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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.


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.

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Toronto Lit Up website banner featuring 8 of the 21 selected books. Has the text "Toronto Lit Up July 2022-March 2023"

As the official presenter of MOTIVE Crime & Mystery Festival, Kobo Plus is offering Toronto International Festival of Authors guests, friends and supporters an opportunity to try Kobo’s all-you-can-read subscription service.

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On May 31, 2022, Kegedonce Press will release a remarkable new poetry collection, a collaboration with the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) and Festival of the Peripheries (FLUP), titled Slam Coalkan Performance Poetry: The Condor and the Eagle Meet. In 2021, 17 Indigenous spoken-word artists from Abya Yala (South America) and Turtle Island (North America) were invited by TIFA in Toronto, Canada, and Festival of the Peripheries (FLUP) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to participate in a virtual edition of Slam Coalkan. This project, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, was created to allow Indigenous poets from across the Americas to meet and share ideas, dreams and aspirations for the future, through two slam performances and a series of roundtables around the importance of storytelling. TIFA then reached out to Kegedonce Press to have the performers’ works published in an English-language anthology.

Slam Coalkan is curated by poets Jennifer Alicia Murrin of Toronto and Renata Tupinambá of São Paulo. The festivals’ directors, Roland Gulliver (TIFA) and Julio Ludemir (FLUP) have each contributed an afterword reflecting on this extraordinary cross-continental collaboration. Digitally enhanced with QR codes, Slam Coalkan links readers to videos of the poets’ performances at the FLUP and TIFA festivals.

The two Slam Coalkan competitions and the resulting anthology evoke an ancient Indigenous prophecy called coalkan, in which South America is represented by the Condor and North America, the Eagle. The prophecy states: The day will come when the Eagle and the Condor will fly together in the same sky, wing to wing, and the world will come into balance. The poetry of Slam Coalkan speaks out against the evils of colonialism, racism, transphobia and genocide.
The artwork on the book’s visually stunning cover is by Philip Cote III and Gustavo Caboco, with design by Chantal Lalonde and Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm.

Tyler Pennock, award-winning author of Bones, writes of Slam Coalkan: “This collection is an invitation, a re-focusing, and a collaboration long overdue. Persistent and affirming, the poets pull our gaze away from centered norms of power, empire, and colony. In this, every poem is a world, unique to the storyteller, diverse and full, maintained as living response to the brutality of oppression. Every page is necessary and compelling – an awakening, and a ‘body that transmutes hate in song.’”

Slam Coalkan will have its official launch at an in-person and online event at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto on June 21 at 7pm ET. Contributor and editor Jennifer Alicia Murrin will participate and the event will be moderated by Tyler Pennock.

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The Condor and the Eagle Meet artwork
Indigenous artwork

The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) today announced the author lineup and programming for MOTIVE presented by Kobo Plus, Canada’s newest and largest crime and mystery writing festival, taking place June 3 to 5, 2022 based at Harbourfront Centre. Marking TIFA’s return to in-person programming after two years of digital presentations, the inaugural edition of MOTIVE features nearly 100 authors from Canada and around the world, with over 40 ticketed events, 13 free digital events, plus free outdoor events and activities all weekend long. Tickets are now on sale online and through the Harbourfront Centre Box Office by phone at 416-973-4000. 

“This Festival is the realization of a two-year dream: when I arrived in Toronto I was struck by how passionate Canadian readers were for crime and mystery books. So it feels fitting to return to live, in-person events with the launch of MOTIVE, and to share this exceptional lineup of authors with audiences,” said Roland Gulliver, Director, Toronto International Festival of Authors. “From cozy crime to police procedural, psychological thriller to Nordic Noir, the crime and mystery genre has created some of the world’s best storytellers who offer perspectives on the world and explore contemporary social issues through captivating narratives.”

“We are thrilled to work with TIFA to bring the MOTIVE Crime & Mystery Festival to life. As one of the most popular genres on the Kobo Plus all-you-can read subscription service, we have experienced first-hand how passionate readers are for the genre,” said Bart Roberts, Director, Kobo Plus. “Readers who get hooked on mystery want to read everything they can uncover and we’re pleased to offer stories from the best criminal minds in the world for one low monthly fee. Kobo Plus makes it easy to read as many books as you want, to explore new mysteries risk-free, and discover international authors you may not otherwise have found.”

MOTIVE is generously supported by Presenting sponsor Kobo Plus, International sponsor Icelandair and Official booksellers Rakuten Kobo and Indigo.

Ticket prices for MOTIVE start at $16.50+HST ($12.50 for students and youth aged 25 and under). Digital events, The Hidden, and a selection of outdoor activities will be free.

