THE FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY >>
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CONTENTS WELCOME MESSAGES
Jael Richardson Mayor Patrick Brown
ESSAYS AND POEMS
Imani Barbarin Laila Malik John Elizabeth Stintzi Isabella Wang Sanchari Sur Doyali Islam Melanie Mah stephanie roberts Yolande House Terri Favro Fiona Tinwei Lam Waubgeshig Rice Chelene Knight Shazia Hafiz Ramji Zetta Elliott
M E S S A G E FR OM T HE A R T IS T IC DIR E C T OR M E S S A G E FR OM T HE M A Y OR
8 10 14 16 24 29 30 33 34 38 43 44 46 49 50
Disabled People are Art: The Art of Us Your Mama’s Mothertongue War Wounds Eleven Stops Until I’m Half Way Home Reconciling Academia and Creative Writing: An Interview with Billy-Ray Belcourt bhater mondo Grave, Prince Albert Looking Everywhere But Inside Hear Me Salties and Lakers Chopsticks Uncomfortable Questions Tweet Tweet: writing and publishing as acts of resistance Conspiracy of Love Why Black Magic Matters
E VENTS + PARTICIPANTS
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The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) is pleased to partner with the FOLD to make accessible versions of the FOLD’s featured books available through public libraries to the estimated 3 million Canadians with print disabilities.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Jael Richardson
Louisa Atto Cat Belshaw David Burga Calyssa Erb Nadia L. Hohn Kristen Johnston Shoilee Khan Chelsea LaVecchia Amanda Leduc Ricky Lima Karen Mason Alex Platt Natasha Ramoutar Jael Richardson Fiona Ross Lamoi Simmonds Monika Trzeciakowski Léonicka Valcius Meg Wheeler C.J. Zvanitajs
COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR Amanda Leduc VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR Cat Belshaw ASSOCIATE PROGRAM EDITOR Dominik Parisien GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kilby Smith-McGregor
Cover: Downtown Brampton photo provided by Andre von Nickisch-Rosenegk, VNR Photography.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS CHAIR | Kristi MacGibbon TREASURER | Teri Vlassopoulos SECRETARY | Ashish Seth DIRECTOR | Karen Mason DIRECTOR | Mark Richardson OUTGOING CHAIR | Léonicka Valcius
ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Bronwyn Berg Rhonda-Lee Dynes Amie Gaudet Dorothy Ellen Palmer Adam Pottle Rasiqra Revulva Fiona Ross Rahma Shere
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From the Artistic Director
Four years ago, the Festival of Literary Diversity was
But Big FOLD has its own exciting changes.
a dream. An idea. An experiment of sorts. Could a
We are so excited to deliver our first day of teen
festival that prioritized underrepresented voices
programming. We are also excited to hold two full
survive and have a noticeable impact on authors,
days of programming at The Rose Theatre—a space
publishers, and the wider Can Lit community? Could
that offers room for exciting new performances
Brampton—an underrated and under serviced
community—serve as a suitable host for this kind of festival? In February, the FOLD received the Freedom to
I want to thank our sponsors and funders whose generous support makes every element of the festival possible. I want to thank my colleague
Read Award from the Writer’s Union of Canada—
Amanda Leduc, the FOLD Planning Team, the Board
in recognition of the significant contribution the
of Directors, and the Accessibility Advisory Commit-
festival has had on Canada’s literary community. We
tee as well. There are not enough words to explain
are humbled and honoured. We are delighted that
how your contributions keep me going personally,
authors are excited to attend the festival and that
especially on tough days. You are the heart and soul
audiences are coming from all over the world to
of this festival.
attend a festival in a young, multicultural suburb like Brampton.
I look forward to celebrating Five Years of FOLD next year.
This year, we will launch our latest initiative: The FOLD Kid’s Book Fest—a festival designed just for kids and young readers. The Kid’s Fest, or Little FOLD—as we affectionately call it, will kick off September 27-29, celebrating a diverse range of kid lit authors.
JAEL RICHARDSON, Artistic Director The Festival of Literary Diversity
the FOLD lives here and so should you
'ƌĞĞƚŝŶŐƐ ĨƌŽŵ DĂǇŽƌ WĂƚƌŝĐŬ ƌŽǁŶ
KŶ ďĞŚĂůĨ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ DĞŵďĞƌƐ ŽĨ ƌĂŵƉƚŽŶ ŝƚǇ ŽƵŶĐŝů / ǁŽƵůĚ ůŝŬĞ ƚŽ ǁĞůĐŽŵĞ ǇŽƵ ƚŽ dŚĞ &ĞƐƚŝǀĂů ŽĨ >ŝƚĞƌĂƌǇ ŝǀĞƌƐŝƚǇ ;&K> Ϳ ǁŚŝĐŚ ĐĞůĞďƌĂƚĞƐ ĚŝǀĞƌƐŝƚǇ ŝŶ ůŝƚĞƌĂƚƵƌĞ ďǇ ƉƌŽŵŽƚŝŶŐ ĚŝǀĞƌƐĞ ĂƵƚŚŽƌƐ ĂŶĚ ƐƚŽƌŝĞƐ ŝŶ ƌĂŵƉƚŽŶ– one of Canada’s most culturally ĚŝǀĞƌƐĞ ĐŝƚŝĞƐ͘ dŚŝƐ ϰͲĚĂǇ ĨĞƐƚŝǀĂů͕ ƚĂŬŝŶŐ ƉůĂĐĞ ŝŶ ŽǁŶƚŽǁŶ ƌĂŵƉƚŽŶ ǁŝůů ďƌŝŶŐ ĞƐƚĂďůŝƐŚĞĚ ĂŶĚ ĞŵĞƌŐŝŶŐ ǁƌŝƚĞƌƐ͕ ĞĚƵĐĂƚŽƌƐ͕ ĂŶĚ ůŝƚĞƌĂƌǇ ƉƌŽĨĞƐƐŝŽŶĂůƐ ƚŽŐĞƚŚĞƌ ǁŝƚŚ ƌĞĂĚĞƌƐ ĨƌŽŵ Ăůů walks of life to celebrate and expand Canada’s body of diveƌƐĞ ůŝƚĞƌĂƚƵƌĞ͘ dŚĞ ĨĞƐƚŝǀĂů ǁŝůů ĂůƐŽ ƉƌŽǀŝĚĞ ĂƐƉŝƌŝŶŐ ǁƌŝƚĞƌƐ ǁŝƚŚ ƚŚĞ ŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƚǇ ƚŽ ĚĞǀĞůŽƉ ƚŚĞŝƌ ƐŬŝůůƐ ĂŶĚ ŝŵƉƌŽǀĞ ƚŚĞŝƌ ǁƌŝƚŝŶŐ ďǇ ĐŽŶŶĞĐƚŝŶŐ ƚŚĞŵ ǁŝƚŚ ŽƚŚĞƌ ǁƌŝƚĞƌƐ ĂŶĚ ďǇ ƉƌŽǀŝĚŝŶŐ ƚŚĞŵ ǁŝƚŚ ƉƌŽĨĞƐƐŝŽŶĂů ĚĞǀĞůŽƉŵĞŶƚ ŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƚŝĞƐ ƚŚĂƚ ĂůůŽǁ ƚŚĞŵ ƚŽ ůĞĂƌŶ͘ / ǁĂŶƚ ƚŽ ƚŚĂŶŬ ƚŚĞ ƐƉŽŶƐŽƌƐ ĂŶĚ ƚŚĞ ŽĂƌĚ ŽĨ ŝƌĞĐƚŽƌƐ ĨŽƌ ƚŚĞŝƌ ĞĨĨŽƌƚƐ ŝŶ ƉƌŽŵŽƚŝŶŐ ůŝƚĞƌĂĐǇ ĂŶĚ ŵĂŬŝŶŐ ƚŚŝƐ ĨĞƐƚŝǀĂů Ă ƐƵĐĐĞƐƐ͘ ŶũŽǇ ƚŚĞ ĨĞƐƚŝǀĂů͊ ^ŝŶĐĞƌĞůǇ͕
WĂƚƌŝĐŬ ƌŽǁŶ DĂǇŽƌ
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Previously published on crutchesandspice.com, 2019.
DISABLED PEOPLE ARE ART: the art of us BY IMANI BARBARIN 8
On my left knee, there’s a strange scar. It wasn’t
world in which we live, and there is no starker re-
stitched all the way down, and so the one end
minder than disabled people’s bodies. We wear in-
curves down into the shape of a spoon. Travel a
difference, pain and hope like a coat in the face of a
little bit down, and there’s a scar that’s dimpled
biting wind. And, as the cold nips at our faces, and
deeply from the keloids beneath my skin. It pulls
the painful road behind us seems more familiar
from the inside and looks like a hole from far off.
to us than the one ahead, we still have hope, and
I poke at it briefly, thinking that if I were way more
imagine beauty in our future. Even the most jaded
flexible, I might be able to take shots out of it.
among us seem to pass along a spark of hope in
I like my body, myself, now, but that wasn’t
their rage. The fact they speak up at all means they
always the case. I remember long afternoons behind locked bedroom doors wonder why God didn’t heal me the way strangers had promised he would. I remember blades collected to mark the pain people couldn’t, or refused, to see behind the “inspiration.” My body is art cataloguing not only all that I am, but all that has been done to me. It is a culmination of memories some people would rather forget. Art is supposed to hold a mirror up to the
If we only see one piece, we can forget how others are needed to see the entire collection as a whole.
believe we deserve to work for a better future. And, don’t mistake my words, we don’t exist as reminders. I love the art of us. To one another, we are
Many don’t see including us in their art, saying that our existence dilutes its power and authority. But, we are the art that matters, and not everyone will understand it. They can afford to ignore and
galleries of solidarity. We may at times exist in
forget that fact. We, however, cannot afford to
isolation, in the solitary silence and loneliness that
forget the art that is us.
encircles a disabled life at times, but once we find one another, we can be each other’s greatest confidants, most mischievous collaborators, and most unexpected joys. If we only see one piece, we can forget how others are needed to see the entire collection as a whole. I love the art of us. I love the inside jokes that make me feel understood and the chorus of voices I can practically hear alongside me when I cry out in despair. I love the awkwardness of learning how to move around one another when we finally meet and giggling, making the tension in the room crack into pieces.
Previously published in The New Quarterly , 2013.
YOUR MAMA’S MOTHERTONGUE BY LAILA MALIK 10
Low and primal, the growl raises the hairs on the
teachable moments. Standing up for the grammat-
back of my neck.
ical rights of your forebears. Generations of Urdu/
“Ullu kee patthu Kermit. Go back to Miss Piggy,
Punjabi/Hindi-speaking parents all over the world
RIGHT NOW.” I drop to my knees. “KAA pat-HA,” I
have used the highly sophisticated expression
hiss urgently at my two-year-old daughter, surrep-
she just butchered to let off steam without exactly
titiously sneaking glances left and right, making
cursing their kids. So? I called you the child of an
sure none of my own elders are around to witness
owl? Owls are very intelligent. Anyway, if it was an
me teaching my child how to swear in Urdu.
insult, I insulted myself, not you. So there.
“Kermit is a boy,” I add, sitting up a little
My daughter surveys me coolly.
straighter, trying to regain some composure. “He’s an Ullu kaa pat-HAA. Miss Piggy is a girl. She’s an Ullu kee pat-HI.” For the record, I am not delusional. I do not actually believe that either Kermit or Miss Piggy is a “child of an owl.” And some part of me is thrilled that my little girl has already picked up on Kermit’s classic commitment-phobia, and is not afraid to tell him a thing or two. But I think that this is what parenting authorities mean when they talk about
For the record, I am not delusional. I do not actually believe that either Kermit or Miss Piggy is a “child of an owl.”
“Ullu kee pathu. You,” she finally says, and I must say I’m inclined to agree, no disrespect to my parents intended.
“You can speak lots of languages,” I persist. “Nope,” she says simply. “I just want to speak English.” I despair. I don’t know which prospect wor-
The four year-old is less oblique. “I DON’T SPEAK THAT LANGUAGE!” she bel-
ries me more—that she will grow up stubbornly unilingual, only to lament the loss of her heritage
lows, to the tune of warning sirens wailing in my
language as an adult, or that she will never even
head. I’ve heard that before! I know where it comes
know the difference, and never care. I want to im-
from! And I know what can happen afterwards! It
press upon her the crushing weight of this choice. I
sounds exactly like…me.
want to say to her, with complete seriousness, you
My own antipathy to Urdu didn’t emerge until I was about 13, and by some miracle I was over it within two years. All the more reason to worry. “You know,” I begin with all the calmness I can
will never truly know your deeper self if you don’t learn how to speak Urdu. Thousands of miles apart, both my partner’s and my childhoods were shaped by this language.
muster, “languages are like keys to secret univers-
Our parents spoke it, our grandparents spoke it,
es. The more keys you collect, the more places you
all the way back to that first Urdu-speaking ances-
tor who stepped dripping out of the primordial
“I speak English,” she replies, easily matching my equanimity.
waters—or thudded to earth in naked shame, whichever story you prefer. The poeto-philosoph-
ical cadences of Urdu hide behind the ways we
tionalization of the Urdu language—mostly spoke
choose our clipped English words. Wittingly or un-
Punjabi. As do my parents.
wittingly, we channel Urdu into our English, and if
Which can only mean one thing. Whatever
she chooses not to learn it, our daughter might as
their genus, my ancestors’ parliament of raptors
well throw away the babelfish to her own psyche.
was conducted in some other brogue.
Of course, the claim to linguistic ancestral pu-
Ullu kee pathu, me, indeed.
rity may be a small exaggeration, given that Urdu ///
is only about five hundred years old. And sure, it’s possible that our peripatetic families didn’t pick it up on the exact day it was invented. Regardless,
Once tinged with a certain curry stain of the “Birdy
there’s something breathtakingly powerful about
Num Num” variety, Hindustani (sometimes re-
several uninterrupted generations of a spoken
ferred to as “Hindi-Urdu”) has recently developed a
language. It’s practically cellular after a certain
dubious kind of global chic. Over the past decade,
point. We’re genetically hard-wired to operate on
Bollywood has crossed markets and taboos, biting
an Urdu frequency.
back with storylines and necklines that shock
Except that my grandparents—predecessors to the creation of the Pakistani state, with its na-
and dismay elderly, first-generation South Asian immigrants the world over—and delight their
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offspring. Adultery, out-of-wedlock pregnancy,
asleep, or arguing over the best method to quarter
children talking back to their parents are all clear
harbingers of impending doom. As far as one of
Something tells me they are asking something
my elders is concerned, the only logical response
deeper. Maybe what they want to know is the
was to become a Punjabi nationalist.
shape of the words that instantly transport you to
This development throws me into a funk.
your oldest home. The ones that stop you without
Bluntly put, it is too late for this. Please don’t
warning in your tracks, steal your breath and force
misunderstand. I am a huge fan of the Punjabi
you to listen, the ones that bathe you suddenly
language. Suspiciously so, as far as some of the
and powerfully in the sun-warmth of the best
Urdu elitists in my life are concerned. But nostalgia
moments of your childhood, bringing back your
for bygone eras—and the languages that shaped
lost siblings and all the other loves that have long
them—is supposed to be reaped, not sown, in
middle age. I am too old to take on a whole new
That is what the question should mean. In
brand of it. For God’s sake, our parents addressed
which case the answer, I tell my dear, mutinous
us in Urdu, not Punjabi. If I happen to have ab-
little spawn, is that your mothertongue is the place
sorbed anything of the latter, it was osmotic and
where your heart was born, where your soul goes
against all odds. I barely speak Urdu well enough
to rest. It is where you are your truest self.
to indoctrinate my children. If the tide of nationalism has turned—if Punjabi is the new Urdu—I
And sometimes it is also the place where you are most alone.
might as well throw in the towel. At this stage in the game it hardly seems like a
fair demand from the old guard. It’s the kind of capriciousness that gives today’s elders a bad name.
