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Opportunities are ripe for aspiring crime and mystery writers at MOTIVE Festival, presented by Kobo Plus. The newest literary celebration from the Toronto International Festival of Authors offers many ways to meet like-minded booklovers and learn from the world’s best authors.

From insightful conversations to hands-on classes, MOTIVE audiences can gain award-winning advice on how to take their next step in the publishing process. Here is a collection of activities worth considering to further your writing career.


Creative Writing Masterclasses

Doug Johnstone
Photo credit: Duncan McGlynn.

Sit down with acclaimed authors and industry experts for a MOTIVE Masterclass, where hands-on lessons dive into crafting compelling stories and perfecting the art of editing. Each leading their own class, Torontonian Marissa Stapley, Scottish author Doug Johnstone and UK publisher Karen Sullivan will share a facet of their expertise in an intimate 90-minute session in Harbourfront Centre’s Main Loft. Whether you sign up for all or just one, be sure to bring your questions about plotting, writing and publishing for these experts to tackle. All writing levels are welcome.

Get tickets:

Masterclass: Marissa Stapley on the Heart of Character Development (Friday, June 3 at 6pm ET)
Masterclass: Doug Johnstone on Killer Editing (Saturday, June 4 at 4pm ET)
Masterclass: Karen Sullivan on the Path to Published (Sunday, June 5 at 4pm ET)

Pictured: Doug Johnstone.

Ask the Experts

Sarah Weinman's headshot

Crime-writing experts Margaret Cannon and Sarah Weinman will take the MOTIVE stage to field your questions about writing tools and trends and Canadian reading recommendations. Don’t miss this chance to ask the experts your biting crime-genre queries at these free, outdoor presentations.

Events:

Ask the Expert: Sarah Weinman (Saturday, June 4 at 3:30pm ET)
Ask the Expert: Margaret Cannon (Sunday, June 5 at 3:30pm ET)

Pictured: Sarah Weinman.

Pitch Perfect

Carolyn Forde, the new IV Programme Committee Chair, headshot

Ever wonder what it’s like to pitch a book idea? TIFA and the Crime Writers of Canada invite you to be a fly on the wall to witness a live pitch session in action. Pitch Perfect is a showcase of writers pitching their ideas to a panel of judges. Be prepared to jot down some notes as the panel of publishing experts provide constructive feedback on their ideas. This event is free with registration.

Event:

Pitch Perfect (Sunday, June 5 at 6:30pm ET)

Pictured: Pitch Perfect judge Carolyn Forde, Partner, Senior Literary Agent and International Rights Director at Transatlantic Agency.

The Re-Reads

Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles book cover

What better way to become a great writer than to learn from the classics? TIFA’s Re-Read series is back for MOTIVE, featuring award-winning writers , Kurdo Baksi, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid taking a look at famous books and authors who have captivated readers for decades and made a substantial impact on the crime and mystery genre. From Agatha Christie to Stieg Larsson, you’ll learn how prolific authors broke the rules to make the genre their own.

Get tickets:

The Re-Read: Val McDermid on Agatha Christie (Saturday, June 4 at 1pm ET)
The Re-Read: Kurdo Baksi on Stieg Larsson (Saturday, June 4 at 1:30pm ET)
The Re-Read: Mark Billingham on Dashiell Hammett (Sunday, June 5 at 1pm ET)

 

Hear from Debut Authors

Ramona Emerson's headshot
Photo credit: Ungelbah Dávila-Shivers.

Debut authors were aspiring writers not too long ago, and are a great resource for learning about the publishing industry right now. Join debut authors Ramona Emerson, Wanda Morris and Nita Prose at MOTIVE to learn about their books and publishing process, and get advice on how to jump from aspiring to published.

Get tickets:

Secrets & Lies: Wanda Morris & Chris Pavone (Sunday, June 5 at 6:30pm ET)
The Maid: Nita Prose (Sunday, June 5 at 7pm ET)
Paranormal Plotlines: Ramona Emerson & Stuart Neville (Sunday, June 5 at 7:30pm ET)

Pictured: Ramona Emerson.

Book Signings

A fan getting their book signed at TIFA’s 2017 Festival.

