By Jesse Cohoon with material provided by Courtney Greenberg. The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA), Canada’s largest and longest-running literary festival, will take place October 22 – November 1, 2020, and deliver more than 200 virtual events and activities, primarily for free and accessible from around the world.
It celebrates emerging authors in one of the first events of the 41st annual Festival by featuring 6 authors from two new anthologies in a live event on October 22 at 5 pm, hosted by Al Moritz, Toronto’s 6th Poet Laureate. https://festivalofauthors.ca/event/toronto-writers-collective-launch/
The writers were mentored by professional authors in a 10-week series of workshops held by the Toronto Writers Collective, an organization dedicated to encouraging voices from diverse communities. They will read excerpts of pieces they created, exploring themes of poverty, homelessness, family, grief and courage.
“The TWC is thrilled and honoured to launch our two inspiring anthologies at the Toronto International Festival of authors,” says Susan Turk Mozer, Founder of the TWC. “It is a privilege for our writers to present in the company of some of the World’s best-known authors and thinkers. We are proud of Al Mortiz’s support, in celebrating these once unheard stories”.
In total, 34 authors contributed to the anthologies, Front Lines: Bent, Not Broken and Front Lines: Until the Words Run Pure. The workshops offered them a space to be brave and vulnerable, develop their skills and receive feedback on their writing from professional authors.
“The Toronto Writers Collective does wonderful, crucial work by nurturing the writer hidden in so many people who were never allowed to believe they have a voice,” says Al Moritz, Toronto’s poet laureate. “I’m proud to work with TIFA, and with TWC in its creative, soul-strengthening outreach through writing to our most vulnerable people…our greatest untapped resource!”
The project was funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and the Azrieli Foundation and supported by the Toronto Public Library branches and Working for Change.
This marks the second time the Toronto Public Library has played a role in the publication of a TWC anthology. The first, Front Lines Series: Voices from the Toronto Writers Collective, was published in 2017. It shares the stories of 23 emerging authors.
“This is a perfect example of how the library’s spaces, collections and staff can add great value to these kinds of partnerships. Toronto Public Library is happy to support TWC in bringing this initiative to our branches, and to Torontonians wishing to express themselves through creative writing,” Toronto Public Library Director of Service Development & Innovation Pam Ryan says, adding that the resulting anthologies are an “impactful and thought-provoking collection of creativity.”
TIFA is is also supporting the TWC by connecting it with Union Station. A video installation of excerpts exploring the idea of ‘Where I’m From’ will be presented at Union Station throughout the Festival.
“Representing all the voices of Toronto is a vital part of the Toronto International Festival of Authors,” explained Roland Gulliver, Director, Toronto International Festival of Authors.,
“I am really excited for our installation at Union Station. It offers the TWC writers the opportunity to see their writing screened in the heart of city – especially when not everyone has easy access to digital resources- and it offers audiences a different way to access stories and engage with digital content in our everyday environments.”
The anthologies can be purchased through the Toronto Writers Collective’s website: www.torontowriterscollective.ca or borrowed from your local Library branch.