The FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY (2021 Magazine/Schedule)

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INSIDE FESTIVAL SCHEDULE ESSAYS + POETRY Minelle Kiirti Mahtani

VO I C E S F RO M TH E FO L D A FESTIVAL MAGAZINE YEAR SIX

Adrian De Leon Rowan McCandless Jane Shi Yohani Mendis Ellen Chang-Richardson Alexandra Hope Aurum Susan Mockler Samantha Jones Barbara Tran Jade Wallace Sneha Subramanian Kanta Luciana Erregue Phillip Crymble

PRESENTED BY

THE FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY MAY 1—MAY 15, 2021 >> A VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE


MY ST E

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S AND GRIEF BEAU S O TY S L R OF TE TR S N

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AND HISTORY

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O PE H ION T MA R O F S

ND BELONGING CE A L OV P LA E A ND

Audible is proud to collaborate with The FOLD in celebration of the power of words

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See more at Audible.ca

G IN

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CONTENTS From the Executive Director 3 Mayor’s Letter 5 Voice mails / Forty Days / Sura Yaseen 8 by Minelle Kiirti Mahtani The Golden Mean 12 Luciana Erregue I Can’t Tell You Why 13 by Phillip Crymble Room 14 by Rowan McCandless OCD Haiku 17 Samantha Jones On Radiance 18 by Adrian de Leon The Ephemeral Girls 21 by Jade Wallace

Safety Net 26 by Yohani Mendis Unframed 29 by Barbara Tran Tundra Mist 30 by Ellen Chang-Richardson Wolf by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

33

On Disability 34 by Susan Mockler Not enough exes to make a Pokémon team, but enough to personify the four seasons 38 by Alexandra Hope Aurum Festival Participants 40 Festival Schedule 44 FOLD at a Glance 46

The Revolution Will Be Translated 22 by Jane Shi

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FROM THE

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR In 2019, after our first year at Brampton’s beautiful

Last year’s virtual festival forced us to think

Rose Theatre, one of my FOLD team members said in

quickly and adapt thoughtfully. But it also allowed

anticipation of the following year, “For once, we’ll have

us to stretch our work around the globe—to reach

the festival in the same place two years in a row.”

Canadians and international audiences who had not

As the festival grew, we had moved venues each

experienced the FOLD before. The Festival of Literary

of our first four years, and when she said this, I nod-

Diversity is, first and foremost, about elevating un-

ded in agreement, full of relief. For once, we would

derrepresented voices. But last year showed us, in a

know our venue well. We’d return to somewhere we’d

whole new way, that it’s also about reaching under-

already been. But that day never came.

served audiences, audiences looking to be challenged

In response to the pandemic, the 2020 festival

in what they read and how they engage with the world.

could not be held at the Rose Theatre, and while we

With over forty events spanning fifteen days and

found a way to deliver the festival virtually, here we

highlighting more than seventy authors and present-

are in 2021 changing things up again, moving to a new

ers, FOLD 2021 is without a doubt our most ambitious

virtual platform.

festival yet. This year, we are thrilled to reveal a brand-

Perhaps we are taking that term “diversity” just a little too seriously. Or perhaps, being a festival that

new literary experience—one that will allow readers and writers to connect from wherever they are.

has pushed for change in Canada’s publishing indus-

We are pushing the limits of our work to reach new

try since our inception in 2016 means that we should

and retuning audience members, and on behalf of the

always be prepared for change.

board, the planning team, and my incredible staff—

The infamously “unprecedented year” that was

Amanda Leduc and Ardo Omer—I hope you truly en-

2020 included a devastating pandemic that took the

joy this new iteration. I hope that despite the distance

lives of many, particularly those from the Disabled

that exists between us and the obstacles that remain in

community, and sparked protests of racial injustice in

front of us, you find an author, a story, or a poem that

Canada and around the world. It was a difficult year in

holds you up in these challenging times.

more ways than one, and we are still in it, still heavy from the load. It has been hard to focus, hard to do the work at times, but I am excited for FOLD 2021. I am proud of what the team has put together and thrilled with the work of this year’s cohort of writers, who have persevered through a particularly difficult time.

JAEL RICHARDSON, Executive Director The Festival of Literary Diversity



April 2021 April 2021 April 2021 Dear Friends,

Greetings from Mayor Patrick Brown Greetings from Mayor Patrick Brown Greetings from Mayor Patrick Brown

Dear Friends, On behalf of the Members of Brampton City Council I would like to welcome you to the 6th Annual Dear Friends, Festival of of Literary Diversityof(FOLD) which celebrates in to literature byyou promoting th Annual On behalf the Members Brampton City Council Idiversity would like welcome to the 6diverse authors and stories in Brampton– one of Canada’s most culturally diverse cities. In 2021, the FOLD is th Festival of of Literary Diversityof(FOLD) which celebrates in to literature byyou promoting Annual On behalf the Members Brampton City Council Idiversity would like welcome to the 6diverse once again taking place online—on a new platform, in a way even more exciting than before. It is is authors of and storiesDiversity in Brampton– of Canada’s most culturally diverse cities. In 2021,diverse the FOLD Festival Literary (FOLD)one which celebrates diversity in literature by promoting great to see Jael Richardson and her team continuing to organize this festival during such a challenging once again place online—onone a new platform,most in a way even diverse more exciting before. It is is authors andtaking stories in Brampton– of Canada’s culturally cities. than In 2021, the FOLD and time. greatuncertain to seetaking Jael Richardson and herateam continuinginto organize festival during a challenging once again place online—on new platform, a way eventhis more exciting thansuch before. It is and uncertain time. great to see Jael Richardson and her team continuing to organize this festival during such a challenging The 2021 festival will take place from May 1 – 15 and features 40 events and over 70 authors—the and uncertain time. FOLD’s highest total discussions will40allow guests Canada and The 2021 festival willyet. takePanels, place from May 1 and – 15workshops and features events andfrom over across 70 authors—the around the world to participate in the festival via Zoom. All virtual events will be close-captioned. This FOLD’s highest total discussions will40allow guests Canada and The 2021 festival willyet. takePanels, place from May 1 and – 15workshops and features events andfrom over across 70 authors—the festival will bring established and emerging writers, educators, and literary professionals together with around highest the world to participate the festivaland via Zoom. All virtual events will from be close-captioned. This FOLD’s total yet. Panels,indiscussions workshops will allow guests across Canada and readers from all walks of life to celebrate and expand Canada’s body of diverse literature. festival will bring established and writers, educators, and literary professionals together with around the world to participate inemerging the festival via Zoom. All virtual events will be close-captioned. This readers will from all walks of life to celebrate and expand Canada’s and bodyliterary of diverse literature.together with festival bring established and emerging writers, educators, professionals The festival provide writers the opportunity to of develop their skills and improve readers fromwill all also walks of life aspiring to celebrate andwith expand Canada’s body diverse literature. their writing by connecting them with other writers and by providing them with professional The festival will also provide aspiring writers with the opportunity to develop their skills and improve development opportunities that allow them writers to learn. Iopportunity want to thank the sponsors and of theirfestival writingwill by connecting withwriters other by providing them with professional The also providethem aspiring with theand to develop their skillsthe andBoard improve Directors for by their ongoing efforts in promoting literacy and making festival success. development opportunities that allow them writers to learn. I want to thankthis the sponsors and the Board of their writing connecting them with other and by providing them with aprofessional Directors for their ongoing efforts in promoting literacy and making a success. development opportunities that allow them to learn. I want to thankthis thefestival sponsors and the Board of Enjoy the for festival! Directors their ongoing efforts in promoting literacy and making this festival a success. Enjoy the festival! Sincerely, Enjoy the festival! Sincerely, Sincerely,

Patrick Brown Mayor Patrick Brown Mayor Brown Patrick Mayor


Simon & Schuster Canada proud sponsor of The Festival of Literary Diversity

Teen Writer in Residence

TANYA BOTEJU Whip It meets We Are Okay in this vibrant coming-of-age story about a teen girl who navigates first love, identity, and grief when she immerses herself in the colorful, brutal, beautiful world of roller derby.

ALSO AVAILABLE: Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

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SARAH SUK (pronounced like “soup” with a K) check out ourstories virtual lives in Come Vancouver, Canada, where she writes and booth at this year’s festival! admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. Made in Korea is her first novel. You can visit Sarah online at sarahsuk.com and on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.

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A Voices from the FOLD: Year 6 original essay.

VOICE MAILS / FORTY DAYS / SURA YASEEN BY MINELLE KIIRTI MAHTANI VOICE MAILS

My face reddens when I think now about how I cut her

Probably not unlike you, I tend to save certain voice

rolling my eyes, telling her down the phone line she

mails on my phone. Some you keep, some you delete.

was being ridiculous, sentimental. I couldn’t see her,

Hers, I keep, now. Before she was diagnosed, I used

of course, but I can see my thirteen-year old self now

to viciously erase all her voice mails, most of the time

and I hate myself for it. I suppose she was used to my

never listening to them. As soon as I saw “Mommy-

callous cruelty to her, at this point, and yet she never

kins” appear on the screen, I would roll my eyes and

stopped, never stopped telling me, in so many ways,

delete them, maybe sometimes pausing, if I was feel-

how much she loved me.

off, mid-stanza, impatiently blowing out my breath,

ing generous, to listen to the first few words of the message. They would always start with “Muni,” or “Mi-

My phone died today, two years after her death.

noushka,” her pet names for me. But I would never have the patience to listen.

I hate this goddamned shitty old cell phone, and wish I could just get rid of it. But I can’t, because it holds

After she dies, I keep these voice mails safe, the ones

427 messages on it, most of which I’ve never heard.

I didn’t have the energy to delete, the ones that she left, over and over, just to say hi. Do you remember many moons ago, when “I Just Called to Say I Love You” came out? I must have been twelve, thirteen. Yes, that song. You remember, now. She called me at the house from work and started crooning the Stevie Wonder hit. She put her all into it, pausing between “called” and “to say,” lingering on the “love” part. She always had a beautiful voice.

Do you remember many moons ago, when “I Just Called to Say I Love You” came out? I must have been twelve, thirteen. Yes, that song. You remember now.


I can’t bear to listen to them, as some of them hold

The verse: “Turn on your heartlight, let it shine wher-

garbled messages from late in her illness, where

ever you go, let it make a happy glow, for all the world

it sounds like she has a handful of pebbles in her

to see…”

mouth. I can’t bear to delete them. Maybe now that the phone has died, I will never have a chance to re-

Great lyrics, these were not. It’s Neil Diamond, after

trieve them, just like all the stories I will never hear

all. But she loved it. And I loved it too, even though I

from her voice again.

would never have dared to admit it.

Years later, I am shopping at the grocery store in Van-

Shopping for gluten-free bread and wandering around

couver. The ancient Neil Diamond song “Heartlight”

the aisles of Whole Foods so many years later, just

comes on. It was a schmaltzy, silly song of the late

after her death, my face is strewn with sudden tears

1980s, a bit of a hit. You probably won’t remember it.

hearing the song shower over me through the store’s

It’s really bad.

tinny ceiling speakers.

