About the Delegate Programme

Created in 2012, the Delegate Programme gives local writers, creators, journalists and bloggers the opportunity to engage in conversation with you at events throughout the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

Delegates are carefully selected industry professionals whose unique perspectives and informed opinions serve to increase the quality of discourse between audience members and the authors on stage. The programme is modelled after a similar project at the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference.

For the 40th edition of the Festival we asked Delegates to describe themselves in exactly 40 words. Check out these descriptions below and be sure to watch for these Delegates at TIFA 2019!

Meet the 2019 Delegates

Morgan faces camera, leaning forward with hand brushing hair back, smiling, mouth closed

Morgan Achtermeier

Morgan is a teacher by day and an avid reader and debut author by night. She spends most of her time reading, writing and blogging when she’s not teaching young minds! The Graduated Bookworm Blog was created back in 2015 to represent the graduating moments we all go through in life. When we read, we find a little piece of ourselves within the pages. Her website helps bring enthusiastic readers together in a safe space. Her writing career as pen name Isabella Morgan recently launched when her debut novel Under The Scars was published in August of this year.

Morgan in 40 words:

"Being creative is in my veins. I can’t help but turn something ordinary into extraordinary. I’m also pretty shy when meeting new people, but I always find a way to make people laugh which comes through my blogging and writing."

To learn more about Morgan, follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Steven W. Beattie

Steven W. Beattie is the reviews editor at Quill & Quire. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, The Walrus, Hamilton Review of Books, Canadian Notes & Queries, The Humber Literary Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Toronto.

Steven in 40 words: 

"Flannery O’Connor. Elmore Leonard. Yukio Mishima. Clarice Lispector. Alice Munro. Mavis Gallant. William Faulkner. Philip Roth. Fyodor Dostoevsky. Mordecai Richler. James Baldwin. Sylvia Plath. Franz Kafka. James Joyce. Mary Gaitskill. Stephen King. Émile Zola. Wallace Stevens. Austin Clarke. Et al." 

To learn more about Steven, follow him on Twitter and check out his articles for Quill & Quire.

Danielle Bourgon

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 40 words:

"I am a book lover. I am passionate about words. Words can connect us or they can divide us. Words can be used to share our own experience or to learn about someone else’s. This is why I love books."

To learn more about Danielle, follow her on Instagram and check out her articles for BookRiot.

Kevin Hardcastle

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 novel, In The Cage, was published to critical acclaim in 2017, and was recently published in translation in France and Germany. This fall, you can find Hardcastle at the Toronto Reference Library, where he is the incoming Writer-in-Residence for short fiction.

Kevin in 40 words:

"It is my roughly fourteenth time as a Delegate and I am still living off bacon, eggs, Coke Zero, and diet beer. A scientician assured me that this is good writing fuel while I finish this new goddamn novel."

To learn more about Kevin, follow him on Twitter and Instagram. You can also visit his website.

Jason Loo

Jason Loo is a Toronto-based cartoonist who got his start freelancing illustration work for magazines, newspapers, and educational books for children. He is the comic creator behind Toronto's pretty decent superhero The Pitiful Human-Lizard. Jason was also nominated for a prestigious 2018 Doug Wright Spotlight Award for his work on the comic series. Other comic works by Jason include a short story for volume three of Toronto Comic Anthology and art for volume five of Kill Shakespeare (IDW Publishing). Currently, Jason is the comic artist of the upcoming Comixology Originals title Afterlift with Eisner Award-winning comic writer Chip Zdarsky.  

Jason in 40 words:

"I'm a pretty decent drawer and a visual storyteller. I love telling stories through the comic book medium and it ain't wrong if you called me a 'cartoonist'. I'm also pretty crafty and love making nifty things with my hands."

To learn more about Jason, follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and check out his website.

Mah stands on the front porch of a house, facing camera and smiling

Melanie Mah

Melanie Mah’s debut novel, The Sweetest One (Cormorant Books), won the 2017 Trillium Book Award. A child of Chinese immigrants, she’s at work on an intergenerational memoir told in essays, one of which will be anthologized in Best Canadian Essays 2019. Mah holds an MFA from the University of Guelph and, born and raised in a small town in Alberta, now lives in Toronto.

Melanie in 40 words:

"Curious, weird, passionate, shy. Youngest child of a big family. A good cook, has lots of imaginary friends. Loves podcasts, walks in the city and also the ravine, and dairy, despite being lactose intolerant. Laughing while sinking zeros at skee-ball."

To learn more about Melanie, follow her on Twitter.

