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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

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