The International Festival of Authors is taking its Toronto Lit Up initiative to a new level, launching an anthology featuring some of the city’s budding writers.
The Unpublished City, like the three-year project of the same name IFOA launched with the Toronto Arts Council in 2016, aims to spotlight diverse, emerging authors from across the GTA. Writer and University of Guelph professor Dionne Brand, who heads the Toronto Lit Up committee, says the collection, published in conjunction with local press BookThug, was a natural extension from the initiative’s goal of connecting new writers with more readers through large-scale book launch events and promotion.
“The committee was thinking about our mission to promote Toronto writers, and we usually do that in assisting writers who are having books published,” Brand says. “And then we thought of the vibrancy of writing in the city and all the emerging writers who did not yet have a book, and it went from there to create an anthology.”
The collection, launching June 22, features the work of 18 literary talents, including Katheryn Wabegijig, Ian Kamau, and Sanchari Sur. “The Unpublished City helps to re-vision what writing is in Toronto. Readers will have an opportunity to discover how diverse emerging writing is, and how wide ranging writing can be in its possibilities,” says BookThug co-founder Jay MillAr. “BookThug is committed to supporting new and diverse voices, so it seemed like the perfect project for us to be involved with.”
The Unpublished City represents not just publication in book form, but an homage to the richness and dynamism that constitutes Toronto and its writers – as well as a commitment to support its unheard literary voices. “Being part of a project that seeks to unearth the hidden stories of a landscape is important and integral to the literary health of a community,” says Shoilee Khan, another of the book’s contributors. “I’m thrilled to be part of a literary project that is progressive and seeks to be impactful in meaningful and hopefully lasting ways.”