Meet your favourite authors in person throughout the weekend at MOTIVE book signings, which take place after most ticketed events and at the Crime Writers of Canada tent. It’s an opportune time to interact one-on-one and ask that quick burning question. Be sure to check individual event pages for details on book signings.

Events:

Crime Writers of Canada Tent (Saturday and Sunday starting at 11am ET)
In-Person Events (June 3–5)


Looking for more? Browse the full MOTIVE schedule here.

Wanda Morris's headshot

TIFA Kids is back at the Toronto International Festival of Authors with family friendly events for everyone! Running from October 21 to 31, there are readings, activities and Q&As for every member of the family. It turns out, it’s not just a family affair at home, but also on screen. Did you know these TIFA Kids authors are actually related?


Basil and Kevin Sylvester headshotsBasil & Kevin Sylvester

Child-parent duo Basil and Kevin Sylvester will be presenting their latest novel, The Fabulous Zed Watson! Basil, like Zed, is non-binary, a writer and based in Toronto. Dad Kevin is the award-winning author/illustrator of more than thirty books, also based in Toronto. Together they have co-authored The Fabulous Zed Watson!, and with Kevin’s illustrations, brought Zed and his friends’ adventures to life. Basil and Kevin have quite the morning planned out for their audience, from a hilarious reading of Zed’s adventures to chatting about philosophical questions. You won’t want to miss the fun!

The Fabulous Zed Watson! with Basil & Kevin Sylvester
Saturday, October 23 at 10:30am ET

Jeffery and Shezza Ansloos headshotsJeffrey & Shezza Ansloos

Another child-parent duo at this year’s Festival is Jeffrey and Shezza Ansloos, who are presenting their collaborative picture book, Thunder and the Noise Storms. Jeffrey is an educator and psychologist who works with Indigenous children, youth and families. Mom Shezza Ansloos is a speaker and educator who advocates for children through the education system. The Cree writers created their picture book to depict sensory overload and coping strategies that could be managed by integrating neurodiversity with Indigenous worldview. Tune in and learn how to listen with wonder when the world gets too loud and chaotic.

When the World is Too Loud – with Jeffrey & Shezza Ansloos
Monday, October 25 at 1pm ET

Debbie Ridpath Ohi & Ruth Ohi headshotsDebbie Ridpath Ohi & Ruth Ohi

Author-illustrators and sisters Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Ruth Ohi are both set to take the stage at this year’s Festival with their own exciting and interactive events. Japanese-Canadian and based in Toronto, Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Ruth Ohi are both passionate about creating children’s books. They have both illustrated and written several bestselling children’s books, many of which have been nominated for prestigious awards. Debbie Ridpath Ohi will present her latest picture book, I’m Sorry, the fourth in The New York Times bestselling-series with author Michael Ian Black. Ruth Ohi will introduce her newest picture book, Choose Kindness, featuring Bunny and friends. Be sure to catch both of these events!

Sorry is the Hardest Word of All with Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Friday, October 29 at 1pm ET

Kindness is a Superpower with Ruth Ohi
Thursday, October 21 at 1pm ET

Eric and Terry Fan headshotsEric & Terry Fan

Eric and Terry Fan are award-winning children’s book creators, finalists for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) Book Awards, creators of It Fell From the Sky and well—brothers. The creative duo are a part of not one, but two Festival events, with tons of whimsical fun in store for young readers! For the Festival’s opening weekend, The Fan Brothers will give a family-friendly presentation of their new picture book about community, art, the importance of giving back and the wonder that fell from the sky, called It Fell From the Sky. Later in the week, The Fan Brothers, along with other CCBC Book Award finalists, will demonstrate their illustrative styles and discuss the importance of picture books during child development for a grown-up audience.

It Fell From the Sky with Eric & Terry Fan
Saturday, October 23 at 1pm ET

Illustrating for Children – An Artist’s Experience
Tuesday, October 26 at 1pm ET

David and Nicola Yoon headshotsDavid Yoon & Nicola Yoon

Did you know that these two young-adult romance authors have a romance of their own? Bestselling authors and husband-and-wife duo Nicola Yoon and David Yoon are set to appear together on the TIFA Kids virtual stage to discuss their new novels: Nicola’s Instructions for Dancing and David’s Frankly In Love. Join the Yoons to hear about their stories of love and belonging and to find out more about the launch of their new publishing imprint, Joy Revolution, dedicated to young-adult romance novels by people of colour, about people of colour.

