On July 26, 2022, the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) announced that 21 new books have been selected to be part of the latest season of Toronto Lit Up, a joint initiative with Toronto Arts Council that spotlights Toronto writers and provide career-building opportunities through book launch celebrations. The latest Toronto Lit Up season will take place between July 2022 and March 2023, and feature new works of fiction and non-fiction for adults and young people, poetry, memoir and drama, by debut and established Toronto authors.
The authors and new books selected for the new Toronto Lit Up season are:
• Didier Leclair, Toronto, I Love You (translated to English by Elaine Kennedy) (Mawenzi House)
• Pamela Mordecai, de Book of Joseph (Mawenzi House)
• Curtis Carmichael, Butterflies in the Trenches: The Hood, an Epic Bike Ride, and Finding Inspiration (Synergy)
• Sophie Jai, Wild Fires (HarperCollins Canada)
• Khashayar Mohammadi, WJD (Gordon Hill)
• Emily Saso, Nine Dash Line (Freehand Books)
• Diane Borsato with illustrations by Kelsey Oseid, Mushrooming: The Joy of the Quiet Hunt – An Illustrated Guide to the Fascinating, the Delicious, the Deadly and the Strange (Douglas & McIntyre)
• Tanya Turton, Jade Is a Twisted Green (Dundurn Press)
• Nancy Lam, The Loyal Daughter (At Bay Press)
• Robert Priest, If I Didn’t Love the River (ECW Press)
• Daniel Scott Tysdal, The End Is in the Middle: MAD fold-in poems (Icehouse Poetry)
• Sam Shelstad, Citizens of Light (TouchWood Editions)
• Danee Wilson, Murder at San Miguel (Radiant Press)
• S.K. Ali, Love from Mecca to Medina (Simon & Schuster Canada)
• Jon S. Dellandrea, The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case: The Group of Seven & Tom Thomson Forgeries (Goose Lane Editions)
• Elaine Kachala, Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution (Orca Book Publishers)
• Chris MacDonald, The Things I Came Here With: A Memoir (ECW Press)
• Elizabeth Gillian Muir, An Unrecognized Contribution: Women and Their Work in 19th-Century Toronto (Dundurn Press)
• Natasha Adiyana Morris, The Negroes Are Congregating (Playwrights Canada Press)
• George Elliott Clarke, Canticles III (MMXXII) (Guernica Editions)
• Brooke Lockyer, Burr (Nightwood Editions)
Book launch events will take place at venues throughout Toronto. Event dates and details will be posted throughout the season at FestivalofAuthors.ca/Toronto-Lit-Up. As always, Toronto Lit Up events are open to the public and free to attend.
“Toronto Lit Up continues to provide invaluable opportunities for Toronto writers to enjoy well-deserved time in the spotlight, along with the resources to celebrate and promote their publishing accomplishments. Toronto Arts Council is pleased to partner with TIFA as we applaud twenty-one accomplished authors participating this season, reflecting a wealth of diverse and compelling stories” – Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation
“It’s an honour for us to continue to celebrate local Toronto authors and be a part of showcasing the diversity of the city’s vibrant literary landscape. We are particularly delighted that many of this season’s launches are scheduled to be in-person after many, many months of virtual launches. Congratulations to all the authors launching new books this year. We look forward to receiving – and greatly encourage – new submissions when the next call opens this fall.” – Ayesha Chatterjee, Toronto Lit Up committee member.
This is an extended season of Toronto Lit Up, which takes into account that many book launches were delayed during the past two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All submissions were reviewed by the Toronto Lit Up Committee, composed of Ayesha Chatterjee (past president, League of Canadian Poets), Alison Jones (Quill and Quire) and Hazel Millar (Literary Press Group).
Toronto Lit Up is produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.
ABOUT TORONTO LIT UP
Toronto Lit Up is a multi-year initiative, started in 2016 by the Toronto International Festival of Authors and Toronto Arts Council, to spotlight Toronto writers and empower local artists with career-building opportunities. Between April 2016 and June 2022, Toronto Lit Up has presented 137 events to launch 161 books by 236 Toronto authors. Launches are always open to the public and free to attend.
Today, the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) announced the Spring 2022 Season of Toronto Lit Up, a joint initiative with Toronto Arts Council to spotlight Toronto writers, and also opened the call for submissions for the programme’s next season. The Spring Season, taking place now through to June, will feature digital and in-person events that celebrate the launch of eight new books by nine local authors/illustrators.