My Mom loved it, though. She bought the tape and

Do you remember that moment, Mom, when the DJ

would sing along to it as she tidied the house, picking

came on and said excitedly, the sound crackly on the

up dishtowels, plates from the table. An idle accompa-

Panasonic clock radio: “Now, this one’s for you, Freida!

niment to the clean-up.

Hope I got that right, that name there, hard to pronounce that one! Well anyway, this one’s for you Mom,

I remember calling CHUM AM radio station when I was

from your darling daughter, Michelle!”

eleven or so, and asking the DJ to play it, to dedicate the song to her. My voice shaky as I spoke.

My Mom hears the voice on the airwaves. She is standing by her vanity cabinet. She spins around, and gifts

He says, “You’re adorable!”

me with a luminous smile.


Are we good now, Mom? Do you forgive me? One song

Lydia Davis: in the word precarious is prayer.

for another? When we leave, I think about what I’ve just done, in Because I still don’t forgive myself. I won’t. No song in

my Mother’s name. Is this what she wanted me to do?

the world will do that. Years later, thinking about this moment, I sponta-

FORTY DAYS

neously google, “40 days after death ceremony, Islam”

After she dies, in the recesses of my mind, I dimly re-

rate the 40th day after death are doing something not

member that I am supposed to do something to com-

sanctioned by Islam, and most probably following the

memorate her, at the mosque, forty days after her

custom of Hindu culture”

and this pops up: “Any Muslims that do commemo-

death. I’m not sure what, though. I didn’t ask her and she didn’t tell me.

I laugh. How telling, I think. That even through her death, she is dancing with my father, my Hindu Dad.

I email some of my scholarly Islamic Studies friends to

She is commemorating the culture, her connection to

ask them what I’m supposed to do. They say they have

it. Even after her death, she is engaging both cultures.

no idea, but one person kindly puts me touch with an-

In death, as in life. She continues to mix cultures,

other Islamic scholar in Vancouver. She also murmurs

through me.

something about not knowing about this ceremony, but she still meets with me at a Skytrain station, and takes me to the mosque.

SURA YASEEN Thursdays. We knew not to disturb her on Thursday

I struggle to think about when I’ve been to a mosque

nights, between 8 and 9 p.m. Her bedroom door

without my Mom. I’m not sure I ever have. I’m anxious

slightly ajar, my six year-old self would catch a glimpse

about going on my own, without her.

of her in her worn out paisley-printed hijab, a safety pin under her chin, holding the threadbare fabric

The rain pelts down, and this Islamic scholar unlocks

together. It was her mother’s, and her grandmother’s

the passenger side of her Honda Civic for me, her car

before that. By the time it becomes mine, finally, it dis-

floor littered with food wrappers. She is warm, friend-

solves in my hands. She would kneel on her prayer

ly. I hand her a gift: a scented candle I brought to say

mat, a silver thali in front of her. It held but a few al-

thank you. We drive in the seemingly ceaseless rain to

monds scattered on the plate, a couple slices of a cut-

the mosque. The scent permeates the car.

up apple; a stainless steel cup of water in the middle.

When we get there, we park underground, and she

She was reading Sura-Yaseen, a prayer for the dead.

takes me into the prayer area for women. The place

Like clockwork, she read them every week for her

is deserted. She gestures to me to pray, points. I ha-

mother, her father, her grandmother, all those who

ven’t even brought a prayer mat, but at least I have a

had passed before her.

scarf. I start to bend down, to pray. She waits in the back, head scarf on, checking her mail absentminded-

If I did dare go into her bedroom on Thursday nights,

ly, waiting for me to finish.

my wide eyes expectant, wanting to know where my misplaced piano book was, or a beloved toy, she would

Bismillah Hiramam Niraheem. I am not sure what I am

turn her frowning gaze on me, and crescendo the vol-

supposed to feel, but I know I’m not feeling it. I rotate

ume on her recitation, louder and louder, shooing us

through the required prayers, and then I awkwardly

out of the room with her hands: “Illaa rahmatam min-

stand, motion to her that I’m ready to go.

naa wa mataa’an ilaa heen….”

It doesn’t feel like it enough. Is it enough?

We’d scamper out, told off.


Afterwards, she’d search us out, gripping the plate in

I don’t pay a lot of attention to this request when she

one hand, the glass in the other.

is alive.

“Awwww, Mom!” we’d complain, as she popped the

But she doesn’t ask for much, even in death. So now

almonds in our mouths, cajoling us into eating them,

I do it.

the salt peppering (or tantalizing?) our tongues. “Stop it!” we’d cry, as she held the glass to our lips.

Every Thursday, I sit on the floor, reading Yaseen, my eyes scanning the sacred text. My mind often wan-

“Please, Beti,” she’d say, a plaintive look on her face.

ders, my eyes blur as they float over the words. Of

“It’s the blessed water.”

course I don’t read Arabic, and guiltily don’t understand what it is says. Does it matter? No, It doesn’t. All

“Ugh, Mom, no! Enough already!”

that matters is that I do it.

Eating these blessed fruits, drinking the blessed wa-

Still, I don’t miss a Thursday. The nuts, apple in front

ter, would, apparently, protect us.

of me now.

Online, I discover that there are many benefits listed

My husband, a devout atheist, takes the almond with-

when one reads Yaseen. It read something like this:

out a word off the Corningware plate that we inherit-

“Whoever recites Yaseen during the night seeking the

ed from B.’s mother. C munches on the apple content-

approval of Allah, Allah would forgive him…[when] a

ly; no-one complains. They just do it.

person recites Yaseen with pure and sincere intentions to gratify Allah SWT during the night, then he

Sometimes water is left in the Riedel crystal glass,

will wake up free from sin after the morning. Later, if

so I leave it on my dresser overnight, in front of the

a believer makes sure to recite Yaseen before going to

framed snapshot of my Mom and I at my cousin’s

bed only to gain the pleasure of Allah Almighty, then

wedding in Washington, DC a few years ago. Me in

he must be confident that his sins are forgiven while

a chiffon yellow dress from Banana Republic, her in

he sleeps”

a silk scarlet red sheath populated with flowers. We are both laughing loudly, our mouths gaping open at

I also read the following: “Recite Yaseen on those who

something in the distance. I take a sip from this glass

die.”

when I get dressed on Friday morning.

When she becomes sick, she hands me an identical

I look up the word rotation: the movement or path of

copy of her prayer book. Hers is now worn with age. In

the earth or a heavenly body turning on its axis… one

it, she has inscribed:

complete turn of such a body… regularly recurring succession. This rotation, perhaps, a small revolution

For my Cherished Child Minelle,

of sorts for me.

May these “surahs’ from the Quran fill your heart and soul with Peace and Joy forever. I have been blessed a million blessings to have been presented this gift from God. YOU – my Daughter, my Friend, my Angel. Xxx MOM. On the next page, the table of contents. Circled, in a Black Bic Pen: Yaa Seen. “Every Thursday for loved ones who have passed away. Place a glass of water and a small plate of fruits, 3 or 4 almonds, nuts, etc. and a few strawberries or any kind of fruit. Then eat and drink with family.”

//


THE

GOLDEN MEAN BY LUCIANA ERREGUE I brought apricots, bread, and cheese in a clear bag: the same fruit Hercules was ordered to pick for the eleventh of his twelve labours. You thought it was a sophisticated spread and told me “back home, apricots are smaller but tastier,” as you took a first bite of the acidic fruit whose nectar dripped all the way to the rim of my cup. I told you about the fragrant apricots my grandfather used to buy at the market. He would display the fruit on a bed of newspapers on our aqua Formica kitchen table, the one with the uneven legs, and as the fruit came tumbling down he exclaimed, “apricots ripened faster back then!” “I have no patience for nature,” I told you. “You are always so quiet,” you told me. I found it easier to let you do the talking while my apricot ripened, taking delight in the Golden Mean of silence: a precious offer of opaque waste, drawn to trick the most cunning translator in the knowledge there is still a golden apricot like the ones back home, inside my throat.

Previously published in The Same Havoc (The Selkie, 2020).


I CAN’T TELL YOU WHY BY PHILLIP CRYMBLE

Another dinner finished at the table. The kitchen

still congested with the smells of fish and broccoli.

I rise and cue the needle on The Long Run — stop

and listen for the crackle — clear the dining room

of silverware and crockery. The first few months

of lockdown gave us time to get things straight —

to bolster our provisions — plot our bearings — fix

the world in place. Back then we lived like pioneers

in long johns — read for pleasure — kept our distance

as the winter lost its way. These days we’re caught

like revenants unable to escape — like houseflies

in an abattoir — annealed to strips of capture tape.

A Voices from the FOLD: Year 6 original poem.


A Voices from the FOLD: Year 6 original essay.

ROOM BY ROWAN McCANDLESS

Room. From Oxford Dictionary, a portion of space

Not long into the workshop, a woman with a mop

within a building or other structure, separated by

of blonde curls, raises her hand to speak. She says, “I

walls or partitions from other parts. A space that can

feel so bad for my white male friends who are poets.

be occupied or where something can be done. But

They’re having so much difficulty getting their work

who gets to occupy the writing salons, the literary

published now, just because of all this diversity going

spaces, the pages of print and of online magazines? 1

around.” Other women in the group nod their heads in agreement. I do not. There are the mumblings of mu-

1

There are two long tables pushed together in the

tual commiseration because of the belief that there is

meeting room. Office chairs encircle the tables. Light

only so much room at the publishing table and that

streams in from the over-sized windows. The wooden

people of colour are now rudely pushing and shoving

floor is old and creaks as I walk towards a chair.

their way in, demanding seats reserved ad infinitum

After settling in my seat, I notice that I’m the only

for white writers. They’re unable to envision the table

person of colour at the workshop. It’s automatic for

as I do; one that is an ever-expanding literary ban-

me, this survey scanning of skin tones, this hoping to

quet with room for all.

view more than a room filled with white participants. It makes me nervous to be sitting in the midst of people who have no relatable experience of what it’s like

Partition. From Merriam Webster dictionary, parti-

to be a woman of colour. It makes me nervous the

tion means to divide into parts, late Middle English

thought of being called upon to act as the represen-

from the Latin partitio (n) from partiri divide into parts.

tative of all people of colour as if such a thing were

Something that divides. A line, lie not to be crossed 2

possible. It makes me nervous, the thought that my attendance may be suspect, and my writing viewed as other — a diversity publication unworthy and with-

2 Part of me wants to speak up in protest. Another

out merit in their views.

part of me doesn’t want to voice my opinion because


I don’t want to be singled out. I don’t want to become

that my mother is a euro-settler Canadian. I don’t

someone’s teachable moment. There is a partition

want to explain my existence to her in order to make

between us, one that was built hundreds of years ago,

this woman feel more comfortable in her skin, and

one of euro-colonial erasure and privilege, one that

me, less comfortable in my own.

needs to be dismantled brick by brick, one in which

I’m angry. Angry at this woman and her euro-co-

only people of colour seem expected to do all the

lonial mindset that believes she can label me and

heavy lifting.

put me in a box for her particular ease and peace of

An hour into the workshop and it’s break time. I

mind. I’m angry at this woman because she believes

grab a muffin, intending to return to my seat. I turn

my work is less valuable than her own. I’m angry at

round and am greeted by another writer at the work-

this woman for her audacity of assuming that being

shop. She wears a wool tam on her head and numer-

Indigenous as well as a published author has nothing

ous scarves draped around her neck.

to do with hard work, talent, and perseverance. I’m

She looks at me and smiles.

angry that she equates any difficulties she may have

“You’ll have no trouble getting published,” she

in publishing her work by using Indigenous writers

says to me.

and those of colour as her rationale and excuse to see

“Why is that?” I ask, taken aback.

herself as a victim of the system because of “all this

“Because you’re Indigenous.”

diversity going around.”

