Created in 2012, the Delegate Programme is an opportunity for local writers, creators, journalists and bloggers to enrich the level of discussion at select events throughout the Toronto International Festival of Authors.
Delegates are carefully chosen industry professionals (writers, journalists, comic creators and bloggers) who offer their unique perspective at select events during the Festival. Their informed opinions serve to increase the quality of discourse between audience members and the authors on stage. Modelled after a similar project at the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, we were proud to expand the Delegate Programme at this year’s Festival.
Our 2018 Delegates are:
Morgan is a teacher by day and an avid bookworm by night. She spends most of her time blogging and reading, and if she’s not reading then she’s working on her own novel! The Graduated Bookworm Blogger was created back in 2015 to represent the graduating moments we all go through with life, school, and work. When we read a book, we find a little piece of ourselves inside that helps us in some way. It was also to invite others to an environment where enthusiastic readers could join together and spread their own thoughts in a positive and safe setting.
Morgan in 39 words:
"I am very shy at first, but once comfortable, I am a very honest, caring, sassy and sarcastic person who cracks jokes often which shines in my blog posts, but once you get me talking books, I’ll talk forever!"
Steven W. Beattie
Steven W. Beattie is the reviews editor at Quill & Quire magazine in Toronto. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, the Walrus, Title, The Humber Literary Review, The Hamilton Review of Books, and elsewhere.
Steven in 39 words:
"To be asked for a description containing the same number of words as there are steps in the title of James Buchan’s most famous novel seems suitably literary (and Canadian); that allusion also works to describe my particular worldview."
Danielle is an educator, theatre artist, and book lover from Toronto, Ontario. She acknowledges that this is the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit where she is grateful to live and work. When she’s not drinking tea and reading on the couch, she’s recommending books to her students, friends, and family. She’s a feminist, a nerd, and a baker. Oh. And she has Hogwarts tattooed on her arm.
Danielle in 39 words:
"I am passionate about many things and truly believe in the power of being enthusiastic. My new favourite question is: What are you a fan of? I’m here for everyone’s #radicalexcitement. There is beauty in sharing what we love."
David Bradford is the author of Nell Zink Is Damn Free (Blank Cheque Press, 2017) and Call Out (knife | fork | book, 2017). His poetry has appeared in, among others, Prairie Fire, Vallum, Poetry Is Dead, The Capilano Review, and The Unpublished City (Book*hug, 2017), a 2018 Toronto Book Awards finalist. Currently at work on Skin Folk, a black incursion into modern pastoral modes, David is based in Montreal, on the traditional unceded territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation.
David in 39 words:
"Maybe my working definition for what I do—or how I've come to hold poetry as my way to go about the world with care—is: "to go to some pains.” And always treat it as a fruitful inquiry."
To learn more about David, follow him on Twitter.
Whitney French is a writer, storyteller and arts-educator. Her writing has been published in Quill and Quire, Geist, Descant Magazine CBC Books and anthologized in The Black Notes (2017) The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry (2010). Whitney also the founder and co-editor of the nation-wide publication From the Root Zine as well as the founder of the workshop series Writing While Black: an initiative to develop a community of black writers. Whitney French is presently working on an anthology of creative nonfiction by black Canadians for the University of Regina Press.
Whitney in 39 words:
"middle child tree-climbing futurist of African descent by way of Jamaica made up of vulnerability, stardust and melanin who is (re)evaluating her ongoing relationship with the written word, who puts community above productivity, who puts strong verbs above emojis"
Alexandra Grigorescu is the author of Cauchemar (ECW Press, 2015). She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto, and is chipping away at the next thing.
Alexandra in 39 words:
"“Particular,” to put it nicely. Nerves of rubber. Usually caffeinated, unusually intense about goat cheddar. E-reader devotee. Reads many books, remembers few. Not-so-secretly an oddball. Becomes meditative under cloud cover. Tougher and calmer with time (I hope)."
Kevin Hardcastle is a fiction writer from Simcoe County, Ontario. He studied writing at the University of Toronto and Cardiff University. He was a finalist for the 2012 Journey Prize, and his stories have been published widely in Canada and anthologized internationally. Hardcastle’s debut short story collection, Debris, won the Trillium Book Award and the ReLit Award for Short Fiction. His debut novel, In the Cage, was published in fall 2017 by Biblioasis. In late-August 2018, In the Cage was published in translation by Éditions Albin Michel in France.
Kevin in 39 words:
"A pretty good writer and fairly tolerable person. Likely to show up to friends’ readings and hang around too late. I am impossible to feed at literary functions, supposedly because I’m a supertaster but likely because I’m just weird."
Khalida Venus Hassan is an Afghan Canadian writer. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. You can read her short story "Complicit" in Issue 34 of The Puritan. In 2018, she was selected as a finalist for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers for her short story “Adjacent Rooms.” She lives in Toronto, where she works as a literary assistant and is working on a collection of short stories.
Khalida in 39 words:
"These sorts of prompts always make me a little squirmy because they remind me of filling out a dating profile. I am counting this as part of my 39-word quota. Now for the next 19 words: as Groucho says, 'I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal.'"
To learn more about Khalida, visit her website.
Jason Loo is a Toronto-based cartoonist who got his start freelancing illustration work for magazines, newspapers, and children's books. He currently writes and illustrates his own comic book series featuring Toronto's newest superhero, The Pitiful Human-Lizard. The series has garnered a lot of media attention including BlogTO, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Toronto Life, Metro, InnerSPACE, CBC News Toronto, and Fresh Air on CBC Radio. It is currently published through Chapterhouse Publishing, the home of Captain Canuck. Jason was recently nominated for a prestigious Doug Wright Award for his work on PHL. He has also contributed to the Toronto Comic Anthology and the Kill Shakespeare series (IDW Publishing).
Jason in 39 words:
"Jason Loo is a pretty decent drawer and visual storyteller. He loves telling stories through the comic book medium and considers himself a 'cartoonist'. He is passionate about his craft and spends lots of late nights getting it done."
Téa Mutonji is a Congolese-born writer currently living in Scarborough. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Puritan, Train Poetry Journal, Bad Nudes and Minola Review. Mutonji was the recipient of the Jason Sung Memorial Award in Creative Writing awarded by The University of Toronto Scarborough. Mutonji’s debut collection of short fiction will be the first title published under Vivek Shraya’s newest imprint, VS. Books, in association with Arsenal Pulp Press.
Téa in 39 words:
"I learned how to cook "anything" with boiling water when I was nine years old. Today, I continue to prepare, for anything, with boiling water. In a room, I am dressed in black and laughing."
Emily Saso is a novelist, screenwriter and copywriter. Her debut novel, The Weather Inside, is a dark, funny, twisted tale about a woman forced to rebuild her life after Jehovah’s Witnesses blow it up. She lives in Toronto and blogs about the writing life at egoburn.blogspot.com.
Emily in 39 words:
"Hermione Granger hair / Harry Potter tendencies. Dog-obsessed. Sleep, eat, write, read, repeat. Twitter, never Facebook. In love with other people’s drama. In love with books. Deep conversationalist but shallow taste in reality TV. Fun? Funny? Kind? Often underestimated."
Andrea is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer living in Toronto. Her recent projects include illustrating a children's book and a story in the Toronto Comix anthology Osgoode as Gold. She lives with her husband and two cats.
Andrea in 39 words:
"I am a mixed race artist who believes that representation matters. I enjoy taking long winding walks through Toronto and finding its secrets. A dedicated cat lady. I hoard art supplies although I do most of my art digitally."