5. Re-Thinking Healthcare
Date: May 1, 2022
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm
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Anna Quon, a poet and novelist living in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), likes to make paintings and short animated films of her poems. Mixed-race, middle-aged and Mad, Anna has facilitated writing and creative arts workshops for people with lived experience of mental health diagnoses/ psychiatric histories for 15 years. Her first professionally published poetry chapbook, Body Parts, was released in 2021 by Gaspereau Press. Anna’s third novel, Where the Silver River Ends, which creates a trilogy with her first two unrelated stories, Migration Songs and Low, will be released in March 2022.
Dr. Shayda Kafai (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. As a queer, disabled, Mad femme of color, she commits to practicing the many ways we can reclaim our bodyminds from systems of oppression. To support this work as an educator-scholar, Shayda applies disability justice and collective care practices in the spaces she cultivates. Her latest book is Crip Kinship, out now with Arsenal Pulp Press.
Zena Sharman is a writer, speaker, strategist and LGBTQ+ health advocate. She’s the author of three books, including The Care We Dream Of: Liberatory and Transformative Approaches to LGBTQ+ Health (published by Arsenal Pulp Press in the fall of 2021). Zena edited the Lambda Literary award-winning anthology The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care. She’s also an engaging speaker who brings her passion for LGBTQ+ health to audiences of health care providers, students and community members at universities and conferences across North America.
Kai Cheng Thom is the writer of five award-winning books in various genres. Based in Toronto/tkaronto, Kai Cheng is a widely known advocate for transformative social change and the winner of multiple literary awards, including the Stonewall Honor Book Award and the Publishing Triangle Award.
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.