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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: 

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).  

Click here for more information

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Toronto Lit Up banner with "Spring 2022 Selection" and the featured book titles displayed.

A digital mini-series spotlighting a new wave of CanLit influencers

The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) is thrilled to announce The New Embassy: a new five-part digital series spotlighting artists who are shaping Canada’s literary futures. The events will stream for free between February and April, 2022. Events will be curated by Yousef Kadoura, Canisia Lubrin, Jen Sookfong Lee, Kai Cheng Thom and Syrus Marcus Ware; and feature spoken word, poetry, fiction and non-fiction, theatrical readings, music and dance performed by a roster of influential artists, including Sze-Yang Ade-Lam, Britta B., Courage Bacchus, Aedan Corey, Rodney Diverlus, Beau Dixon, Jaz Fairy J, Aisha Sasha John, Kama La Mackerel, Joy Lapps, Janice Jo Lee, Erica Violet Lee, Kim Ninkuru, Dainty Smith, Zoey Roy and others.

The New Embassy is a celebration of Canadian voices in the 21st century, presented in the spontaneous and innovative spirit of Toronto’s iconic Bohemian Embassy: the iconic 1960s coffee house that helped cultivate the careers of many storytelling legends, such as Margaret Atwood, bpNichol, Gordon Lightfoot, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Lorne Michaels, Michael Ondaatje and Al Purdy. The Bohemian Embassy is considered to be the foremother of the Harbourfront Reading Series, which has grown into the Toronto International Festival of Authors we know today. Prompted by the renowned Ai WeiWei quote “Everything is Art, Everything is Politics”, The New Embassy will bring forward diverse perspectives and lived experiences through artistic works that explore the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality and identity.

Events will be available to watch at their designated release times and 72 hours thereafter. As always, TIFA’s donating Friends and Patrons will have extended viewing access (to learn more, visit festivalofauthors.ca/donate).

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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The New Embassy event banner. The New Embassy text on a red background with white swirls to the left. The logo has an eye with flames above it.

We are pleased to announce several new appointments to the board of directors of the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA). As of January 11, 2022, TIFA welcomes Shagorika Easwar, Malcolm McLean, Nalini Stewart and Iris Tupholme to its board of directors. All will serve the board, chaired by Charles Baillie, for a three-year term. Easwar’s appointment is effective as of September 2021, and the appointments of McLean, Stewart and Tupholme begin this month.   

Shagorika Easwar headshotShagorika Easwar is a seasoned journalist with years of leadership roles in media in India and Dubai. Easwar is the co-founder and Editor of Desi News, which she launched a year after arriving in Canada in 1995. Twenty-five years later, Desi News is Canada’s premier South Asian print and online magazine with Canada-wide readership, and continues to resonate with the burgeoning community. In 2006, Easwar co-founded Grant’s Desi Achievers Awards in partnership with PMA Canada, a bi-annual event that honours high achievers in Canada’s South Asian communities. Easwar also serves as the Editor of CanadaBound Immigrant magazine, which she co-founded in 2009. The magazine caters to the informational needs of newcomers to Canada and draws its readers from over 50 countries. 

Malcolm McLean headshotAfter completing the International MBA program at Schulich with a specialty in Russia and Eastern Europe, Malcolm McLean worked for several years in Germany before returning to Canada to embark on a career in brand strategy in the world of advertising. After making contributions at some of Canada’s leading agencies, including BBDO, Cossette, Lowe Roche, TBWA, and Grey Canada, he joined Cundari to invigorate and innovate their strategic offering and was subsequently elevated to the position of President, CSO in March 2019. McLean has had the privilege to work with a variety of not-for-profit organizations including CBCF, the Salvation Army, Special Olympics, Moms Demand Action for Gun Control in America, Strong Minds Strong Kids (Psychology Foundation of Canada), and the Missing Children’s Society of Canada.   

Nalini Stewart headshotFor over thirty-five years, Nalini Stewart has held leadership roles on local, provincial, and national boards. She has been Chair of the Ontario Arts Council and the Writers’ Trust of Canada. She has been Acting Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts and President of the Canadian Club. She is a Founding member of the Ontario Arts Foundation, The Power Plant Art Gallery, the Asia Pacific Foundation, the Art Canada Institute and the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. She is currently Chair of Necessary Angel Theatre and Friends of WWF Canada. She is an honorary governor of York University and the National Theatre School of Canada. Stewart received the Order of Ontario and the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship for “contribution to the arts, education and communication, and for efforts to promote diversity awareness and inclusion.” She has a lifetime achievement award from the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.   

