12. The Writer's Life - The FOLD

12. The Writer’s Life

All ages

Session Description

The Writer’s Life with Matthew Dawkins and Loridee De Villa

Young adult authors Matthew Dawkins and Loridee De Villa join us to discuss writing on Wattpad, their publishing journey and what it’s like to have a book published while in university.

All Ages



This session and all 2022 FOLD Kids Book Fest virtual sessions will be made available on-demand until December 12 with a virtual pass. Educators who register with a board pass code will continue to have access into the New Year.

Virtual passes are $20 and allow attendees to access our Virtual Clubhouse where you can connect with exhibitors, chat with authors and attendees. You can also compete on the leaderboard and participate in our virtual scavenger hunt for the chance to win prizes.


If the cost of the virtual pass is prohibitive, check out our Patron Pass program.

Featured Speaker(s)

Processed with VSCO with nc preset
Matthew Dawkins
Loridee De Villa_Headshot
Loridee De Villa
A photo of a Somali woman with curly hair. She wears dark-rimmed glasses and is laughing.
Ardo Omer
Processed with VSCO with nc preset

Matthew Dawkins

Matthew Dawkins is a Jamaican award-winning author and poet whose works on Wattpad have amassed nearly half a million reads. His work focuses on subjects from his personal experience such as adolescence, love, loss, culture, and mental health. Matthew attends Western University in London, Ontario where he pursues a BA in The School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities and English Literature. When he’s not writing, Matthew can often be found re-watching the Harry Potter series on Netflix for the millionth time and procrastinating his assignments. Until We Break is his debut novel set for release in Fall 2022. Matthew’s work has been published in Symposium, Semi-colon, and Uplifting Blackness: A Showcase of Art at Western University.

Loridee De Villa_Headshot

Loridee De Villa

Loridee De Villa is the author of the Watty Award-winning How to Be the Best Third Wheel, her debut novel that has accumulated 2.7 million reads on Wattpad. She also wrote The Infinite Worlds of Ella Jane, which won the Shaw Rocket Fund Contest in 2020 and is being turned into a theatrical podcast by the film company Shaftesbury. When she’s not typing up a new chapter, Loridee spends her days drawing, sewing, and watching cartoons, all while balancing courses at the University of Toronto. Loridee currently resides in Ontario, Canada and is pursuing a career in health sciences.

A photo of a Somali woman with curly hair. She wears dark-rimmed glasses and is laughing.

Ardo Omer

Ardo Omer has written for online platforms as a reviewer and critic for almost a decade. She’s been a judge for a few kids comics awards and is an advisor at the Canadian Comics Open Library. Omer lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she serves as the Kids Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).

The FOLD is a remarkable and wonderful event for authors and attendees alike. What an amazing community, dedicated to the vital need for inclusive stories and the critical role they play in building a better world.

Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her

Field Guide to the North American Teenager is my first novel and FOLD was my first Canadian literary festival. While American and Canadian culture overlap quite a bit, especially when it comes to bookshelves, Canadian literature is unique and I was very heartened by to be embraced by that community I consider home despite residing in the US. It was a homecoming I didn’t know I needed!

Ben Philippe, author of Field Guide to the North American Teenager

The Festival of Literary Diversity was an absolute joy–the organizers thought of *everything* and by anticipating authors’ needs, they freed us to focus on connecting with the audience and each other. There was no pretension, no posturing–just very genuine conversations with invested writers and engaged readers.

Zetta Elliott, author of Dragons in a Bag

I have been to a lot of writers festivals and the FOLD is definitely near the top of the list of those I want to be invited back to.

Harold Johnson, author of the memoirs Clifford and Firewater

Being part of such a clearly diverse, inclusive and mutually respectful group was thrilling and inspiring: a glimpse of a better world.

Kathy Page, author of Dear Evelyn, winner of the 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

Wherever I go in Canada and find another writer of colour, we eventually end up gushing about how great the FOLD is, how by normalizing diversity it liberates us to talk to audiences about craft. It’s hard to imagine the literary landscape returning to a prehistoric pre-FOLD era.

Ian Williams, Author of the Giller Prize-winning novel Reproduction

FOLD is a festival experience unlike any other I’ve had. The FOLD team strive to create a space that’s welcoming and engaging, while allowing for curiosity, ingenuity and the fostering of real community – and they succeed, every year.

Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out On The Ground

The FOLD is one of the most important literary events on this continent. By focusing on diverse voices and giving authors space to share their stories and speak their truths, it is revolutionizing the writing and storytelling realm as we know it.

Waubgeshig Rice, author of Moon Of The Crusted Snow

Being part of the FOLD community has provided me with a strong sense of belonging. Sharing diverse stories and listening to different voices that broaden my understanding of the world has impacted me as a person and motivated me as a writer.

Ann Y.K. Choi, author of Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety

Stay Informed

Sign up for our newsletter