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Toronto, I Love You by Didier Leclair book cover

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. Since then, he has been living and writing in Toronto. In 2000, his novel Toronto, I Love You won the Prix Trillium, and he has also been a finalist for the Trillium in 2011, 2016 and 2018. His second novel, Ce pays qui est le mien, was shortlisted for the 2004 Governor General’s for French-language fiction, and its English translation, This Country of Mine, was a finalist for the 2018 Toronto Book Awards.

Leclair, Didier headshot

Join Didier Leclair on August 11 at 6pm to celebrate the release of the English edition of his book Toronto, I Love You (Mawenzi House), translated by Elaine Kennedy! The author and translator will be joined in conversation by the writer Paul Savoie.

The free Toronto Lit Up book launch will take place at the Debates Room (#2034) in the University of Toronto’s historic Hart House building. Books will be for sale on site, courtesy of Another Story Bookshop. Light refreshments and drinks will be provided by in-house catering services.

In Toronto, I Love You, Raymond Dossougbé flees the misery of his home town in Benin, arrives in Toronto, and is immediately charmed by the city. He sees it as a place of freedom and light, a sanctuary where he, like so many others, can begin anew. But as he becomes familiar with the city and its inhabitants, he realizes that his Afro-Caribbean roommates look like him but aren’t his brothers. He discovers a free community that is mentally shackled, an underground network that is stuck in the past, immigrants who are unable to adapt. He sees deep poverty, extreme wealth, and the consequences of police brutality. Eventually he finds his bearings in this new world and comes to a better understanding of himself and the colourful characters around him.

The French edition of Toronto, I Love You won the Prix Trillium when it first came out in 2000.

Special guests:

Elaine Kennedy has enjoyed a lengthy and diversified career as a professional translator and editor. A native of Toronto, she studied English literature, French language and translation in North America and Europe. She has worked as a translator in the academic and cultural sectors. The co-winner of the 3Macs carte blanche Prize and a finalist for the Toronto Book Award and the International Book Award, she presently devotes her full time to literary translation.

Paul Savoie is one of Canada’s most prolific bilingual writers. Originally from Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, he has lived in Ontario since the early 1970s. He has written more than 30 books, including several collections of poetry, stories, and translations. His poetry books won the Trillium Book Award twice. Involved in the arts community for more than 25 years, Savoie also composes music for piano.


Toronto Lit Up is a multi-year initiative, started in 2016 by the Toronto International Festival of Authors and the 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. Toronto Lit Up book launches take place throughout the year at venues across the city. They are open to the public and free to attend. Click here for more information.

          Mawenzi House logo          Another Story Bookshop logo

Didier Leclair's Toronto Lit Up banner with the book cover of Toronto, I Love You and "Book Launch Free Thursday August 11 6pm". Includes TIFA, Toronto Arts Council, Mawenzi House and Another Story Bookshop logosNine Dash Line by Emily Saso book cover

Emily Saso is the author of two novels, The Weather Inside and Nine Dash Line. She holds her master’s degree in political science (with a specialization in international security studies), and lives in Toronto.

Emily Saso's headshot

Join Emily Saso on Thursday, September 8 at 6pm ET at Tranzac Club to celebrate the launch of Nine Dash Line (Freehand Books, September 2022)!

The free Toronto Lit Up event will feature an interview with the author from Becky Toyne. Snacks are free, and drinks will be served by the Tranzac Club. Please review the venue’s COVID policy here. Masks are required except between bites of food and drinks of drinks!

Nine Dash Line is a thrilling novel about two people stranded under mysterious circumstances in the South China Sea, battling the memories of the crimes that haunt them. Books will be for sale on site, courtesy of Ben McNally Books.


Toronto Lit Up is a multi-year initiative, started in 2016 by the Toronto International Festival of Authors and the 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. Toronto Lit Up book launches take place throughout the year at venues across the city. They are open to the public and free to attend. Click here for more information.

           Freehand Books Logo

Emily Saso's Toronto Lit Up banner with the book cover of Nine Dash Line and "Book Launch Free Thursday September 8 6pm". Includes TIFA, Toronto Arts Council and Freehand Books LogosSophie Jai's Wild Fire book cover

Join Sophie Jai on July 14 at 7pm ET at Famous Last Words to celebrate the launch of WILD FIRES (HarperCollins Canada, August 2022)!

The free Toronto Lit Up event will feature Sophie Jai in conversation with Tiara Chutkhan, an audience Q&A, a book signing and a custom WILD FIRES cocktail for everyone to enjoy!

Moving between Toronto and Trinidad, Wild Fires is a vivid and compelling story exploring the ways we mourn and why we avoid the very things that can save us. When a call from one of her sisters brings Cassandra news of their cousin’s death, she has to return home for the funeral. To Toronto and the big house on Florence Street, where her sisters are hiding more than themselves in their rooms, where the tension brewing between her mother and aunts has been decades in the making, and where sooner or later every secret, unspoken word and painful memory will find its way out into the open. Get your copy here.


Toronto Lit Up is a multi-year initiative, started in 2016 by the Toronto International Festival of Authors and the 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. Toronto Lit Up book launches take place throughout the year at venues across the city. They are open to the public and free to attend. Click here for more information.

      HarperCollins Canada logo

Sophie Jai's Toronto Lit Up banner with the book cover of WILD FIRES and "Book Launch Free Thursday July 14 7pm". Includes TIFA, Toronto Arts Council and HarperCollins Canada logos

Meet local authors and join them in celebrating the launch of new books! The Toronto International Festival of Authors has partnered with the Toronto Arts Council (TAC) on Toronto Lit Up: a multi-year initiative designed to spotlight local writers and empower them with career-building opportunities.

Toronto Lit Up book launches are open to the public and free to attend. 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.

Check out upcoming Toronto Lit Up book launches below!