14. Writers on Hope and History - The FOLD

14. Writers on Hope and History

A Mood Series Event

Session Description

What can the past tell us about the present and the future? How does the past affect how we move forward — who has hope and who doesn’t? In this Mood Series event, authors P. Djéli Clark (Ring Shout), Jael Richardson (Gutter Child), and Cheryl Thompson (Uncle: Race, Nostalgia and the Politics of Remembering) discuss the intersection of history and hope, how Black writers craft stories of resilience and reflection through fact-based narratives and imagined lands of dystopian fiction.

About the Mood Series

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.

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.

Featured Speaker(s)

A Black woman in a light green t-shirt top. She smiles at the camera and stands against a tree backdrop.
Cheryl Thompson
Bio
A Black woman wearing green-rimmed glasses smiles at the camera. She wears a black turtleneck top.
Jael Richardson
Bio
A middle-aged Black man with short hair and a small goatee leans against a wall and looks off into the distance. He wears a black t-shirt.
P. Djélì Clark
Bio
A young Black woman with chin-length bobbed hair in dreads. She wears a bright red dress.
Léonicka Valcius
Bio
A Black woman in a light green t-shirt top. She smiles at the camera and stands against a tree backdrop.

Cheryl Thompson

Cheryl Thompson is an assistant professor in the School of Creative Industries at Ryerson University. She is author of Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture. Her newest book, Uncle: Race, Nostalgia, and the Politics of Loyalty was published in February 2021 with Coach House Books.

A Black woman wearing green-rimmed glasses smiles at the camera. She wears a black turtleneck top.

Jael Richardson

Jael Richardson is the author of The Stone Thrower, a book columnist on CBC’s q, and the founder and the Executive Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD). Her debut novel, Gutter Child, was published in January 2021 with HarperCollins Canada. She lives in Brampton, Ontario.

A middle-aged Black man with short hair and a small goatee leans against a wall and looks off into the distance. He wears a black t-shirt.

P. Djélì Clark

Phenderson Djélì Clark is the award winning and Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon nominated author of the novellas Ring Shout, The Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His short stories have appeared in online venues such as Tor.com, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in print anthologies including, Griots, Hidden Youth and Clockwork Cairo. He is a founding member of FIYAH: A Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction and an infrequent reviewer at Strange Horizons. His debut novel A Master of Djinn will be published by Tor.com in May 2021.

A young Black woman with chin-length bobbed hair in dreads. She wears a bright red dress.

Léonicka Valcius

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.

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

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