The selected authors and books for the Spring 2022 Season are:
- Mahak Jain and Anu Chouhan (Illustrator), Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes (Annick Press)
- Robert McGill, Suitable Companion for the End of Your Life (Coach House Books)
- Neil Besner, Fishing With Tardelli: A Memoir of Family in Time Lost (ECW Press)
- Terri Favro, The Sisters Sputnik (ECW Press)
- Adrienne Todd, City of Sensors (Now Or Never Publishing)
- S.L. Klassen, Menno-Nightcaps: Cocktails Inspired by that Odd Ethno-Religious Group You Keep Mistaking for the Amish, Quakers Or Mormons (TouchWood Editions)
- Margaret DeRosia, Eight Strings (Simon & Schuster)
- Sonya Singh, Sari, Not Sari (Simon & Schuster)
July 2022 – March 2023 Season Call For Submissions
As of today, the call for submissions is open for the next season of Toronto Lit Up, which will take place between July 2022 and March 2023. This is an extended season, taking into account that many book launches were delayed during the past two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Torontonians who will be published authors within the season dates, and their publicists, are invited to apply to the programme for book launch support. Submissions will be accepted between April 1 and 30, 2022.
All submissions will be reviewed by the Toronto Lit Up Committee, composed of Ayesha Chatterjee (past president, League of Canadian Poets), Alison Jones (Quill and Quire) and Hazel Millar (Literary Press Group).
The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) and the Toronto Lit Up Committee are pleased to announce the authors and books selected for the Summer/Fall 2021 Season of Toronto Lit Up. The following new books by Torontonians will be celebrated with Toronto Lit Up book launch events between July and December.
- Jane Cawthorne, Elaine Morin & Contributors, Impact: Women Writing After Concussion (University of Alberta Press)
- George Elliott Clarke, J’Accuse…! (Exile Editions)
- Robert Hough, The Marriage of Rose Camillieri (Douglas & McIntyre)
- Starkie Mak, Coming to Canada (At Bay Press)
- Corey Mintz, THE NEXT SUPPER: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After (PublicAffairs, Hachette Book Group)
- Darlene Madott, Dying Times (Exile Editions)
- Charlie Petch, Why I Was Late (Brick Books)
- Alia Ceniza Rasul, Super Important Filipina Thoughts (ANAK Publishing Worker Cooperative Ltd.)
- Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith, These are the Stories (Kegedonce Press)
- charles c. smith, searching for eastman (Mawenzi House)
- Assiyah Jamilla Touré, Autowar (Brick Books)
- Lindsay Zier-Vogel, Letters to Amelia (Book*hug Press)
All events will be delivered digitally this upcoming season. As always, Toronto Lit Up events are open to the public and free to attend. Stay tuned for dates and details to come.
“We’re so pleased to feature these books this upcoming season of Toronto Lit Up,” says Ayesha Chatterjee, Toronto Lit Up committee member. “The books represent, in a small way, the powerful voices of this city in a range of genres and perspectives, touching upon, among other things, the immigrant experience from a child’s perspective, and the very topical subject of restaurants and how the pandemic is changing them. As a poet, I’m particularly delighted at the fact that poetry is well represented in the lineup,” she adds.
The Toronto Lit Up committee is made up of Ayesha Chatterjee (past president, League of Canadian Poets), Alison Jones (Quill and Quire) and Hazel Millar (Literary Press Group).
Toronto Lit Up is produced with the support of the City of Toronto through Toronto Arts Council.
Since 2016, Toronto Lit Up has provided book launch support and career-building opportunities to local authors. The initiative, a partnership between the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) and Toronto Arts Council, has produced 107 events to launch 131 books by 177 Toronto authors. With the submission period for the 2021 Fall/Winter season now open until March 31, we are taking a look back at 10 authors who launched their book through the programme.
Deb Loughead and Mary Jennifer Payne
The inaugural Toronto Lit Up event took place on December 14, 2016, with Deb Loughead and Mary Jennifer Payne’s joint book launch. TIFA, then named International Festival of Authors (IFOA), and Dundurn Press celebrated the YA novels The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead and Finding Jade by Mary Jennifer Payne on the Lakeside Terrace at Harbourfront Centre. It was a great opportunity for guests to get a copy of the book and chat with the authors in person about their work. Since then, Deb Loughead has published a children’s book, Bright Shining Moment, and Mary Jennifer Payne has gone on publish two more books within the Daughters of Light series: Soloman’s Ring and Darkness Rising.