I feel the painful sinking thud of my heart recog-

In disbelief, she looks at me with a smirk on her

nizing, here we go again Let’s play guess the woman of

lips, as if I am trying to pull something over on her.

colour’s ethnicity.

She looks at me as if I am an untalented usurper, tak-

I’m Black and biracial but my appearance often

ing up space that doesn’t rightfully belong to me.

lends itself to my being viewed as Indigenous. “I’m not Indigenous,” I tell her. I don’t want to tell her that I’m mixed. That my

Space. From Cambridge dictionary, space is a con-

father is Africadian as well as African American and

tinuous area or expanse which is free, available, or


unoccupied. room, expanse, extent, capacity. the dimensions of height, depth, and width within which

This time the session is specifically meant for people who are Black, Indigenous, or of Colour.

all things exist and move. verb position (two or more

I feel no anxiety in this room. I feel no need to act

items) at a distance from one another. A space can

as if I were invisible. I have no desire to scan the faces

be confined or expansive, safe or unsafe, given the

of the participants. There is an ease amongst us, one

beliefs of the occupants.

that creates a sacred space of trust as we go through

3

the workshop activities. We share our laughter. We share our creativity. We share our work. The poems 3 A few months later I attend another workshop in

people have crafted carry voices as unique as those

the same space.

in attendance. I’m comfortable enough to read the

It’s winter and people stamp the snow off their

poem that I crafted in this workshop and with these

feet before walking across the room where two long

people, entitled scars. There is space at our table.

conference tables are nestled next to one another.

There is room for all.

The room smells of coffee and fresh baking, damp winter coats and wet wool mittens.

//

I grab a muffin and a cup of tea and sit on a chair next to a gregarious woman wearing colourful dress. People group around the table, informally introducing themselves until it’s time for the workshop to begin.

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OCD HAIKU BY SAMANTHA JONES river swells with melt— think about raising items two feet off the floor

hot afternoons seed cumulus clouds and anvils— compromise the roof

first night cold enough for the furnace to kick in— dreams of pilot lights

deep-freeze encroaches walls with vapour barriers— stay up, look for leaks.

A Voices from the FOLD: Year 6 original poem.


Previously published in Hiba Abdallah, Dear Scarborough.

ON RADIANCE BY ADRIAN DE LEON

All of the luminaries, all of that

the power plant’s call always reminded me of immi-

desperate brilliance.

nent destruction. — David Chariandy, “As Man”

Completed in 1986, the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station promised thirty years of a bright On-

Once, I dreamed that two suns rose over Scarbor-

tario. Once the shining star of Canadian technology,

ough. One glided in the usual way, from east to west,

it has since pumped more toxic waste than useable

the stuff of aubades and nocturnes of epochs past.

energy into the shoreline. For decades, the Nuclear

The other mushroomed from its concrete ruins below.

Waste Management Organization has been looking

Whereas that first sun gifted us with life and quotidian

for a “willing host” for all the toxic waste kept under

rhythm, the second sank us into a painful night. Its

the edifice. Meanwhile, we, the unwilling hosts, incu-

rays of atomic cloud roared across the subdivisions

bated the 36,000-ton monster below. Sometimes, un-

and tore their way through the plazas, incessantly ra-

der the pristine soles of teenage Air Force Ones, we

diating to annihilation. Amidst those nightmare toss-

imagined radiation creeping in the subterranean like

es, I scornfully gave that second sun a name: Pickering.

tendrils ready to snatch at our ankles.

From my Southeast Scarborough bedroom, the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station never let me

We felt the slow death percolate beneath our feet. Memento mori.

forget its presence. My neighborhood was quiet, save for the sharp bouncing of Spalding against concrete. Every night, the breeze outside hummed with the dissonant chord of the GO Train south of Pixley Crescent. But some afternoons, a poltergeist bellowed in the sky from the east. The power plant’s low whoop whoop haunted my slice of West Hill with an oppressive weight long after the sirens ceased. Even if they signaled some safety test or routine maintenance,

From my Southeast Scarborough bedroom, the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station never let me forget its presence.


***

other dots further in the historical backdrop. Great Bear Lake brightened into focus, illuminating Dene

In high school history classes, the power plant to the

workers’ helmets in plutonium mines. Then he traced

east took on new meaning. Mr Silver made his way

a finger down to New Mexico, the nuclear age’s test-

through the bloody campaigns in Europe. He took ex-

ing grounds, craters of Diné homes. Westward, in the

tra care to mention where Canadian troops made their

deep blue of my inaugural ocean, the Bikini Atoll and

contributions to the war effort. Suddenly, a bomb

the many bombshells since.

dropped on Pearl Harbor, and two minutes into lec-

Soon enough, other stars, those celestial explo-

ture later, two bigger bombs dropped on Japan. Per-

sions, expanded upon the terrible tales etched in the

haps some sideshow “skirmishes” in the Philippines,

sky. Professional warmonger Dwight Eisenhower de-

or along China’s port cities, places that some of us in

clared that his harbingers of death could be used for

the classroom called our estranged homes. Then that

peace. If we could contain more Fat Men in insulated

nightmare sun mushrooming over Hiroshima to end

concrete tombs, these bombs are peaceful. All over

the war, which they called Little Boy. His obese broth-

the world, Atoms for Peace produced little Nagasakis,

er, Fat Man, somersaulted upon Nagasaki, remem-

dying stars churning at the brink of nuclear disas-

bered but hardly as commemorated as Hiroshima. An

ter, offering the radiant promise of employment and

afterthought, like Scarborough. In the linoleum black-

boundless energy. Chernobyl, that Soviet Nagasaki,

ness of our classrooms, we felt like little Nagasakis.

could not cradle its detonations from its fleeing deni-

Brenton, my token white friend in graduate

zens. And Fukushima, the most recent supernova, car-

school often lectures me over sour beers about Na-

ried its detritus eastward along the maelstroms that

gasaki. I listen to him mid-pucker as he constellates

slowly sink the sea of islands.

across the history of the nuclear world. Hiroshima, the brightest one. At war’s “end.” Nagasaki, the oth-

If I squinted hard enough, the stars made the shape of the Pickering power plant.

er bomb. No fanfares, except after Hiroshima. Then, like the Greek storytellers of old, Brenton connected

***


Amidst these atomic fever dreams, new celestial

At the edge of this eastern mouth, sand blankets

forms congealed in the chaotic galaxy called Scarbor-

the shores, and oceanic breezes billow against the low

ough. The radiation stirred below from the deaths of

trees. Melanin-rich gatherings unwrap nostalgia for

tiny stars that powered our homes. Above, explosions

their tropic homes across the sand, culinary home-

from the hatred of mediocre white men on bully pul-

lands in their Tupperwares laid across the fabric. Un-

pits. Steely glares from police flashlights underneath

derneath the rusty bridge, a verdant train periodical-

the Gardiner and along Orton Park. News cameras

ly interrupts newcomers’ first forays into the Rouge

amidst the maroon of Hennessy and scarlet of side-

Beach. Three trains later, and the horns join the blar-

walks. In between, some of us pulled together in the

ing bass of reggaeton, the folding waves against our

immense gravity from which we speculated constel-

feet, the cheers and jeers from the badminton game.

lations yet-to-come. We forged commons amidst the

Just another rhythm of Scarborough life.

little nebulae of our neighborhoods.

Walking west along the tracks, the brush obscures

Along the crests of the Rouge Valley, our creative

the paper-thin blue horizon. We salvage branches for

writing classrooms flourished in that gravity. In front

the firepit, and toss half-baked Backwoods into the

of the light of PowerPoint projection, Daniel absorbed

stack. Justin wraps shallots and enoki bunches in

the brilliance from his students. Natasha flashed with

aluminum foil, and scatters them amidst the heated

fictions sparking from the embers of hip-hop bass in

sand. Katie commandeers the troops through the

her chest. I wrote under the flicker of subway lights

trees to gather firewood in her Schomburg wilderness

and the glint of a loaded gun. With her pen, Oubah

way. Jason and Mauriene playfully Super Mario down

made the pink of gums glow like the Pleiades. Like

the boulders to gather at their alcoves. Pat steals away

their own Hubble Space Telescopes, Chelsea and Le-

with the café girl and two waffle cones. Fateha makes

anne pulled light-years from the darkness into their

believe a Bay of Bengal with every shoreline splash.

fictions. And Téa, our east end prophet, recited new

Several yards away, smoky shadows of other Scarbor-

zodiacs from the star clusters of Galloway windows.

ough kids who dare to dance so close to destruction.

Fittingly, we found our stories beneath the grimy

On the shores of the Leading Sea, Scarborough

sky lights of the Meeting Place. This edifice lies adja-

sets with many suns. The first casts its dying embers

cent to the maze of the Humanities Wing, Brutalist

across the horizon, tempered by the coal silhouettes

fortress walls in the bosom of the Rouge Valley’s em-

of the Bluffs. The other bonfire suns dot the secret

brace. These darlings of the architect John Andrews

clearings of makeshift beaches.

traced stairways to heaven. Each step a grey prism

Radiant little lives in the tow of a dying star.

reaching for the clouds, relics of an era when formless sludge congealed into modernist Babels, the poetry

//

of hard labor. Eastward, other prisms of concrete in the sky: the Pickering power plant. Three academic works inform this essay: Teresia K. ***

Teaiwa, “bikinis and other s/pacific n/oceans” (1994); Lisa Yoneyama, Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space, and the

While the plant’s grey shapes interrupt the azure

Dialectics of Memory (1999); and Peter C. Van Wyck,

pool up above, other roots and grasses caress the

The Highway of the Atom (2010). The author thanks the

waters flowing into the cerulean of the Leading Sea.

good folks of Scarborough and adjacents in the mak-

A mighty river named red inaugurates in two places.

ing of this essay.

The western mouth speaks its gospel underneath the Orton Park bridge. The eastern lips smile into the reeds, in the company of families casting their rods into the deep.


