s imprint at Arsenal Pulp Press, VS. Books.

Téa Mutonji will appear in the following event:

Writing Short Stories, with Téa Mutonji
September 26 at 5:30pm

Louisa Onomé

Louisa Onomé headshot
Photo credit: Linda Arki.

Louisa Onomé is a Nigerian-Canadian writer of books for teens and adults. She holds a BA in professional writing and a MA in counselling psychology. When she is not writing, she works as a narrative designer for video games. Onomé will be presenting Twice as Perfect.

Louisa Onomé will be appearing in the following event:

Bodies of Evidence with Louisa Onomé & Courtney Summers
September 30 at 6pm

Rollie Pemberton

Rollie Pemberton is a writer, rapper, producer, poet and activist who performs under the name Cadence Weapon. He won the 2021 Polaris Music Prize for his album Parallel World and was a former Poet Laureate in his hometown of Edmonton. When he was 17, he wrote an album review and sent it to Pitchfork, earning him a spot in the magazines year end book publication and a role as Pitchfork’s authority on hip hop. Pemberton will be presenting Bedroom Rapper.

Rollie Pemberton will appear in the following event:

Stories & Soundtracks: Michael Barclay & Rollie Pemberton
September 24 at 4:30pm

Jasmine Sealy

Photo Credit: Benjamin Gardere

Jasmine Sealy is a Barbadian-Canadian writer based in Vancouver, BC. She is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing from UBC and is the former Prose Editor at PRISM international. An Island of Forgetting is her debut novel and won the UBC/HarperCollins Best New Fiction Prize in 2020.

Jasmine Sealy will appear in the following event:

Legacy, Lore & Love: David A. Robertson & Jasmine Sealy
September 25 at 5:30pm


See the full list of #FestofAuthors22 events here!

As Toronto International Festival of Authors enters it’s first weekend full of events, we are thrilled to have a talented group of Black authors joining us from Canada and around the world. From coming-of-age stories to a critical look at Canada’s often-touted openness and multiculturalism, don’t miss the chance to see these authors read and discuss their latest work.

Learn more about the authors and their upcoming events below.


Marie-Celie Agnant

Photo Credit: Clovis A. Desvarieux

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Marie-Celie Agnant immigrated to Quebec when she was 17. She is the author of 17 books that have been published in Québec, France and Haiti, and translated into many languages. In her childhood, books were her refuge while the country was experiencing repression and writing has been a love of hers since a young age. Themes of racism, exile and the conditions of women have been popular topics in her works, drawing most of her inspiration from her time in Haiti. Agnant will be presenting A Knife in the Sky (translated by Katia Grubisic).

Marie-Celie Agnant will be appearing in the following event:

Histories of Resistance: Marie-Célie Agnant & Kim Leine
September 25 at 2pm

Dionne Brand

Dionne Brand headshot
Photo credit: Clea Christakos-Gee.

Dionne Brand was born in Trinidad and is a poet, novelist, non-fiction writer, filmmaker, educator and activist. She is the author of 23 books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her writing has received many awards including the Governor General’s Award for English-Language Poetry, the Trillium Book Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Toronto Book Award. In 2022, it was announced that Brand would be the editorial director for a new imprint with Knopf Canada, Alchemy. Brand will be presenting Nomenclature.

Dionne Brand will appear in the following event:

Nomenclature: Dionne Brand
October 1 at 1:30pm

Lorna Goodison

Photo Credit: Hugh Wright

Lorna Goodison is the author of 14 books of poetry, three short-story collections, and an essay collection. She was Jamaica’s Poet Laureate from 2017 to 2020 and was the recipient of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2019. In 2013, Goodison received the Order of Distinction, a national order in the Jamaican honours system. Lorna Goodison will be presenting Mother Muse.

Lorna Goodison will appear in the following events:

Lorna Goodison Poetry Reading
October 2 at 6pm

Mother Muse: Lorna Goodison
October 2 at 12:30pm

Didier Leclair

Leclair, Didier headshot

Didier Leclair (Didier Kabagema) was born in Montreal to Rwandan parents. He grew up in Africa—Gabon, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast and Congo-Brazzaville—and returned to Canada in 1987. In 2000, his novel Toronto, I Love You won the Prix Trillium. He cites Chester Himes, James Baldwin and Carson McCullers as a few of his sources of inspiration. Leclair will be presenting Toronto, I Love You.

