2024 Authors & Speakers - The FOLD
fold-iconThe Festival of Literary Diversity

2024 Authors & Speakers

Learn more about the powerful authors, poets and storytellers that took part in the 2024 festival.

Description

The Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) celebrates Canadian and international authors every year at its flagship festival in May.

The festival includes panels, discussions, workshops, and interactive events that allow guests from across Canada and around the world to participate. The festival delivered in-person events for four festivals and presented virtual events for two years in response to the pandemic, and since 2022, the festival has presented more than thirty events annually in a multi-modal format, beginning with a virtual festival and transitioning into in-person events later in the week.

The 2024 festival will return April 28 – May 5. Events April 28 to May 1 will be virtual, while events May 2-5 will be offered in-person.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Speaker(s)

Headshot of Waubgeshig Rice, an Indigenous man.
Waubgeshig Rice
Bio

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation on Georgian Bay.

Headshot of Leanne Toshiko Simpson, a mixed race woman.
Leanne Toshiko Simpson
Bio

Leanne Toshiko Simpson is a Yonsei writer and psychiatric survivor from Scarborough who teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto and mental health spaces across the city.

Headshot of the author Matthew R. Morris, a Black man.
Matthew R. Morris
Bio

MATTHEW R. MORRIS is an educator, anti-racism advocate, and writer based out of Toronto. He is the author of Black Boys Like Me.

Headshot of Balsam Karam, a Kurdish woman.
Balsam Karam
Bio

Balsam Karam is a Kurdish author writing in Swedish, current with the novel The Singularity.

Headshot of Alicia Elliot, an Indigenous woman.
Alicia Elliott
Bio

Alicia Elliott is an award-winning Mohawk writer and editor living in Brantford, Ontario. Her debut novel And Then She Fell was released in September 2023.

Square graphic showcasing Nafiza Azad—an Indo-Canadian Muslim woman wearing red lipstick and a shayla—next to the cover image for their latest book, WRITING IN COLOR. Black text beside author headshot reads: THE FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY, April 28 - May 5. Two purple circles on author headshot read: Virtual April 28 - May 1, and In-Person Brampton May 2 - 5. At the bottom of the graphic is a orange bar with black and orange text: Registration opens March 20 at thefoldcanada.org.
Nafiza Azad
Bio

Nafiza Azad writes books featuring fantastic creatures and magic.

Headshot of Catherine Leroux, a French White woman.
Catherine Leroux
Bio

Catherine Leroux is the author of three highly praised novels and an innovative sequence of short stories.

Headshot of author Louisa Onomé, a Nigerian-Canadian woman.
Louisa Onomé
Bio

Louisa Onomé is a Nigerian-Canadian writer of books for teens and adults, including PRIDE AND JOY (2024) and THE MELANCHOLY OF SUMMER (2023).

Headshot of Christina Wong, a South Asian woman.
Christina Wong
Bio

Christina Wong is an interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto, primarily working as a playwright and prose writer.

Headshot of Taj McCoy, a Black woman.
Taj McCoy
Bio

Law grad, literary agent, and higher ed consultant Taj McCoy is the author of several romantic comedies, with THE GOOD ONES ARE TAKEN releasing in April 2024.

Headshot of author Kazim Ali, a person of South Asian descent.
Kazim Ali
Bio
Headshot of author Farzana Doctor, a woman of South Asian descent.
Farzana Doctor
Bio

Farzana Doctor is a Tkaronto-based author, activist and psychotherapist who has written four critically acclaimed novels, a poetry collection and a self-help book for helpers and activists.

Headshot of Mai Nguyen, a Vietnamese woman.
Mai Nguyen
Bio

Mai Nguyen is the author of SUNSHINE NAILS.

Headshot of Tara Fraser, a woman of South Asian and Scottish ancestry.
Tara Sidhoo Fraser
Bio

Tara Sidhoo Fraser is a queer writer and creator of South Asian and Scottish ancestry.

Headshot of RJ McDaniel.
RJ McDaniel
Bio

RJ McDaniel is the author of ALL THINGS SEEN AND UNSEEN (ECW Press, 2024).

Headshot of Tania De Rozario, a Singaporean woman.
Tania De Rozario
Bio

Tania De Rozario is a writer and visual artist working in poetry and memoir. Her essay collection, Dinner on Monster Island, was published by Harper Perennial (2024).