THE

EPHEMERAL GIRLS BY JADE WALLACE We are the cheap girls, holding corner store slushies, wearing second-hand miniskirts and last night’s eyeliner. We make a raccoon-eyed reconnaissance of environmental apocalypse, take a scavenger’s view of devastation. Nothing is precious. Even our hearts are made of cinnamon and we trade them away for dimes. Infatuation is a kind of survival. A new crush every week, a new hair colour for every crush. Greedy, slutty, psycho, skittish, indecisive, sociopathic, uncommitted: we’ve heard the pseudo-diagnoses but they are not our names. We will take the world for a kiss if we can get it, but we do not ask for, and we do not expect, the luxury of time. We are the dayfly girls, our genders suspended in intervals of incomplete maturation. We slip, thick and fast, between girl and boy and void. Never woman, even when someone wants a wife. We do not pine for diamonds, do not try to make our flings into either heroes or men the way some of their exes did. We are the unmending femmes, forms unfixed as moving flame. We are the easy girls, the ephemeral girls—and we vanish just as quickly as we came.

Previously published in Anomaly.


A Voices from the FOLD: Year 6 original essay.

THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TRANSLATED BY JANE SHI

water has a syntax / i am still learning /

of pipeline workers and the violence they inflict upon

a middle voice

Indigenous women and Two-Spirited people; the —Rita Wong, “Pacific Flow”

destruction of habitat of other-than-human relatives; and the razing of medicine patches, trapping grounds,

“Do you speak Chinese?” an elderly Chinese cou-

and sacred sites.

ple asked me as I stood at the edge of a blockade at Clark and Hastings in Vancouver. It was the second

In that moment, I didn’t have the vocabulary to ex-

day of solidarity actions with the Wet’suwet’en after

plain that we were shutting down Canada in solidarity

the RCMP invaded the Gidimt’en checkpoint near the

with Wet’suwet’en people’s peaceful defence of their

Unist’ot’en Camp on February 6. The sun had come

homelands.

out after a day of rain.

And yet the couple understood, nodding. I pre-

Oh shoot, I thought. How do you say “north” in Man-

tended to understand what they said back to me. Af-

darin again? Okay, Beijing is to the north, so “bei” means

ter they walked away, I went back to being part of the

north, and if I point up … uh, uh…

blockade.

I had half a second to collect my thoughts: “So the cops went into – First Nations’ lands up north … the government – is stealing – Indigenous lands – and stealing their children … so we’re here, saying that’s not okay…” In that moment, I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain that we were shutting down Canada in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en people’s peaceful defence of their homelands – against Coastal GasLink’s unlawful pipeline construction, against RCMP invasion, and against Canada’s colonial violence. I had no words – in any language, really – to convey the grief and loss that Indigenous communities face because of man camps full

In that moment, I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain that we were shutting down Canada in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en people’s peaceful defence of their homelands.


Making conversation with Chinese-speaking

ment was my way of asking my diasporic community

strangers, especially seniors, is a common experience

to offer their skills and ingenuity in a moment when

for me. Despite not being able to read a Chinese menu

our participation is crucial. What has always been a

or memorize routes of city buses, my ability to speak

source of grief – my lack of fluency and connection to

Mandarin and my youthful gait will often wash me to

family and culture – became my motivation.

the shores of these elders’ lives. It’s not quite so common, though, that this shoreline would wind its way

I wrote “Respect Indigenous law” in Chinese on a sign and arrived at the blockade the next day.

into the crowded throngs of civil disobedience, as I help stop traffic at the Port of Vancouver. Later that night, I created a Google Doc: “How to explain what’s happening to the Wet’suwet’en people in Chinese.” My intention was to help other heritage

A HISTORY OF MIGRANTINDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY

speakers – and me – expand our vocabulary in order

When Wet’suwet’en solidarity actions stopped traffic

to explain current events to our Chinese-speaking

and blocked railway lines in February, OMNI Televi-

family members, relatives, and neighbours. I asked

sion was the only Chinese-language network covering

people I knew on Twitter and locally if they could

blockades across the country. They aired a Cantonese

translate words like “hereditary chiefs,” “RCMP,” and

interview with Bill Chu, founder of the Canadians for

“Indigenous sovereignty,” as well as slogans like “Con-

Reconciliation Society. Chu is one of several Chinese

sultation is not consent,” “Respect Indigenous law,”

settlers unearthing the relationships between Indig-

and “Reconciliation is dead.”

enous peoples and the 15,000 Chinese migrants who built the railway that helped cement the fledgling Ca-

What has always been a source of grief – my lack of

nadian state.

fluency and connection to family and culture – became my motivation.

During the 1880s in the interior of what we would

Pockets filled with beach pebbles are all I’ve got

come to call British Columbia, Indigenous people and

for language as a 1.5th-generation Chinese settler

Chinese workers sometimes teamed up against the vi-

and heritage Mandarin speaker. Creating this docu-

olence and discrimination they faced from white work-


ers and foremen. The Nlaka’pamux recall stories of re-

prove pivotal in the public hearings about 105 Keefer

ciprocal care – like the times when Indigenous people

Street in 2017, when residents of Vancouver’s China-

nursed railway workers, who were left to die along

town fought against a rezoning that would allow a de-

the tracks, back to health. Remnants of Nlaka’pamux

veloper to build three additional storeys of penthouse

pit houses can still be found intermingled with aban-

condominiums. During the hearings, low-income Chi-

doned Chinese residences, some of which mimic the

nese seniors’ speeches were cut in half because the

Nlaka’pamux’s traditional pit houses. The Sto:lo also

city bylaws failed to account for translators in their

remember the Chinese railway workers who died of

speaking times.

the flu at Sxwóxwiymelh and the miners who died of a blasting incident at Lexwpopeleqwith’aim.

In 2014, leading up to raising the Survivors Totem Pole in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 2016 – a

Today, I see similar echoes of the Hong Kong pro-

symbol honouring survivors of colonialism, poverty,

tests of summer 2019 in the 2020 Wet’suwet’en rail

and racism – I attended a First Nations and Chinese

blockades.

seniors’ meet and greet. There, elders who rarely

One haunting detail of Chu’s research is the par-

interact because of language barriers but who have

allel that he draws between the Tiananmen Square

long lived alongside one another exchanged stories

Massacre of 1989 – when hundreds of protesters were

for the first time. Hearing each line of their stories

massacred by the Chinese military – and the so-called

repeated in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin made

“Oka Crisis,” the fight to protect a Kanien’kéhaka buri-

me realize just how powerful translation can be for

al ground from being desecrated by a golf course in

bringing communities together.

1990. Today, I see similar echoes of the Hong Kong protests of summer 2019 in the 2020 Wet’suwet’en

In 2016, during the height of the Black Lives Matter

rail blockades. Telegram, an encrypted chat app used

movement, people began translating statements about

to organize protests in Hong Kong, became a key

racial justice, police violence, and anti-Blackness into

source of updates during the weeks-long Indigenous

their mother tongues – Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, Tagalog.

youth-led occupation of the B.C. legislature steps.

Last summer, Lausan – an online leftist publication

In these moments of mass mobilization, we have

responding to the Hong Kong protests – translated sto-

opportunities to share strategies and wisdom be-

ries of Hong Kong’s Southeast Asian migrant work-

tween our communities. But such sharing cannot hap-

ers from English into Indonesian, and translated sex

pen without translation, which helps us build recipro-

workers’ stories from Traditional Chinese into English.

cal relationships while exposing similar experiences

In 2007, grassroots migrant justice group No One Is

of state violence.

Illegal translated a Nisga’a Elder’s welcome speech to a Punjabi refugee from English into Punjabi. In 2016,

TRANSLATING THE GRASSROOTS Grassroots translation work has a history longer than

during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, people began translating statements about racial justice, police violence, and anti-Blackness into their mother tongues – Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, Tagalog – and so “Letters for Black Lives” began.

my own short involvement. When Strathcona’s immigrant enclave was par-

This year, Asians in Support of Wet’suwet’en – a group

tially bulldozed in the 1960s to prepare for the city’s

formed shortly after I created my document – wrote

attempt at building a freeway through Vancouver’s

a statement of support for the Wet’suwet’en people,

Chinatown, Shirley Chan translated for her moth-

and translated it into 15 languages.

er, Mary Lee Chan, who organized the first protests against the freeway. Similar intergenerational translations would

One week after the blockade at Clark and Hastings, organizers Kimberley Wong and Rachel Cheang hosted an intergenerational banner-making party in


Vancouver’s Chinatown. There, several seniors I had

In those deep pools and wetlands, Indigenous land

met through my work on a Chinese seniors’ art and

defenders generously created the conditions for im/

storytelling project busied themselves painting the

migrant solidarity to thrive – the conditions for the

characters for “Respect Indigenous sovereignty” and

revolution to be translated.

“Shame on the RCMP” in Traditional Chinese. Around

When the Vancouver police served an injunction a

them, others created colourful signs in Burmese, Asi,

few minutes after we arrived, I wondered if our show

Tagalog, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean.

of support for the Wet’suwet’en land defenders posed

When several of us arrived at the Renfrew rail

a threat to Canada, just like Chinese migrant workers’

blockade later that night, the small blockade stirred

relationships with Indigenous people did many gener-

and shifted towards us. We shared with the women

ations ago.

and Elders of the gathering what we had written on our

While at the blockades, I poured hot chocolate

banners and signs. I thought of the Chinese ancestors

for little ones; ate an oven-hot sweet potato; and

who built both the railway that displaced Indigenous

witnessed Indigenous reclamation of land, language,

people, and early relationships of solidarity with them.

song, and ceremony. I felt welcome where I often

When the Vancouver police served an injunction a few

do not in mainstream activist spaces. This warmth

minutes after we arrived, I wondered if our show of

and intergenerational care was in sharp contrast to

support for the Wet’suwet’en land defenders posed

the violence of the police, who would bar media and

a threat to Canada, just like Chinese migrant workers’

witnesses from filming arrests as they unfolded; for-

relationships with Indigenous people did many gener-

bid lawyers from speaking with arrested Indigenous

ations ago.

youth; and separate those arrested into different paddy wagons despite hours of negotiation. Days after, I

WHO WE BRING ALONG

felt sick remembering their uniforms and guns. If that sickness is a sliver of what Indigenous people feel, dispossessed from their lands and criminal-

Though racialized settlers benefit from – and thus are

ized for defending them, then the warmth and hope

complicit in – Indigenous peoples’ dispossession, Feb-

of the blockade is a glimmer of the future that Indige-

ruary showed us that there is a clear path to trans-

nous people are fighting for.

forming our roles here on stolen lands.

