In May 2016, the Festival of Literary Diversity became the first festival devoted to underrepresented authors and storytellers was presented in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. The festival continues to provide an important space for writers from marginalized and underrepresented communities to develop their craft and to discuss the challenges involved in creating stories that ask difficult questions, expose hard truths, and push literary boundaries. While the festival was exclusively in-person, since 2020 the event now includes a comprehensive and interactive virtual event space for connecting with booklovers around the world.
ANAIS GRANOFSKY is an actor, director, producer and writer. Best known for her role as Lucy Fernandez on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, she has directed and starred in a number of films. She is also developing a fictional TV series loosely based on her childhood. The Girl in the Middle is Granofsky's first book.
André Alexis is the author of numerous novels, including his latest, RING, out now with Coach House Books. He is the winner of the Giller Prize for a previous novel, FIFTEEN DOGS.
Anna Quon, a poet and novelist living in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), likes to make paintings and short animated films of her poems. Mixed-race, middle-aged and Mad, Anna has facilitated writing and creative arts workshops for people with lived experience of mental health diagnoses/ psychiatric histories for 15 years. Her first professionally published poetry chapbook, Body Parts, was released in 2021 by Gaspereau Press. Anna’s third novel, Where the Silver River Ends, which creates a trilogy with her first two unrelated stories, Migration Songs and Low, will be released in March 2022.
Bethaney is a facilitator, author, and champion of race-conscious leadership. She has dedicated more than a decade to exploring the intersections of community, racial justice, and social change—specifically in the organizational context. As author and founder of The Diversity Gap, Bethaney loves helping teams and leaders pair their good intentions for diversity with true cultural change.
Cheluchi Onyemelukwe is a writer, academic and lawyer. Her debut novel was finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2021, won the Nigeria Prize for Literature, 2021, the SprinNG Women Authors Prize 2020 and the Best International Fiction Prize, Sharjah International Book Fair. She is at work on her second novel.
CHIDIOGO AKUNYILI-PARR is speaker, and consultant with a passion for human development and connection. She is the founder of She ROARs, an organization committed to coaching women of colour around the world to connect to their intuition and purpose. Her work is focused on harnessing the power of our interdependence with a foundation in the humanist African philosophy of Ubuntu, which celebrates our shared humanity. Chidiogo has lived and worked across four continents and speaks seven languages, including Mandarin, German, Spanish, and French, allowing for an even deeper connection with people. She led the growth and impact of the Global Shapers Community across Africa and the Middle East.
Chloe Gong is the New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights and its sequel Our Violent Ends. She is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she double-majored in English and International Relations. Born in Shanghai and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Chloe is now located in New York pretending to be a real adult. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok under @thechloegong.
Clayton is a campaigner, award winning film director, media producer, organizer, facilitator, public speaker and best selling author on Indigenous rights and environmental & economic justice. His latest book is LIFE IN THE CITY OF DIRTY WATER.
Curtis Carmichael is the author of Butterflies in the Trenches—the World’s First Augmented Reality memoir and 2021 Best Indie Book Award Winner for Inspirational Non-Fiction. His cross-Canada cycling tour Ride for Promise raised funds for Toronto Community Housing afterschool programs and was featured in an award-winning documentary, CBC, Global News, CityNews, Your Morning, CP24 Breakfast, and TEDx. Curtis is an award-winning social entrepreneur, STEM and hip-hop teacher, and founder of Source Code Academy Canada. As a self-taught computer programmer, Curtis built the mobile app which brings his memoir to life by giving readers access to hidden content throughout the book.
Jack Wang is the author of WE TWO ALONE (House of Anansi Press, HarperVia), winner of the 2020 Danuta Gleed Literary Award from the Writers’ Union of Canada for best debut collection in English. His fiction has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and longlisted for the Journey Prize. He has received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts and held the 2014-15 David T. K. Wong Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. He teaches writing at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
Jesse Wente is an Anisinaabe author, speaker and arts administrator. His first book, Unreconciled: Family Truth and Resistance is a national bestseller.