Love in the Afteryoon: David Yoon & Nicola Yoon
Saturday, October 30 at 4pm ET


TIFA Kids is proud to present 30+ free virtual events from October 21 to 31, bringing new adventures each day. Check out the full TIFA Kids event lineup here, and join in on all the fun!

Jeffery and Shezza Ansloos's headshots on a pastel rainbow background

Adventure awaits! The 42nd edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors, coming up on October 21 to 31, 2021, will present even more free, virtual events for young people than ever before. To help young readers, educators and families navigate the expanded TIFA Kids programme, we recruited middle-grade teacher Jeff Skrypek to point out some highlights. But don’t worry, this isn’t homework, it’s fun!


My name is Jeff, and I’m a Grade 5 teacher in Mississauga, Ontario. As a life-long reader, books have always played an important role in my life; and as a teacher, I believe that a good book can change a student’s life. The following TIFA Kids events stood out to me for having an amazing and diverse range of authors and artists with such important stories to tell. Some may be familiar names, others may be new to you, but all are exceptional talents. Here are my Top 10 TIFA Kids picks, which I hope you will check out!

Welcome to the Cypher book cover10. Catch the Hip-hop Bug: Khodi Dill

Friday, October 22 at 2pm ET

As a former music teacher, hip-hop and rap have always inspired me in the classroom. The poetry and flow of hip-hop can be applied to any subject in school. That is what makes me so excited for Khodi Dill’s book, Welcome to the Cypher. Khodi’s book is a “vibrant, rhythmic, musical introduction to rap, beat-boxing and spoken word poetry for the youngest of children.” I am extremely excited to hear him read from his debut picture book and experience the power of hip-hop through reading.

Fay and Fluffy headshots9. Fay & Fluffy’s Storytime

Sunday, October 24 at 11am ET

One of the events I am most looking forward to is Fay & Fluffy’s Storytime. This is a Drag Storytime for Kids. Fay and Fluffy are renowned drag queens, and they describe their storytime as suitable for the very young, and the very young at heart, and I truly believe that everyone will enjoy this fabulous, unique and highly entertaining storytime.

Thunder and the Noise Storm book cover8. When the World is Too Loud with Jeffrey & Shezza Ansloos

Monday, October 25 at 1pm ET

Thunder and Noise Storms is a special book to me, as it helps explain coping strategies for children who are dealing with “sensory overload.” Coming back to normal routine while still coping with a pandemic has been very difficult on children, and this “story of intergenerational knowledge and mindfulness that integrates neurodiversity with Indigenous worldview” is a very important book for right now.

A drawing of a blue monster with a child's hands holding the page7. Illustrating for Children – An Artist’s Experience

Tuesday, October 26 at 1pm ET

In an event for the more mature crowd, illustrators Natasha Donovan, Eric Fan, Terry Fan and Miki Sato – all finalists for the 2021 Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Book Awards – share how the artwork in children’s books is used to unpack complex narratives for young audiences. As a fan of the creative process, I’m really looking forward to hearing these illustrators’ perspectives on the way picture books are shaped and formed. This talk is most suitable for adults.

Malaika's Costume book cover6. Malaika’s Costume with Nadia L. Hohn & Irene Luxbacher

Thursday, October 28 at 1:30pm ET

For parents of younger children, the Malaika’s Costume event is one that will awe and inspire. In their book, author Nadia Hohn and illustrator Irene Luxbacher take us through an amazing tale of Carnival, followed by a design-your-own Carnival costume activity and a dance party! Children aged 4 and up would particularly enjoy this event.

I'm Sorry book cover5. Sorry is the Hardest Word of All with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Friday, October 29 at 1pm ET

Looking for an interactive event for children and adults? Look no further. In I’m Sorry, Flamingo is upset. Very upset. Potato is sorry. Very sorry. In fact, he is the sorriest. But how does he tell Flamingo? In an excellent book about mending relationships, Debbie Ridpath Ohi also takes viewers on a creative draw-along. Share your own artwork afterwards using the hashtag #TIFAKids. This talk will be an interactive drawing experience, and I can’t wait!