Didier Leclair will appear in the following event:

Toronto Through the Looking Glass: Didier Leclair & Mariam Pirbhai
October 1 at 1:30pm

Léonora Miano

Born in Douala, Cameroon, in 1973, Léonora Miano is one of the most important voices in francophone literature. She is a novelist, playwright and essayist, she is also the founder and director of Quilombo Publishing based in Lomé, Togo. The company’s mission is to provide a welcoming space for young writers, especially those from sub-Saharan Africa, make unexpected voices heard, reveal new imaginaries and promote oral literature. Miano will be presenting Twilight of Torment.

Léonora Miano will appear in the following event:

The Different Sides of the Story: Elise Levine & Léonora Miano
September 24 at 8pm

Shani Mootoo

Shani Mootoo headshot
Photo credit: Quinte Studios.

Shani Mootoo is a writer and visual artist. She was born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents and grew up in Trinidad before moving to Canada in her early twenties. She earned a Fine Arts BFA Degree at the University of Western Ontario, an MA in English and Theatre from the University of Guelph and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Western University. Her artwork has been displayed around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Mootoo will be presenting Cane | Fire.

Shani Mootoo will appear in the following events:

Poetry Reading: Pamela Mordecai & Shani Mootoo
September 25 at 4pm

Poetic Journeys: Shani Mootoo & Pamela Mordecai
September 25 at 1pm

Pamela Mordecai

Photo credit: David Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai writes poetry, fiction and plays. Her collections of poetry include Journey Poemde ManCertifiableThe True Blue of IslandsSubversive Sonnetsde book of MaryUp Tropic and A Fierce Green Place: new and selected poems. The first poem she ever wrote was when she was nine, about a hurricane that hit the island of Jamaica in that year. In 2013, she was awarded the Institute of Jamaica’s Bronze Musgrave Medal. Mordecai will be presenting A Fierce Green Place and de Book of Joseph.

Pamela Mordecai will appear in the following events:

Poetry Reading: Pamela Mordecai & Shani Mootoo
September 25 at 4pm

Poetic Journeys: Shani Mootoo & Pamela Mordecai
September 25 at 1pm

Téa Mutonji

Born in Congo-Kinshasa, Téa Mutonji is a poet and writer based in Toronto. She holds a degree in Media Studies and minors in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her debut collection of short stories, Shut Up You’re Pretty, won the Trillium Book Award and is the first title from Vivek Shraya’s imprint at Arsenal Pulp Press, VS. Books.

Téa Mutonji will appear in the following event:

Writing Short Stories, with Téa Mutonji
September 26 at 5:30pm

Louisa Onomé

Louisa Onomé headshot
Photo credit: Linda Arki.

Louisa Onomé is a Nigerian-Canadian writer of books for teens and adults. She holds a BA in professional writing and a MA in counselling psychology. When she is not writing, she works as a narrative designer for video games. Onomé will be presenting Twice as Perfect.

Louisa Onomé will be appearing in the following event:

Bodies of Evidence with Louisa Onomé & Courtney Summers
September 30 at 6pm

Rollie Pemberton

Rollie Pemberton is a writer, rapper, producer, poet and activist who performs under the name Cadence Weapon. He won the 2021 Polaris Music Prize for his album Parallel World and was a former Poet Laureate in his hometown of Edmonton. When he was 17, he wrote an album review and sent it to Pitchfork, earning him a spot in the magazines year end book publication and a role as Pitchfork’s authority on hip hop. Pemberton will be presenting Bedroom Rapper.

Rollie Pemberton will appear in the following event:

Stories & Soundtracks: Michael Barclay & Rollie Pemberton
September 24 at 4:30pm

Jasmine Sealy

Photo Credit: Benjamin Gardere

Jasmine Sealy is a Barbadian-Canadian writer based in Vancouver, BC. She is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing from UBC and is the former Prose Editor at PRISM international. An Island of Forgetting is her debut novel and won the UBC/HarperCollins Best New Fiction Prize in 2020.

Jasmine Sealy will appear in the following event:

Legacy, Lore & Love: David A. Robertson & Jasmine Sealy
September 25 at 5:30pm


See the full list of #FestofAuthors22 events here!

11:59pm

Sunday, April 21

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