Looking Back at the Forest of Reading Program with Author Wesley King

forest-of-reading

In 1994, the Ontario Library Association (OLA) founded the Forest of Reading programme as a way to promote literacy in Ontario and celebrate Canadian literature with the help of public and in-school librarians. Today, it’s Canada’s largest annual literary festival for young readers, and offers eight programmes – all named after trees – for kids and adults alike.

Every May, students are invited to vote for their favourite Canadian title. Winners are announced in multiple age groups during the Festival of Trees. With the programme’s 24th instalment fast approaching (May 15-18, 2018), we spoke with children’s author Wesley King, who not only won the Silver Birch Award for his book OCDaniel but also participated in the Forest of Reading programme when he was a child. We asked King what it was like to win an award for something so closely tied to his childhood:

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Extra Credit with the ‘Between Words and Worlds’ Panel

between-the-words-and-worlds

Last week, the Between Words and Worlds: New Canadian Women’s Writing panel had a great conversation at the Harbourfront Centre as part of the IFOA Weekly. We wanted to continue the discussion here by allowing the authors to share their thoughts on “in-betweenness” starting by revisiting the moderator, Soraya Peerbaye’s, answer to the question: “What does in-betweenness mean to you as someone juggling identities, and whether or not you feel yourself engaged in a diasporic conversation?”

Soraya Peerbaye

I don’t believe that my experience of in-betweenness is about juggling identities, about strategies or positions of identity. For me it’s relational; relations not only between places, cultures, and experiences, but also between what is known and unknown; relations with time, who we were, how we are catalyzed, how we awaken to new senses of ourselves.

If anything, I think the critique of CanLit,that is now at the fore, emerges from a sense that white/settler literature is sometimes isolated; asleep to the way its material is animated by tensions of history, of contemporary movements; asleep to the overtones in the voices of its characters. Yes, I feel myself engaged in a diasporic conversation, deeply – but that is a conversation I’ve sought to be a part of, and to be changed by. It isn’t inherent to identity.

You can read more over at Between Words and Worlds with Soraya Peerbaye.

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A Warm Reception for CanLit in China

11th Bookworm Literary Festival in Beijing, China. (L to R): Shari Lapena, Ronna Bloom, Christine Saratsiotis, Sylvain Neuvel and Geoffrey E. Taylor. March 2018.

11th Bookworm Literary Festival in Beijing, China. (L to R): Shari Lapena, Ronna Bloom, Christine Saratsiotis (Festival Deputy Director), Sylvain Neuvel and Geoffrey E. Taylor (Festival Director).

Last month Geoffrey E. Taylor (Director) and Christine Saratsiotis (Deputy Director) of the Toronto International Festival of Authors took three Canadian writers—Ronna BloomShari Lapena and Sylvain Neuvel— to the 11th Bookworm Literary Festival in Beijing, China, as part of our international touring programme. We asked the writers what they thought about the the reception of Canadian literature in China and more.

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Between Words and Worlds with Soraya Peerbaye

Woman sits upon a mountain and gazes at the landscape

Next week, the Toronto International Festival of Authors will present Between Words and Worlds: New Canadian Women’s Writing. To give readers a preview of what the event hopes to explore with regards to the stories we tell, we reached out to the event’s moderator, Soraya Peerbaye.

The panel discussion will feature Inanna Publications authors Ami Sands Brodoff, Connie Guzzo-McParland, Mariam Pirbhai and Mehri Yalfani, and is billed as a unique opportunity to explore foreground characters and experiences that are still rarely attended to in mainstream publishing in Canada. We asked Peerbaye what specific themes she hopes to cover on stage:

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