When Wet’suwet’en language speakers translate

In “Being with the land, protects the land,” Leanne

their stories, law, and system of governance into En-

Betasamosake Simpson observes that “[t]he practic-

glish for the settler world to understand, they gener-

es of life-giving land protection of the Wet’suwet’en

ously share themselves in the same breath as they

reminds me that blockades are like beaver dams. One

experience Canada’s colonial violence and erasure.

can stand beside the pile of sticks blocking the flow

The larger the audience, and the louder our dissent

of the river, and complain about inconveniences, or

to the Canadian state’s theft and violence, the more

one can sit beside the pond and witness the beavers’

likely it is that the state will back down. When we bring

life-giving brilliance – deep pools that don’t freeze for

our ancestors, elders, aunties, and young ones along,

their fish relatives, making wetlands full of moose,

there’s a fighting chance that we will win.

deer and elk food and cooling spots, places to hide

Until the RCMP and Coastal GasLink leave Wet’su-

calves and muck to keep the flies away, open spac-

we’ten lands, and until Indigenous sovereignty is ful-

es in the canopy so sunlight increases creating warm

ly respected, let there be flyers all over the streets of

and shallow aquatic habitat around the edges of the

Chinatown, mailboxes filled with zines about Wet’su-

pond for amphibians and insects, plunge pools on

wet’en, and Telegram dinging continuously. Let these

the downstream side of dams for juvenile fish, gravel

messages be waves.

for spawning, home and food for birds. Blockades are both a negation [of] destruction and an affirmation of life.”

//


Previously published in Watch Your Head (Coach House Books, 2020).

SAFETY NET BY YOHANI MENDIS

I’m on vacation in a place where two languages feud-

notic gaze of the waves rocking the sides of the boat,

ed, took up arms, and began a war.

the Indian ocean sighing beneath our feet. My father’s

It is 7 a.m. Sri Lanka time, and despite the jet-lag,

folk, the Karava clan, were coastal traders in the sev-

I’m playing tourist in my birth country on this double

enteenth century and likely among the first Southern-

decker vessel, its side emblazoned with the logo of a

ers to sight the Portuguese ships, the first in a steady

spouting whale and ‘Dilshan’s Tours’ in jolly red font.

drain of colonizers.

A headcount by the captain—probably Dilshan him-

The motor sputters to life and tugs us out of the

self—up front, as I follow his bobbing eyes around

dock, away from the smell of dying sea creatures

deck, tells me two things; I’m the only brown skinned

floundering in nets. Down at the shore, fishermen

passenger on this boat and this tour is overbooked.

perch on stilts in the water, their sarongs hitched up

My outlier presence is zeroed in on by a latecomer,

wiry thighs. I have read that nowadays this tactic is

the spokesman of a big hats and sunblock laden en-

less about catching fish than it is foreigners, the more

tourage from a wealthier Asian country. Waving em-

abundant and less slippery fellows. Sure enough,

phatically in my direction, he laments to the captain:

a pair of bohemian clad paparazzi run out from un-

“you can’t give our reserved seats to your friends, it’s not fair.” I would like to tell him that a fair arrangement could be made with a few choice words before a final “man overboard!” settles his overcrowding concern. I glance towards my left and meet my boyfriend’s green eyes, his entreating look, as if to say, “We’re on holiday, let’s not make a scene?” I’ve said time and again that these yearly trips around the island are for his benefit, but that’s a lie and he knows it. Each time, I am on a mission to anchor as many roots as possible to compensate for decades of living abroad. Leaving it up to the captain to sort out today’s special passenger, I confront the hyp-

My father’s folk, the Karava clan, were coastal traders in the seventeenth century and likely among the first Southerners to sight the Portuguese ships, the first in a steady drain of colonizers.


der the tree cover, hand in hand into the low tide and

how the animals’ boundaries aren’t respected and I

one deposits a tip into the model’s weathered palms.

tell him there are no such regulations here, whether

The photos will resurface in their globetrotter touting

animals or people.

blogs, entered in photo contests that feature fading

As the boat cruises further out to sea, the crewmen

world traditions. In these times of dynamite fishing

start serving up cups of black tea and pol sambol sand-

and deep sea trawling, they are the stilt fishermen’s

wiches. One of them singles me out for a chat, sidling

most consistent catch. As our boat gathers speed, the

over to my seat. Sinhala is becoming a tattered robe I

men grow smaller and smaller until the expanse of

wear for identification when the need arises. The In-

water swallows them.

do-Aryan dialect feels stilted and in parts broken from

I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing on this

too many years spent living in various countries and no

whale-watching tour, buying into the sanitized stories

one to speak with. No. That’s partly a lie. My parents,

of paradise that travel agencies sell, when I could be

worried my English skills would fail me in the big world

spending the precious minutes in the hill capital of

if they spoke or taught their mother-tongue at home,

Kandy with my parents, recent retirees and return-

steered clear of it. They had a change of heart by the

ees to their birthplace after decades of working in

time my adult teeth had fully grown in, hastily packing

the Middle East. The captain is frantically talking on

my brother and I off to Sinhala classes thrice a week

his phone, getting a tip-off from another tour boat

after school. Unbeknownst to them, a pretty girl at

nearby on the whereabouts of whales. Speed picks

the British private school I attended had kindly point-

up, cameras at the ready, and with a sinking feeling I

ed out that I came from the country of housemaids. A

notice another dozen boats like ours appearing out of

month into the classes, my twelve-year-old self loudly

nowhere to converge. The captain’s yells for everyone

declared that I did not want to learn the language of

to remain seated have the opposite effect; almost ev-

housemaids anymore. That put an end to my parents’

eryone rushes over to the side of the alleged sighting,

linguistic experiment.

tilting the deck. I silently pray that Big Hat Sunblock

My sad “Singlish” doesn’t dissuade the crewman

Man does not know how to swim. The commotion

from chatting in a decisively in-group manner. He asks

dissipates almost as soon as it began – a false alarm.

where I live, and when I say Canada his brows furrow

My Very Canadian Boyfriend is visibly distressed at

like a dark cloud over his eyes.


“Lots of Tamils there, no?” The inability to exit a

“You speak the language,” he says, “But if I was on

boat in the same way one would at an unsavoury din-

my own, I’d be helpless in getting around. Or looked

ner party dawns on me. I look away and scan the hori-

at like I’m a walking money bag.” He chuckles, before

zon for a sea mammal that isn’t there.

asking my help in buying rambutan from a street ven-

Fifteen years earlier, a new species of whale was

dor at local prices.

sighted in these waters. Once an unassuming fish-

I’d forgotten to get a local chip for my phone at

ermen’s bay, Mirissa now boasts a myriad of gaudi-

the airport, but the old Dutch lighthouse guides us

ly painted tour boats, surf shacks, and questionable

back to where we left our car.

bed-and-breakfasts. “The Colonial Experience Rest-

We return to our beachfront hotel just after six.

house, open for business,” I read from the sign of

Flagging the entrance to the lobby are two Kandyan

one on our drive back from the tour that had ended

drummers who thunder up a song and dance rou-

an hour earlier than estimated. Not that either of us

tine each time a car rolls up the porte-cochère. Half

minded much; the seaward excursion had devolved

dressed women and men in every shade of sunburn

into a race of motorboats charging time and again to-

saunter past us in the direction of the poolside bar,

wards grey specks they told us were whales.

buffet and ocean. Our bellies remind us that it’s been

We spend the rest of the day in Galle town with Elephant House iced lollies dripping down our hands.

a long time since lunch, and we beeline for dinner. I join the hungry queue at the hopper station, watch-

To my surprise, at the maritime museum I get free

ing a weary cook crack eggs into the swirling crepe-like

entry when I speak in Sinhala, the attendant nodding

batter. At long last, my turn comes. I place my order

approval at this exemplar diaspora. He explains that

in Sinhala and her eyes briefly light up before asking

since I have brought a suddha with me, my admit-

where I am from.

tance is on the house. We wander through the partially open-roofed halls with a million shards of light falling through the cracks, musing at wreckage dealt to the first colonial ships by the Indian sea. We step outside, climbing atop the fort’s south facing ledge. Giddy with salty breeze and the ocean ablaze with fleeting light, I tease that we should quit our jobs in Toronto and move here. The war that drove my family like so many others out of this place is over. I could get a diving licence, disappearing for days into this aqueous, wordless world. I could conveniently forget the reasons why my Sinhalese, island-loving parents left it all behind. Reasons that include but are not limited to: burnt bodies strung from lampposts, weekly bombings in Colombo, food rationing for a child to eat, nuns demanding bribes for preschool admission, free speech stifling spies, fat cats carving chunks out of a country and selling them to foreign buyers for a song and all the while the coral beds are crumbling, turning a sickly sepia monochrome and no one sees the loss as it happens– Just like that, the ephemeral light is gone, replaced by a dull crimson splayed across the horizon. “It’s a great place for a holiday, love. Now don’t get me wrong, but I feel trapped here,” says a voice that sounds a thousand miles away. I give my boyfriend an incomprehensible stare.

“Kandy, hill country,” I say with a smile and ask her the same. //


UNFRAMED BY BARBARA TRAN In the Vietnamese language, there is no present or past tense. Verbs are not conjugated. Time is discerned through context. Without context, there is no going or gone or will go: you can only be. In my family’s albums, photos are arranged in no particular order. On the left, my family before a cathedral in Montréal. On the right, my sisters in saris. Falling out of the album, American students marching in support of the war in Việt Nam. About three inches wide with deckle-edged frames, sepia-toned photos of people I don’t know but see in my mother’s face. My father in a cowboy hat in the desert.

Previously published in Cutthroat.


A Voices from the FOLD: Year 6 original essay.

TUNDRA MIST BY ELLEN CHANG-RICHARDSON

Christian crosses pierce the pink sky. The winter crisp against my skin. It pulls me into a memory.

By personal accounts, Sing fled from Cambodia with nothing. Hidden in the underbelly of a boat as it crossed into Laos. He was 19 when he landed in Canada, alone. Asylum was granted. Status: Political Refugee.

The real story, I am told is something entirely different.

*

The sun beat down, hot upon blistered fields Phar paused tilling, wiped her brow and looked up at the hazy sky. This is a far cry from a few years ago, when I danced at the palace for The King.


*

Hui-Juang!

I get up, cross the room. Peek in the doorway to answer his call. There he is. My gong-gong. He sits amongst his papers, the sheer history of their weight filling the quiet room.

We have to leave now, Fung muttered under the secrecy of palm-cool shade. It’s not safe for us here anymore. Their troops grow in number each day, gaining strength. Blocking the path between here and...

Pack only the essentials.

*

Snow drifts up, 20 degrees sub-zero. The tips of my lashes frozen where they blink. Was it snowing in Northern China, where he most certainly should be? Was the snow drifting up there too? Winds blows harsh from every direction, snow flecks gusting / clipping against my skin.

I grip myself closer.

*ding* 11:19 PM

I never expect any things anyway just know that. you do not have the gut and the boldness to go where no one has ever gone before


you do not have the gut and the boldness to go where no one has ever gone before

*ding* 11: 20 PM

you inherit not mine. let’s be it. have a good time like always

*ding* 11:56 PM

have a good time like always

With a sigh, I throw my phone onto the couch. I watch it bounce. Once,

twice,

think back

to the stories he used to tell me. It was always during a storm surge.

We used to dance in the rain, he would say.

It was how we got clean.

Clean from what, papa? Clean from the blood, bǎo bèi.

Clean from the aches the dirt.