Headshot of a Black person with short hair and a beard sitting on a chair speaking.
Rodney Diverlus
Bio

Rodney Diverlus is a Haitian-Canadian artist and best-selling author.

Square graphic showcasing Jessica Johns—a woman of English, Irish and Sucker Creek First Nation ancestry wearing a yellow scarf, standing in front of blue wall—next to the cover image for their latest book, BAD CREE. Black text beside author headshot reads: THE FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY, April 28 - May 5. Two purple circles on author headshot read: Virtual April 28 - May 1, and In-Person Brampton May 2 - 5. At the bottom of the graphic is a orange bar with black and orange text: Registration opens March 20 at thefoldcanada.org.
Jessica Johns
Bio

Jessica Johns is a queer nehiyaw aunty with English-Irish ancestry and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation.

Headshot of TiffanyMorris, an L’nu’skw woman.
Tiffany Morris
Bio

Tiffany Morris is the author of the swampcore horror novella Green Fuse Burning and the Elgin Award-winning horror poetry collection Elegies of Rotting Stars.

Headshot of Alina Khawaja, a Canadian-Pakistani woman.
Alina Khawaja
Bio

Alina Khawaja is a Canadian-Pakistani author, and when she’s not writing, she’s desperately trying to keep up with her list of K-dramas. She is the author of Maya’s Laws of Love.

Headshot of the author Marjorie Beaucage, a Métis woman.
Marjorie Beaucage
Bio

Marjorie Beaucage is an art-ivist telling stories as medicine for good relations and change.

Headshot of Waubgeshig Rice, an Indigenous man.

Waubgeshig Rice

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation. He has written four fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His breakthrough novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. The sequel, Moon of the Turning Leaves, was published in October 2023. He graduated from the journalism program at Toronto Metropolitan University in 2002, and spent most of his journalism career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a video journalist and radio host. He left CBC in 2020 to focus on his literary career. He lives in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife and three sons.

Headshot of Leanne Toshiko Simpson, a mixed race woman.

Leanne Toshiko Simpson

Leanne Toshiko Simpson is a mixed-race Yonsei writer who lives with bipolar disorder. Named Scarborough’s Emerging Writer in 2016 and nominated for the Journey Prize in 2019, she co-founded a reflective writing program at Canada’s largest mental health hospital and teaches at the University of Toronto. Never Been Better is her debut novel.

Headshot of the author Matthew R. Morris, a Black man.

Matthew R. Morris

MATTHEW R. MORRIS is an educator, anti-racism advocate, and writer based out of Toronto. He earned a BA (Hons) and an MA in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto. In addition to teaching, his work and public speaking on the deconstruction of Black masculinity, hip-hop culture, and schooling has taken him across North America to consult on and learn about the challenges facing students and educators in the current education system. He has written articles for TVO, Huffington Post, ETFO Voice, and Education Canada and has been featured in Toronto Star and Sun, on CBC Radio and CityNews. He is the author of Black Boys Like Me.

Headshot of Balsam Karam, a Kurdish woman.

Balsam Karam

Balsam Karam is of Kurdish ancestry and has lived in Sweden since she was a young child. She is an author and librarian and made her literary debut in 2018 with the critically acclaimed novel, Event Horizon, which was shortlisted for the Katapult Prize and won the Småland Literature Festival’s Migrant Prize. Her second novel, The Singularity, originally published in Sweden in 2021, was shortlisted for the European Union Prize for Literature, the August Prize, and Svenska Dagbladet’s Literature Prize.

Headshot of Alicia Elliot, an Indigenous woman.

Alicia Elliott

Alicia Elliott is an award-winning Mohawk writer and editor living in Brantford, Ontario. Her best-selling first book, A Mind Spread Out On The Ground, was nominated for the Hilary Weston Nonfiction Prize. Her debut novel And Then She Fell was an instant national bestseller.

Square graphic showcasing Nafiza Azad—an Indo-Canadian Muslim woman wearing red lipstick and a shayla—next to the cover image for their latest book, WRITING IN COLOR. Black text beside author headshot reads: THE FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY, April 28 - May 5. Two purple circles on author headshot read: Virtual April 28 - May 1, and In-Person Brampton May 2 - 5. At the bottom of the graphic is a orange bar with black and orange text: Registration opens March 20 at thefoldcanada.org.

