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Celebrating Our Hometown Heroes

August 29, 2019

For 30 years, The Word On The Street Toronto has featured exclusively Canadian authors and publishers at our annual book and magazine festival. We’re proud of all our authors—but our hometown heroes have a special place in our hearts.

Toronto is not an easy place to make a living as a creator. Our inaugural keynote, The City Imagines, will explore how cities can foster a thriving cultural sector and unlock the potential for artists and storytellers to influence city building.

We’re thrilled to be featuring many authors and creators who call Toronto home at our 30th Anniversary festival. Here’s a few that you won’t want to miss!

The Debutant(e)s:

The newest #CanLit cohort includes short fiction powerhouses Téa Mutonji (Shut Up You’re Pretty, Arsenal Pulp Press) and Zalika Reid-Benta (Frying Plantain, Anansi); commanding memoirs by Jesse Thistle (From the Ashes, Simon & Schuster), Joanne Vannicola (All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, Dundurn), and Logathasan Tharmathurai (Sadness of Geography, Dundurn); and a surrealist tale by Andrew Wilmot (The Death Scene Artist, Wolsak & Wynn).



The Speculative Literature Brigade:

Our newest stage—Across the Universe—will host genre stars with deep roots in the city like Cory Doctorow (Radicalized, Tor Forge), who attended the very first Word On The Street festival in 1990, alongside Karl Schroeder (Stealing Worlds, Tor Forge). Then there are the west coast imports like the award-winning L.X. Beckett (Gamechanger, MacMillan) and Kelly Robson (Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach, Tor Forge), who joined ranks with a thriving community of spec fic writers in the city they now call home.



The Giller Laureates:

The Word On The Street has hosted many venerated authors over the last three decades. In 2019, we’re delighted to feature four Giller Prize winners and nominees: André Alexis (Days By Moonlight, Coach House Books), Lynn Coady (Watching You Without Me, Anansi), M.G. Vassanji (Delhi Obsession, Penguin Random House), and Zoe Whittall (The Best Kind of People, Anansi).



The Visual Storytellers:

Stories take many forms. This year we’re highlighting some of Toronto’s best graphic novelists and illustrators, including Terry & Eric Fan (The Scarecrow, HarperCollins), and Jeff Lemire (Frogcatchers, Simon & Schuster). Dramatists will also take the stage, including Amanda Parris (The Other Side of the Game, Playwrights Canada) and Nick Green (Body Politic, Playwrights Canada).   



The Category-Busters:

Writing across genre and age category, these multi-talented wordsmiths have books for the whole family. You’ll want to reserve some shelf space for the prolific Kevin Sylvester (Mucus Mayhem, Scholastic Canada), Cary Fagan (The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster, Tundra Books; The Student, Freehand Books), Adrienne Kress (The Explorers: The Quest for the Kid, Delacorte Books; Bendy and the Ink Machine, Scholastic) and Lesley Livingston (Super Sketchy, Scholastic Canada).



But of course, there are many, many more. Here’s an exhaustive (but likely incomplete) list of all the Torontonians we could track down among our 2019 featured authors:

Adrienne Kress
Amanda Parris
Amy Jones
André Alexis
Andrew Kaufman
Andrew Pyper
Andrew Wilmot
Anoosha Syed
Anubha Mehta
Banoo Zan
Bev Katz Rosenbaum
Cary Fagan
Catherine Hernandez
Ceta Ramkhalawansingh
Cory Doctorow
Derek Mascarenhas
Doyali Islam
Farzana Doctor
Guy & Patricia Storms
J.M. Frey
Jeff Lemire
Jennifer Wemigwans
Jesse Thistle
Joanne Vannicola
K.D. Miller
Karl Schroeder
Katie Daubs
Kean Soo
Kelly Robson
Kevin Sylvester
Kristy Woudstra
L.X. Beckett
Leah Bobet
Lesley Livingston
Leslie Shimotakahara
Lilian Nattel
Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Logathasan Tharmathurai
Lynn Coady
M.G. Vassanji
Maureen Jennings
Melanie Florence
Nancy Jo Cullen
Nathan Ripley
Nick Green
Nicole Lundrigan
Patrick Kyle
Rachel McMillan
Richard Scrimger
S.K. Ali
Shannon Bramer
Sienna Tristen
Suharu Ogawa
Suzanne Methot
Tanaz Bhathena
Téa Mutonji
Terry & Eric Fan
Tory Woollcott
Trish Salah
Zalika Reid-Benta
Zoe Whittall


For the complete list of authors and the 2019 schedule, check out our website. The Word On The Street Toronto returns to Harbourfront Centre on September 21-22 for a festival 30 years in the making!


Join us Tuesday, September 17 for THE CITY IMAGINES, a keynote address by author and city-builder Ken Greenberg (Toronto Reborn, Dundurn), followed by a panel discussion on urbanism and the arts moderated by John Lorinc.

Early bird tickets are available until Wednesday, September 4 for $25. Sliding scale tickets are available at $10 for students and limited income residents.

If you are interested in attending and ticket cost is a barrier, please contact toronto [at] and we will make arrangements.