Who are they to define our language loyalties for us? Shouldn’t it be the right of every individual to determine their own linguistic preference, according to their own context and unfolding history…? Oh. Right. Never mind. “Mama, what’s a mothertongue?” the four-year-old wants to know. The question calls to mind all the bureaucratic forms I’ve ever filled, a lifetime of applications for entry into various countries and institutions, of head-scratching over what they could possibly mean by asking, What is your mother tongue? Do they want to know the language my mother spoke with her own mother? Or what I speak with mine? What if we converse in several languages? Do they want to know what we spoke when I was a child, or what we’ve switched to in recent years? Is it the language we used when we were enraged, in tears,
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War Wounds BY JOHN ELIZABETH STINTZI As soon as the idea strikes me, I’m lost: running the shower hot, setting a can of Barbasol in reach from the curtain, a fresh razor hungry in my hand. My roommate is out and I’m here, stepping naked into a warmer body, a steam coat and an attempt at patience. There’s no grace to me. I lather up my left leg to the groin by the fistful. The shower looks away as I prop my leg on the lip of the tub and start hacking leg hair like a machete tourist, following the grain.
My dad never did teach me how to shave. I never really needed to. My first memory of a razor was running my finger laterally along one of his cheap Bics and opening up. A little mouth, drooling, in my muttering flesh. It takes time. The water in the shower gets cold and I switch legs despite knowing how much stubble remains. It takes time to get things right; I shiver with impatience, speed up, recklessly circumscraping the knee so by the time I’ve finished I’m chilly and a little red river is snaking its way down the front of my right calf. I turn off the water and step back out and back into my fogged up life.
Learning things takes time. It’s not easy to shave a leg—it has landscapes unlike the jaw, the adams apple, the upper lip. The knee juts, bends, and if you end up nicking it open the cut will sting only as it begins to silence. I dry off in my lonely kitchen, feel my legs at once grip and slip along my baby-blue towel, feel the hurt of my knee beginning to shut up. My body is best at nothing but growing silent, so I listen to the river as it mutes, as I walk through my apartment, stopping only to dab the red stream with a tissue. Listening to the last whispers of my blood I sit down on my bed and marvel a little at the scars on my leg who’ve returned to me. War wounds from a rural youth, bicycles and faking bravery. From simpler times, far on the outskirts of knowing, far on the outskirts of feeling like it could matter. I rub my hands along my legs, foreignly hairless, feel the braille stubs of the hair spelling out failure. Tomorrow, I’ll climb back into the shower and spend God’s day denying this gifted flesh, but as I will revisit it with the razor I’ll come to conclude that this wasn’t meant to be, this played femininity. That I’ll follow neither my mother nor my dad. But tonight, I’m marveling in this body a moment, marveling in the feeling of the feminine elsewhere. I lay the blood-dotted tissue open beside me on the bed that I might study the Rorschach map to find a place where I can lay down like this, every day, and feel old and young and neutral and exquisitely baffling.
From The Machete Tourist (k|f|b, 2018) by John Elizabeth Stintzi.
Previously Published in carte blanche , 2018.
ELEVEN STOPS UNTIL I’M HALF WAY HOME BY ISABELLA WANG 16
Bus Loop at SFU Transportation Bay 1
even know what she looked like. But then a boy
The first time I opened my mouth and spoke, he
asked me how I could possibly see through those
was taken aback. He was not expecting it. “So how
tiny slits of mine and I threw a hole puncher at
come you speak English so well?” he asked me.
It was my first week of university and the two of us were crowded by the back doorway of the 95 B-line. I took a deep breath in and a deep breath out, before replying, “Uh, school? I guess?”
I said, “I just do.” I was suspended. “We don’t throw things here in Canada,” said the principal at my new school. “Though you, probably don’t know that.” My mother was furious. She said, “You don’t
Duthie Avenue It wasn’t difficult to mask my differences in the beginning. I wasn’t aware of my speech impediment, how I spoke with both a stutter and a heavy accent, or the fact that I looked different from the other children in my class. My mother and I couldn’t afford a mirror to place in our bedroom, and a child could not be made aware of her differences when she didn’t
I thought it was best to ignore the man on the bus. Even if he meant it as a compliment. Even if he was just being nice.
belong here. Your father and I have enough trou-
bathroom and dump out my lunch before heading
ble to worry about without you drawing attention
to class, which meant I would have to sit through
the afternoon, hungry.
I was just relieved that nobody would have to see my ugly face for five days.
Kensington Avenue For a while, before the incident with the boy, I had
Sometimes, when my mother picked me up at school she would ask me questions such as, “Did you like the smiley face I made for you with the rice and vegetables?” What smiley face? I would always be in such
only lunch hours to worry about. We would be
a hurry to get rid of what she had packed, that I
sitting on long, folding benches in the dining hall,
wouldn’t notice. Not wanting to hurt her feelings, I
and other children would bring out their jam sand-
would say, “Uh huh, ya! It was great! Thanks!”
wiches, juice boxes, cheddar goldfish crackers, and carrots the size of my pinky, and instead of eating,
they would all hover over me and my stupid dump-
I had put on my headphones again. I thought it
lings, congee, or whatever my mother thought to
was best to ignore the man on the bus. Even if he
concoct for me that day, and shrivel their faces
meant it as a compliment. Even if he was just being
and turn up their noses and be like, “Ewwwwwww!
nice. After all, I had already explained the short
What is that?”
version, and I still had another four hours of study-
Every morning from then on, I would go to the
ing ahead of me. I couldn’t afford to waste it on a
mental breakdown, which would put me behind in all of my lectures. But he was still there. “What are you studying?” “English.” “But your English is good.” I sighed. “No, my actual program is English.” “Oh, I see?” he said, with a puzzled glare. “Cause, well, I thought you had just come here and was learning English. Good for you.” That didn’t even make sense. When I first arrived, I didn’t know how to speak to anybody, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll always just be that kind of Chinese to him.
Hythe Avenue During my first year of elementary school in Canada—third grade—we were taught the craft of letter writing. In class, we were each instructed to write a letter to a grandparent or a great-grandparent in cursive, and ask them what school was like back in their days. I thought about my grandmother in Shandong, and how every time we visited her, she fed us salty
gelatine made from pig’s blood, and we would have to squat down in a hole that was dug out of the ground and wipe our butt with a cloth that we would have to wash by hand because they didn’t have flushing toilets and toilet paper where she lived. I raised my hand and told my teacher, “Uh, Mrs. G? My grandmother never went to school.”
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...even though money was tight and the two of us could barely afford a full meal at McDonald’s once every other week, I worked through eight tutors that year.
Mrs. G told me to write to her anyway and ask her
come and lick your feet. What have you done? You
about her life, to which I replied, “She doesn’t know
ignorant, ungrateful bastard?”
how to write.” The first letters started to arrive a week later,
I grew more fearful of my mother as time went on. Alone in our bedroom, I would freeze in the
from grandparents who lived nearby. Then, hand-
middle of what I was doing whenever I heard her
written letters from New Zealand, Australia, the
footsteps coming up the stairs.
States, and when the other Chinese girl in my class received a letter, written in Chinese calligraphy from her grandpa in Shanghai, I forced my mother
“What do you have to hide?” she would demand. “Are you a thief?”
to forge a letter for me, which I read proudly in
front of the class too.
There was the year when my mother and I wanted
For a split second, I was like the rest of them.
to start anew. We bleached the walls of our single,
My mother slapped me in the face when she
rented bedroom, which we then whitewashed, and
saw a C- next to Language Arts on my report
painted over with a more calming, inviting lilac that
card. She booked an appointment with Mrs. G
replaced the ugly yellow my mother said was the
the next day and dragged me along though I had
shade of our skin, even though it clearly wasn’t.
begged her not to. Mrs. G told my mother not to
I held up my arm against it to prove to her that
worry. She said that English was difficult because
it wasn’t true. She said it was better than being
it encompassed reading, writing, and speaking,
matched to the colour of pee.
and that for a child to get an A, they must excel
I was one of two Chinese-Canadian immigrant
at all three things. I was nowhere near that. I was
students at the time, the other being a girl who
horrible at all three.
acted as my friend sometimes, and even she was
Mrs. G suggested that my mother get me an English tutor, and even though I didn’t want one
different. My parents told me that her parents had
myself, and even though money was tight and the
bought their way into Canada, unlike us, who were
two of us could barely afford a full meal at Mc-
here by merit.
Donald’s once every other week, I worked through eight tutors that year. The problem was that at the beginning, I did
“You are here,” my mother told me, “because your father was accepted into China’s best university where he then worked his back crooked to
not know what conjunctions were, or why there
procure a PhD degree in computer sciences in un-
were so many of them. I was too young to under-
der two years, just so you could have a happy and
stand the difference between clauses and Santa
carefree life in this land of freedom and opportu-
Claus, and nobody could explain it in a way that
nity. And I quit my job with bonuses, which I was
made sense to my seven-year-old head. So my
really enjoying by the way, just to raise you.”
mother would often lose her temper. She broke
That was their sacrifice for me. I would try to
pencils, poked holes in my stuffed animals, hurled
catch up to them with sacrifices of my own, but I
at me anything she had to spare at her fingertips.
always came up short.
She spared me no wrath. Once, she picked up an old ruler, on which a classmate had graffitied, you are a dog.
The other Chinese girl invited me over to her home, which was a mansion, with two grand pianos and a movie theatre in the basement and
“You are worse than a dog!” my mother
a swimming pool in the back yard and she had
screamed. “With dogs, you feed them, and they
her own maid and a room to herself. Afterward,
back at the single, rented bedroom in a dilapidated
to ask the word again. I had woken her up twice
house that my mother and I shared, which had a
already, and failed to spell the word. This time, I
single mattress with fleas that we had to get rid
wrote the word on my eraser and hid it in my palm.
of ourselves, and ants who would crawl to their
“Extraordinary,” my mother demanded once
deaths and form a thick, coagulated film with their
more. She was groggy, and I could sense the irrita-
bloated bodies all floating in my half-finished or-
tion swelling at the back of her throat.
ange juice glass, I cried. My mother told me that I ought to be ashamed of myself. So I tried to be, and I often was.
Gilmore Avenue Two a.m. I sat, tucked away at my desk in a corner beside an old bookshelf. “E-x-t-r-a-o-r-d-i-n-a-r-y, extraordinary,” I repeated over and over again. “Be quiet!” hissed my mother, half asleep by
“E-x-t-r-a-o-r-d-i-n-a-r-y,” I read off of the eraser. “Okay, get in bed.” She sighed, rather relieved that her daughter was not a total idiot. She was too sleepy to realize what I had done. So I cheated, but I was desperate. My mother and I never spent much time together, even before her move to Canada. Her continuous absence in my early upbringing left gashes in both our emotional bond and our ability to understand each other. That, paired with our
my side. I watched her writhe from one side of the
one-year separation, accounted for much of the
mattress to another like a distressed sea monster
disconnect between us. She was a business wom-
in an uncomfortable ocean of blankets and pillows.
an back then. The job paid well and gave generous
I could not sleep. I had more words to memorize.
bonuses, but required her to travel across the
My mother was appalled by the meagre
world for months on end. She first came to Cana-
amount of English that I knew when we first came
da in the late nineties on a business exchange, and
here, and would assign me a new vocabulary list
the trip changed her life. She never forgot the trip,
every day. The process was excruciating. We would
even after a decade had passed and she had met
sit down on the carpet and she would hover over
and married my dad, and had me.
me as I tried to make out the words on each page.
My mother had high expectations when it
Every word that I did not understand or could not
came to my education, but neglected the time it
pronounce was added to the list, which could rack
required for me to grow up, make mistakes, and
up to 200 words any given night. That night, only
learn from them. At three-years-old, I wanted
extraordinary was left. It was too long, and the way
to experiment with crayons and go beyond the
the letters were put together did not make any
boundaries, while she demanded real-life portraits
sense in my mind. Seeing no purpose for putting
and starved me in a locked closet when I refused
an a by an o when there was only one vowel sound
to colour within the lines of my colouring book.
to be made, I misspelled the word repeatedly.
Process didn’t matter to my mother as much as re-
“Think of them as two separate words.”
sults, and when my results didn’t meet her expec-
What two separate words?
tations, she would let her frustrations out on me.
“It’s not that difficult!”
My mother sculpted her expectations of me
Two hours had passed since my mother had
based off of the children she saw in movies and
given up on me and gone to bed herself. I was to
Korean TV dramas. I think she wanted to raise a
wake her when I was ready, walk over to the other
family like that of the Von Trapps from The Sound
side where the whiteboard stood, and wait for her
of Music, before Maria’s entrance, with a house-
hold of children who had perfect dinner etiquette
Kootenay Loop Bay 7
and manners, and responded like drones to every
The man pushed on the backdoors of the bus and
direction at the call of a whistle. Yet, my mother
stepped out. I made headway to the rear where
failed to take into account a child’s desire to have
a seat was empty and sat down beside another
fun, to display antics behind their father’s back, or
student and she smiled at me.
their fear on the night of a storm. By the time that my mother was able to inspect her own daughter up close, I was too crooked and deformed to fit the image that she had pictured. Her disappointment was apparent. She did not understand why I could not carry out
Her name was Wendy. She was in her third year, for engineering. She had come from Beijing four years ago. “Oh,” I said, “my family lived in Beijing for a while too.” That was the year when my mother and I had
a prolonged conversation with English speakers
gone back to visit family overseas. It was the first
when I first came here, or how at seven, I could
time that we had seen any of them since our im-
not solve the advanced algebra questions she had
migration to Canada two years prior, and it was to
be my last visit. Later, my father brought me with
Most of the time, my mother just let herself
him to Qufu for one week, where his friend and
explode—a pipe bomb detonating, shards of
colleague had invited us for dinner at a restaurant
shrapnel and nails set off in a thousand directions,
and the two of us checked into a hotel afterward.
and I happened to be the only passenger in the blasting range. Two days into our stay, my mother handed
Now, when he is here with me in Vancouver, he complains of a dull, moaning pain shooting up his shin, but he doesn’t remember how he had gotten
me a library copy of Matilda and asked me to read.
himself so drunk that night in Qufu, that back
When I could not do so, she mistook my seven-
in our hotel, he went to use the bathroom and
year-old stupidity for laziness.
slipped and cracked his shin over the bathtub rim,
She made me memorize excerpts from news-
and how I had phoned the concierge and asked for
paper articles and magazines. When I stumbled or
four bandages, which I peeled and placed over the
missed a word, she would cast a shadow over me
bloody fracture before getting him to bed.
and strike me with slaps across the face or with
Over time, his visits here have become briefer,
the ceramic vase that we kept our budding orchids
and whenever he is here, his presence is more
in, until it shattered on my collarbone. Then it
like that of a houseguest to my mother and I, than
was on to vocabulary or mathematics. She would
praise me when I spelled or answered correctly. An intense yearning for my mother’s approv-
“What are you studying?” Wendy interrupted my thoughts.
al grew out of me. I wanted her love—to see the
This time, I replied, “English literature.”
glowing reflection of a proud mother in her eyes,
“Oh? English literature,” Wendy echoed, con-
even if it lasted for less than a second. I began to hate myself when I failed to deliver, and when I did, I felt useless.
fused. “But why?” My father had asked me the same thing when I was ten. “To write. To fit in,” was my reply. Under
“Only doing it because I love you.”
my breath, so that he couldn’t hear, “And so mom-
Okay mommy. As long as you love me.
my will love me.” He told me to wake up. “To fit in? After all our
family’s been through, we didn’t bring you here so
stories that only he knew of, that told of who we
you could waste your intelligence on the imprac-
are and where we came from—I wouldn’t think to
tical and throw your future away.” And then he
ask. He thought that if I did not know where my
added, “Shall we order take-out tonight, my sweet
roots lay, I would never long for them.
