15. SCHOOL GROUPS: THE WRITER’S LIFE WITH ZOULFA KATOUH
In this Writer’s Life series event Syrian author Zoulfa Katouh discusses her writing process and routine as Kids Coordinator Ardo Omer digs into the journey of writing her debut best-selling young adult novel, As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow.
Date: May 2, 2023
Time: 10:00am – 11:00am ET
The 2023 festival will run from April 30 – May 7. Dedicated virtual programming on our innovative, online platform will run April 30 – May 3, while in-person events — many of which will also be live-streamed and available on-demand for virtual audiences — will run May 4-7.
A Virtual Festival Pass gives guests access to more than 20 virtual events which can be viewed from the website or through our festival app designed for mobile devices. In addition to festival events, virtual passes provide users with direct access to more than a dozen vendors in our festival exhibitor hall. Guests who purchase a virtual pass can also participate in trivia times, roundtable discussions and our new festival after-parties, which will follow all of our evening events.
An In-Person Festival Pass gives users access to all of our virtual events as well as our standard in-person events in Brampton, Ontario on Saturday, May 6.
This year, the festival includes three in-person Specialty Events – the Dine N’ Draw on May 4, the Literary Cabaret on May 5 and our Historical Fiction High Tea on May 7. Tickets for these events are not covered with our passes and are only available until April 30.
On a Budget? Check out our Patron Pass program.
Zoulfa Katouh is a Canadian with Syrian roots based in Switzerland. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Drug Sciences and finds Studio Ghibli inspiration in the mountains, lakes, and stars surrounding her. When she’s not talking to herself in the woodland forest, she’s drinking iced coffee, baking aesthetic cookies and cakes, and telling everyone who would listen about how BTS paved the way. One of her many dreams is to get Kim Nam-joon to read one of her books. Her first novel, As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow, is out now.
Ardo Omer has written for online platforms as a reviewer and critic for almost a decade. She’s been a judge for a few kids comics awards and is an advisor at the Canadian Comics Open Library. Omer lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she serves as the Kids Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).
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.