The Power of Style book cover4. The Power of Style with Christian Allaire

Saturday, October 30 at 11:30am ET

Christian Allaire, an Ojibwe writer, is passionate about fashion. He writes about how the power of style is not just the clothes on our backs – it is self-expression, representation and transformation. His powerful book The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures talks about the intersection of social justice and fashion. I am truly excited to hear Christian talk about his passion for fashion and how he addresses injustice and oppression using clothing. This talk is suitable for all, but would be enjoyed most by those 12+.

Frankly in Love book cover3. Love in the Afteryoon: David Yoon & Nicola Yoon

Saturday, October 30 at 4pm ET

This powerhouse event features David Yoon and Nicola Yoon. Nicola is the author of The Sun is Also a Star and will be talking about her new novel Instructions for Dancing, and David will be discussing his novel Frankly in Love, which is ALSO being made into a movie. Stop by this event for a rare look at a writing super-couple. This event would be enjoyed most by pre-teens, adults and teens. I also can’t wait for the movie Frankly in Love!

Walking in Two Worlds book cover2. Finding Their Way in New Universes: Wab Kinew & Kenneth Oppel

Sunday, October 31 at 12pm ET

One of my first truly magical reading experiences was reading Silverwing and Sunwing by Kenneth Oppel. As a result, I’m really looking forward to hearing him speak on his new book, Thrive, the final in an alien invasion trilogy. However, I am just as eager to hear about Wab Kinew’s Walking in Two Worlds. As a massive fan of Ready Player One, I personally love stories about immersive worlds and video games. This event is a must-watch!

Josephine Against the Sea book cover1. It’s a Mermaid – But Not As We Know It! With Shakirah Bourne

Sunday, October 31 at 4pm ET

One of the books I’m most excited about this festival is Josephine Against the Sea, by Shakirah Bourne. This tale, inspired by Caribbean legend, tells the story of Josephine, who suspects something is a bit off when it comes to her dad’s new love interest. Shakirah has also promised to talk about the Caribbean myths that inspired the book! This talk would be best for those 8 and up.

But wait, there’s more! To view the full 2021 TIFA Kids lineup, click here.


Jeff Skrypek headshotJeff Skrypek is a life-long book reader and current Grade 5 teacher with the Peel District School Board at Forest Avenue Public School. Jeff’s educational focus is anti-racist teaching, with an emphasis on social justice education.

Jeff Skrypek's headshot on a pastel rainbow background

TIFA Kids is back at the Toronto International Festival of Authors! This year’s programme is bigger, better and includes adventures for the whole family to enjoy. From October 21 to 31, join us for a daily dose of new adventure, including riveting readings, colourful draw-alongs, quizzical Q&As and more!

With so many events to choose from, this handy guide will help you navigate the programme by age group, to make the most of your TIFA Kids experience and find adventure suited to each family member’s reading levels. From sorry potatoes to frightening monsters, delve into 11 days of adventure, with these ten can’t-miss kids events:


Ages 3 and up:

I'm Sorry book coverSorry is the Hardest Word of All with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Friday, October 29 at 1pm ET

Flamingo is upset. Very upset. Potato is sorry. Very sorry. In fact, he is the sorriest. But how does he tell Flamingo? Join Debbie Ridpath Ohi to learn how Flamingo and Potato mend their friendship in a fun draw-along, and then share your artwork with us online, using the hashtag #TIFAKids!

Ages 4 and up:

Malaika's Costume book coverMalaika’s Costume with Nadia L. Hohn & Irene Luxbacher

Thursday, October 28 at 1:30pm ET

Will Malaika have a costume in time for Carnival? Join author Nadia L. Hohn and illustrator Irene Luxbacher to learn more about Malaika’s adventures and the celebration of Carnival. Follow along and design your own Carnival costumes, then get ready to join grade one students from across Canada for a colourful dance party that celebrates family, community and the Caribbean diaspora!