Renfrew Street Last winter, when I began piecing together my
Old customs forgotten. New ones adopted. I argued with my mother until she caved in and
family’s story, I had one location to go on. It was
packed me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for
the birthplace of my father, and the place where
lunch instead of Chow Mien or Chinese dumplings.
he was raised, Yongdong Village, Anju Town, Jining
I have put my identity to scrutiny many times
City, Shandong Province, China. This, I proceed-
in the past, staring at my foreignness in the mirror
ed to enter into the Vancouver Public Library’s
for hours as I pondered whether there really is a
catalog—the whole thing at first, and when that
place for me in Vancouver.
failed to stir up any hits, I entered each of them
Years have passed since I was bullied for my
individually, one by one, starting from the centre
accent. Things have changed. Compass cards re-
and working outward.
placed bus passes. Bus drivers no longer offer me
I was mad at my father for refusing to tell me
free rides these days if I show up empty handed.
more. Other children grew up hearing stories of
Yet, on the bus, the rest of the world will always
their parents’ childhoods, so why wasn’t I allowed
see me only for what they think I am.
them? How else was I supposed to weave a narra-
Earlier that day, lost on campus, I bumped
tive out of a place I couldn’t even locate on Google
into two fourth-year students outside the elevator
Maps? How was I supposed to understand my
and asked them for directions to the bus loop. “Ya,
father if he refused to understand that I was trying
follow us.” They led. “Is this your first day?”
to understand him? We had already grown distanced by then, my
“No. First week.” Though it really didn’t make that much of a difference.
father and I, and I thought that if I were to ever
“You a first year?”
understand the man he’d become, I would have to
go back to the beginning, to the time when he was
“Damn it!” they huffed, in a sort of scoffing,
a boy and knew only that if he were to ever have a
sort of teasing way. “We could have thwarted her.”
child of his own, she would grow up to be happier
“Ya? And I could write about you.”
than he ever was. He would make sure of it. My search didn’t take me very long: Yongdong Village: nothing. Anju Town: nothing. Jining City: nothing. Shandong Province: nothing. China turned up 50,000 hits. He believed that he was protecting me—and that by hiding his past from me, the places and
I was mad at my father for refusing to tell me more. Other children grew up hearing stories of their parents’ childhoods, so why wasn’t I allowed them?
That shut them up. But really, they were the
we reached the end of the line, my mother realized
least of my problems. Soon, I’d have to get off at
that she had forgotten my passport. We were
the next stop and make the transition to the #8
directed into a waiting room, where we sat for
bus, where on my way, I’d stop at a twenty-four-
another five hours. By then, the sun had set, but I
hour Burger King to breathe, and study, before
kept faith that the officer would take into account
falling asleep hovered over a grease-ridden table
my age at eleven, and grant me passage anyway.
and the other half of my apple pie. I would wake
When we were called up, the officer sent us back
up in the middle of the night, with my backpack,
to Canada. I too, felt like punching something.
wallet, and compass card, all gone.
Hastings and Main Street A man approached me. “Do you have money?”
Midnight, walking home on the outskirts of the Downtown Eastside, near Commercial and Grand-
“No,” I uttered as we walked by each other. “I lost my wallet.”
view Park, I saw a man down on the ground amid the puke-inducing stench-land of rotting take-away
He spat at me. And as I turned back, he shouted, “I lost my condoms! I’ll fucking fuck you!” Half-drunken, half-stoned men formed a ring
containers, discarded condom wrappers, limp syringes, bird poop, and human feces—his arms
around me as I neared the stoplights at the inter-
and legs spasming out of control. At first, I thought
section, shoving drugs and half a bottle of beer in
he was having a stroke, before realizing that high
my face. A man offered me a pack of cigarettes, “To
on psychedelics, he was in fact, dancing. It was not until years later that I understood
breathe.” And as if I didn’t understand him the first
my mother’s frustration. It was on a black Friday
time, he motioned a fist to his chest and prompted
evening that we drove for three hours to the Can-
at the cigarettes again. “To breathe. To breathe,
ada-U.S. border. I endured the heat, the monotony
deep, in here.” I didn’t want to breathe. Two hours more, and
of waiting in a line spanning a kilometre in length as we edged towards the border, metre by metre.
I’d be home.
We were travelling to the outlets, and I was given fifty dollars to buy whatever I wanted. But when
Previously published on Invisiblog [invisiblepublishing.com/invisiblog], 2019.
RECONCILING ACADEMIA AND CREATIVE WRITING: AN INTERVIEW WITH
Billy-Ray Belcourt BY SANCHARI SUR 24
How did you come to poetry as your creative outlet?
What I meant by that is… I was writing from a more underground location… And, as a queer Indigenous
The first reason I came to poetry, I think, was
person who was also young, there weren’t many
because I was frustrated with the limits of con-
doors open to me anyway. It was folks like Tracey
ventional academic writing. As an undergraduate
Lindberg and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson who
student, I was going through this process of polit-
took it on themselves to begin to mentor and to
icization that I think a lot of students of colour go
direct attention to writers like myself. But I think
through… [it] brings about a kind of fury [laughs],
that I will always have this kind of… perhaps an-
and pain and sadness that many of us want to
ti-authoritarian or subversive quality to my writing
put to use. And poetry was where I did that because it allowed me to write and to theorize from experience. I was listening to your Brick podcast, and you said that you weren’t engaging with CanLit at all when you wrote your first collection. Do you think that not engaging with the underpinnings of CanLit and its history etc. gave you the tools and framework to write the kind of poetry that you did?
..there needs to be a remapping of terrains of social violence to get at the ways in which many contribute to the normalization of settler colonialism.
that definitely began with my interest in literature
speaks to the ways in which the suffering of Native
and poetry—not as an institutional project, but as
people is very much entangled in the daily lives of
a deeply political one.
Canadian citizens, and there needs to be a remapping of terrains of social violence to get at the ways
In an interview I did with Gwen Benaway for The
in which many contribute to the normalization of
Rusty Toque, she spoke of situating herself outside
settler colonialism. And, I think that that kind of in-
of CanLit because Canadian literature is more than
tellectual undertaking is in itself running counter to
just a practical reality; it’s an ideological space.
CanLit… I think what we are facing—‘we’ as in mar-
In other words, even though her work was being
ginalized writers like queer, Indigenous, people of
published in Canadian literary spaces, and champi-
colour—is an older version of CanLit, that had to do
oned by Canadian publishers and critics, she didn’t
with a national myth of Canadian life. It reminds me
think her work was part of Canadian literature as
of this [Antonio] Gramsci quote that Dionne Brand
an ideological space. Going from off of that, I am
cited in a talk once: “The crisis consists precisely in
interested to know how you see yourself in relation
the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot
to Canada and CanLit.
be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” I think we can see these
So, the next book—NDN COPING MECHANISMS—is
symptoms everywhere in the literary world. And
amongst other things, a critique of Canada and the
perhaps, this generation of writers—that includes
structures of complicity that many are mired by. It
myself—have the unfortunate task of weathering
these symptoms as well as championing and bring-
In a conversation with Lindsay Nixon in Canadian
ing forth the new. We don’t entirely have the option
Art titled, “What do We Mean by Queer Indigenous
of opting out of the old—that’s where a lot of
Ethics?”, you mentioned about looking into Indig-
resources and capital flow through—but that does
enous artifacts to create Indigenous joy. You also
not mean that we should give up on the construc-
mention that Indigenous futurism theory wasn’t
tion of alternative literary communities that are
something you were aware of within Native Indian
first and foremost about freedom, and flourishing
Studies, and it was only through conferences that
for those who continue to be oppressed.
you were able to come in contact with Indigenous futurism theory. Apart from your doctoral work, is this
This resonates with what you have said about your
the direction you see your creative work going in?
doctoral project, which is the collection of essays, The Conspiracy of NDN Joy. You said that you are
Yes, I am going to argue that poetry is always al-
centering yourself and your personal experience to
ready a kind of futuristic project. I think of this poet
talk about issues of colonization, state violence etc.,
[Anne Boyer] who was tweeting recently, to para-
and you shelved your former project on Indigenous
phrase, ‘All poetry until the revolution comes is just
paranormal because it dealt too much with state
a list of questions’. And there is this other quote
violence. And I am wondering—because you are in
[by Walidah Imarisha] that ‘all social justice work
academia in one of the biggest universities in Cana-
is a kind of science fiction, because we are sort of
da—do you think that the framework of academia
building the world we want, not the one we are in’.
doesn’t allow you to pursue certain questions or
And I think that’s very much the case for Indige-
avenues of Indigeneity; questions that can only be
nous writing also. In radical Indigenous writing in
pursued through creative writing?
particular, it always has this eco poetics to it; it argues against and demystifies the calculus that the
26 I think a lot of my objection to academic writing
colonial state should be called the world. We know
has to do with my desire for emotive writing that is
of the horror that colonialism has and unravels and
speculative, and not so much about argumentation,
continues to produce on the planet in every sort of
but about emotionality and world building. I think
possible way… I am interested, of course, in what
that poetry in particular, and creative writing more
writing looks like that refutes that calculus.
generally, allows me to write in the direction not of finality but of incompleteness. I am reminded of
I think the artwork that you have paid attention to—
a moment in a conversation between Fred Moten
at least going by the essays on Canadian Art—seem
and Stefano Harney—who are two American theo-
to be focusing on works that also seem to be creating
rists—who say that they write together so that they
this idea of eco poetry through their artwork. That
can incomplete one another. It’s a take on the cli-
nicely complements the kind of work you are doing
ché, “you complete me.” What should be taken from
right now. There seems to be a bridge between your
that very moving assertion is that perhaps when
academic practice and creative practice.
we write, it’s not about a reification of individuality or a self-possessiveness, but being in concert with
I think that I write about art and I pay attention to
others who are desirous of shared objects. For me,
Indigenous artists and queer artists, because I think
that ‘shared objects’ is a world to come, one where
that art can say things that writing can’t. It’s a differ-
queer Indigenous freedom is the reality.
ent sort of theory of voice that goes into art making.
Since you are a doctoral student, I think that you
academic work, but thinking about that through
will agree that academic work requires a different
art, I suppose?
kind of rigour than creative work. And even though both your academic and creative writing seem to
Yeah, the process of writing each book or project
have common threads, how do you navigate the two
bears a thesis of thinking [and] arguments that
doesn’t assign rules of comprehension, or that doesn’t resort to a kind of logical structure that
I try my best to intertwine the two worlds. I am in
can actually stymie creativity. So, I am interested in
a department of English and Film Studies that also
shock, and surprise, and improvisation, as methods
houses a creative writing program, so I have been
by which to understand political and social life.
lucky to be able to undertake a doctoral project that is a kind of creative theoretical hybrid. And I
I think the great thing about your work is that it’s
am using a framework of auto theory… and when
not conceptual in a way that makes it inaccessible.
I teach in the future, one of the things I want to do
Your work has that affective quality that a person
is cultivate a classroom where the students see
doesn’t need to be an academic to understand your
themselves as artist thinkers. I want to install in
work… I think that theoretical work is so dense that
them an understanding of writing as one that is
it isn’t open to everybody, and I love that in that
performative, that enacts a set of aspirations and
sense, your work is really inclusive.
desires, or political commitments. Truly, I think that one can get away with a lot of And also, maybe thinking about these kinds of
pontification if they are also representing them-
bigger questions that is usually done through
selves as emotional subjects. And this one thing I
am writing, I say that—it’s a poem about Foucault
onlookers—‘the people outside the tent’. And
and… I guess, queer life, where I sort of remark that
perhaps it’s that sort of classic feminist project of
Foucault legendarily rarely wrote autobiographical-
shifting the geographic coordinates of the center
ly? But he nonetheless often had an eye to free-
and the periphery. And perhaps, it’s the case now
dom and utopian modes of desiring. I say that this
that the universal all-knowing subject of literature
is because no one turns to theory unless there is a
isn’t what governs literary sensibility anymore, or
dirt road in him. It’s actually a reference to a poem
that it’s weakening. And of course, there’s going to
from This Wound is a World. And I think that many
be anxiety about that.
turn to theory for the reasons others turn to poetry. I think sociological poetry like Dionne Brand,
Final question: Can you speak about your current
Lisa Robertson… are beautiful amalgamations of
projects, and other projects going forward?
those two things. NDN COPING MECHANISMS will be out in September You ended your Hazlitt essay titled, “Fatal Naming
2019. The US and French editions of This Wound is
Rituals,” with a very powerful missive, “You are not
a World is also out in 2019. I am also working on my
invited into our tent. We are not yet at that point
doctoral project which I hope will be a book. And
of hospitality. I will not tell you when this time has
since last summer, I have been dabbling in fiction,
come.” Can you speak a little more to this missive?
and I seem to have a lot of false starts [laughs]. So, we will see if that goes anywhere. I find [fiction]
That essay is a record of my attempt to trying to
mostly stressful. I find that when I try to write fic-
figure out what energizes curiosity about Indige-
tion I am confronted with a whole host of aesthetic
nous writing from those who aren’t Indigenous.
and theoretic challenges in fiction that can be
I think we have to be cautious and rally against
debilitating. Nonetheless, I am eager to see where
vampiric ways of reading Indigenous writing that
my writing ends up in the future.
are about the consumption of trauma and suffering in a way that it produces white subjectivity.
And I am curious about what it means for us as Native people to write about and to one anoth-
This interview was conducted by phone on the 6th of
er, and also have the knowledge that there are
bhater mondo BY DOYALI ISLAM my mother used to make little rice balls for me. she steamed and clattered about the cramped mustard kitchen, filling a pot with water, swelling and salting and songing the grains, plating them like planets longing
one morning away from ringing school bells in fourteen perfect globular mouthfuls she fed me her story, and uncooked dreams. and although my fingers cannot craft rice they do cling stickily to the grain
for some lost centre, chirping, my mother,
of history, ever remembering le monde â&#x20AC;&#x201C;
o, she made me small small bhater mondo.
the world of sacrifice between her hands.
From HEFT (McClelland & Stewart, 2019) by Doyali Islam. Copyright ÂŠ 2019 Doyali Islam. Reprinted by permission of McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. All rights reserved.
