This is a guest post by Léonicka Valcius. She is an assistant agent at Transatlantic Agency and the chair of the board of the FOLD Foundation. Follow her work and sign up for her newsletter at www.leonicka.com.
As you scroll through the #FOLD2018 schedule you may be tempted to ask, "Which day should I spend at The Festival of Literary Diversity?" The correct answer is obviously, "ALL OF THEM!"
The festival, known as FOLD, is designed to be action-packed from start to finish. To demonstrate this, allow me to walk you through Sunday's schedule.
Our hugely popular breakfast session is back, with Tanya Talaga in conversation with Miranda Hill. The only thing better than listening to two writers in conversation is listening to two writers while you have a delicious breakfast. It was at one such session that I met Zarqa Nawaz! This is a breakfast you won't forget.
Then come the powerful panels. In Stitching Stories, Amber Dawn, Lisa Charleyboy, Jane Eaton Hamilton, and Dane Swan discuss the work it takes to edit and curate cohesive anthologies, short story collections, and literary magazines. As a romance reader, I am very eager to attend Heartwarming to Sizzling Hot, where Harlequin editors and authors will discuss romance writing, the state of diversity in the genre, and what romance lovers can look forward to in the future. Finally, if you still have strong feelings about this year's Canada Reads, don't miss the reunion special. Cherie Demaline, Sharon Bala, and Omar El Akkad will join Ali Hassan to talk about their books, Canada Reads, and what's next for them.
Sunday's schedule also features a FREE professional development track for emerging writers, which includes: a FREE info session with the Canada Arts Council, a FREE opportunity to network with underrepresented readers and writers at The Writers' Hub, and a FREE comics workshop with Johnnie Christmas. The Writers' Hub, specifically, is one of our crown jewels. I constantly hear industry professionals lament about how hard it is to find underrepresented writers and that underrepresented writers don't submit to them enough. Well, this is your chance to hear some new voices. Our exhibitor tables are SOLD OUT this year but come to the event to see the writers and publishers who are participating. Then make a note to have an exhibitor table next year.
In three years, the FOLD has become an invaluable resource for writers and industry professionals who are interested in making Canadian publishing and literature more equitable and inclusive. The speakers and writers who gather at the FOLD are brilliant and you need to hear their words. Many of the diversity-centered panels at Tech Forum 2018 left attendees asking "So what should we do?" Let me offer these initial steps: Come listen to underrepresented writers (both the writers on stage and the unpublished writers in the audience) speak. Bring money to buy their books. Bring your business cards to develop an ongoing professional relationship. Take notes for your colleagues so you can take action in your workplace.
The FOLD Planning Team has worked very hard to put the festival together. We'd love to see you there.
Can't make it to the FOLD at all? Buy a Patron Pass so someone in need can attend.