In this industry-focused event, publishing professionals gather together to discuss pressing concerns in Canadian publishing. Engaging in an honest and urgent conversation with editor and moderator Aeman Ansari, Bryan Ibeas, Ronan Sadler and Leonicka Valcius share important truths and suggest possible solutions to the obstacles affecting agents, authors, and staff from marginalized communities. While this conversation centers folks from marginalized communities and focuses on their needs and concerns, those who move through the industry with relative ease and/or privilege and/or those who hold positions of power are strongly encouraged to attend.
How to Register
Events scheduled for May 1-15 are available via an all-access festival pass. The festival pass costs $39 and gives you access to a virtual festival platform, which includes an auditorium hosting forty virtual events, an exhibit hall with a live chat feature for communicating with vendors, and a lounge for engaging in discussions before and after events with other festival-goers.
Passholders will have be able to compete in the space for incredible prizes and will have access to the platform and all of the recorded festival events, as well as bonus content, until May 30, 2021. If the cost of the pass is prohibitive, please fill out the Patron Pass form, and a pass will be made available.
Léonicka Valcius is a Literary Agent at Transatlantic Agency, representing commercial and genre fiction for adults and children. As the founder of #DiverseCanLit and the founding Chair of the Board of Directors of The Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), working with writers of colour is a key part of Léonicka’s mandate. Léonicka previously worked at Penguin Random House Canada and at Scholastic Book Fairs Canada. For more of her work visit her website, her Twitter, and her Instagram.
Ronan Sadler is the Editorial Coordinator at Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first imprint. After a Master’s in Critical Disability Studies, Ronan left academia and returned to their first love: stories. They joined the Carina Press editorial team as a freelancer for two years before moving in-house.
Aeman Ansari is an editor at HCC. She acquires, commissions, and edits narrative-driven fiction and non-fiction with a focus on books by BIPOC authors. She has a particular interest in projects that showcase authentic voices, nuanced narratives, and intersectional identities. Before joining the HarperCollins Canada editorial team in 2020, she was a literary assistant at CookeMcDermid Literary Agency, a freelance editor helping authors from marginalized communities develop their work, and a journalist with pieces published across North America that center on race, identity and popular culture. Aeman is also a co-founder of the non-profit organization BIPOC of Publishing in Canada, which is dedicated to pushing for a more diverse and inclusive industry and provides frontline support to BIPOC employees in Canadian publishing.
Bryan Ibeas is a Fiction Editor for Invisible Publishing.
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.