Previously published in Brick , 2017.
GRAVE, PRINCE ALBERT BY MELANIE MAH 30
Enter off Marquis Road. Your father will tell you to
seen the arcing marks on other graves. This stone is
slow down, even though you weren’t going that
dark grey granite, and your Chinese is garbage. The
fast, even as you were already slowing down for a
only things you can read on it are numbers—some
sign that stipulates a 10K speed limit. You find him
of them take time—and your last name, which you
irritating – he’s been like this for days this time, for
share with the person buried here and everyone
years, for his whole life – but what you think, what
else who comes from your dad’s village in China.
you find, is not important to him, though it means
This guy’s name was Don Bon Mah. You’re not re-
the world to you.
lated, you never even saw a picture, but you drove
Take deep breaths: he is old—introspective
ten hours in one day to get here and you’ll drive the
but inconsiderate, and not insightful in a way that’s ever made any sense to you. Round the bend then count the trees, fourth big one on the left, then park the car, cross the road, three stones in, and you’re there. It’s low to the ground, the kind of thing that gets swallowed up and disappears if you’re not careful. Years ago, your father paid to raise it up so it’s at grade, though not so high that it gets kissed by the blades of the riding mowers that tend this place. Kisses can leave scars; you’ve
There’s emotion in his voice as he introduces you, as he asks for good luck and good sales on your first book and all the others after that.
ten back the day after tomorrow and this is neither
to have a son when he entered Canada close to
the first nor the last time you’ll be in Prince Albert,
a hundred years ago, then years later, he found
Saskatchewan, a place that’s mostly white and
someone in China, your father, he brought him in
Indigenous. You imagine townsfolk happening upon
to help him run restaurants he didn’t yet have. A
this stone and wondering what it says, too.
forward thinker, that Don Bon, though restaurants
Your father’s talking to it now, or maybe to
are a lot like banks—places to store money, ways
something beyond it. There’s emotion in his voice
to make more of it. Don’t be shy. Don’t think that
as he introduces you, as he asks for good luck and
your clean clothes and master’s degree in any way
good sales on your first book and all the others
removes you from the reality that restaurant work
after that. There’s a tray in front of the grave. On
has touched your life. Your dad moved ten times in
it are cups and chopsticks, alcohol and food and
seventeen years chasing higher restaurant wages,
paper—gold-painted sheets folded into ingot
and hundreds of thousands in the diaspora with
shapes by your sister who did not come with you,
hair like yours and skin like yours have been doing
and a thin brick of Hell Bank Notes in denomina-
something similar for more than two hundred years
tions of a hundred million—billions of dollars if you
by now. Chinese restaurant workers form a part
only just believed. It’s for him, Don Bon, to spend
of Canadian history, Canadian identity, though you
beyond the grave. Only the best for him. Who was
might not know from books or the news. To learn
he? Your father’s paper father. (Your paper grand-
about this takes research, takes digging in archives
father?) In an act of common trickery, he pretended
and asking questions of old-timers, but I’m getting
ahead of myself here. You’re still there in front of
that, your dad was in Saskatchewan; your mom
the stone bowing three times with the money and
was in Hong Kong. Their lives there are mysteries.
pouring alcohol from the little red cups—Smirnoff,
But you know that there are restaurants, villages,
maybe not Don Bon’s first choice, but beggars
poverty, untold stories, or ones you know and can’t
can’t be choosers—while you wonder who he was
believe. Your mom in the Hong Kong bomb scares
and what his bachelor’s life was like—was he good
of ’67 and so many of the things your dad’s been
with his hands, maybe cynical or enterprising?
through. Writing their stories is an attempt to fix
What’d he do for fun, or was there even time for
the ephemeral, it’s like cupped handfuls of water
that? You thank him for existing and for choosing
for the driest of throats. You need it all, and if you
your father. Your parents did well for themselves,
don’t hold it tight, drink it fast, it leaks away. In the
but maybe they wouldn’t have if it weren’t for Don
car, as your dad drives away from the grave, you
Bon and his magic foresight. If he weren’t in the
scribble things down in your notebook. As he drives
picture, maybe you’d exist, probably you wouldn’t,
to the next town, you ask him questions, you write
or maybe you’d be a farmer in Toisan with a baby
fast and you try to write true – as if it were a matter
tied to your back and roughness spilling from your
of life and death. And of course, it is.
mouth and a vague sense of dissatisfaction pervading your dreams. Today you are a writer, you love to
write. You’re smart, articulate, unmarried, no kids, and you like it that way. You burn the money in a clay pan, poke a hole in the ground with a screwdriver that you brought, and put Wal-Mart plastic flowers in the hole. Your
dad says he bets someone will steal them, and before you leave, he dumps the smoking ashes on the grass then pees at the base of a tree. He’s old
“A place where I can be heard.” —Geoffrey Chang,
after all, can’t hold it in. He seems confused as to just how reverent he should be in a place like this. But the village was rough; Saskatchewan was rough. Why shouldn’t the afterlife be? When you look back at the pictures – you’re not supposed to take pictures in the cemetery, it’s bad luck, but you did it anyway—you’re shocked by how old your father looks, you’re shocked by the white of his hair and his tired face, skin that’s even tired when it wakes up, but you’ve been shocked by this for close to a decade. It’s part of why you’re here: to collect the stories and learn as much as you can from the source before the source is gone. Your father came to Canada more than sixty-five years ago. Your mom has been here for close to fifty. You were born in Alberta. Your family’s been there for more than forty-five years, but before
Our voices are vital. Free, drop-in creative writing workshops every Wednesday in Toronto. InkWell Workshops instructors are award-winning writers who have lived experience of mental illness. Anyone over 18 with a mental health or addiction issue is welcome to attend.
Looking Everywhere But Inside BY STEPHANIE ROBERTS
Politeness is organized indifference. — Paul Valéry we sing colourblind. we sigh at silent children stretched—dark laundry from the lindens at eve. we whisper shameful era the over of our afterthought.
this is how you starve love—feeding me absence.
we talk easily (yes easily) of: serbs, irish immigrants, slavery in ancient greece, and the holocaust; our personal risk is nada, not our: police force, home towns, courage to confess a terror of black skin in the night. uninvited to my stolen life with a no froze like a not in my throat; I watch your party, the only party, with the only anonymity and freedom of ambiguity. we are not racist because: that black co-worker (a riot), our east indian son-in-law (so-well-spoken), the brown wife and children, a black president (see),
protests remembered with sadness, sympathy, nostalgia and longing, and oprah (we love her).
I love you loved you, loved you, forever forgiving often forgetting, while i get question marks for intimacy and the numerical accuracy of economics against all that tear and blood-soaked languish.
at night, we admit they had it coming; just do what cops tell you. at the bottom of an old well, I look up to where you water me with the bacteria-laden swill of diplomacy. these blacks, mexicans (he’s honduran), jews, chinese (she’s korean) ... but white is offensive said like the bad thing it is. easy we, accountable only to our lone white skin and the lily-fair god that favours it.
(there is a hard-core silence a raping called level-headed shallow as compassion’s white grave.)
Previously published Previously published in Room Magazine [40.2], 2017.
Previously published in PRISM International [56.3], 2018.
HEAR ME BY YOLANDE HOUSE 34
“Are you deaf?” Mother sits up in bed, red in the face,
Alarmed by her guttural howl of my name, I run up the
eyes puffy from sleep.
stairs of our townhouse, leaving my cartoons playing to an empty room.
Things that make me wince: - The screams of my students.
“Every time you hear ringing after an event, you
- The screeching announcements at my
know it was too loud.” A hearing specialist confirms
school. - Music that spills onto the street from bars I no longer visit.
what I suspect. “Ringing means you’ve hurt your ears.” This sensitivity has been passed down in my family, an heirloom I don’t want. “When will it go
- Noraebangs, the private karaoke rooms on every city block. There is no way to turn down the ear-splitting volume. I’ve asked. At a bar in Canada, a few years before I came to Korea: I beg my friend to leave but she looks at me, brow furrowed, not understanding. Later I stand outside, shivering with the smokers. My ears whine with a high-pitched shrill for weeks afterward.
My mind races, studying them and wondering how to respond like a hearing person, for I’ve heard nothing over the orchestra in my head.
away?” I ask. “Never, if you’re lucky,” he says. “Once
In summer, South Korea perspires. Its heavy and
it does, it means the follicle is dead and you can’t
sour sweat hits like you’ve stepped into a sauna, the
hear that tone anymore.”
cool comfort of AC soon forgotten. A high-pitched hum fills the air, even and never-ending. Sudden-
The cicadas in my ears = my hearing in its death
ly, I hear silence. The drone in my ear is quiet. Ah,
sweet relief. I savor the silence, but I’m curious. My jaw tightens as I concentrate. I can still hear a hum
“What took you so long?” she says, glaring at me. “I
slightly higher than the summertime bug.
didn’t hear you, I say,” staring at my toes. “I was watching TV.”
At twelve, I have been answering Mother’s howls for more than a year now, running up the stairs to bring
“Why can’t you just hear me?” My boyfriend whines,
her food, tea, or a wake-up call in an hour, two hours,
scowling face finally turning to me as we do our
shopping. I’ve just told him what the pamphlet from
the audiologist’s office recommends: Look at me
Sometimes co-workers look at me suddenly and I
when you talk and let me see your mouth. He march-
know they’ve heard something and are wondering if
es forward and stops talking to me. Beet-cheeked,
I’ve heard it too. My mind races, studying them and
I look at the ground. The store is too bright, the
wondering how to respond like a hearing person, for
aisles packed with choices I don’t want to make.
I’ve heard nothing over the orchestra in my head.
On hearing aids:
In Korea, my hearing impairment is a secret I pre-
- The ones I considered getting in my
tend I learned from my school-mandated annual
20s. As an unemployed person, I didn’t
health check. Struggling to hear in class is one
have $3,000 for the expensive aids I
thing—it could well be a result of my student’s pro-
needed, and government funding only
nunciation or my co-teacher’s incorrect emphasis,
helped a little.
and often is—but wearing any device besides eye-
- The basic model I did get in high school when my hearing impairment
glasses would mark me as damaged goods and give my school a reason to block my annual renewal.
was discovered. The cheap ones that were fully covered by the government
“You didn’t hear me over the TV?” she asks, her eyes
and my dad’s work. They allowed me
cold with disbelief. “I called you at least ten times! Are
to “turn up the volume” when people
spoke in low tones or turn off the world when it made me wince in pain.
“Minie says she wants a teacher who can hear,” my
In university, I lost and found them,
office mate says. It’s summer camp time, and we’re
and realized volume control was their
eating lunch at a restaurant. “She voted against
only assistance. While handy, it didn’t
you.” My shoulders stiffen; my secret isn’t so secret.
make that much difference in my
“But the vice principals said no. You are a good
daily life in exchange for the fuss and
teacher, and they don’t want to risk a new teacher
maintenance. I put them on the shelf
who isn’t.” I put my fork down and stare at my plate.
and continued asking people to speak
“Can you notice it?” I say. “My hearing trouble?”
louder, slowly, clearly. Mostly, they did.
She doesn’t hesitate. “No. Not at all.” I believe her. I’ve adapted well, I know. But the fear is still there
36 She sleeps most of the day now, ever since she got sick
every fall when the nurse pokes and prods me like
when I was ten.
a prized cow. This school has accepted me, but will another?
A spiritual friend once told me the ringing means my spirit guides are trying to speak to me and
Voices pierce my eardrums like hot metal rods.
I’m not listening. Or, perhaps: I’m not listening to
Cicadas scream like my mother. My students are
sprites shrieking in my ears. The shrill I carry with me everywhere is loudest at night, a disturbance I
Cybernetic earplugs that block out all sound at
can’t turn off. It’s not an unbroken line of sound—
the push of a button would be handy when my
tones stop and start, falter and flutter. More so in
students scream bloody murder at the slightest
my left ear, my “bad” ear. The sound in my right ear
provocation: saying hello, losing a game, winning
is lower, steadier. A warning, rather than the left’s
a game, getting points in a game, losing points in
a game, saying goodbye. I love this job—the expat lifestyle, the long vacation, the paid “deskwarming”
She often asks me this, and I don’t know what to say. I
time when I can write, the kids who giggle and wave
simply absorb it, much as I did her open-handed slaps.
when they see me in the hallway—but I know I can’t stay here much longer.
Each morning, my phone alerts me to my daily tarot
“You know I’m sick. I need you. Make me a cup of tea.
card. I frown at the collapsing cylinder of fire and
Now!” Her face flashes both anger and pleading. “And
screaming people that have decorated my phone
do it right this time!” I nod and turn.
screen a few times over the past month. The Tower warns of sudden and devastating change—thun-
“You know, this year the school does not want to re-
derous energy quakes the foundation of your life,
new your contract.” My office mate translates what
shaking away the debris of anything no longer
my co-teacher has told her in Korean. “Why?” I ask.
helpful to you.
“It’s your hearing sensitivity. The teachers don’t like it. Children are loud.”
If I listen closely, I think I can hear the message. I shrink back: Mother was right.
August is eclipse season. In astrological terms, this indicates an intense energy that shakes you to your
Over the past year, I’ve become confident my
core, much like the Tower. My options are plenty, I
school of five years appreciates me despite my
know, but uncertainty swirls in my mind like a rag-
shortcomings. I’ve begun taking better care of
ing typhoon as I fail to sleep. This I know: My next
myself in class. I plug my ears when the students
step will take me toward people who hear me. I am
are too loud. I step out into the hallway and watch
finally ready to listen to myself.
through the windows when the singing pains me. I watch as my main co-teacher frowns at me, but my
fear no longer outweighs my regard for myself.
Now publishing more flash fiction and flash nonfiction. littlefiction.com | LI @Little_Fiction
Previously Published in PRISM International [47.2], 2009.
SALTIES AND LAKERS BY TERRI FAVRO 38
I was selling beans from our front yard the day
into the gorge. Movie stars lost their heads. Death
I heard that an American movie star had been
and grief were all so thrilling and distant and some-
decapitated in a car accident. She must have left
thing that happened to other people. Then, my
the glove compartment open. My mother always
warned us not to do that, that if the car crashed,
He started dying on my twelfth birthday. I was
our heads would be lopped off on the edge. I’d
too old for dolls but wanted one anyway. Penny
never really believed that it would happen and,
Brite. Her legs were kneeless, smooth and straight.
what do you know, it had—and to a woman who
She came in a plastic box that snapped shut with a
had been married three times, the last time to a
well-known underworld crime figure with a taste for mauve shirts. In other words, she had gone bad, and had no chance of redemption—no wonder she’d lost her head. I was strangely thrilled. Nothing bad ever happened in my world. And yet, every summer morning, on our local radio station, the announcer read out the number of bodies that they had fished out of the hydro station at Niagara Falls, in a toneless disinterested way as though describing the results of a fishing derby. Death was all around us. People threw themselves
People threw themselves into the gorge. Movie stars lost their heads. Death and grief were all so thrilling and distant and something that happened to other people.
“Oh, just what I wanted,” I said, slippery paper falling between my black patent toes. I leaned down and took a deep, satisfying
ward to a future of moon colonies, silver jumpsuits with matching eye shadows, flying cars, and everyone, not just Penny Brite, with rooted Dynel hair,
sniff. Penny Brite carried the unmistakable rubber
platinum in colour. I had seen it all in back issues of
and rooted Dynel hair scent of 1967. Of optimism.