Iris Tupholme headshotIris Tupholme is SVP, Executive Publisher at HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Iris leads the Canadian publishing team and is proud to be the publisher of esteemed and award-winning authors including Lawrence Hill, Michelle Good, Tanya Talaga, Hilary Mantel, Emma Donoghue, Thomas King, Heather O’Neil, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Rosemary Sullivan and Kenneth Oppel, among many others. Iris was born in Saskatchewan and lived in northern Ontario before moving to the Toronto area. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto, Ryerson College and the Rotman School of Business (MBA Essentials). Iris was chosen as the Editor of the Year in 2013 by Canadian Booksellers. She has been a Fellow in Sydney, Jerusalem and Scotland. Iris is the Founding Chair of the International Visitors (I.V.) Programme at TIFA, now in its 15th year.  

“We are delighted to welcome Shagorika, Malcolm Nalini and Iris to TIFA’s board of directors. They share our enthusiasm for literature and our desire to build upon TIFA’s rich history to ensure the organization’s success as we expand our offerings to the book-loving community this year, and onwards,” said Charles Baillie, TIFA board chair.   

“We are so pleased that Shagorika, Malcolm, Nalini and Iris are joining the TIFA Board. They bring a depth of knowledge, experience and expertise that will enable us to continue to successfully navigate these challenging times, and that enhance our abilities to realise our ambitions for 2022 and beyond, as we bring the best books, stories and ideas from around the world to audiences in Toronto,” said Roland Gulliver, TIFA Director. 

The board of directors for the Toronto International Festival of Authors is composed of Charles Baillie (President), Harriet Lewis (Vice President/Secretary), Cam di Prata (Treasurer), Gail Appel, Randy Boyagoda, Marah Braye, Shagorika Easwar, John Macfarlane, Malcolm McLean, Beth Nowers, Valerie Pringle, Nalini Stewart and Iris Tupholme. 

Board Member headshots - website banner

Award-winning Scottish actor and writer Alan Cumming will appear on the Toronto International Festival of Authors virtual stage on Tuesday, October 19 at 12:30pm ET to present his new and highly anticipated memoir, Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life. The free virtual event is open for registration now and will kick off the celebration of the Festival’s 42nd edition, which starts October 21.

A multi-hyphenate artist, Cumming is best known for his work in films like Spy Kids, X2: X-Men United and Eyes Wide Shut and his Tony Award-winning performance as the Emcee in the Broadway musical Cabaret. Cumming will sit down with TIFA Director Roland Gulliver for a conversation about his second memoir penned seven years after his bestselling Not My Father’s Son.

Poignant and joyous, Cumming’s newest book chronicles his life in Hollywood as he shows how every experience – good or bad – has shaped who he is today: a happy, flawed, vulnerable, fearless, middle-aged man with a lot of baggage.

The full programming slate of 200+ virtual events for TIFA’s 2021 edition, taking place October 21 to 31, is available now.

The International Visitors (IV) Programme, in association with the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA), is pleased to announce that author and publisher Errol Sharpe of Fernwood Publishing will be the tenth recipient of the Ivy Award. Given annually to an individual who has made a substantial contribution to Canadian publishing, Errol Sharpe will receive the Ivy Award during the International Visitors (IV) Keynote & Ivy Award event taking place on October 25 at 11am (ET). The free event, which is open to the public and members of the book industry, will also feature Keynote Speaker First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid. This event takes place during the 42nd edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors, running from October 21 to 31, 2021.

“On behalf of the IV Committee, I’d like to extend our congratulations to Errol Sharpe who was selected by the jury for his decades long commitment to publishing irresistible books, for his commitment to Canadian authors and his determination to publish them while in a challenging and ever-shifting publishing landscape. We are so pleased to see Errol’s work at Fernwood recognized with the Ivy Award,” said Carolyn Forde, IV Programme Chair, and Partner, Senior Literary Agent, International Rights Director, President, PACLA (Professional Association of Canadian Literary Agents).

“It is with great pleasure that I accept the Ivy Award on behalf of the whole Fernwood team. We are greatly honored that our work has been recognized by our peers in the industry,”

Errol Sharpe

The Ivy Award jury is composed of: Nurjehan Aziz (Publisher, Mawenzi House), Roland Gulliver (Director, Toronto International Festival of Authors), Alison Jones (Publisher, Quill & Quire), Itah Sadu (Author and Co-owner, A Different Booklist), and Kyle Wyatt (Editor-in-Chief, Literary Review of Canada). Past Ivy Award recipients include: Nurjehan Aziz (2020), Anne Collins (2019), Brian Lam (2018), Phyllis Bruce (2017), Linda McKnight (2016), David Kent (2015), Dean Cooke (2014), Louise Dennys (2013), and Scott McIntyre (2012).