Scaredy Squirrel in a Nutshell book coverHalloween with Scaredy Squirrel & Mélanie Watt

Sunday, October 31 at 2pm ET

Celebrate Halloween with Scaredy Squirrel’s safety guide for scaredys, from everyone’s favourite worrywart. Mélanie Watt, creator of Scaredy Squirrel, will help you survive the spooks by giving you the scoop on Scaredy’s ideas, strategies and plans for Halloween. Don’t forget to grab your pencils to do some planning of your own!

Ages 5 and up:

Pizazz Vs. The New Kid book coverThe World of Upside Down, Inside Out Superheroes with Sophy Henn

Saturday, October 23 at 11:30am ET

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a superhero? Join award-winning picture book author and illustrator Sophy Henn to hear all about superkid Pizazz, her rivalry with the new superkid in town, and their mission to save the world…together. Then get your paper and pencil ready for a very super draw-along! Mask and cape optional.

Ages 6 and up:

Thunder and the Noise Storm book coverWhen the World is Too Loud – with Jeffrey & Shezza Ansloos

Monday, October 25 at 1pm ET

When the world gets too loud and chaotic, a young boy’s Mosom (grandfather) helps him listen with wonder, in Thunder and the Noise Storms by Jeffrey Ansloos and Shezza Ansloos, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. Join all three to hear how this picture book blends neurodiversity with Indigenous worldview to offer strategies to manage sensory overload, then see how Joshua created the book’s stunning illustrations.

Ages 8 and up:

Miles Morales: Shock Waves book coverTingling Spidey Sense Tales with Miles Morales: Shockwaves with Justin A. Reynolds & Pablo Leon

Saturday, October 30 at 3pm ET

Calling all Marvel readers and enthusiasts: Spider-Man is making an appearance at this year’s Festival! Get ready to swing into the action with Miles Morales, an average Brooklyn school kid by day and a web-shooting superhero by night. Join bestselling author Justin A. Reynolds and award-nominated artist Pablo Leon as they reveal their latest comic book creation, Miles Morales: Shockwaves, and explore how stories are being created for a new generation of Marvel readers.

Ages 10 and up:

Kaleidoscope book coverKaleidoscope with Brian Selznick

Saturday, October 30 at 1pm ET

TIFA Kids is super hyped to welcome genre-defying storyteller Brian Selznick to present his latest novel, Kaleidoscope. Joined by award-winning young-adult author David Levithan, together they’ll discuss how Kaleidoscope plays with words, pictures, concepts of storytelling, time and identity. Plus there is a live audience Q&A!

Ages 11 and up:

Friends Forever book coverFriends Forever with Shannon Hale & LeUyen Pham

Sunday, October 24 at 1:30pm ET

Real life best friends Shannon and LeUyen are here to give you insights on their creative process, make you laugh and remind you that you are enough! Presenting their latest graphic novel, Friends Forever (based on Shannon’s own experiences of school) sees young Shannon become an eighth grader while struggling with her emotions, insecurities and undiagnosed anxieties, like so many children and teens.

Ages 12 and up:

Hunting By Stars book coverThe Monsters Amongst Us with Cherie Dimaline & Patrick Ness

Sunday, October 31 at 4pm ET

Dragons, dystopian worlds and a live Q&A? Cherie Dimaline and Patrick Ness have quite the afternoon planned for you, and will make you question everything you think you know about frightening monsters. Tune in as the authors challenge your self-awareness and present their highly anticipated new, young-adult novels, Cherie Dimaline’s Hunting by Stars and Patrick Ness’s Burn

All Ages:

Fay and Fluffy headshotsFay & Fluffy’s Storytime – Halloween Special

Sunday, October 31 at 11am ET

Tune in for some family fun with fabulous frocks and tremendous tales with fan favourites Fay & Fluffy! Join Fay and Fluffy as they blow the cobwebs off the best spooky stories and songs and provide a feast of ghouls and giggles. It’s their favourite time of year, and you won’t want to miss this party. 

TIFA Kids is proud to present 30+ free virtual events that explore stories of love, quests, friendship and family. Browse the full TIFA Kids event lineup here, and join in on all the fun!

Image of a parent and child looking at a computer screen together on a pastel rainbow background