Nafiza Azad

Nafiza Azad is an award-winning Indo-Canadian Muslim author. She writes books featuring magic and spunky female protagonists. She is also the co-editor of Writing in Color.

Headshot of author Craig Shreve, a Black man.

Craig Shreve

Craig Shreve is an author that was born and raised in North Buxton, Ontario. His debut novel One Night in Mississippi was published in 2015. His 2023 novel, The African Samurai, was listed by Paste Magazine and Bookbub as one of 2023’s most anticipated new releases, and was named by Quill and Quire and The Miramachi Reader as one of 2023’s best novels. It has been translated internationally in thirteen different languages, and was optioned for a Netflix series. He currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Headshot of Catherine Leroux, a French White woman.

Catherine Leroux

Catherine Leroux is the author of three highly praised novels and an innovative sequence of short stories. Her bestselling second novel, The Party Wall, a translation of Le mur mitoyen, won the France–Quebec Prize in the original and, in translation, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Dublin IMPAC Award. Leroux’s story sequence, Madame Victoria, won Quebec’s Adrienne Choquette Prize. The French original of The Future (L’avenir) won the Jacques Brossard Prize. Catherine Leroux works as a translator and editor in Montreal. She was awarded the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation.

Headshot of author Louisa Onomé, a Nigerian-Canadian woman.

Louisa Onomé

Louisa Onomé is a Nigerian-Canadian writer of books for teens and adults. She holds a BA in professional writing and a MA in counselling psychology. Her debut young adult novel LIKE HOME was critically acclaimed, receiving several starred reviews, including from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal. ​ When she is not writing, she works as a narrative designer in games. Her hobbies include language study, obsessing a healthy amount over her favourite video games, and perfecting her skincare routine. She currently resides in the Toronto area.

Headshot of Christina Wong, a South Asian woman.

Christina Wong

Christina Wong is a playwright, prose writer, and an interdisciplinary artist who also works in sound installation and printmaking. Her plays have been performed at Factory Studio, Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, and Palmerston Library Theatre. Christina was also part of Diaspora Dialogues Mentorship Program (playwriting and short-form), Nightwood Theatre’s Write From the Hip, and fu-GEN’s Kitchen playwriting unit. Her work has also appeared in Spacing, TOK Magazine, and on CJTM 1280AM. She also holds a PhD in Music from the University of Leeds. She is the author of Denison Avenue.

Headshot of Taj McCoy, a Black woman.

Taj McCoy

Oakland-born law grad, Taj McCoy, is the author of SAVVY SHELDON FEELS GOOD AS HELL, ZORA BOOKS HER HAPPY EVER AFTER, and editor of the disaster romcom anthology EVEN IF THE SKY IS FALLING. In addition to writing, Taj works as a literary agent and a higher education consultant. She joined Rees Literary Agency in 2022 and aims to widen the entryway for marginalized authors and to normalize Black joy, fat joy, celebrations of culture, and love without limitations, representing Children’s and Adult Fiction and Nonfiction. Her newest novel THE GOOD ONES ARE TAKEN releases in April 2024.

Headshot of author Kazim Ali, a person of South Asian descent.

Kazim Ali

Kazim Ali is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and cross-genre work. He has translated books by Ananda Devi, Marguerite Duras, and Sohrab Sepehri. Founding Editor of Nightboat Books, he currents serves as professor and chair of the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

Headshot of author Farzana Doctor, a woman of South Asian descent.

Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor is a Tkaronto-based author, activist and psychotherapist. She has written four critically acclaimed novels including Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement, All Inclusive, and Seven, a poetry collection You Still Look The Same, and a self- and community care workbook for helpers and activists, 52 Weeks To A Sweeter Life. In 2023, Farzana received the prestigious Freedom To Read Award. A founding member of WeSpeakOut and the End FGM Canada Network, she is also the Maasi behind Dear Maasi, a sex and relationships column for FGM/C survivors. www.Linktr.ee/farzanadoctor

Headshot of Mai Nguyen, a Vietnamese woman.

Mai Nguyen

Mai Nguyen is the author of SUNSHINE NAILS, which was longlisted for Canada Reads 2024. She is also a journalist and copywriter who has written for Wired, The Washington Post, The Toronto Star, and several major brands. Raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she now lives in Toronto.