Errol Sharpe is a publisher at Fernwood Publishing. He holds an MA in Atlantic Canada Studies from Saint Mary’s University. He is the author of A People’s History of Prince Edward Island (1976) and a co-author of In Pursuit of Justice: Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op and the Fair Trade Movement (2014), and Milton Acorn: The People’s Poet with Kent Martin (Fernwood Publishing, 2015). He has authored chapters in a number of books, including “Cloistering Criticism: or Breaking Bonds?”in 21ˢͭ Century Socialism: Reinventing the Project, Henry Ventmeyer, ed. (2011), and “A Precarious Niche: Canadian Owned English Language Publishing in Canada” in Studies in Political Economy, Vol. 100, #1 (2019).

Errol Sharpe wearing glasses looking off to the side beyond the camera

2021 Festival participants to include Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, David Baldacci, Cherie Dimaline, Anthony Doerr, Esi Edugyan, The Fan Brothers, Jon Klassen, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Shari Lapena, Eden Robinson, Lisa Taddeo, Ian Williams and many more.

The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA), Canada’s largest and longest-running literary festival, invites book lovers to join the authors and artists reshaping the world through stories. The 42nd edition, our second virtual Festival, will present authors from across Canada and across the world. The 11-day Festival, taking place October 21 to 31, will include more than 200 ways to connect with some of the world’s leading thinkers and storytellers, with conversations, readings, masterclasses, music and dance performances, podcasts and much more. Registration is now open.

Festival-goers can enjoy the return of popular programmes created last year, including a vibrant TIFA Kids, multilingual conversations, original writing commissions, interactive audio tours, and a Critical Conversations series on the events affecting people most today. In continuing TIFA’s vision to inspire, empower and connect through the art of stories, we will maximize the potential of a virtual festival by highlighting a vast array of international authors from across North and South America, Europe, the Nordic Region, South Asia, Russia and the UK, the best writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, science, history and more.

“This past year has emphasized our need for culture to offer connection, resilience, solace and entertainment; and books, in all their forms, play a fundamental role. For our second virtual Festival, and my second as Director, I’m excited to build on the digital potential to develop our programming vision, ensuring TIFA is accessible, diverse, inclusive, innovative and ambitious. I am looking forward to celebrating and sharing with our audiences the stories and people who are reshaping our world,”

– Roland Gulliver, Toronto International Festival of Authors Director.

Conversations and Readings

The Festival offers an incredible lineup of authors to capture readers’ hearts and minds this fall. Participants include Paul Auster to launch Burning Boy, his immersive biography of the “first American modernist” Stephen Crane; iconic Canadian author Douglas Coupland to discuss Binge, his first new work of fiction since 2013; Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, to present his third novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land; Lauren Groff to discuss her empowering new novel Matrix, named among the most anticipated books of 2021; literary superstar Karl Ove Knausgaard, making a rare digital appearance to launch his new novel, The Morning Star; Richard Powers to discuss his Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Bewilderment; Alexander McCall Smith with another delightful installment of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency; Colm Tóibín, international bestselling author of Brooklyn and The Master, to discuss his epic new novel The Magician; Lisa Taddeo, who rose to literary stardom with her non-fiction work Three Women, to present her debut novel Animal.

It has been another incredible year for Canadian writing, with TIFA to present nine of the 12 writers longlisted for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize, including Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, Jordan Tannahill, Kim Thúy and Katherena Vermette.

There will be sessions featuring literary heavyweights, such as David Baldacci in conversation with Linwood Barclay to dissect Baldacci’s newest addition to the gripping Special Agent Atlee Pine series, Daylight; Linwood himself will be interviewed by crime legend Ian Rankin; former Chief Justice turned-writer Beverley McLachlin will discuss her new novel Denial with New York Times bestseller Shari Lapena; and the inimitable Margaret Atwood will interview writer and director of Theater of War Productions Bryan Doerries on the resonance of classic Greek tragedies to address contemporary times.

TIFA welcomes literary voices that reflect contemporary issues including racial justice, climate change and the devastation of Canada’s residential school system. Dr. Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated Five, will introduce his gripping memoir Better, Not Bitter, advocating for prison reform and racial justice; Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner Ian Williams will ask urgent questions from his essay collection Disorientation: Being Black in the World; Esi Edugyan will present the 2021 Massey lecture Out of the Sun: on Race & Storytelling; Alexandra Morton, known as “the Jane Goodall of Canada” for her 30-year fight to save British Columbia’s wild salmon, will share her story Not On My Watch; and Anishnaabe writer, broadcaster and Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts Jesse Wente will discuss the flawed concept of reconciliation penned in Unreconciled.