Popular Science stacked up in our bathroom.
Of never-ending fresh, zip-locked, backcombed,
I stood on the faded florals of my grandpar-
Mercury astronaut, 100% Du Pont synthetic,
ents’ rug, my nose smelling, smelling the newness
Switched-On Bach, Tupperware-burping progress.
of the doll, an exciting smell, the smell of the
Everything was invented anew every morning.
unending, never-arriving, wipes-clean-with-a-
Time spun backwards. We seemed to grow young-
damp-cloth future, while the past, in the form of a
er, lighter and fresher every day.
tall and aged man, stooped to kiss me, his breath
Except, of course, at my grandparents’ house. Nonna, who had broken a hip in a tumble on an icy
purpled with wine. Then, something was wrong. His hand pressed
walk, sat Buddha-like in a wheelchair. Nonno wore
against my shoulder, surprisingly heavy as he
a dark pinstriped suit, probably dating from the
Depression. The house smelled of fish, polenta,
“Something wrong, Pop?” asked my father.
crusts of dark bread soaking in instant coffee. They
“I’m cold,” said Nonno.
were like creatures from a different time, long over:
The moment passed. Nonno had a glass of
as evidence, myself, their youngest grandchild
wine mixed with Canada Dry. We ate our cake,
clutching her doll with posable legs, looking for-
washed the dishes, went back to our house next
door. Later that night, there was a phone call. My father shouted to my mother, “Call an am-
Regular Canadians would not make such a fuss,
bulance,” and ran out the door. Three days later—
I suspected. They would grieve quietly and sensibly
just a week before the first day of school—we were
in Swedish modern living rooms. They would not
at the funeral home.
force their children to look at their dead grand-
Nonno was on his back, hands folded politely
parents in open caskets, or kiss their powdered
over his tummy, a rosary snaking from his fingers.
cheeks, or sit in the nauseating heat, deafened by
My father pointed to the spot on his head that hit
bells, the weight of one thousand nine hundred
the floor after his single, massive stroke. My father
and sixty-seven years of tradition pressing down
pointed that way to worn bits of machinery, to
on the living along with the dead.
fraying cords on kitchen kettles, to cross border
pulled across an incense-filled narthex.
Regular Canadians would get their loved ones
thruways lacking adequate signage, and now he
in the ground quickly and efficiently and have
pointed to the defective bit of my grandfather, the
a roast beef dinner later to cheer everyone up.
part that had finally killed him. I was terrified by
They would toast the departed with Scotch on the
the way my father’s hand seemed to say: This is an
rocks in crystal tumblers and say Bottoms up! So I
They took my grandfather’s body from the funeral
After mass, we climbed into big black cars with
home to the church, where we waited in our good
‘FUNERAL’ on the hoods, and started a slow drive
winter clothes. It was ninety degrees in the shade.
to the cemetery on the other side of the canal. In
As we stood near the front entrance of the church,
the distance, I could see the superstructure of an
watching for the hearse, two girls in summer shorts
ocean-going ship gliding quietly above the horizon.
and tops pedalled by on their CCMs, sucking on
It looked as though it were ploughing through the
freezies, riding one-handed.
“Who died?” I heard one say.
“Saltie,” I announced. “Bridge’ll be up.”
“Some old Wop,” said the other.
My sister sighed.
The hearse arrived. Bells started tolling. We sweated through the Mass for the Dead. My straight-backed older sister sat praying
We reached the canal just as the siren sounded— the funeral director stopped the hearse, stepped
beside me, her face in her hands, as my younger
out and held up his hand to let us know that we
cousins slowly slid under the pew, wrestling and
were all waiting for the ship to pass. The Saltie was
giggling in the dust. The priest swung the censer and smoke thickened the air in the church as he chanted In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. I wanted to be in my tennis shoes and bathing suit, riding my bike past the peach orchards and vineyards, singing She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, at the top of my lungs. I wanted to jump into a pool and feel the sting of chlorine in my eyes. But my grandfather was dead and we were required to immerse ourselves in an uncomfortable, choking grief, like a black curtain
Regular Canadians would get their loved ones in the ground quickly and efficiently and have a roast beef dinner later to cheer everyone up.
loaded to the plimsoll markings, low in the water
If we hadn’t been going to a funeral, the sail-
and leaking ballast like a bloated steel whale; it was
ors might have thrown gifts, as sailors often did,
having a hard time lining up with the lock. Salties
especially from Salties flying ‘flags of convenience,’
lacked the long, streamlined, made-in-Canada pro-
like Panama, or Liberia. I had no idea where Liberia
file of the lake freighters, or Lakers, that plied the
was, but it was clearly a seagoing nation with a
Seaway from Montreal to Thunder Bay.
generous spirit, as so many ships flew their flag.
Everyone turned off their engines—my father
Liberian seamen loved to toss down packs of chew-
and the other men stepped out of the cars and
ing gum with exotic writing on the wrappers—I
took off their jackets, their underarms soaked with
guessed it was Arabic—and Russian cigarettes that
sweat. My uncle lit a cigarette and my surviving
gave you a sore throat. And strange little souve-
grandfather puffed on a cigar. My father and broth-
nir dolls. But unlike the cheerful dolls in Mountie
er folded their arms and stared at the ship.
uniforms that you could buy at shops in Niagara
“Can I get out too?” I asked. “It’s so hot.”
Falls, the Liberian dolls wore drab little dresses and
“Yes, let’s,” said my sister, pulling off her black
kerchiefs, and had angry scowls on their painted
headscarf. We stood watching the Saltie pass—the Koningin Juliana, out of Amsterdam. The ship passed directly in front of us, a great wall of rusting steel and
plastic faces. I thought they looked like the kind of dolls that girls probably played with behind the Iron Curtain.
bolts. So close we could almost touch her. It was
Once the ship was in position, the lock doors
like standing next to an airport where the planes
swung shut, the siren sounded and the car engines
flew so slowly, you could talk to the passengers as
they passed over. Where do you come from? Where are you going? Can I go too? I had always wanted to see the inside of a ship; all we ever saw was the hull, the screws, the rusty
“That blonde sailor was looking at you,” I said to my sister. She answered, “Say your rosary. Your grandfather just died. Keep your mind on your prayers so that he won’t get stuck in Purgatory.”
water running from the tin bucket hull, the superstructure with the rotating radar post and the
As the car drove us slowly over the deck of the
flag at the bow. And the men, always the men. All
bridge, I looked out of the window at a family
colours of men. Standing, watching.
parked on the other side. A dishwater blonde in a
There was a young, blonde sailor, about my sis-
yellow sundress and an older man in shirtsleeves
ter’s age, looking down at us. He saw me looking up
were lounging in the front seat of a Thunderbird
at him, smiled and waved, then noticed my sister
convertible. They reminded me of Bob Hope and
and blew her a kiss. She looked away.
Tuesday Weld in I’ll Take Sweden. A little boy, maybe
An older man at the rail nudged the blonde sailor, jerking his head toward the hearse. “Sorry,” we heard the young sailor say, and
three years old, stood in front of the car, sucking ice cream out of the bottom of a cone. He seemed awfully close to the edge of the canal but the man
both men pulled off their caps. All the other men
and woman didn’t notice. Three carefree Canadi-
along the railing of the ship did the same—some
ans, I thought enviously. They didn’t have to worry
even put their caps over their hearts. The row of
about funerals or grief. Nothing bad would ever
nameless sailors slid by my grandfather’s body,
happen to them. I wanted to get out and relax with
paying their respects.
them at the side of the canal.
At the cemetery, my grandfather was lowered into a hole filled with slugs and worms and those bugs
Nonna threw up her hands and spoke to my father, not my mother, in Italian.
that roll up in a ball when you nudge them with your shoe. Saint Antonio bugs, Nonno used to call
“We can’t have pasta or polenta every night,” my mother pointed out.
them. The coffin was solid oak, but how long would
My mother was trying to be modern, North
it take for the slimy things to gnaw their way in? I
American. She even made desserts from the Kraft
closed my eyes and tried to pray, but all I could feel
Kitchens that she jotted down during commercials.
was the weight of Nonno’s hand on my shoulder.
Caramel apples! Marshmallow treats!
Dust to dust, the priest said, sprinkling water as Nonno went down and down. I felt slightly sick to
Nonna waved her hands over the veal cutlets and said, “Basta.”
my stomach. We got back into the black car and I put my head into my sister’s lap. “I don’t ever want to be buried,” I mumbled into her skirt. “When I die, I want them to burn
I stared at my veal cutlets. I wanted to be North American. Angela Cartwright in Lost in Space. Or the blonde kid in Family Affair, rich and cute and orphaned and cared for by a plump, bearded Englishman.
No one on that show went to mass.
“Only Vikings and pagans do that,” she said.
No one’s grandfather died.
“God says we have to go into the earth.”
No one’s grandmother lost her mind. All the old people had silver hair and drank
The day after the funeral, my father emptied my
martinis and spoke clear, unaccented English. They
grandparents’ house. Along with possessions ac-
were like Lakers: modern and streamlined and
cumulated during a lifetime of boat trips and war
built for the fresh, clean inland waters of North
and Depression and more war, we acquired my
America. They were all future and no past.
grandmother. After her hip fracture she had tried,
My grandparents were like Salties: rusted and
and failed, to walk again. My father had bought her
battered and sprung from the old world. Bulky
a strange metal brace with a pristine black boot,
and squat to weather the high seas. Foreigners
perhaps believing that somehow my grandmother,
navigating inland channels, never quite at home,
well past eighty years of age, would rise from her
tossing mysterious gifts to waiting children.
wheelchair and walk. Instead she had sunk into a noisy dementia, convinced that the well-coifed,
After dinner, I escaped outside. A summer storm
Scotch-swigging matrons on Edge of Night were
was approaching: the sky had turned a steel co-
speaking to her, watching her as she sat in her
lour, grey as my mother’s hair, as she stripped the
room gazing at yellowing pictures of empty-eyed
line of washing.
children in heavy, starched clothing. A thousand years ago. We all sat together that first night, my mother look-
She held clothes pegs in her teeth, like bullets, as shirts and pants, skirts and underwear flapped hollowly in the wind, waiting to be filled by our flesh and blood Canadian selves.
ing weary, my father speaking quietly to Nonna in Italian, my sister helpful as usual. Nonna didn’t like the food. “It’s breaded veal cutlets,” my mother explained.
Chopsticks BY FIONA TINWEI LAM Grandfather sets down the bowl full of marbles. I pick up the chopsticks and hover, then picture my hand as a heron with a long, long beak plunging down to pluck each orb, lift it through air and held breath in a tremulous trip toward the saucer. Five thousand years of evolution in hand: branches honed to stir ancient cauldrons become sleek batons of ivory, gold or jade adorning an aristocrat’s table. With their deft dance and dip, more adroit than a fork. Twin acrobats poised to hoist choice morsels.
43 Let your elders lead, he tells me, Never point your chopsticks at a guest. Never spear your food like a fisherman. Don’t tap the side of your bowl like a beggar. Keep them by the plate when you rest or across the bowl at meal’s end. But never upright like incense burning in an urn for the dead. While he watches, stiff bamboo grows nimble. One by one each small glassy planet arcs up then lands with a clink! The bowl gleams, empty. Grandfather nods.
Previously published in The New Quarterly , 2017. Winner of the Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest.
Previously published on open-book.ca  and reprinted with permission.
UNCOMFORTABLE QUESTIONS BY WAUBGESHIG RICE 44
One of the most common questions any writer
cultures. If I went broader and said the story is for
from a marginalized background gets is “who did
Indigenous readers, then I believed non-Indigenous
you write this for?” A variation of that is “what au-
readers would then believe it’s too “Indian” for them
dience did you have in mind when you wrote this?”
to understand, and ignore it.
More specifically, Indigenous writers will hear “did
On the other hand, if I said something I wrote
you write this for Indigenous or for non-Indigenous
was for a non-Indigenous audience in order for
people?” While audience is a key element to consid-
them to learn, then I worried I was doing Indigenous
er while writing, I’ve never been that fond of being
readers a disservice by excluding them from the
asked questions like these. It forces Indigenous
overall conversation a story is supposed to gener-
or marginalized writers to unfairly segregate their
ate. Personally, that would feel like compromising
readers, while most white writers have the privilege
my own integrity and my responsibility to my com-
of an assumed total readership.
munity and people by explicitly catering to a wider
I’ve faced this question in some form in almost every interview, panel, or public discussion since
audience and suggesting something that directly relates to them wasn’t in fact for them.
I became a published author. It’s almost always
It’s an unfair dilemma for a writer to face,
made me uncomfortable, and in the early days I
especially a younger one who is still finding their
always worried that no matter what I answered, I’d
voice. While I don’t believe these questions are
be alienating someone. I felt that if I said I wrote a
always ill-intended, they oblige marginalized writers
particular book or story for an Anishinaabe audi-
to make a choice to single out readership, often
ence, I’d be neglecting other Indigenous nations or
in a very public way. Mainstream majority writers
rarely have to answer to this because the dominant
many authors will proudly proclaim they’ve written
influence in the literary world just assumes every-
something specifically for their communities. How
one should be reading their work. By default, their
my work is received by my community is of the
books are front and centre in the stores and at
utmost importance to me. And I think that should
the top of websites and on the front pages of arts
be a given - if we come from a specific and unique
place, we uphold the virtues and values of those
In a way, this question is like a weeding-out
places by the act of writing and sharing our truths
process. Marginalized writers are insidiously asked
to begin with. In that sense, there’s no need to ask.
if their work is worthy of eyes outside of their communities. How they respond can be closely
scrutinized by readers and influential people in the publishing industry. People who don’t care to connect with those communities or only look at numbers and sales won’t bother to buy a writer’s book. It’s like backing marginalized writers into a corner and then putting them on the spot. Meanwhile, the majority of others don’t have to justify their work in this way. But at the same time, it is an opportunity to empower readers who are in the margins. And
Blog School Pickle Me This
Your blog should take you places Learn how: picklemethis.com/blogschool
Previously published on open-book.ca  and reprinted with permission.
writing and publishing as acts of resistance A CONTINUATION IN THREE ACTS BY CHELENE KNIGHT 46
@erica_mojo: “@poetchelene I really appreciated your participation in the closing panel of
Enter. Stage left An act. An act. An act. I repeated this phrase
#BookSummit18. Commanding, empathetic,
over and over in my mind as I sat in a chair on a
supportive. Glad I got to hear you speak.”
stage in Toronto. As soon as those stage lights hit my face it took about five seconds for me to realize
@poetchelene: “Thank you! I definitely wish
that just having me sit there in that chair, on that
that panel was longer. I think we all had more
stage was already an act of resistance. I was holding
to say! Haha.”
space that years ago was never meant for me. Space that would never have been offered to me. It
@erica_mojo: “We’re all ready to listen whenever you want to pick up that convo again…” Writers defying odds, writers tossing out tradition, writers staying true to how to tell their story—owning it: Writing as an act of resistance. Publishers defending the work they publish, publishers creating a toolbox of support for authors, publishers encouraging others to follow suit: Publishing as an act of resistance.