Kamal Al-Solaylee is a journalist and the author of three books of nonfiction: Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (for Everyone), and Return: Why We Go Back to Where We Come From. He holds a PhD in English from Nottingham University and is the director of the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
katherena vermette (she/elle) is a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis Nation. She has worked in poetry, novels, children’s literature, and film. vermette received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses’ Company). The Break (House of Anansi) won several awards including the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and was a bestseller in Canada. Her second novel, The Strangers (Hammish Hamilton) won the Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Fiction Prize and was named Chapters Indigo’s Book of the Year 2021.
Kern Carter is a writer and author who has written three novels. His latest is Boys And Girls Screaming, out now with Cormorant/DCB.
Kim Fu is a Canadian-born writer living in Seattle, Washington. Fu’s most recent book, the short story collection Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, received starred reviews from Quill & Quire, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Foreword. Her novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the OLA Evergreen Award, and her novel For Today I Am a Boy won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Fu’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Hazlitt, and enRoute.
Author of Ballet is not for Muslim Girls, Mariam S. Pal grew up in Victoria but moved to Montréal to study economics at McGill. After two decades working in international development and relocating to both Africa and Asia, she returned to Montreal, earning her law degree from McGill. Mariam is now retired from her second career with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and lives in Montréal with her husband Eli. Mariam is working on her second book a memoir of her life in international development: Eating Pineapple Upside Down Cake in Monrovia.
Matthew Salesses is the author of several books, including Craft in the Real World and the PEN/Faulkner finalist Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear. He was adopted from Korea and teaches in the MFA and PhD program at Oklahoma State University.
Popular Instagram poet and artist Morgan Harper Nichols has created her life’s work around the stories of others. She also hosts a podcast, The Morgan Harper Nichols Show, where she shares daily reflections on finding meaning and peace in life and work. Morgan is often creating, teaching, and performing, in hopes of spreading her unique inspirational message and inviting others into her creative process. Her latest book, Peace is a Practice: An Invitation to Breathe Deep and Find a New Rhythm for Life, will be available nationwide February 15, 2022.
Nisha Patel is an award-winning queer and disabled spoken word artist. She was the City of Edmonton’s 8th Poet Laureate, and is a Canadian Individual Slam Champion. Her debut collection COCONUT is available at Glass Bookshop. You can find her at nishapatel.ca.
Norma Dunning is an Inuk writer, professor and grandmother. Her book, Tainna (the unseen ones) received the Governor General's award for literary fiction in English 2021. Her short story collection, Annie Muktuk and Other Stories (University of Alberta Press, 2017), received the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story and the Bronze for short stories in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. She is also the author of Eskimo Pie (Bookland Press, 2020), a collection of poetry and an Alberta bestseller. Her second collection of poetry, Akia (the other side) is releasing in July of 2022. Norma Dunning lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
Omar Mouallem is an author, filmmaker, and educator. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, WIRED, and NewYorker.com, and his latest book, Praying to the West, was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2021. His documentary The Last Baron, about the unlikely link between a Canadian fast-food institution and the Lebanese civil war, was hailed as “one of the best Canadian food documentaries” by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine. Omar is also the "fake dean" of Pandemic University, a virtual school he founded in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his family.
S. Bear Bergman is the author of nine books, founder of Flamingo Rampant press, and frequent consultant in equity and inclusion to business and government. Bear began his work in equity at the age of 15, as a founding member of the first ever Gay/Straight Alliance and has continued to help organizations and institutions move further along the pathways to justice ever since. These days Bear spends his time making trans cultural competency interventions however he can and trying to avoid stepping
Sonya Singh is an author, writer, and storyteller who currently lives in Toronto, Canada. She's a former entertainment reporter turned PR expert. Her debut novel Sari, Not Sari, slated for a spring release in '22, is already generating serious advanced buzz (including being selected for the prestigious Debutante Ball). She also signed an international two book deal. Sonya wrote Sari, Not Sari, to laugh her way through some of her more disastrous breakups. In her spare time, you can find Sonya sipping on a matcha latte, enjoying a homemade pizza, or hanging out with her adorable dog, Moses Alexander.