But memory, has a way of skewing things.


WOLF BY SNEHA SUBRAMANIAN KANTA Even fragments of incense linger in a forest after a ghost body grows wings. Wolf toe-imprints form a trail over snow. The name of a bestiary is determined by the throb of ornate arrangements. There is scarce vegetation in winter.

What our hands carry is frost pinned

on palms that excavate into droplets.

We hurtle wind towards sundown fog.

Holy the tendon, ribcage, and velocity. Holy the throat that opens and closes a howl. The pang of hunger elucidates a rivulet of bones. Clouds shred open into flakes of snow. Trees quiver in the snow and blood drops from the canopy

beacon of transference. A ghost on the glacier.

A Voices from the FOLD: Year 6 original poem.

overhead. Nitrogen blends into soil as an orbit Vertigo sets until the dim arrival of crepuscule.


Previously published in THIS Magazine.

ON DISABILITY BY SUSAN MOCKLER

On August 20, 1995, I slipped into the passenger seat

trol of all my bodily functions. Nurses assumed my

of my friend’s rusty old hatchback. It was nine o’clock

body’s care: rolling it, washing it, feeding it, wrapping

at night. As we pulled onto the highway, heading from

it in a hospital gown, catheterizing its bladder every

Ottawa toward Montreal, I wriggled to get comfortable

four hours. These actions were beyond intimate for a

on the vinyl seat, smooth against my bare legs. Fasten-

31-year-old.

ing the seatbelt, I settled in.

What came next were five months in a rehabili-

By ten o’clock we had hit a moose.

tation centre and the gradual return of my left hand.

The first thing I remember is someone calling my

Shaky at first, I inched through hospital corridors ma-

name. I opened my eyes to the chaos. Shouting, slam-

noeuvring the joystick of a power wheelchair. Food

ming car doors, flashing lights. I couldn’t feel anything;

splattered around me like an infant feeding itself,

I couldn’t move. Next came the emergency room. My

though eventually I mastered showering, dressing,

friend, uninjured, except for a few scratches, tried to

and brushing my hair and teeth. My left hand became

reassure me.

a cornerstone of my independence, and walking was

“They think you might just be in shock,” he said. But after X-rays, an ambulance to Ottawa, and an MRI,

increasingly seen as optional, merely a way to move from place to place. The wheelchair would suffice.

a neurosurgeon said broken neck, the highest two vertebrae fractured, a quadriplegic spinal cord injury. My injury was called “incomplete” because my spinal cord’s capacity to convey messages to and from my brain was somewhat intact. I might regain enough movement in one arm to transfer to a wheelchair, I was told. I might be able to live independently. I learned in an instant how one can shift from ability to disability in so unannounced and sudden a way. At first I could only move my eyes. Machines, attached by tubes snaking across me, had taken con-

My left hand became a cornerstone of my independence, and walking was increasingly seen as optional, merely a way to move from place to place. The wheelchair would suffice.


Yet my legs recovered. From initial twitches to

unique. Depictions of persons with disabilities in the

more coordinated movements, I slowly graduated to

media reinforce stereotypes that promote such objec-

propelling a manual wheelchair with my feet, stepping

tification and discrimination. Rarely is a person with a

between parallel bars and walking with a cane. Life

disability presented as a multidimensional, complex

returned after a year. I walked slowly with a limp and

character, driven by human desire, who just happens

retained little function in my right arm. I learned to

to possess physical challenges. Instead, they are laud-

write again with my left hand.

ed as inspirational heroes, victims, or objects of pity. A

At that time, I viewed my recovery as reclamation of self, though I had no understanding of what my life

reality show that followed people with disabilities on dates chose the moniker The Undateables.

would become. Disabled, I had crossed some invisible ***

line and become “other.” Public scrutiny of my body was initially surprising. In line for coffee, walking along the street, trav-

Evenings out are often fraught with complications.

elling by taxi: Did you have a stroke? An accident?

Venue information on accessibility is inconsistently

What happened? Marked physically by trauma, I felt

provided, and when it is, rarely do the words “barri-

on display, having lost some right to privacy. People

er-free” appear. Listed under “accessibility” is often

seemed curious, often offering advice or encourage-

the number of stairs at the entrance and the flights

ment as one would to a small child. Good for you to

required to access washrooms. And since stairs ren-

be out on your own!

der an establishment inaccessible, this information

Other intrusions were less benign. “What’s the matter with you anyway?” a cab driver once asked me

tells people with mobility disabilities that they’re not welcome.

after I got into his taxi. “I was in an accident,” I replied.

I sometimes attend events in inaccessible loca-

“You can’t use your arm? And you don’t walk very well.

tions. Once I was helped up the stairs to a friend’s

Christ,” he said. “If I was you, I’d kill myself.”

birthday party, only to slide down again on my bum

While that cabbie likely just suffered from individ-

in full view of other guests, patrons, and staff at the

ual prejudices, his sentiment toward me was hardly

end of the night. Could my friend have picked a more


accessible space? Possibly, but in Toronto they’re in

many people as possible, regardless of ability, would

short supply.

help anyone with mobility limitations experience

I travel often and am highly dependent on acces-

their cities more fully. Plus the mere presence of peo-

sibility services. There’s little sensitivity to be found

ple with disabilities in public spaces could lessen the

receiving wheelchair assistance at Canadian airports.

prejudices all too present in our society.

Able-bodied friends I travel with are typically ad-

It might also preclude the need to categorize

dressed in my place, with airline staff referring to me,

oneself as disabled, or even the need to prove

if ever, in the third person.

“disability” to gain access to services and built

Alone, I have been “parked” in the middle of ter-

environments. Ability exists along a continuum,

minals with little explanation. Agents complain to me

comprised of visible and invisible conditions. We

about the number of “chairs” they have to assist, their

should all remember that.

sore backs, or staffing shortages. They converse with

I once attended a conference where a speaker

each other, griping about working conditions and per-

reminded the audience that “able-bodiedness is a

sonal matters as if I were a burdensome object to be

temporary state.” Whether from birth, illness, injury,

shunted around.

or aging, many of us will need accessible services and

Over two decades of being disabled have affirmed

environments.

for me that the social stigma and discrimination people with disabilities face extends to the ever-present

Frankly, we deserve better than sliding our bums down stairs.

struggle for access to services and built environments. Universal design, emphasizing the creation of en-

//

vironments that can be understood and used by as

Romance stories…

and more books you’ll want to discover.

Discover books: Harlequin.com Romance: WriteforHarlequin.com Fiction and Nonfiction: Bookclubbish.com

337 FOLD Ad.indd 1

3/19/21 7:15 AM


PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA PROUD SPONSOR OF THE FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY WELCOMES OUR AUTHORS

NEKESA AFIA

TREY ANTHONY

ANTONIO MICHAEL DOWNING

JASMINE GUILLORY

JANE IGHARO

CARRIE JENKINS

SONYA LALLI

AMANDA LEDUC

ETERNITY MARTIS

SHAHIR MASSOUD

SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA

EDEN ROBINSON


A Voices from the FOLD: Year 6 original essay.

NOT ENOUGH EXES TO MAKE A POKÉMON TEAM, BUT ENOUGH TO PERSONIFY THE FOUR SEASONS BY ALEXANDRA HOPE AURUM THE FOUR SEASONS

xxii. Summer

A cool springtime in the forest. Rivers. Vivid analogue

ness in Miyazaki forest, the forest speaks, something

photography. Greens more than green. Love more

something. Cat paw dreamily lifted in the church.

than love. More than ever. Faster than time. Nothing

Dream. Just one drop to fuel the nightmare (91 oc-

less than anything.

tane). Sun burns the skin until there is freedom.

Heat in the mountains, perpetual summer. A haze of

16. Fall

something, something. Youthful peaks, old terrain.

Hope to a fault. Reasons split along the fault line, split

Boots that don’t match the occasion. Unpreparedness.

the year in two. Un equal split, too hot for a jacket, too

Lethargy. A fine line between trying|wanting. Mad-

rainy to go bare skin. Dark winter warmth in the shadows of the cloaked caves. Threatening sleep, open windows, bracing. A

xxiv. Winter

secret. Two secrets, three secrets, more, more, more.

The night lasts too long, can’t go home. Courteous

Unfamiliar sounds.

Hospitality. Go home, only if the air’s cold enough. Can’t go home. Two months, three children—no more.

Bright autumn in the grace of our maker. The distance,

no.more.

as always. Heat, but cold. Dreams of living, ending in death. Change like spring, undercover winter, under

6. Spring

the cover of summer. Visions of Love/Visions of Death.

Discovery. Dead leaves just as likely if not more to be set on fire. A bed of fourest creatures. Exposed lungs

The fifth element, emptiness. A return to the ocean. Re-

fill beyond full, limitless.

turned to sender, burial at sea. Sandstone foundation, beautiful crumbling iron bleeding out between fingers,

July. Lucky 7s. Try again. to say some

thing. Some-

thing said, could have been anything. But not without intention, gathering up the blueberries like memories,


needing them, kneading them into intention, intend-

where. So many words. Buried in the snow. The snow

ing to need them later, alter the memories, find a way

melts to reveal they made no sense in the first place.

through the blackberry bush, away from the memo-

They’re just words after all, it’s not like they’re poetry.

ries of raspberries. Lie. on the beach. Decoding messages, some now some later. Some are April. Shots of Everclear in the basement. Last time

in English and just as confusing. All outgoing messag-

ever in bed. One time. Has it only been a month? To

es require some input. Absorb everything possible.

follow the sun down. Accept what it is. The only chance

Just listen for that one word and write it down ten

to feel alive. Fact: not dead yet. Gracefully lay down for

times. Maybe it means something? Too much infor-

the first time. Hidden messages by the bed.

mation to handle, searching for new places to store it: in the heart, on the back of a chocolate bar, in a

September. Nine months before it began to show. Put

painting. Some of them will always be there to go back

a sticker on top of it but the one below still shows.

to. Flooded by memories in spring until—

One semester. That’s it. College dropout distracted by Mozart hiding under the table and the dreams of any-

Summer will burn them casually with a lens through

thing but this reality.

which the past becomes smokey and distorted. Mint cold like April but hot sun of May, deep as tis-

February. One step past the Gates of Janus, two

sue. Nose clear enough to breathe in the sky, with a

months, too cold, two tongues, too mute, two rooms,

frame that can support the lightness for once. Lay

two breaks, too much, to stay, too late, to leave, two

down on the table for, Oh, Nine. Never been so rest-

lost, to one, to one, two, lost too,

ed. Spring irons out this new beginning; Brussels sprouts in the morning.

In the winter there is snow. Get a grip, everyone knows. Tired marks under the eyes. Location changes, the

Cuddling on a bench in the spring, separated only by

footprints always lead away. Death is comfortable; just

the fall. Wishing for it to last forever, but the bench is

a little bit of effort to get some sleep, some help, some

too cold—what if someone saw? Wait by the stream,


disable location services, leave a note on the rock, nope,

heat and cold. They all have life and they always come

someone’s coming; distract the wind for a change of di-

back. There is one thing

rection, get carried away for hours. Should only take a couple of years to get back.