For me, that small chance of gaining just one authentic, active listener surpasses the risk of burnout.
wasn’t equitable space just yet, but I planned to talk
someone is going to truly listen. There’s a chance
about why it wasn’t.
for the unique structure of my story to be accepted
Sitting in that chair was the first act in a threeact play.
as more than something “experimental.” Accepting invitations to panels in cities that aren’t my own is
So often, when I am on panels I listen so in-
a risk. It’s a risk because to take one opportunity I
tently to the other panelists that I forget I am there
have to let another one go. But to be heard I have
to speak too. I used to kick myself for that. Not
to take risks. For me, that small chance of gaining
chiming in when I should. Not sharing an idea when
just one authentic, active listener surpasses the risk
I should, not “snowballing off of that” when I should.
But I realized something pretty important: I was doing something not many people do. I was listening. I
was really listening.
“You’re doing too much.” “You don’t have to
Act 1 Listen Authentically
say yes to everything.” I am often told this by privileged white folks who don’t always understand why marginalized
I talk a lot about self-care. Burnout is a real
folks must work so much harder to stay afloat, to
thing. But when I am offered an opportunity to
stay in the game, to remain a relevant part of the
voice my opinions this means there’s a chance that
conversation. To really understand that underly-
someone on the receiving end of what I have to say
ing fear of the “expiry date,” that fear that these
may actually want to hear it. There’s a chance that
opportunities may not be there for us tomorrow,
you need to come to the table ready to listen and listen intently. We have to demand the space, and
that constant clawing out of a ditch … is exhausting.
Amplify and Engage
So please stop saying we don’t have to say yes to
“Place the microphone in front of me. Just don’t
everything unless you’re willing to listen authenti-
forget to plug it in. Then, turn up the volume.” In
cally and willing to appear in acts 2 and 3.
other words, don’t just create the appearance of
making space, knock down some damn walls and let me move my shit in!
Publish and Support Publishers (especially independent small press
Offering space vs offering equitable space: space is temporary. It fills up. It runs out. Peo-
publishers) have a big opportunity to expand the
ple are there for a moment, and then gone.
narrow paths of what’s considered “a good book.”
Folks are pushed out when the timer goes off.
They have the opportunity to change what type of
Equitable space is littered with acts 1, 2, and 3.
books are considered marketable. They have the
The timer is turned off and tossed out to sea.
opportunity to resist what’s always been done, and
“Those of us who stand outside the circle
share something new with trade publishers. To
of this society’s definition of acceptable women;
change the game, you have to first let us play. This
those of us who have been forged in the crucibles
“act” goes above and beyond just publishing some-
of difference – those of us who are poor, who are
thing and then leaving the author and the work to
lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that
fend for themselves. In my experience, the best
survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to
support comes from asking the author what they
take our differences and make them strengths. For
need to let their work thrive.. To me, this publish
the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s
and support act is a really simple concept. I have
house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at
been blessed to be on the receiving end of the best
his own game, but they will never enable us to bring
about genuine change. And this fact is only threat-
Not all authors have this experience. Once the work is out there, it’s out there. In my opinion
ening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.”
publishers, gatekeepers, allies all have a responsi-
bility to defend the work they publish and support the authors who wrote it. What does this look like?
Exit. Stage right
At the end of the panel I was asked “How do you amplify voices?”
Conspiracy of Love BY SHAZIA HAFIZ RAMJI you loved like a conspirator
that has power to defeat us
—Anne Michaels The problem with trying to one-up yourself is not that you might die by your own hands, but that you’ll be able to justify why without feeling anything. When you were in withdrawal, alone in your bed, the salt from the sweat pressed on the mattress was testimony to what you allowed: “I am Satan, because I deal in language.” The next day, you had stopped shaking. You went to work secular and clean. There were no other addicts and you didn’t speak. You know that lies look beautiful unified, all parts clicking together, lighting up your eyes. They are old technology made new, sleek and gleaming in crevasses like fog rolling around Renfrew and you’re awake today to see it, because you’ve been brave. You’ve noticed your friend has listened and told you very boring things—not dismissed them as errands. This is the task you will have to do, soon enough, remembering all the ways your mind moved—to write yourself into a poem you want to call “Conspiracy of Love.” When the guy from Tinder said hi to you in school, it didn’t strike you that he might know you from the Internet. You didn’t remember who he was, not even when he called you by your fake name. All you thought was, “I can’t do this again. I want to be clean. I want to be Shazia.” If you end this poem here, it might make sense, but we both know this kind of work is occult. So, you have to ask me: How do you want to finish this poem? You have to leave it there. That way, at least it’s not about you anymore.
Previously published in Train: a Poetry Journal , 2018.
Previously published in the Toronto Star, 2019.
WHY BLACK MAGIC MATTERS BY ZETTA ELLIOTT 50
It’s not easy being a Black child in the Great White
slavery and segregation. They always took place
North. I grew up on the outskirts of Toronto; in the
in the US because I’d never been taught anything
1970s and ’80s I had no Black teachers and no one
about the history of Blacks in Canada. I didn’t
working at the library looked like me. Black chil-
question why the genres of historical and fantasy
dren were largely absent from the books I read as
fiction were racially segregated. I knew my place. I
well. I adored fantasy fiction but fairies, unicorns,
accepted the colour line and adhered to it when I
and magic carpets belonged to White children in
decided at age thirteen to become a writer.
England—not awkward Black girls in Canada. So when I wrote my first picture book as a
It wasn’t until I graduated from university that I began the difficult process of decolonizing my
teen, my adventurous little girl was White and her family looked nothing like mine. Like Mary Poppins with her remarkable umbrella, Violet grabbed hold of a kite and sailed away for the day. I had been invisible for so long that I automatically erased myself without ever considering that I had a right to create and inhabit magical worlds. I also read and wrote historical fiction when I was younger. Inspired by Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, I penned stories about
I crossed the line that had been drawn in my imagination and began to dream--and write--in colour.
imagination. I left Toronto for New York City, and
they wanted and found that the curse I suffered
for the first time found myself in a place where I
under as a child had been broken. I crossed the
felt I belonged. At NYU I learned to see the world
line that had been drawn in my imagination and
through a Black feminist lens and most of the
began to dream—and write—in colour.
things I loved as a child quickly lost their shine.
I also began to examine the publishing in-
In grad school I discovered (and devoured) the
dustry, using my scholarly training to investigate
novels of acclaimed African American speculative
systemic bias against Black writers in Canada and
fiction writer Octavia Butler. Yet when I returned
the US. I reflected on the books I read in and out
to Toronto to complete my first novel, I didn’t even
of school and wrote an essay about Ruth Chew, a
consider writing anything magical. Perhaps the
White US author whose stories made me believe
sting of invisibility I had felt as a child warned me
that Brooklyn was full of magic. I began by stating
away from fantasy fiction.
what had not been obvious to me as a child: “The
When that first realistic novel was rejected by
‘trouble’ with magic, as it is represented in much
Canadian agents and editors, I went back to the
of children’s literature, is that it appears to exist in
US. My novel didn’t find a home there either so I
realms to which only certain children belong.”
began writing for the kids in the after school pro-
The kids in my community were ready for
gram where I taught creative writing. They wanted
inclusie, culturally specific fantasy fiction—but the
stories where they could wave a wand, cast a spell,
publishing industry was not. My manuscripts and
and—for once—be the hero. So I gave them what
rejection letters began to pile up so I finally turned
to self-publishing in 2014 and started my City Kids
survey of the Canadian publishing industry would
series. Then I signed with an agent in 2016 and
produce similar results.
within a few months she sold Dragons in a Bag to Random House in a two-book deal. Weeks after
University of Wisconsin-Madison annually tracks
the novel came out in October, Kirkus, Amazon,
race in over three thousand books for young read-
NPR, and the Chicago Public Library named Drag-
ers; in 2017, only 3% of the books submitted by
ons in a Bag one of the best children’s books of
publishers were created by African Americans. As
2018. It wasn’t even reviewed in Canada.
far as I know, Canadian kid lit scholars don’t track
Open call for Fiction and For many people, mine is a publishing sucPoetry submissions cess story and I have been commended more
than once for not giving up. They mean well and I
Because a national literature appreciate their support, but praising persistence should look and sound like the feeds into the myth of meritocracy—the idea that people it represents.
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the
race in publishing—but they should. In the US it’s clear that when it comes to Black writers, publishers overwhelmingly greenlight nonfiction, realistic fiction, and historical fiction, and the Coretta Scott King Award—a US prize for Black authors and
hard work and determination alone will get you to
illustrators—generally goes to creators in those
the top. We The welcome truth is, the publishing from industry has submissions
genres. For decades Black writers have respond-
fictionsurveys and poetry and systemic; in theyear-round. US prove that the
for magical tales that offer a vision of a more just
Visit tnq.ca/submit for more der women who don’t have disabilities. I suspect a information.
chance on Black sci-fi and fantasy (SFF) writers.
a decades-old problem with race that is new and established authors ofcultural
ed to the kids in our communities who clamour
profession is dominated by straight, White, cisgen-
world. Yet most editors remain reluctant to take a
Nonfiction more your thing? TNQ has a range of nonfiction features that focus on the writing life: • Day Jobs • In Conversation • Magazine as Muse Because a national literature • On Writing should look and sound like the • Soundings people it represents. • The Writer at Large • Word & Image We welcome submissions from new and established authors Most of these are works we’veof fiction and poetry year-round. solicited from writers we know and love. We are open to queries, Visit tnq.ca/submit for more though, so pitch your best notion information. to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll talk.
Open call for Fiction and Poetry submissions
Nonfiction more tnq.ca/submit your thing? TNQ has a range of nonfiction features that focus on the writing life:
I’m middle-aged now and I know things have changed since I left Toronto at 21. Canadian teens now have role models in Nalo Hopkinson and Sarah Raughley. Perhaps the mega-success of US debut author Tomi Adeyemi’s besteller Children of Blood and Bone will lead editors on both sides of the border to think twice before rejecting another SFF writer of color. Nigerian-American Nnedi Okorafor has won just about every SFF prize in the world, and NK Jemisin has won the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in a row. The Marvel film Black Panther proved both the global appeal and profitability of Afrofuturistic narratives. It should be clear by now that speculative fiction by Black authors doesn’t only appeal to Black readers. Ultimately tales of magic teach us about power, and all of our children deserve to see themselves saving the world. //
ANN Y.K. CHOI
JOSHUA M. FERGUSON
FACES OF THE
Mahlikah Photo Red Works.jpg 1,100×733 pixels.pdf Saved to Dropbox • Jan 8, 2019 at 11G33
POETS MAHLIKAH AWE:RI
DEBORAH SUN DE LA CRUZ
MODERATORS NANCY JO CULLEN
SEMI-PROSE BOOK CLUB HOSTS >>> EVAN MUNDAY
FESTIVAL PARTICIPANTS AUTHORS AND POETS
MAHLIKAH AWE:RI, a TD Arts Diversity and KM Hunter award finalist, is a Haudenosaunee Kanien’keha and Mi’kmaw, drum talk poetic apologist, slam poet, musician, hip-hop emcee, recording artist, arts educator, keynote speaker, artist mentor, festival curator, and emerging knowledge keeper and medicine carrier. She is the Director of Programming for Neighbourhood Impact for the Centre for Learning & Development and founding member of Red Slam. Twitter: @redslam SHARON BALA’s bestselling debut novel, The Boat People, was a finalist for Canada Reads 2018 and the 2018 Amazon Canada First Novel Award. Her short fiction has been widely published and won several awards including the 2017 Writers’ Trust/ McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. She’s a member of the Port Authority, a St. John’s writing group.
IMANI BARBARIN is writer hailing from the United States writing at the intersection of disability, blackness and feminism. She is known for her social media advocacy concerning media representations of disability and its effects on the daily lives of the disabled community. Credits include Bitch Media, Rewire and her blog CrutchesAndSpice.com. Twitter: @Imani_Barbarin TOMY BEWICK is a full time construction professional who has been performing his poetry since 2004. A national and international finalist, he is also the host and founder of the Burlington Slam Project and winner of the 2016 Ontario International Poetry Slam. Twitter: @TommyBuick TANAZ BHATHENA was born in India and raised in Saudi Arabia and Canada. Her debut novel A Girl Like That was nominated for the 2019 OLA White Pine Award and named one of the Best Young Adult Books of 2018 by PopSugar and Seventeen. Her second novel The Beauty of the Moment releases on Feb 26 2019. Her short stories have appeared in various journals including Blackbird, Witness and Room. She lives in the Toronto area with her family. SORAYA CHEMALY is an award-winning writer and media critic whose writing appears regularly in national and international media. She speaks frequently on topics related to inclusivity, free speech, sexualized violence, data and technology. She is the director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project serves on the advisory councils of the Center for Democracy and Technology, VIDA, and Common Sense Media. She is the author of the upcoming book, Rage Becomes Her. Twitter: @schemaly ANN Y. K. CHOI’s debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award and One of CBC Books 12 Best Canadian Debut Novels of 2016. Her essays, short stories, and poems have appeared in literary publications
including Quill & Quire and Writer’s Digest. She is also an educator with the York Region District School Board. Her debut children’s book and new novel will be released in 2020. Twitter: @annykchoi RICH DONOVAN is Founder/CEO of The Return on Disability Group and is an expert on the convergence of disability and corporate profitability. He has been named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People with Disabilities in the world. Rich holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. Rich lives in Toronto, and is an avid sailor and proud parent of his son, Maverick, along with his wife, Jenn. Rich also happens to have cerebral palsy. Twitter: @richdonovannyc ALICIA ELLIOTT is an award-winning Tuscarora writer and editor living in Brantford, Ontario with her husband and child. Her work has been published in Hazlitt, The Malahat Review, Flare and Globe and Mail, among others. Tanya Talaga chose her as the 2018 recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Her first essay collection is A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, from Doubleday Canada. Twitter: @Wordsandguitar ZETTA ELLIOTT is the award-winning author of over thirty books for young readers. Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. Dragons in a Bag, a middle grade fantasy novel, was published by Random House; it was named a Best Children’s Book of 2018 by Amazon and Kirkus. Say Her Name, a young adult poetry collection, will be published by Hyperion in 2019. She currently lives in Philadelphia. Twitter: @zettaelliott CECIL FOSTER is a leading author, academic, journalist and public intel- lectual. His work speaks about the challenges that Black people have encountered historically in Canada in their efforts to achieve respect and recognition for their contribution to what is now a multicultural Canada. He highlights their fight for social justice and human dignity. In particular, he addresses issues of immigration in his critical discussions. WHITNEY FRENCH is a writer and arts educator and the editor of the collection Black Writers Matter published with the University of Regina Press. She is 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. Twitter: @WhitneyFrench1 CATHERINE HERNANDEZ is a queer Filipina femme, Navajo wife, Artistic Director of b current performing arts and the author of Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press). Scarborough won the 2015 Jim Wong-Chu Award, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award, Edmund White Award, the Trillium Book Award; and longlisted for Canada Reads 2018. It made the “Best of 2017” list for the Globe and Mail, National Post, Quill and Quire, and CBC Books. Twitter: @theloudlady
UZMA JALALUDDIN writes a culture and parenting column for The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper. Her debut novel, Ayesha At Last is a revamped Pride and Prejudice set in a close-knit Toronto Muslim community, published by HarperCollins. Ayesha At Last was recently optioned for film by Sony and Pascal Pictures. Uzma lives in Markham, Ontario, with her husband and two sons, where she also teaches high school. Twitter: @UzmaWrites
WAUBGESHIG RICE is an author and a journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation on Georgian Bay. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published by ECW Press in late 2018. He’s also the author of the novel Legacy and the short story collection Midnight Sweatlodge. He currently works as the host of Up North, CBC Radio One’s afternoon show for northern Ontario. He lives in Sudbury with his wife and son. Twitter: @waub
Born and raised in northern Saskatchewan, HAROLD R. JOHNSON has had a variety of careers: Marine Engineer in the Canadian Navy, Logger, Miner, Fisher, Trapper, Heavy Equipment Operator, Mechanic, Tree Planter, Lawyer and Author. His published work includes five fiction and two non-fiction, all of which have been shortlisted for Saskatchewan Book Awards. The non-fiction; Two Families: Treaties and Government won a Saskatchewan Book Award. Twitter: @haroldrjohnson
JOSH SCHEINERT is a storyteller, activist, and lawyer from Toronto. His novel, The Order of Nature, is set in Gambia and takes readers through the struggles and fears of being gay in West Africa. Josh’s writing is inspired by his belief that stories are effective ways to challenge our conceptions of how we see ourselves and those around us. Twitter: @joshscheinert
LARISSA LAI has authored six books including Salt Fish Girl and The Tiger Flu. Recipient of an Astraea Award and finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Tiptree Award, the Sunburst Award, the W.O. Mitchell Award, the bpNichol Chapbook Award, the Dorothy Livesay Prize and the Gabrielle Roy Prize, she holds a Canada Research Chair at the University of Calgary, where she directs The Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing. Twitter: @haamyue SUZANNE METHOT is a Nehiyaw writer, editor, educator, and community worker born in Vancouver and raised in Sagitawa (Peace River, Alberta). Her work has appeared in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, Windspeaker, and Canadian Geographic. Suzanne is co-author of the textbook Aboriginal Beliefs, Values, and Aspirations. Her non-fiction book Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing will be published by ECW Press in March 2019. TÉA MUTONJI has been published or is forthcoming in Joyland, Bad Nudes, The Puritan and Minola Review. Her debut book, Shut Up You’re Pretty, is the first title under Vivek Shraya’s Imprint VS. Books with Arsenal Pulp Press. Twitter: @teamutonji KATHY PAGE’s eighth novel, Dear Evelyn, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2018. Other novels include The Story of My Face and Alphabet, a Governor General’s Award finalist. Her short fiction has appeared in The Walrus, TNQ, Fiddlehead, and Best Canadian Short Stories. Her fabulist collection, Paradise & Elsewhere, 2014, and her subsequent collection, The Two of Us, 2016, were both nominated for the Giller Prize. She lives on Salt Spring Island. Twitter: @kathypagebc BEN PHILIPPE was born in Haiti, raised in Montreal, Qc, Canada, and now resides in New York. He is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers and holds a BA in Sociology from Columbia University (2011). He won the 2013 Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest and his writing has appeared in Observer, Vanity Fair, Playboy, Thrillist, and others. He still doesn’t have a valid driver’s license. Twitter: @gohomeben ADAM POTTLE’s writing explores the fiery beauty of Deafness and disability. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and has had two plays produced. He lives in Saskatoon. Twitter: @AddyPottle AMOYA REÉ is a Jamaican-Canadian performance poet and 2018 National Champion. Her writing is rooted in her lived experiences as immigrant & young mother. She began exploring performance poetry in 2008 & since then she has shared her stories in classrooms & boardrooms across Ontario. Most recently she sat as captain of the Toronto Poetry Slam team who were semi-finalists at the National Poetry Slam in Chicago and won the championship in Guelph, ON.