Tsering Yangzom Lama is the author of We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and International Relations from the University of British Columbia, and an MFA from Columbia University. Born and raised in Nepal, Tsering has lived in Toronto, New York City, and Vancouver – where she now resides.
Join staff from the FOLD in this opening event for the festival. Meet the team and some fellow attendees. Find out what's happening during the week, how to get the most out of the festival and the platform, and get a first-look at the evolution of the festival and a behind-the-scenes look at our incredible live venue space.
Award-winning authors Jesse Wente, Katherena Vermette and Clayton Thomas-Müller discuss their most recent titles and the process of crafting stories about family in a conversation on relationships, writing and resistance.
Drop by the booths of more than twenty industry vendors featuring representatives from multinational publishers, independent presses, publishing programs, booksellers and book distributors, and community organizations. Book chats with editors or pop-in for a quick Q and A in a unique opportunity to chat about an upcoming project, future pursuits, or industry misconceptions.
Back by popular demand, the Writers' Hub is specifically designed for writers navigating the Canadian publishing industry. Through an in-depth and extensive workshop, writers will hear from agent Brigette Kam about the submission process, followed by a deep-dive into the editing process with editor Aeman Ansari. Wrapping up the workshop, publicist Cynara Geissler will provide helpful tips about what to expect and how to approach the challenges of marketing and publicity. Before, after and throughout the event, attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions, and visit vendors and publishing professionals in our exhibit hall. Representatives from Penguin Random House Canada, Harlequin, Simon and Schuster Canada and more will be available to answer publishing questions live as well as reps from publishing programs like Sheridan and Simon Fraser University.
In this timely panel on the perils and possibilities of healthcare, three writers—Zena Sharman, Shayda Kafai, and Anna Quon—examine unique approaches to care and what this might mean for our collective future with moderator Kai Cheng Thom.
In this workshop designed for publicists and publishing professionals, Cynara Geissler provides insight on author care and the important work of pitching books in a competitive market.
In this panel, authors Jack Wang, Kim Fu and Norma Dunning discuss the makings of a phenomenal short story. From character devleopment to dialogue, discover the creative craft involved in writing a short story and details that go into publishing a collection.
Author, screenwriter and producer Abdi Nazemian joins us live from Los Angeles, California for an interview on what it's like to write for film and television, the differences between writing for the screen versus writing for the page and what it takes to build a career as a writer. This event is geared towards high school students.
Whether a book is set in the real world or in a fantastical realm, figuring out who you are is a staple of plot in young adult fiction. Chasing your dreams, finding the person or people who understand you, and dealing with the anxiety of failure are all a part of growing up. Join authors Sarena and Sasha Nanua, H.N. Khan and Farah Heron as they explore that through their novels. This event is geared towards high school students.
Three American writers -- Morgan Harper Nichols (Peace is a Practice), Betheney Wilkinson (The Diversity Gap: Where Good Intentions Meet True Cultural Change) and Dija Ayodele (Black Skin) discuss personal and professional wellness, tackling practical solutions and strategies to the trials and challenges of everyday life.
Three incredible writers -- a poet, a novelist and a memoirist -- who have found a home in Canada discuss how Nigerian traditions have shaped their storytelling style.
Three writers with incredible family stories--Suzanne Barr, Anais Granofsky and Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr--join forces in a powerful panel discussing their recent memoirs. In a conversation on thestories that shaped their past and their present, they'll discuss what it was like to write their mothers into the pages of a memoir and what they learned along the way.
Writers Curtis Carmichael, Habiba Cooper Diallo and Kern Carter unpack the challenges of navigating their education and the important work of turning real-life experiences as Black Canadians into teachable moments for students and educators from all backgrounds and walks of life. This event is geared towards high school students.