Heart to heart. Everything else will change. Transformation along this line: Heart -> heart. Looking to

Recycled template. Missed connection. Missing the

fill the emptiness without. Without anything to fill it

connection here or there. Leave then come back then

with. Within the idea there is truth: look at the Moon.

separate: the order is important. The seasons are

Whether it’s there or not it still pulls. The idea with-

slightly out of order. Ask how the seasons are con-

in pulls for years and years and years and years and

nected. They aren’t. They all have wind and rain and

years and years and years and years //

FESTIVAL PARTICIPANTS AUTHORS, POETS & PERFORMERS

NATHAN ADLER is author of Wrist and Ghost Lake, and co-editor of the Bawaajigan anthology. He is Jewish, Ojibwe, and a member of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation. NEKESA AFIA (Nuh-kes-ah Ah-fee-ah) is a Canadian mystery writer. Dead Dead Girls is her debut novel. TREY ANTHONY is an award-winning writer, motivational speaker, and relationship/life coach. Canadian Poet Of Honor, MAHLIKAH AWE:RI is an AfroIndigenous Artist For Social Change, shifting paradigms through Indigenized ways of knowing and being; in-relation to the land & to each other. ANDREA BENNETT is the author of Like a Boy but Not a Boy, a book of essays out now with Arsenal Pulp Press. CICELY BELLE BLAIN is a Black, queer, non-binary writer, consultant and activist. SONJA BOON is a researcher, writer, teacher, and flutist who lives in St. Johns, Canada.

IVA CHEUNG is a Certified Professional Editor, indexer, and researcher who specializes in plain language and advocates for accessibility and equity in editing and publishing. LILY CHU loves ordering the second-cheapest wine, wearing perfume all the time, and staying up far too late reading a good book. She writes romantic comedies set in Toronto with strong Asian characters. KIM CLARK is a Vancouver Island author whose first and latest novel takes an edgy and humorous dive into disability, sex, money and tiny houses. P. DJÉLI CLARK is a writer of diverse and dangerous speculative fiction. DWAYNE DE ROSARIO (DeRo) is one of the most decorated Canadian athletes of our generation and co-author, with Brendan Dunlop, of DeRo: My Life, out now with ECW Press. ARIANNE DES ROCHERS is a translator, scholar and educator from Montreal. USA Today bestselling author SONALI DEV writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world.

TANYA BOTEJU is a teacher and writer living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, BC).

ANTONIO MICHAEL DOWNING grew up in southern Trinidad, Northern Ontario, Brooklyn, and Kitchener. He is a musician, writer, and activist based in Toronto. He performs music as John Orpheus.

TENILLE K. CAMPBELL is a Dene/Métis author from English River First Nation, whose newest collection, Nedi Nezu (Arsenal Pulp Press) is a sensual exploration of body, land and love.

BRENDAN DUNLOP is a Canadian sports television anchor and writer based in Toronto and the co-author, with Dwayne De Rosario, of DeRo: My Life, out now with ECW Press. FRANCESCA EKWUYASI is a writer and multidisciplinary artist from Lagos, Nigeria.


YARA EL-GHADBAN is an award-winning PalestinianCanadian novelist and anthropologist.

HUDSON LIN writes diverse romances featuring queer and disabled people of color.

THERESE ESTACION writes poetry that explores her identity as a member of the Filipinx diaspora and a woman with a disability.

JASON LOO is a Toronto-based cartoonist and co-creator behind the Eisner Award-winning series Afterlift.

TAWHIDA TANYA EVANSON is an Antiguan-Québecoise poet, author and artist. SAMANTHA GARNER‘s work has previously appeared in Broken Pencil, Sundog Lit, Kiss Machine, The Fiddlehead, Storychord, WhiskeyPaper and The Quarantine Review. JASMINE GUILLORY is the New York Times bestselling author of six romance novels, including The Wedding Date, The Proposal, and the upcoming While We Were Dating.

JAYDA MARLEY is a 19-year-old nationally-acclaimed Afro-Indigenous poet of Ojibwe & Jamaican Descent, youth activist, and community healer from Tkaronto. ETERNITY MARTIS is an award-winning journalist and author of the bestselling book They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life and Growing Up. She is a Journalist-inResidence at UBC.

BILAL HASHMI is a translator and publisher based in Toronto, Ontario.

SHAHIR MASSOUD is best known as the former host of CBC’s The Goods, Man of the Kitchen, and Around the World in 10 Meals. Shahir is a graduate of the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, and the French Culinary Institute in New York.

FARAH HERON is a writer of rom-coms with South Asian flair for both adult and teen readers.

NADINE MATHESON lives in London and is a practising Criminal Defence Lawyer.

MARCI IEN is a devoted Community Leader, Mother, awardwinning Journalist, Author and Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre.

SHANI MOOTOO’s most recent novel, Polar Vortex was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, her fourth Giller nomination.

JANE IGHARO writes about strong, audacious, beautifully flawed Nigerian women much like the ones in her life.

SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA is the bestselling author of the novels Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and a bunch of other books.

UZMA JALALUDDIN is the author of Ayesha at Last and Hana Khan Carries On, as well as a teacher and columnist for the Toronto Star. JO JEFFERSON (they/them) is a Toronto-based queer writer, parent, and community worker. CARRIE JENKINS is an award-winning philosopher and writer. She lives with two sphynx cats. JESSICA JOHNS is a nehiyaw aunty with English-Irish ancestry and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. OONYA KEMPADOO is a creative writer, published and critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, and author of three novels. AUSMA ZEHANAT KHAN is the author of the critically acclaimed Khattak/Getty crime series, the Khorasan Archives fantasy series, and the forthcoming crime novel Blackwater Falls. THOMAS KING is the author of The Inconvenient Indian, The Back of the Turtle, Indians on Vacation, and Sufferance. He is a retired university professor and a Companion to the Order of Canada. BUNMI LADITAN is an author and poet living in Quebec by way of California. SONYA LALLI is a romance and women’s fiction author of Indian heritage. Serena Singh Flips the Script is her latest novel. EDDIE LARTEY is a Hamiltonian wordsmith that is dedicated and equally in love with poetic performance and community building. AMANDA LEDUC is a writer and disability rights advocate, and the Communications and Development Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD). Her latest novel, The Centaur’s Wife, is out now with Random House Canada.

CHRISTINA MYERS is the editor of BIG: Stories About Life in Plus-Sized Bodies (Caitlin Press, 2020). Her debut novel, The List of Last Chances, will be released in April 2021.


Editor, translator, and essayist DIMITRI NASRALLAH is the author of three novels, most recently 2018’s The Bleeds.

KIMIKO TOBIMATSU is the author of the graphic memoir, Kimiko Does Cancer, illustrated by Keet Geniza.

MEICHI NG is the creator of Barely Functional Adult, a webcomic series she started back in 2015.

IAN WILLIAMS is a poet and fiction writer whose most recent books are Word Problems and Reproduction, winner of the Giller Prize.

NOYZ is an author, rapper, spoken word artist, and community organizer from Brampton, Ontario. LOUISA ONOMÉ is a Nigerian-Canadian writer of books for teens. BAHAR ORANG is a writer and physician-in-training living in Toronto. DOMINIK PARISIEN is a disabled, bisexual French Canadian. He is the author of the poetry collection Side Effects May Include Strangers and his work has appeared in various journals.

BRANDON WINT is a poet, spoken word artist and multidisciplinary collaborator. His debut collection of poetry, Divine Animal, was published by Write Bloody North in 2020. EVAN WINTER is a Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Locus bestselling speculative fiction writer whose current series opener is one of TIME magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time.

MODERATORS

COLE PAULS is a Tahltan comic artist, illustrator and printmaker hailing from Haines Junction YT with a BFA in Illustration from Emily Carr University.

K. J. AIELLO is a Toronto-based writer whose has been published in The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, Toronto Life, eTalk, This Magazine, Room Magazine, and others. K.J. lives with mental illness.

Born in Port-au-Prince (Haiti), raised in Saguenay (Quebec), STANLEY PÉAN is the author of 25 books. He is also a radio personality at Radio-Canada.

AEMAN ANSARI is an editor at HarperCollins Canada. She acquires, commissions, and edits narrative-driven fiction and non-fiction with a focus on books by BIPOC authors.

BEN PHILIPPE is an author and screenwriter. Born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, Ben previously wrote The Field Guide To The North American Teenager and Charming as a Verb.

ALICIA COX THOMSON has been in the media industry for 20 years, working as a digital and social media editor for Chatelaine, Flare and HGTV Canada. Alicia is currently working on a romance novel and raising two great kids with her husband in Hamilton.

NATASHA RAMOUTAR is the author of Bittersweet, published by Mawenzi House in 2020. RABBIT RICHARDS is learning how to exist on stolen land in a marginalized body. JAEL RICHARDSON is the founder and the Executive Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD); her debut novel, Gutter Child, was published in January 2021 with HarperCollins Canada. EDEN ROBINSON is a Haisla and Heiltsuk novelist. BARDIA SINAEE is an Iranian-Canadian poet and the author of Intruder (Anansi, 2021). SARAH SUK is the author of MADE IN KOREA. She currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. JONNY SUN is the bestselling author of Goodbye, Again, everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too, illustrator of Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a writer for the Emmy-nominated BoJack Horseman. ANOOSHA SYED is an illustrator and character designer for animation. SHEUNG-KING Aaron Tang’s debut novel, You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked, was longlisted for Canada Reads 2021 and named one of the best book debuts of 2020 by the Globe and Mail. He teaches creative writing at the University of Guelph. H. NIGEL THOMAS is a retired literature professor and the author of dozens of essays and eleven books that include five novels and three collections of short stories. CHERYL THOMPSON is an Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Industries, Ryerson University. Her second book Uncle: Race, Nostalgia and the Politics of Loyalty was published in February.

ELISABETH DE MARIAFFI is the critically acclaimed author of three books. Her newest novel, The Retreat, is coming July 2021 from Harper Collins Canada and Mulholland Books USA. LUCIANA ERREGUE (She/Her) is an Argentinian-Canadian art historian, writer, and editor and owner of Laberinto Press, which specializes in underrepresented Canadianhyphenated writers and literature in translation. RACHEL GIESE is an award-winning journalist and author and the editorial director of Xtra, an online magazine covering LGBTQ2S+ politics, activism, culture, health, sex and relationships. Her book Boys: What it Means to Become a Man was named one of The Globe and Mail’s 100 Favourite Books of 2018 and won the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Polticial Writing. ELAINE “LAINEY” LUI has been breaking entertainment news since the launch of her world-famous celebrity gossip website, LaineyGossip.com, and as a correspondent on CTV’s Canada’s #1 entertainment show, etalk. As a co-host on CTV’s The Social, Lainey is recognized for her unique insights into Hollywood and pop culture, along with her sharp business acumen as a successful female entrepreneur. TERESE MASON PIERRE is a writer, editor and the CoEditor-in-Chief of Augur Magazine, a Canadian speculative literature journal, and the author of the chapbooks Surface Area and Manifest. KHARY MATHURIN is a bookseller and education support manager at Another Story Bookshop, where he promotes the store’s values of equity and social justice by helping educators update their bookshelves with more diverse titles.