VIVEK SHRAYA is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, and film. Her album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part‑Time Woman, was included in CBC’s list of Best Canadian Albums of 2017, and her first book of poetry, even this page is white, won a 2017 Publisher Triangle Award. Her best-selling new book, I’m Afraid of Men, was heralded by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel.” She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books. A Polaris Music Prize nominee and four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a 2016 Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, and has received honours from The Writers’ Trust of Canada and CBC’s Canada Reads. She is currently a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. Twitter: @vivekshraya MANJUSHREE THAPA has written several books of fiction and nonfiction about her homeland, Nepal. She focuses on socially and politically engaged writing and also translates Nepali literature into English. Her essays have appeared in New York Times, London Review of Books, Newsweek, and Globe and Mail. All Of Us in Our Own Lives is her first novel to be published in Canada. She was born in Kathmandu and now lives in Toronto. Twitter: @manjushreethapa IAN WILLIAMS is the author of Reproduction. His previous books are Personals, shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize; Not Anyone’s Anything, winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada; and You Know Who You Are. He grew up in Brampton, teaches poetry at UBC, was a Canadian Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary, and was named as one of ten Canadian writers to watch by CBC. Twitter: @ianwillwrite WINNIE YEUNG has been an English teacher for over ten years. Homes is her first book and received extensive critical acclaim. It was shortlisted for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction and a finalist in CBC’s Canada Reads 2019. Multi-award-winning Poet Laureate Ahmed Ali, better known as KNOWMADIC, is a community organizer, public speaker and youth worker who has dedicated his time to enabling and empowering diverse communities around the world. Knowmadic is co-founder and current artistic director of Edmonton’s only spoken word collective: Breath In Poetry. He is passionate about the arts, education and emphasizes the importance of equitable representation. Twitter: @Aknowmadic
BIOS CONTINUED >>>
MAX ARAMBULO is a Publicity Manager at Penguin Random House Canada and is the source of the melancholy you might have heard on semi-prose. Less so these days, though, as the new Max is slightly less sad but also much wiser. He attributes that to years of therapy and to the book Should You Leave: A Psychiatrist Explores Intimacy and Autonomy – and the Nature of Advice by Dr. Peter D. Kramer. Other books that Max won’t shut up about are Bluets by Maggie Nelson and 100 Demons by Lynda Barry. Twitter: @the_real_max2 KRISTINA CHIN is a podcaster, and Associate Director of Strategic Projects at Penguin Random House Canada. She talks books on semi-prose, Mulder and Scully on the podcast We Want 2 Believe, and Pretty Little Liars on the podcast 2 Can Keep A Secret. But she’s more than just a soothing radio voice. She’s also an ace at turning 4-6-3 double plays, has hit free throws on the actual Raptors ACC hardwood, and will never not sing along whenever she hears “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey. Twitter: @rob0chin NANCY JO CULLEN has published three poetry collections with Calgary’s Frontenac House and a story collection with Biblioasis. Her first novel, The Western Alienation Merit Badge is forthcoming (spring 2019) from Wolsak & Wynn. She’s at work on a new collection of poems with the working title, Nothing Will Save Your Life. Twitter: @nancyjocullen RACHEL GIESE is an award-winning journalist and the editorial director of the LGBTQ2 media group Xtra. She is regular contributor to the Globe and Mail and CBC Radio. Her first book Boys: What it Means to Become a Man was was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2018. Twitter: @rachelagiese
NATASHA HENRY is the We Rise Together Curriculum Consultant. She is the president of the Ontario Black History Society. Natasha is a historian. She has been an educator for 19 years and is also an award-winning author and an award-winning curriculum developer, focusing on Black Canadian experiences. Through her various professional and community roles, Natasha’s work is grounded in her commitment to research, collect, preserve, and disseminate the histories Black Canadians. Natasha Henry is currently completing a PhD in History at York University, researching Black enslavement in early Ontario. Twitter: @NHenryFundi CARRIANNE LEUNG is a fiction writer and educator. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and Equity Studies from OISE/ University of Toronto. Her debut novel, The Wondrous Woo (Inanna Publications) was shortlisted for the 2014 Toronto Book Awards. Her collection of linked stories, That Time I Loved You, was released in 2018 by HarperCollins and released in the US by Liveright/WW Norton in 2019. That Time I Loved You was also shortlisted for the Toronto Book Awards, recently longlisted for Canada Reads 2019 and was considered one of the best fiction titles of 2018 by CBC Books. Twitter: @kayee13 ALLIE MCHUGH is a Senior Publicist at Penguin Random House Canada. She previously produced and hosted the Navigator podcasts Political Traction and Legalized, which looked at Canadian politics and the process of cannabis legalization. Originally from Alberta, she now lives in Toronto. In addition to her mad podcasting and communications skills, McHugh has an encyclopedic knowledge of dance and basketball films and knows the importance of a good high school basement party. Twitter: @alliemchugh
EVAN MUNDAY is a Publicity Manager at Penguin Random House Canada. He’s also a dad, author of the Dead Kids Detective Agency books, host of the podcast Radio Free Riverdale, illustrator, blogger, and pop culture aficionado. Whether you need a quizmaster, a horror movie recommendation, or an irreverent point of view on pretty much anything, Evan is your guy. Twitter: @idontlikemunday BEE QUAMMIE is a writer, media commentator, and public speaker. She has written for publications like The Globe and Mail, FLARE, and more — and blogs on her sites ‘83 To Infinity and The Brown Suga Mama. She co-hosts The Kultur’D Show on Global News Radio and has been a featured commentator on shows like CityTV’s Cityline, CBC’s The National, and TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Twitter: @beequammie EVA SALINAS is the managing editor of foreign affairs news site OpenCanada.org and a journalism instructor at Mohawk College. She was previously editor of The Santiago Times in Chile, a journalism trainer for Journalists for Human Rights in Accra, Ghana and a freelance writer for The Globe and Mail, The Times of London, the Financial Post and more. Her educational book for children, Latin Americans Thought of It, was published in 2012 with Annick Press. Twitter: @eva_sita Award-winning spoken word artist, published poet and arts educator LAMOI continues to be a change agent to art and culture in the GTA. An active spoken word artist since 2008, Lamoi has been recognized as one of 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada for 2015, winning the 2016 Brampton Citizen’s Award for Arts Acclaim, and was nominated for a CME in 2017. Twitter: @LaLaArdor
PUBLISHING PROFESSIONALS ANITA CHONG is a Senior Editor at McClelland & Stewart, where she edits literary fiction and narrative non-fiction. Recent titles include Sharon Bala’s #1 national bestseller, The Boat People, and Richard Wagamese’s final novel, Starlight. Writers she is current working with include Souvankham Thammavongsa, Saleema Nawaz, Lee Maracle, and debut novelist Reema Patel. Anita also manages the Journey Prize and its associated anthology, The Journey Prize Stories: The Best of Canada’s New Writers. Twitter: @achong9 Transatlantic Agency Senior Agent CAROLYN FORDE is an eclectic reader and represents books she loves, spanning from literary to commercial in fiction, from memoir to narrative to prescriptive in non-fiction and loves to find new voices. Her author list contains many bestsellers and award winners/ nominees and she’s always on the lookout for the next one! Many of her authors came to her through the slush pile. Twitter: @cforde_litagent LAURIE GRASSI is Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster Canada. Forthcoming titles include Your Life Is Mine, Nathan Ripley’s followup to his instant bestseller, Find You in the Dark; Jesse Thistle’s memoir From the Ashes; and Liz Levine’s memoir, Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End. Laurie has a taste for unconventional stories/plot structure, and wants to fall for characters—miscreant and otherwise. She actively acquires literary fiction, upmarket commercial novels, and memoir. Twitter: @lauriegrassi DEBORAH SUN DE LA CRUZ is an Assistant Editor at Penguin Canada. Her focus is the next generation of writers and strong female and diverse voices. She is thrilled to have
published the Booker-nominated dystopia The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh. Forthcoming publications include Bestiary by Kristin Chang and Rosie Price’s What Red Was. She also works on upmarket titles and is excited about Clare Pooley’s The Authenticity Project and Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay. SUZANNE SUTHERLAND is the Children’s and YA Editor at HarperCollins Publishers in Canada, where she has worked with internationally bestselling authors such as Emma Donoghue, Kenneth Oppel, and Kit Pearson. She is also the author of three novels for young readers. Twitter: @sutherlandsuz SAMANTHA SWENSON is a Senior Editor at Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers. She acquires and edits books across all age ranges, from board books up to young adult. She has worked with such writers and illustrators as Cale Atkinson, Phoebe Wahl, Teagan White, Kalpna Patel, Matt James, Mika Song, Hawksley Workman, Holman Wang, Trilby Kent, Charis Cotter and Zoe Si. She likes funny books, heartwarming books and books with tapirs in them. Twitter: @twinkiethekidd MEG WHEELER is an Associate Agent and the International Rights Director at Westwood Creative Artists in Toronto. Prior to joining WCA, she was a freelance publishing consultant. Meg holds an MA from UCL and a BA from York University. She is looking for authors who write commercial fiction (romance, historical, thrillers), literary fiction, and all kinds of non-fiction (memoir, biography, current events, big ideas, self-help). Twitter: @megwheelez
PROGRAM CONTRIBUTORS IMANI BARBARIN (see author bio) BILLY-RAY BELCOURT is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. His books include THIS WOUND IS A WORLD (Frontenac, 2017) and the forthcoming NDN COPING MECHANISMS (Anansi, 2019) and A HISTORY OF MY BRIEF BODY (Hamish Hamilton, 2020). Twitter: @BillyRayB ZETTA ELLIOTT (see author bio) TERRI FAVRO is the author of four books including Sputnik’s Children, named a best book for 2017 by the Globe & Mail, CBC Books and Quill & Quire, and shortlisted for the Sunburst Award. She also collaborates on comic books. Terri’s work has appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction. Twitter: @fluffybaggins
FIONA TINWEI LAM’s third book of poetry, Odes & Laments, is forthcoming with Caitlin Press (Fall 2019). Her nonfiction, poetry and fiction appear in over 30 anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English. Her video poems have been screened at festivals locally and internationally. She teaches at SFU Continuing Studies. fionalam.net MELANIE MAH’s debut novel, The Sweetest One, won the 2017 Trillium Book Award, and her work’s been published in the Humber Literary Review, PRISM International, Room, and Brick. She’s currently at work on an intergenerational memoir. Raised in Alberta, she now lives in Toronto. Twitter: @lemonyhams LAILA MALIK works words in Adobigok. She was raised in homes and countries where Urdu, Punjabi, Kiswahili, Arabic and English flowed so seamlessly she often wasn’t sure which language was being spoken. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including Contemporary Verse 2, Canthius and The New Quarterly. DOMINIK PARISIEN’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Fiddlehead, Quill & Quire, Arc, and various other journals, and he is the author of the poetry chapbook We, Old Young Ones. He is also the co-editor, with Navah Wolfe, of The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, which won the Shirley Jackson Award. His most recent editorial project is Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction with Elsa Sjunneson-Henry. Dominik is a disabled, bisexual, French Canadian. He lives in Toronto. Twitter: @domparisien SHAZIA HAFIZ RAMJI is the author of Port of Being (Invisible Publishing), a finalist for the 2019 BC Book Prizes (Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize). It was named by CBC as a best Canadian poetry book of 2018 and received the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Shazia’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Best Canadian Poetry 2019, and Quill & Quire. She is at work on a novel. Twitter: @Shazia_R WAUBGESHIG RICE (see author bio) STEPHANIE ROBERTS was born in Central America and is a long-time resident of Québec. Nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize, her poetry has been widely featured in Canada, Europe, and the US. Twitter: @ringtales JOHN ELIZABETH STINTZI is a non-binary writer who was raised on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. Their work has been published in the US, Canada, and the UK. Recently, they were named a winner of The Malahat Review’s 2019 Long Poem Prize. Twitter: @stintzi.
