9 Books to Read During Asian Heritage Month

Asian girl leaning on an open book on a desk

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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National Poetry Month with the Toronto Writers Collective

A person of colour paints the word poetry on a wall

The Toronto Writers Collective (TWC) is a non-profit organization that runs writing workshops for vulnerable and marginalized community members in Toronto, Mississauga and Ottawa. As part of National Poetry Month, we asked a selection of TWC mentors and authors to share their favourite poems or poets from this talented community as part of National Poetry Month. The poems featured below are from the TWC's Front Lines anthologies, which will release a new edition this spring.

In my five years of working with the Toronto Writers Collective, I have had the privilege to listen to the poetry and prose of wonderful writers like: Puneet Dutt, Banoo Zan, Tom Hamilton, Andrea Thompson, Jay Teitel, Pat Connors, Al Moritz, Katrina Onstad, Susan Ksiezopolski and Julie Hartley, who inspire, not only with their writing, but through their support of unheard voices and emerging authors in TWC workshops and through our Front Lines anthologies.

Jesse Cohoon, Director of Programming at the Toronto Writers Collective

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Meet Doyali Islam: Winner of 2019 Battle of the Bards

Doyali Islam at the 2019 PoetryNOW: 11th Annual Battle of the Bards

On April 3, we hosted PoetryNOW: 11th Annual Battle of the Bards, featuring 20 talented poets, each reading four minutes of their work. All poets maximized their limited time and gave us a showing of funny, compelling and beautiful performances. It was a fantastic way to begin National Poetry Month.

All the participants delivered remarkable work, however, it was Doyali Islam who stood out on this day to earn the 2019 title of top bard. We caught up with her to discuss the people she has to thank for her journey so far, the moment she fell in love with poetry and the poet we should all be looking out for.

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Top Ten Reads For Pride Month


To many readers, June marks the start of the summer reading season, but it also means Pride Month! In honour of the season, we’ve compiled a list of ten books by LGBTQIA+ authors that you’ll feel proud to add to your summer reading list. From poetry to non-fiction, from Scarborough to Jamaica, these titles represent only a small fraction of queer storytelling. We expect they’ll inspire you to add more to your bookshelves long past June.

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