1. PREVIEW EVENT: Writers on Place and Belonging
A Mood Series Event
A Mood Series Event
In this Mood Series event, a free preview event in partnership with Kitchener Public Library, three exciting new authors discuss novels that tackle notions of place, home and relationships with powerful and moving prose. What does it mean to belong to a place, and how has the pandemic altered our connection to those around us? Authors Francesca Ekwuyasi (Butter, Honey, Pig, Bread), Yara El-Ghadban (I am Ariel Sharon), and Sheung King (You Are Eating and Orange and You Are Naked) discuss the stories behind their incredible novels and the places they call home in a discussion that will leave you thinking about that ever-evolving question: Who am I and where do I belong?
In these 70-minute conversations, belonging, hope, grief, love, isolation, magic, transformation, and fear, readers will hear from authors who have published or written work in unprecedented conditions. Moderators will discuss these moods and themes with authors, unpacking each mood and its connection to their lives and their work.
Each mood event will be followed by a discussion in our festival lounge – providing attendees with the opportunity to respond to the facilitated conversation.
This is a free preview event. Register in advance and a Zoom link will be sent to you a few days before the event.
For festival events running May 1-15, purchase a festival pass online for access to all live events and to watch any festival videos on demand until May 30. Passholders will also be able to participate in festival discussions and contests and interact with booth reps, authors and publishing professionals on the virtual platform.
francesca ekwuyasi is a writer and multidisciplinary artist from Lagos, Nigeria. Her debut novel Butter Honey Pig Bread (Arsenal Pulp 2020) was long-listed for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize and is a contender for the 2021 Canada Reads. Her work explores themes of faith, family, queerness, consumption, loneliness, and belonging. You may find some of her writing in the Puritan, Winter Tangerine Review, Brittle Paper, Transition Magazine, the Malahat Review, Visual Art News, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, GUTS magazine and elsewhere.
Palestinian Quebecker Yara El-Ghadban is an anthropologist by training but has been writing since she was thirteen. She is the author of three novels, of which I Am Ariel Sharon is the first to be translated into English. She won the Canada Council of the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in 2017, and in 2019 she was awarded the Blue Metropolis Literary Diversity Prize. She lives and writes in Montreal.
Sheung-King, Aaron Tang’s debut novel, You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked., is 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
Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author and LGBTQ-refugees advocate. His debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, won multiple awards and was translated to French, German and Hebrew. His children’s book, Salma the Syrian Chef is named amongst the Best Books of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews and Library School Journal. His forthcoming novel, The Foghorn Echoes, will be released in Summer 2022.
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.