YOLANDE HOUSE, originally from Fredericton, N.B., taught English in Korea for six years and now resides in Thailand. Her writing has appeared in literary magazines such as PRISM international, Entropy, and Hippocampus Magazine, and she was a finalist for Creative Nonfiction’s “Sex” issue. Currently, she’s working on a childhood memoir. Twitter: @herstorian
SANCHARI SUR is a 2018 Lambda Literary Fellow in fiction. Her work can be found in Toronto Book Award Shortlisted The Unpublished City, Arc, Humber Literary Review, Prism International etc. She is a PhD candidate in English at Wilfrid Laurier University, and the curator/co-founder of Balderdash Reading Series. Twitter: @sanchari_sur
DOYALI ISLAM’s brand-new poetry book is heft (McClelland & Stewart, 2019), which the poet describes as a “ledger of tenderness, survival, and risk.” Doyali has been interviewed for CBC Radio’s Sunday Edition (2017) and The Next Chapter (broadcast date forthcoming). She is Arc’s Poetry Editor and lives in Toronto. www.doyali-islam.com. Twitter: @doyali_is
ISABELLA WANG is a two-time finalist and the youngest writer shortlisted for The New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Essay Contest. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over twenty literary journals, and she holds a Pushcart Prize nomination for poetry. Her debut poetry chapbook, On Forgetting a Language, is forthcoming with Baseline Press in 2019. Twitter: @isabellawangbc
CHELENE KNIGHT is the author of Braided Skin, and award-winning memoir, Dear Current Occupant. Her writing has been published in various Canadian magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. Chelene is CEO of #LearnWritingEssentials, a boutique creative writing studio. Her novel, Junie is forthcoming in 2020. Twitter: @LWEStudio
Access Copyright Foundation proudly supports FOLDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Festival of Literary Diversity. Have a great time at this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s festival!
Access Copyright Foundation promotes and supports Canadian culture. Since 2010, we have have given close to $2 million in grant funding to more than 480 Canadian creators, publishers, and arts and cultural organizations.
www.acfoundation.ca Photo by Herman Custodio
talking back! Covering issues that matter to young women and trans youth in-print and online since 2004!
Want to Write? We ShoW You hoW Join us in July for a week of inspiring workshops and engaging publishing industry panels. Humber College - Lakeshore Campus toronto, ON | July 7-12, 2019 Study with: • Giles Blunt (John Cardinal mystery series) • Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) • Kyo Maclear (Birds, Art, Life) • Colin McAdam (A Beautiful Truth) • Olive Senior (The Pain Tree) • Alissa York (The Naturalist) • Michelle Winters (I Am A Truck) Programmed by David Bezmozgis (Immigrant City) early Bird Application Deadline: June 7, 2019
Looking for personalized feedback on a longer work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry? apply now to start our 30-week distance studio program in September 2019! Study with: • Jami Attenberg • David Bezmozgis • Dennis Bock • Marina endicott • Kim Fu • Don Gilmour • isabel Huggan • Joseph Kertes
• • • • • • • •
Alison Pick robert rotenberg Diane Schoemperlen richard Scrimger Sarah Sheard Antanas Sileika Sam Wiebe tim Wynne-Jones
Contact: email@example.com 416-675-6622 ext. 3449 For more info, visit humberschoolforwriters.ca
FESTIVAL SCHEDULE THURSDAY, MAY 2
9:30am – 11:00am // Rose Theatre Mainstage YOUTH
STORIES OF TRIAL AND TRIUMPH The early years cultivate the terrain of the hear—the shape of love, despair, magic and future possibility. Join YA authors Zetta Elliott, Tanaz Bhathena, and Ben Philippe as they discuss the critical ideas and imaginings of youth in their latest novels. Moderated by S.K. Ali. $10
10:00am – 11:30am // Rose Theatre Studio [CC]
BOOKS AND BRUNCH with Rich Donovan
4:00pm – 5:15pm // PAMA DISCUSSION
Unleash Different in your Workplace
BOOK CLUB with Esi Edugyan
How will your business tap into the world’s largest emerging market? Rich Donovan, a leading expert on disability and accessibility in the workplace, shares why providing for disabled staff and patrons is a business goal that is both forward thinking and profitable. $25
Join two-time Giller Prize winning author Esi Edugyan for an intimate discussion on how the act of reading and writing is a powerful force for empathy in difficult times. Bring your best book club questions and get ready to dig deep with host Bee Quammie. $10
7:30pm – 9:00pm // City Hall Conservatory PANEL
BLACK WRITERS MATTER 62
FRIDAY, MAY 3
This power-house panel explores the ways that Black writing hits “close to the bone” to deliver evocative, powerful, and critical narratives. Join this discussion with writers Esi Edugyan, Cecil Foster, Whitney French, and Ian Williams as they share the stories that have shaped their lives and their writing with author Natasha Henry. $10
12:00pm – 1:30pm // Rose Theatre Mainstage YOUTH
THE SPOKEN WORD Poets Mahlikah Awe:ri, Tomy Bewick, Knowmadic, and Amoya Reé take deliver powerful performances in this not-to-bemissed event for school groups and the young-at-heart. $10
4:30pm – 6:00pm // Rose Theatre Studio FEATURE
SEMI-PROSE BOOK CLUB with S.K. Ali
Join the hosts of Semi-Prose as they conduct a unique book club based on the latest novel from S.K. Ali, Love from A to Z. FREE
7:00pm – 9:00pm // Rose Theatre Mainstage OPENING GALA [CC / ASL]
RAGE BECOMES HER 2
What happens when women embrace anger? What if women’s rage is the release, the drive, the concerted action that yields powerful results? Join us as authors Soraya Chemaly, Vivek Shraya, Imani Barbarin and Alicia Elliott converse with Rachel Giese about the ways in which anger instigates meaningful change. Book signing and After Party with DJ Lissa Monet. Sponsored by Penguin Random House. $20
[9:00pm – 11:00pm // After Party]
SATURDAY, MAY 4
1:30pm – 2:40pm // Rose Theatre Mainstage
9:30am – 10:40am // Rose Theatre Mainstage PANEL [CC] Novels that Explore the Real and Imagined Science fiction is often seen as works of sheer imagination— what happens, then, when the real world and the imagined world overlap? How do writers use real-world events and history to strengthen imaginary realms—and what happens when the real world gives us truths that are stranger than fiction? Join acclaimed authors Whitney French, Larissa Lai, and Waubgeshig Rice as they talk about how speculative and science fiction can help us uncover the magic of possibility. Moderated by Catherine Hernandez. $12
PUBLISHING WORKSHOP: Pitching Whether it’s face-to-face or embedded in an email or query letter, making the perfect pitch is tricky. What is your story about? What’s the best way to explain your story? What’s your elevator pitch? Join two experienced editors, Anita Chong and Samantha Swenson, as they break down pitching and publishing. Sponsored by Humber School for Writers. $15
11:00am – 12:10pm // Rose Theatre Mainstage PANEL [CC / ASL]
MY BODY IS AN ACTIVIST
Nonfiction Writing that Reacts and Resists How does the body, in its multitude of forms and features, open up new ways of thinking about community? What happens if you, your body, and your experiences are rendered invisible? This panel features three distinctive writers—Adam Pottle, Joshua Ferguson, and Imani Barbarin—who discuss how the world of books and bodies intersect in instrumental ways. Moderated by Carrianne Leung. $12
1:30pm – 2:40pm // Rose Theatre Studio WORKSHOP [ASL]
Writing personal stories can feel daunting and overwhelming. Learn the tools for drafting a nonfiction piece—from research to rough draft—with author Suzanne Methot. Sponsored by The Fiddlehead. $15
3:00pm – 4:10pm // Rose Theatre Mainstage PANEL [CC / ASL]
Creating Lifelong Readers How do author-educators balance the demands of their dayjobs in the classroom with their own writing pursuits? What challenges do they face raising a new generation of readers who are experiencing complex societal changes? Join Ben Philippe, Uzma Jalaluddin, and Larissa Lai as they discuss the books they write, the books they recommend, and the ever-changing role of cultivating lifelong readers with author, teacher, and moderator Ann Y.K. Choi. $12
3:00pm – 4:10pm // Rose Theatre Studio PERFORMANCE
EATING WITH LOLA
11:00am – 12:10pm // Rose Theatre Studio
Written and Performed by Catherine Hernandez
FICTION WORKSHOP While fiction writing provides freedom and room for imagination, it also demands mastery of form and structure to succeed. Join Sharon Bala for an incredible fiction writing workshop. $15
Novels travel across seemingly intransgressible boundaries to navigate intense human conflict. From love and the struggle to protect LGBTQ rights in Gambia, to the complexities of international aid in Nepal, to stories of personal and political conflict here in Canada, authors Uzma Jalaluddin, Manjushree Thapa, Sharon Bala, and Josh Scheinert discuss love and powerful stories that unravel in landscapes of upheaval. Moderated by Eva Salinas. $12
9:30am – 10:40am // Rose Theatre Studio
Brampton City Hall 2 Wellington St. W.
THE WORLD IS HERE
Novels Navigating Love and Conflict
Lola is so old she has to be spoon fed by her granddaughter. But it wasn’t always like this. It was always Lola’s job to find food—even if it meant stealing it. Over the course of Lola’s last meal on earth, Lola’s life and the modern history of Manila unfolds—one spoonful at a time. $12
SCHEDULE CONTINUED >>>
The Rose Theatre 1 Theatre Lane
3. Peel Art Gallery + Museum Archives (PAMA) 9 Wellington St. E.
6:00pm – 8:30pm // Rose Theatre Mainstage
12:00pm – 3:00pm // City Hall Atrium
ALL OUR RELATIONS An Indigenous Showcase
A showcase of Indigenous poetry, fiction and nonfiction, featuring performances by Mahlikah Awe:ri, readings by Harold Johnson, Suzanne Methot, and Alicia Elliott, and a presentation by Tanya Talaga. Hosted by Waubgeshig Rice. Sponsored by Audible. $15
9:00pm – 11:00pm // Rose Theatre Studio FEATURE [CC]
POETRY SHOWCASE The annual poetry showcase is back at The Rose, featuring poets Mahlikah Awe:ri, Tomy Bewick, Knowmadic, and Amoya Reé, hosted by Brampton’s own spoken word maven Lamoi. $10
SUNDAY, MAY 5 9:30am – 11:00am // PAMA
BREAKFAST with Sharon Bala Manjushree Thapa chats with Sharon Bala about her bestselling novel The Boat People in Brampton’s historic courthouse at Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives. $25
64 10:00am – 11:40am // City Hall Conservatory
Talk one-on-one with publishing professionals at this fairstyle event. Agents and editors with open-submissions answer questions and discuss the types of books they publish and ways to submit writing and query letters. Whether you are an emerging or established writer, this is an event you do not want to miss.
12:00pm – 3:00pm // City Hall West Hall
PITCH PERFECT What do you do with a manuscript when it’s done? You PITCH IT. Agents and editors from Canadian agencies and publishing companies provide emerging authors with detailed feedback in a one-on-one meeting live at the festival. Get feedback from experienced professionals in this unique event.
1:30pm – 2:40pm // City Hall Conservatory PANEL [CC / ASL]
Telling Family Stories Family stories are rife with mystery and intrigue. Whether fiction or nonfiction, the process of writing a family story is one that involves weaving memories with threads of imagination. Panelists Harold Johnson, Kathy Page, and Cecil Foster discuss their renderings of family stories in this riveting festival-closing session with author Suzanne Methot. $12
DISCUSSION [CC / ASL]
3:00pm – 4:10pm // City Hall Conservatory
THE 411 ON PUBLISHING
FEATURE [CC / ASL]
The publishing world can seem like an unfathomable beast —from self-publishing to independent houses to the big behemoths of the publishing world—it’s an overwhelming network of possibility. Offering their perspectives on traditional publishers, small presses, starting an imprint, and self-publishing, Vivek Shraya and Téa Mutonji chat with Whitney French about the various paths to publishing. $12
12:00pm – 1:10pm // City Hall Conservatory PANEL [CC / ASL]
FABULOUS FIRSTS You never forget your first time. Panelists discuss the challenges of writing first books or new genres, all while maintaining careers and engaging in the tricky work of self-promotion. How do you make your firsts meaningful? Join Ian Williams, Téa Mutonji, Adam Pottle, and Ann Y.K. Choi as they discuss the thrills, slumps, challenges, and triumphs of publishing firsts with author Nancy Jo Cullen. /$12
THE VOICES OF HOMES Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone—and found safety in Canada— with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung discusses the process and challenges of writing this story and the production of the audio-book. Sponsored by Audible.
SEPT 27–29, 2019
CALLING ALL YOUNG ARTISTS AND WRITERS!
The FOLD Kids Book Fest is holding various art and writing contests for students in Kindergarten through Grade 7 residing in the Peel Region (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon). Winners will be invited to celebrate their accomplishment at a special event during the inaugural FOLD Kids Book Fest in September. DEADLINE: JUNE 15TH , 2019 VISIT US ONLINE TO FIND OUT MORE… @FoldKids
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CELA opens books no matter how you read Diverse voices deserve to be heard. Diverse stories deserve to be read. The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) is pleased to partner with the FOLD to make accessible versions of the FOLD’s featured books available through public libraries to the estimated 3 million Canadians with print disabilities.
DISCOVER DOWNTOWN BRAMPTON DOWNTOWN BRAMPTON
It’s Happening Here!
FREE PARKING evenings and weekends
in the Municipal Parking Garages
BOOKMARK ONTARIO FOR DIVERSE READS OMDC is now Ontario Creates. Still dedicated to supporting those who make creative industries come to life. We proudly support the Festival Of Literary Diversity and Ontarioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book publishing industry.
For more info and to see what we can do for you, visit
COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA SEPTEMBER 6 Pianist and bandleader William James â&#x20AC;&#x153;Countâ&#x20AC;? Basie was and still is an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of Jazz. The Count Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, is in Brampton for one night only, as part of the World of Jazz Festival.
Brampton Library congratulates the
Festival of Literary #inspiringconnections with authors Look for your favourites in our branches and online. 905.793.4636 bramptonlibrary.ca Follow us:
from friends of the festival
46 Main St. N. Brampton
Special Offer valid from May 2 to May 5, 2019
segovia coffee bag: $10.00 Whole Roasted Beans | Ground Coffee
10% off latte drinks
47 Queen St. W. Brampton
with a purchase of $40 or more (food only). Applied to Dinner menu only. One year offer.
segovia coffee bag: $10.00 Whole Roasted Beans | Ground Coffee
10% off latte drinks
47 Queen St. W. Brampton
with a purchase of $40 or more (food only). Applied to Dinner menu only. One year offer.
Special Offer valid from May 2 to May 5, 2019
from friends of the festival
46 Main St. N. Brampton
Enjoy free entertainment, movies, and special events for all ages, all summer long in Garden Square. Experience culture and community in the heart of downtown Brampton.
THE FEST IVAL OF LITER ARY DIVER SITY GET STARTED WITH A FREE AUDIOBOOK AT AUDIBLE.CA/FOLD