Alongside Wente, the Festival will present Indigenous voices from across Turtle Island, with memoirs that uncover the painful past and the present fight for personal understanding, truth and change. This includes three shortlisted authors for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-fiction: Griffin Poetry Prize-winner Jordan Abel, iconic storyteller Tomson Highway, and Darrel J. MacLeod; plus politician Wab Kinew with his Indigenous take on Ready Player One.

Critical Conversations

TIFA’s Critical Conversations series creates a platform for authors, academics and activists to discuss the topics that matter most during this unprecedented time. On the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), just weeks after Canada’s federal election, and a year working through the pandemic, these conversations will explore how we sustain ourselves and the world we live in. Each day, speakers will address topics from environmental sustainability to mental health, homelessness to space travel, and vaccine ethics to the urgent issue of truth and reconciliation in Canada, while addressing audience questions and concerns.

Writing Commission: Can You Hear Me Now?

TIFA will introduce Can You Hear Me Now?, a new collection of writing commissions from some of the world’s most diverse voices. For these commissions, we invited eleven writers to respond to this phrase – familiar in this age of digital meetings, while also speaking to global movements for change to empower marginalized and disenfranchised voices to be represented, celebrated and heard. Each day, audiences can hear from authors reading their newly commissioned work, including award-winning These Ghosts are Family author

Maisy Card, bestselling Cree writer and activist Clayton Thomas-Muller, and original artwork from Ashley Spires. A special e-book will make the stories available to readers, published in partnership with Rakuten Kobo.

Daily Performances and Special Events

Each evening will feature a special performance with spoken word, dub poetry, music, theatre, burlesque, film and dance. Including one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of a generation, Leanne Betsamosake Simpson in Concert; Soundtracks and Stanzas, hosted by Toronto’s Britta B., celebrating the impact of dub poetry; Begin by Telling, a presentation of music, readings and conversation by Juno- and Polaris Prize-nominated Meg Remy; In the Moment, a spectacular programme of music and spoken word from the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM); plus the launch of The New Embassy, a series of specially curated events inspired by Toronto’s iconic Bohemian Embassy.

Also this year, audiences can experience Literary Death Matches – available in two versions, one for adults and one for children. This American Idol of the written word presents authors competing with performances of their most electric writing to reach a comic finale.


TIFA Kids returns for an enhanced and vibrant programme featuring over 40 Canadian and international authors, illustrators and performers exploring everything from sad potatoes to superheroes, Caribbean Carnival to the beauty of butterflies. Families, children and young adults will be able to come together in a virtual space to experience interactive readings, draw-alongs, live discussions, spoken word poetry, and discover a space to share and connect.

Highlights include award-winning creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick, and his editor, David Levithan, to talk about Kaleidoscope, a book inspired by the early months of the pandemic; YA super-couple David and Nicola Yoon to celebrate the uplifting power of romantic writing and share why they don’t just write it but now publish it; Nadia L. Hohn to join Grade One kids from across Canada to launch this year’s TD Bank Grade One Book Giveaway, Malaika’s Costume, with stories, costumes and dancing; award-winning Canadian author-illustrator of That’s Not My Hat, Jon Klassen to give a reading of his new picture book, The Rock From the Sky; and a unique live conversation between Patrick Ness and Cherie Dimaline to explore how to use fantasy writing to understand the worst of human behaviour.

Superheroes will also appear in all guises, with Justin A. Reynolds’ tingling spidey-senses with his new Miles Morales graphic novel, and British author-illustrator Sophy Henn unmasking her reluctant superhero character, Pizazz. Toronto drag artists Fay and Fluffy will join for a Halloween spooky lineup with their trademark Drag Storytime; as well as a virtual ceremony celebrating the 2021 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Book Awards.

The World in Other Words: Multilingual Events

The Festival will celebrate the languages of the city and connect with new international audiences through a series of events in authors’ own languages – Bengali, French, Greek, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Tamil, with English translations provided. Audiences will hear from authors who have gained international recognition for their bestselling works, including Neustadt Prize-winning Mozambican author Mia Couto in conversation with José Eduardo Agualusa; esteemed Greek author and literary critic Michel Fais; and international sensation, Japanese author Mieko Kawakami.

New to the Festival is Daniel Hahn’s internationally acclaimed Translation Duels, celebrating the creative art of translation, and exploring commissioned translations of short texts from Lina Meruane (Spanish) and Laurent Binet (French).

Sign up for all-access to the 42nd edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors today!

Headshot collage of 2021 Festival participants