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Books & Ideas: Fall 2019 Series


Books & Ideas: Fall 2019 Series

A year-round series featuring provocative writers, novelists & thinkers.

Koffler Centre of the Arts’ Books & Ideas series spotlights provocative writers, artists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and on-stage interviews.

With a thematic focus on counter-narratives, the fall series features books that employ memoir, poetry, and the graphic novel form as tools of resistance.

SERIES TICKETS: $60 for all 4 talks | $30 Students/Underemployed

Books & Ideas Fall season presented in partnership with Ben McNally Books & Diaspora Dialogues. With generous support from Dorothy Shoichet & Family, the Estate of Joseph Koenig, the Koffler Family Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and CIBC Wood Gundy. Thanks to our Books & Ideas Media Partner, the Toronto Star.

JENNY HEIJUN WILLSTuesday, September 17, 2019 | 7 PM CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St | $10–$20

Co-presented by Diaspora Dialogues


Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Korea and adopted as an infant into a white family in small-town Canada. In her late twenties, she reconnected with her first family and returned to Seoul. In her breathtaking new memoir, Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related, Wills traces her heartrending journey of reunion with her Korean mother, father, siblings, and extended family. Delving into gender, class, racial and ethnic complexities, the book describes in visceral lyrical prose the painful ripple effects that follow a child’s removal from a family and the rewards that flow from both struggle and forgiveness. Wills will appear in conversation with Toronto novelist Carrianne Leung (The Wondrous Woo and That Time I Loved You.)

Presented with the support of Penguin Random House Canada.


Sunday, October 6, 2019 | 3 PMCSI Annex, 720 Bathurst StPay What you Can $10–$20 | Students/Seniors FREE


With millions of people displaced each year by conflict, violence and persecution, migration is undoubtedly one of the critical issues of our times. In The Blue Road: A Fable of Migration, acclaimed poet and prose writer Wayde Compton and illustrator April de la Noche Milne’s graphic novel debut, a young migrant girl embarks on a treacherous journey only to discover that leaving, arriving and returning are all just different words for the same thing: starting over. Lacuna is a girl without a family, a past, or a proper home. She lives alone in a swamp made of ink, but with the help of Polaris, a will-o’-the-wisp, she embarks for the fabled Northern Kingdom, where she might find people like her. A tender and timely graphic novel for readers of all ages, The Blue Road explores the world from a migrant’s perspective with dreamlike wonder.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019 | 7 PM Native Canadian Centre of Toronto | 16 Spadina RdPay What you Can $10–$20 | Students/Seniors FREE

Co-presented by Diaspora Dialogues


Francine Cunningham is constantly reminded that she doesn’t fit the desired expectations of the world as a white-passing, city-raised Indigenous woman with mental illness. In her debut poetry collection On/Me, Cunningham explores, with keen attention and poise, what it means to be forced to exist within the margins. In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience is Helen Knott’s unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.

Presented with the support of University of Regina Press, and Judith Moses & Peter Lyman.


Thursday, November 21, 2019 | 7 PM CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St | $10–$20


Trans activist Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe. As the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, Abby was poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews. However, from a young age, Abby felt certain that she was a girl. In her groundbreaking memoir Becoming Eve: My Journey From Ultra- Orthodox Rabbi To Transgender Woman, Abby traces her extraordinary coming-out story, from suppressing her desire for a new body, to looking for answers in forbidden religious texts, to orchestrating her final exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity – a radical choice that forced her to leave home, her family and way of life. Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?

Ticket Information Ticket Price
SERIES TICKET (4 Talks) General Admission CAD 60
SERIES TICKET (4 Talks) Students/Underemployed CAD 30

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