Mehta poses in front of colourful background, smiling

Anubha Mehta

Anubha Mehta is an author, artist and educator. With a Ph.d in Political Science and two decades of Canadian public service experience, Anubha was awarded for innovative work with diverse Canadian communities. Anubha has balanced her interests by being a journalist, professor, classical dancer, theatre-actor and painter. Anubha’s debut novel, Peacock in the Snow, was launched by Inanna publications, showcased by Toronto Lit Up in 2018 and re-launched in Asia by Amaryllis Publication in 2019. Her writing was selected by Brampton Public Library System, to be showcased for one year (2019- 2020) and she gives back to the community by teaching free writing workshops through the Toronto Public Library.

Anubha in 40 words: 

"I love socializing with diverse personalities to build my characters. But I’ve always doubted my abilities till I overheard my parents, ‘We better be careful or she’ll turn us into characters for her next book’. I’ve never laughed so much."

To learn more about Anubha, follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and check out her website.

Michele poses in front of grey background, leaning in towards camera, with chin on her hand, smiling


Michele is a visual merchandiser, an artist, and a book lover based in Toronto. When she’s not reading and reviewing books (often with a caramel macchiato in hand), Michele can be found making/learning/enjoying art around the city or on her travels. 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of her blog Just a Lil’ Lost, where she posts reviews and other book-related features. Family lore has it that she started reading when she was 3 and hasn’t put a book down since.

Michele in 40 words:

"Book-obsessed, theatre-loving Slytherin who has only recently also accepted calling herself an artist. Always ready to sing along to her favourite showtunes or 90s boyband hits. Will usually have a story of some weird incident that has happened to her."

To learn more about Michele, follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Mutonji stands at the window inside a warehouse and looks at camera

Téa Mutonji

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 40 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."

To learn more about Téa, follow her on Twitter and Instagram. You can also visit her website.
Photo credit: Sandro Pehar

Natasha stands in front of green trees facing camera and smiling

Natasha Ramoutar

Natasha Ramoutar is an Indo-Guyanese writer by way of Scarborough (Ganatsekwyagon) at the east side of Toronto. Her work has been included in projects by Diaspora Dialogues, Scarborough Arts, and Nuit Blanche Toronto and has been published in The Unpublished City II, PRISM Magazine, Room Magazine, THIS Magazine and more. She is the Fiction Editor of FEEL WAYS, an anthology of Scarborough writing, and the Social Media Assistant at the Festival of Literary Diversity. Her first book of poetry Bittersweet will be published in 2020 by Mawenzi House.

Natasha in 40 words: 

"Natasha Ramoutar in 6 big moods: Artists supporting artists, always; For Scarborough, by Scarborough; Somewhere between Lizzo's 'Truth Hurts' and SZA's 'Normal Girl'; That meme where Bibble from Barbie Fairytopia is belting out Sean Paul's 'Gimme The Light' completely wrong."

To learn more about Natasha, follow her on Twitter, Instagram and check out her website

Kat stands in her home with face square to camera, but eyes cast away

Kat Verhoeven

Kat Verhoeven is a Canadian cartoonist from Kingston who has spent most of her adulthood in Toronto. There, she received a degree in illustration from OCAD University. Verhoeven is known for her award nominated comic Towerkind and her webcomic-turned-novel Meat and Bone, as well as her anthology and zine work. Her stories centre the idea of found families and identity, combining the hard realities of ink lines with playful gradient digital colour. 

Kat in 40 words: 

"As artist and author our multidisciplinarian protagonist has led an unusually odd life with unusual odd twists and turns. From nomad couch surfing crafts person to cross continental book maker her stories are many and breathe life beyond the page."

To learn more about Kat, follow her on Twitter and check out her new book's website.

David Yoon faces camera and smiles, again grey background

David Yoon

David, aka ThePoptimist, is part of that erudite, book-loving, tea-spilling beast that is booktube. Which, quite frankly, skews a whole heck of a lot younger. (Most guys his age on YouTube are explaining how to clean the carburetor on your lawn mower.) Instead, he focuses on literary fiction, particularly from POC authors and all the rabbit holes books can send you down. It's just a bit of side hustle from his day job as a high tech marketing wonk trying to keep his social media douchery mostly in check. Individual results may vary.

David in 40 words: 

"Father, husband, book lover, tequila fan, and enthusiastic eater of doughnuts. Avowed introvert but capable of faking it otherwise. Big fan of serendipity, supporter of kindness, and guaranteed to be super into whatever you're up to lately. So it goes."

To learn more about David, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.