What goes into flower arranging? What did the 1920s in Shanghai, China look like? How was medicine practiced in the mid-1700s? In this panel featuring authors Farah Heron, Chloe Gong and June Hur, three young adult writers discuss the research that went into their novels and the work involved in fleshing out a fictional world. This event is geared towards high school students.
Fiction writers Sydney Hegele, Premee Mohamed and Mary-Lou Zeitoun have written three incredible stories that tackle the current and future climate crisis. In this panel, the writers dive into the motivation behind their stories and the role of writers in moments of political crisis.
When it comes to assembling an anthology, there are lots of things to consider-- deciding who to approach through to considering the types of stories they might contribute. In this practical workshop, Zena Sharman, editor of The Care We Dream Of, unpacks helpful tips for writers and editors alike to consider for assembling collections that include a variety of voices.
Three acclaimed writers--Omar Mouallem, Mariam S. Pal and Sydney Hegele--discuss their journeys as writers and explore how their interests and beliefs shape what they choose to write about.
In a candid panel conversation with young adult writers Kern Carter, Abdi Nazemian and Mary-Lou Zeitoun, students and educators alike will hear about the importance of careful and critical conversations on grief and mental health, and the role novels can play in cultivating safe spaces for open dialogue. This event is geared towards high school students.
In our annual teen showcase of incredible spoken word artists, three poets take the mic to present incredible poetry, followed by a live Q and A with the performers. This event is geared towards high school students.
From fiction to theatre, three Canadian writers--Dorothy Ellen Palmer, Anosh Irani and Sonya Singh--explore the important role of humour under trying circumstances, and the careful relationship it plays in literature that tackles important subject matter.
Three incredible writers who've published books on diversity and inclusion gather for an important conversation on the critical steps individuals, corporations and organizations need to consider in their efforts to transform spaces on the path to real and lasting change.
In our return to Brampton's Rose Theatre, our first in-person event since 2019, a collection of festival writers read from their works accompanied by improvisational jazz musicians. Whether you're a regular FOLD attendee, a big reader or a lover of live entertainment, this event is designed to celebrate the power of storytelling from Canadain writers and musicians, in partnership with B-Jazz ed.
In this not-to-be-missed one-on-one interview with acclaimed writer Matthew Salesses, author and creative writing professor Carrianne Leung explores new approaches to fiction writing and workshops.
Hasan Namir, Julietta Singh, and S. Bear Bergman discuss the joys and challenges of parenting, and the ways that they tackle such a personal topic in unique, unexpected formats.
Three game-changing authors -- Kamal Al-Solaylee, Tsering Yangzom Lama, and Omar Mouallem -- discuss the act of writing in the west, the challenges of leaving one home and finding another, and the work of putting to page matters of the heart.
Award-winning Canadian writer André Alexis has completed his quincunx -- a collection of five genre-bending novels. In this festival-closing conversation with Executive Director Jael Richardson, André Alexis explores what it feels like to set out on such an ambition undertaking and what it feels like to approach the end of this career-defining collection of incredible stories.
What are strategies for holding attention in fiction in general and the short story in particular? When does a short story begin and end, and how does a writer create tension and manage narrative information in between? Using literary examples as well as insights from psychology and neuroscience, this session will help writers tell more compelling short stories.
Hooking readers in with a ship, the desire to have two or more characters get together in the end romantically, is a tale as old as time. In this workshop, New York Times bestselling author and FOLD 2022 Teen Writer-in-Residence Chloe Gong explores character creation through relationships – both romantic and platonic – teaching new and established writers how to use this to enhance a reader's emotional attachment to a story.
Grab some friends or the members of your official book club, and keep your notebooks and calendars ready! From rom-coms through to family stories of exile and hope, this panel discussion with Tsering Yangzom Lama, Reema Patel, and Sonya Singh features your next favourite reads. We know there's going to be plenty to talk about.