On April 25, 2017, TIFA and Penguin Random House Canada celebrated the release of The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron at No One Writes To The Colonel. The award-winning and bestselling author read an excerpt, signed books and chatted with guests who attended the free event. The launch was a success, and the book went on to win the 2018 Forest of Reading® Evergreen Award, became a 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Finalist (now the Atwood-Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize) and national bestseller.
Lithuanian-Canadian author Antanas Sileika has celebrated the launch of two books as part of the Toronto Lit Up programme. On May 2, 2017, ECW Press launched Sileika’s memoir, The Barefoot Bingo Caller, at the Lithuanian House, with stories, a book signing and even a game of bingo during the evening. Almost two years later, Sileika joined us in March 2019 for the release of Provisionally Yours, published by Biblioasis, at Ben McNally Books. Since publishing his books, readers can occasionally find his book reviews on CBC radio 1 and The Globe and Mail.
On May 26, 2017 at The Ossington in Toronto, TIFA and Penguin Random House celebrated the launch of Pasha Malla’s novel Fugue States. Type Books joined the celebration to sell copies of the books and Canadian writer David Chariandy dropped by to chat with Malla about the novel and its story of two young men who embark on a journey from Canada to Kashmir, India. That year, Fugue States was included in The Globe and Mail’s Best Books of 2017 and it won the Hamilton Literary Award for Fiction. In February 2021, Malla published his latest novel, Kill the Mall.
On June 1, 2017, Catherine Graham joined TIFA and Two Wolves Press at Tranzac Club to celebrate the launch of her debut novel Quarry. Guests of the free event got to enjoy a reading, book signing and a special appearance by radio and television journalist Mary Lou Finlay. Quarry was a finalist for the 2018 Sarton Women’s Book Award for Contemporary Fiction and Fred Kerner Book Award, and went on to win the Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal for Fiction. Catherine Graham will be joining Toronto Lit Up again this year for the launch of Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric with Wolsak & Wynn in April. Keep an eye on our What’s On page for details about the upcoming free event. Catherine also acts as host of the TIFA Book Club.
George Elliott Clarke
Canadian poet, playwright and literary critic George Elliott Clarke celebrated the book launch of his anthology Locating Home: The First African-Canadian Novel and Verse Collections on January 19, 2018, with TIFA and Tightrope Books. The event took place at Ben McNally Books and explored Clarke’s anthology of the historical, cultural and political significance of the first African-Canadian literature. Poet Michael Fraser also dropped by the launch for a special reading. In 2019, Clarke published a new poetry collection called Portia White: A Portrait in Words, where he explores the life of his great-aunt, the celebrated opera singer Portia White.
In March 2018, TIFA and Simon & Schuster Canada invited the public to attend the book launch for Find You in the Dark. The novel, the first thriller by Nathan Ripley (pen name of screenwriter Naben Ruthnum) was an instant bestseller and was selected as an Arthur Ellis Awards finalist for Best First Novel. Following the success of the book, Your Life Is Mine was also published under Nathan Ripley. Under Naben Ruthnum, the author has had work published in magazines and works as a screenwriter, with projects in development at Oddfellows Entertainment. Ruthnum joined TIFA in 2020 for the 41st edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors to teach a writing masterclass with Humber School of Writing.
Through the Toronto Lit Up programme, A.G. Pasquella launched the first book in his Jack Palace series, Yard Dog. The event took place on November 29, 2018, at the Tranzac Club with TIFA and Dundurn Press to celebrate the gritty crime novel. The sequel, Carve the Heart, was published in 2019 and the third installment, Season of Smoke, was released in February 2021.
In July 2019, Farah Heron became one of the many authors that have launched their debut novels as part of the Toronto Lit Up programme. TIFA and HarperCollins Canada celebrated The Chai Factor at Supermarket. The novel, a romantic comedy about thirty-year-old engineer Amira Khan, attracted a lively crowd that celebrated with signed books, tea and a barbershop quartet. Fans of Heron will be happy to hear that her latest book, Accidently Engaged, was recently published in March 2021.
What’s been your favourite Toronto Lit Up event? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram by tagging @festofauthors with the hashtag #TorontoLitUp.
If you are interested in virtually attending Toronto Lit Up events in 2021, be sure to check our What’s On page regularly as events are added. All Toronto Lit Up events are free and open to the public.
If you are a Torontonian planning a book launch between July and December 2021, consider applying to the programme here.