Headshot of Tara Fraser, a woman of South Asian and Scottish ancestry.

Tara Sidhoo Fraser

Tara Sidhoo Fraser is a queer writer and creator of South Asian and Scottish ancestry. She graduated from the University of Victoria with a BA in Anthropology, and her work has been published with Autostraddle and Anathema magazine, among others. When My Ghost Sings is her first book. She lives in Vancouver.

Headshot of RJ McDaniel.

RJ McDaniel

RJ’s essays on baseball and other topics have been featured at Catapult, VICE Sports, Baseball Prospectus, and FanGraphs, among others. They were the inaugural Writer in Residence at the Upstart & Crow Literary Arts Studio. Their debut novel, ALL THINGS SEEN AND UNSEEN, is forthcoming in April 2024 from ECW Press.

Headshot of Tania De Rozario, a Singaporean woman.

Tania De Rozario

Tania De Rozario is a writer and visual artist. Her essay collection, Dinner on Monster Island, was published by Harper Perennial (2024). Her work has won the New Ohio Review Nonfiction contest (2020), the Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest (2021) and Singapore’s Golden Point Award (2011). Her memoir, And The Walls Come Crumbling Down was a Lambda Literary Award finalist (2021), and her first collection of poetry, Tender Delirium, was shortlisted for the the Singapore Literature Prize (2014).

Headshot of a Black person with short hair and a beard sitting on a chair speaking.

Rodney Diverlus

Rodney Diverlus (They/Them) is a Haitian-Canadian storyteller and artivist who use body, voice, and the pen to weave diasporic and queer narratives of life and freedom. They create works across mediums; working extensively in film, theatre, dance, and multidisciplinary performance. Their artivism imagines large-scale public installations that blur the lines of protest, art, and performance. Diverlus is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter—Canada, and the Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism. They are co-author of Canadian bestseller Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada.

Square graphic showcasing Jessica Johns—a woman of English, Irish and Sucker Creek First Nation ancestry wearing a yellow scarf, standing in front of blue wall—next to the cover image for their latest book, BAD CREE. Black text beside author headshot reads: THE FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY, April 28 - May 5. Two purple circles on author headshot read: Virtual April 28 - May 1, and In-Person Brampton May 2 - 5. At the bottom of the graphic is a orange bar with black and orange text: Registration opens March 20 at thefoldcanada.org.

Jessica Johns

Jessica Johns is a queer nehiyaw aunty with English-Irish ancestry and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation. Her debut novel, Bad Cree, was shortlisted for the Amazon first novel award and is a Canada Reads finalist.

Headshot of TiffanyMorris, an L’nu’skw woman.

Tiffany Morris

Tiffany Morris is an L’nu’skw (Mi’kmaw) writer from Nova Scotia. She is the author of the swampcore horror novella Green Fuse Burning (Stelliform Books, 2023) and the Elgin Award-winning horror poetry collection Elegies of Rotting Stars (Nictitating Books, 2022). Her work has appeared in the Indigenous horror anthology Never Whistle At Night (Vintage Books), as well as in Nightmare Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, and Apex Magazine, among others. She has an MA in English with a focus on Indigenous Futurisms and apocalyptic literature.

Headshot of Alina Khawaja, a Canadian-Pakistani woman.

Alina Khawaja

Alina Khawaja is a Canadian-Pakistani author. A graduate from the University of Toronto with a BA in English, History and Creative Writing and from Toronto Metropolitan University with an MA in the Literatures of Modernity, it’s been clear from day one that the only thing Alina could be is a storyteller. Alina lives in Ontario, Canada, where she spends the summer at theme parks and the winter cozying up inside with a ridiculously expensive coffee. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading or trying to keep up with her endless list of k-dramas. She is the author of Maya’s Laws of Love.

Headshot of the author Marjorie Beaucage, a Métis woman.

Marjorie Beaucage

Marjorie Beaucage is a Two-Spirit Métis Auntie, filmmaker, art-ivist and educator, a land protector and a water walker. Born in Vassar, Manitoba, to a large Métis family, Marjorie’s life’s work has been about creating social change, working to give people the tools for creating possibilities and right relations. She is giving back to future art-ivists as they stand up for themselves and community through creating art, music, writing, ceremony. To create change and healing for the people with story medicine. Marjorie is the author of Leave Some for the Birds.

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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