20. Writing Humour in Unfunny Times
Date: May 5, 2022
Time: 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm ET
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Anosh Irani is a three-time Governor General’s Literary Award-shortlisted author and playwright, and a two-time winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. His novel, The Parcel, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Year by the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, National Post, CBC Books and The Walrus.
Dorothy Ellen Palmer is a disabled senior writer, mom of two, former English/Drama teacher, improv coach and union activist. Winner of the 2020 Helen Henderson Award for disability journalism, her fiction and nonfiction appear in literary and disability journals. Long-listed for the ReLit Award, When Fenelon Falls, (Coach House, 2010) features a disabled teen in the Moonwalk-Woodstock summer of 1969. Her memoir, Falling for Myself, (Wolsak and Wynn, 2019), was a finalist for the Hamilton Book Award. Kerfuffle, the tale of an improv troupe making sense and nonsense of Toronto’s G20 protests, hits the stage this spring with Renaissance Press.
Sonya Singh is an author, writer, and storyteller who currently lives in Toronto, Canada. She’s a former entertainment reporter turned PR expert. Her debut novel Sari, Not Sari, slated for a spring release in ’22, is already generating serious advanced buzz (including being selected for the prestigious Debutante Ball). She also signed an international two book deal. Sonya wrote Sari, Not Sari, to laugh her way through some of her more disastrous breakups. In her spare time, you can find Sonya sipping on a matcha latte, enjoying a homemade pizza, or hanging out with her adorable dog, Moses Alexander.
Gary Barwin is the author of 26 books including Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy which won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award, and Bird Arsonist (with Tom Prime) His national bestselling novel Yiddish for Pirates won the Leacock Medal for Humour and the Canadian Jewish Literary Award, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and was long listed for Canada Reads.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Being part of such a clearly diverse, inclusive and mutually respectful group was thrilling and inspiring: a glimpse of a better world.
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.
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.
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.
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.