#BlackLivesMatter: A Reading List to Understand Systemic Racism & Uplift Black Authors

The Toronto International Festival of Authors is an organization that values Black life and storytelling by Black authors. As a literary festival, we believe that understanding the world around us begins with knowledge, and we have a responsibility to use our platform to help us all get started on that journey. Being actively anti-racist means being critical of racist institutions, practicing inclusiveness and being self-reflective of the role we all play in dismantling oppressive systems. The list of books below should be a beginning and not the end of constant self betterment.

This month, we wish to spotlight A Different Booklist, which is a Black-owned bookstore in Toronto, and hope you will support them in this time, as well as other local Black-owned bookstores in your communities. Our vision of equity only works if everyone is truly free.

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TCAF’s Colourful History, Revisited

Toronto Comic Arts Festival, 2019 (c) Andy Nguyen


The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) was originally established in 2003 in collaboration with The Beguiling comic shop. Seventeen years later: TCAF's humble beginnings in Trinity St. Paul’s United Church imbue an undeniable magic to its present stature. Today, TCAF is an internationally recognized forum for readers and creators to discover and share what’s new and exciting in the world of comics, its bustling marketplace a testament to the diversity of voices, genres, styles and storytelling techniques that exist within the medium.

Though TCAF will not be taking place in 2020—a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis—we spoke with TCAF’s Artistic Director, Christopher Butcher, and Managing Director, Miles Baker, to learn more about TCAF’s long journey and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

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Nursing the World to Health

Each night at 7:30, the sounds of applause, cheering and cookware being struck echoes between the apartment buildings of a once lively downtown Toronto and in many other cities across the globe. It’s now one of the ways we show gratitude to the essential workers who bravely put themselves in harm’s way each day. The Toronto International Festival of Authors would like to extend sincere thank you to the healthcare workers, food and beverage providersdelivery personstransit drivers and many more who work tirelessly to keep our lives moving during these unprecedented times.  

This month marks National Nursing Week, which in 2020 comes with the theme: Nurses: A Voice to Lead — Nursing the World to Health.  Nurses address a wide range of health challenges, which reveal new heart-wrenching stories that often go untold every day. In times of crisis, we turn to both nurses and storytellers for perspective, strength and healing. This May, in recognition of nurses everywhere, we asked leading voices in the literary community what they think the world might need to heal right now. Here's what they said:

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9 Books to Read During Asian Heritage Month

Photo by Sean Kong on Unsplash copy

It's officially Asian Heritage Month! It was created by the Canadian government as "an opportunity for all Canadians to learn more about the many achievements and contributions of Canadians of Asian descent". We wanted to use our platform to spotlight the works of Asian-Canadians ranging from comics to nonfiction and for all ages.

Make sure to add these books to your reading lists and share your picks with us on our social media channels by using @festofauthors.

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Carlos Amorales, Black Cloud, 2007/2015. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2015. Courtesy of Diane and Bruce Halle Collection. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Carlos Amorales, Black Cloud, 2007/2015. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Congratulations to the winners of the Power of the Poets contest!

The Power Plant and the Toronto International Festival of Authors are excited to co-present POWER OF THE POETS, an ekphrastic poetry contest!

Ekphrastic poetry is poetry written about a work of art, often striving to connect what we see with feelings, memories and other insights. Well known examples include Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats and Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by William Carlos Williams.

In celebration of April as National Poetry Month, we invite you to write your own ekphrastic poem, inspired by one of The Power Plant’s five Clerestory Commissions:


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