MAKDA MULATU is a writer, editor, and podcast producer living on Treaty 6 territory in amiskwacîwâskahikan or Edmonton, Alberta. DANNY RAMADAN is a Syrian-Canadian author and LGBTQ-refugee advocate whose debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, won multiple awards. His forthcoming novel, The Foghorn Echoes, will be released in Summer 2022. A veteran broadcast-journalist, SHELAGH ROGERS is the host of The Next Chapter, the CBC Radio program devoted to writing in Canada. As Program Consultant for Book Publishing at Ontario Creates, BIANCA SPENCE administers the Trillium Book Awards and other programs that support the economic development of Ontario’s publishing industry. RINALDO WALCOTT is a writer, critic and professor. He is the author of On Property (Biblioasis, 2021). SYRUS MARCUS WARE is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator, and the co-editor of the bestselling Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada (URP, 2020).

PUBLISHING PROFESSIONALS SAM HIYATE is an Agent Provocateur.

LUCIANA ERREGUE is a Banff Centre Literary Arts Program Alumni, and owner of Laberinto Press. JEN FERGUSON (she/her) believes writing, teaching and beading are political acts. SAMANTHA JONES is a Calgary-based (Treaty 7) poet of Black Canadian and European settler descent. SNEHA SUBRAMANIAN KANTA is a writer from Toronto and the founding editor of Parentheses Journal. ADRIAN DE LEON is a Los Angeles-based writer from Scarborough, and author of two books. MINELLE MAHTANI is a Muslim and Iranian/South Asian former radio broadcaster and professor at the Institute for Social Justice at UBC. ROWAN MCCANDLESS writes fiction and creative nonfiction and can be found at rowanmccandless.com. SUSAN MOCKLER has published in various literary journals. Her recently completed memoir is about being disabled. YOHANI MENDIS is a Toronto-based emerging writer. She works at Brick, A Literary Journal. JANE SHI is a queer Chinese settler poet, writer, and editor.

BRYAN IBEAS is a Fiction Editor for Invisible Publishing.

BARBARA TRAN gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council.

CHELENE KNIGHT works in various facets of the publishing industry.

JADE WALLACE (they/them) writes poetry and fiction and can be found at jadewallace.ca.

BRITTANY LAVERY (she/her/hers) started her publishing career in 2009 with an internship at The Cooke Agency (now CookeMcDermid) and moved on to positions at the University of Toronto Press and Penguin Random House Canada, joining Graydon House in 2015. RONAN SADLER is the Editorial Coordinator at Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first imprint. STEPHANIE SINCLAIR represents literary and upmarket fiction and nonfiction that provokes conversation and strives to challenge the way we think, feel and live. DEBORAH SUN DE LA CRUZ is an Editor at Penguin Canada. ERRIN TOMA (she/her) is the editorial assistant for Desire along with two other lines at Harlequin, joining the company in 2019. LÉONICKA VALCIUS is a Literary Agent at Transatlantic Agency, representing commercial and genre fiction for adults and children by writers of colour.

PROGRAM CONTRIBUTORS

ALEXANDRA HOPE AURUM (they/she) is a multi-media artist and lunar devout. ELLEN CHANG-RICHARDSON (she/her) is an awardwinning poet who lives/works on unceded Algonquin/ Anishinabeg territory. Find her at ehjchang.com. PHILLIP CRYMBLE is a physically disabled writer and literary scholar living in Atlantic Canada.

A

leAding north AmericAn literary management company representing storytellers across

all genres of books, speaking, podcast, tv and film. Our vibrant and diverse team of 19 agents from the East Coast (Boston, Halifax, New York, Toronto) to the West Coast (Los Angeles, Portland and Vancouver) is recognized in the industry for its integrity, passion, and commitment.


FESTIVAL SCHEDULE PREVIEW EVENTS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28 8:00pm – 9:15pm WRITERS ON PL ACE & BELONGING FRIDAY, APRIL 30 8:00pm – 9:30pm THE POET’S GALLERY

SUNDAY, MAY 2 12:00pm – 1:15pm THE NO -FEAR APPROACH TO WRITING BOOK PROPOSALS 2:00pm – 4:30pm THE VIRTUAL WRITERS’ HUB 6:00pm – 7:00pm OFFSCRIPT WITH MARCI IEN 8:00pm – 9:15pm BIG AND BEAUTIFUL BODIES

MONDAY, MAY 3 12:00pm – 1:15pm NAVIGATING THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY 3:00pm – 4:15pm DECOLONIZING EDITING 5:00pm – 6:15pm WRITERS ON HOPE & HISTORY

SATURDAY, MAY 1 12:00pm – 1:15pm WRITERS ON COMMUNIT Y & ISOL ATION: PART 1 2:00pm – 3:15pm ASK EDEN ROBINSON 4:00pm – 5:15pm POETRY & THE POETIC S OF HOPE 6:00pm – 7:15pm TOUGH TOPIC S FOR TEENS 8:00pm – 9:15pm WRITERS ON COMMUNIT Y & ISOL ATION : PART 2

8:00pm – 9:15pm WRITERS ON LOSS & GRIEF

TUESDAY, MAY 4 12:00pm – 1:15pm ANTI- OPPRESSIVE COPYEDITING 2:00pm – 3:15pm THE POWER & POSSIBILIT Y OF FIC TION 4:00pm – 5:15pm WRITERS ON DANGER & UNCERTAINT Y 8:00pm – 9:15pm WRITERS ON MYSTERY & MAGIC


WEDNESDAY, MAY 5

SATURDAY, MAY 8

1:00pm – 2:15pm THE SPOKEN WORD SHOWC ASE

12:00pm – 1:15pm COOKING WITH SHAHIR MASSOUD

4:00pm – 5:15pm LOST IN TR ANSL ATION

2:00pm – 3:15pm HORROR WRITING & INDIGENOUS STORY TELLING

8:00pm – 9:15pm WRITERS ON TRUTH & CURIOSIT Y

THURSDAY, MAY 6 2:00pm – 3:15pm BEHIND THE STORY OF DWAYNE “DERO” DE ROSARIO

4:00pm – 5:15pm THE PREMIERE OF SUFFER ANCE WITH THOMAS KING 6:00pm – 7:15pm WRITERS ON FEAR & MONSTERS 8:00pm – 9:15pm POETS ON THE BODY

5:00pm – 6:15pm SET TING THE SCENE IN FIC TION 8:00pm – 9:15pm MADE IN BR AMPTON

FRIDAY, MAY 7 1:00pm – 2:15pm ILLUSTR ATOR BAT TLE

SATURDAY, MAY 15 12:00pm – 1:00pm WRITING FOR HARLEQUIN 3:00pm – 4:15pm DIVERSIT Y IN ROMANCE PUBLISHING 4:00pm – 5:00pm ONE- ON- ONE WITH JASMINE GUILLORY

5:00pm – 6:15pm WRITERS ON THE BEAUT Y OF TR ANSFORMATION

6:00pm – 7:15pm BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR BR AND

8:00pm – 9:15pm THE TR ANSL ATION DUEL

8:00pm – 9:15pm WRITERS ON LOVE & LONGING

PUBLISHING TR ACK

MOOD SERIES

POETRY

PANEL DISCUSSION

INTERVIEW

WORKSHOP

SCHOOL GROUP TR ACK ROMANCE TR ACK


WED, APR 28

FRI, APR 30

12pm

SAT, MAY 1

SUN, MAY 2

COMMUNITY & ISOLATION: PART I

NO FEAR APPROACH TO WRITING BOOK PROPOSALS

EDEN ROBINSON

THE VIRTUAL WRITERS’ HUB

MON, MAY 3 NAVIGATING THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY

1pm

MOOD SERIES 2pm

AT A GLANCE

3pm

POETRY

PANEL DISCUSSION

DECOLONIZING EDITING

INTERVIEW 4pm

PUBLISHING TR ACK

POETRY & THE POETICS OF HOPE

WORKSHOP 5pm

HOPE & HISTORY SCHOOL GROUP TR ACK

6pm ROMANCE TR ACK

TOUGH TOPICS FOR TEENS

MARCI IEN

COMMUNITY & ISOLATION: PART 2

BIG AND BEAUTIFUL BODIES

7pm

8pm

9pm

PLACE & BELONGING

POET’S GALLERY

LOSS & GRIEF


TUE, MAY 4

WED, MAY 5

THUR, MAY 6

FRI, MAY 7

ANTIOPPRESSIVE COPYEDITING

SPOKEN WORD SHOWCASE

POWER & POSSIBILITY OF FICTION

SAT, MAY 8

SAT, MAY 15

COOKING WITH SHAHIR MASSOUD

WRITING FOR HARLEQUIN

HORROR WRITING & INDIGENOUS STORYTELLING

DIVERSITY IN ROMANCE PUBLISHING

THOMAS KING

JASMINE GUILLORY

FEAR & HORROR

BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR BRAND

POETS ON THE BODY

LOVE & LONGING

ILLUSTRATOR BATTLE

BEHIND THE STORY OF DWAYNE “DERO” DE ROSARIO

G

DANGER & UNCERTAINTY

LOST IN TRANSLATION

SETTING THE SCENE IN FICTION

MYSTERY & MAGIC

TRUTH & CURIOSITY

MADE IN BRAMPTON

BEAUTY OF TRANSFORMATION

TRANSLATION DUEL


NOVEMBER 1–7 VIRTUAL EVENTS, SCHOOL GROUP OPPORTUNITIES, AND MORE!

@FOLDKidz

@FoldKids

@foldkids

thefoldcanada.org/kids


The FOLD Challenge 12* Great Ways to Diversify Your Reading Short story collection by an author from a marginalized community.

Book that explores racism by a Black Canadian author(s).

JA N UA RY

F E B R UA RY

Historical fiction by a writer of colour.

Nonfiction by a Trans or Non-Binary Author.

M AY

Book by an author living with chronic illness. SEPTEMBER

An audiobook by a FOLD 2021 author. MARCH

Book by a BIPOC author from Europe.

JUNE

Fiction by a Latinx author.

J U LY

A play by an Indigenous playwright.

OC TOBER

N OV E M B E R

A book that experiments with form by an AsianCanadian author. APRIL

Book by a marginalized author who’s over 60. AU G U S T

Book by a marginalized author from British Columbia. DECEMBER

Cookbook by a BIPOC chef. *BONUS

For monthly reading suggestions visit

thefoldcanada.org/readingchallenge2021

F LD THE FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY


BOOKMARK ONTARIO FOR DIVERSE READS

© Queens printer for Ontario 2021

Ontario Creates proudly supports the Festival Of Literary Diversity and Ontario’s book publishing industry.

ontariocreates.ca


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