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For the past 27 years, The Word On The Street has been renowned for the quality and diversity of its event programming. See the lineup of incredible Canadian literary talent that appeared at our 28th festival on September 24, 2017.
What happens when you know the truth about someone (perhaps that person being yourself) but everyone else doesn’t see this truth? Or vice versa? Jennifer Gold, S.K Ali, Liane Shaw, and M-E Girard show us the difference between perception and reality.
Growing up in the shadow of a famous mother, Clara has never felt good about her body. Now, at sixteen, she has an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. After a social media disaster, she escapes for the summer to Paris to stay with her estranged dad and her six-year-old brother, Alastair, who is on the autism spectrum. The fabled city of light, and a handsome young French baker, teaches Clara about first love, while Alastair teaches her about patience, trust, and loving without judgement.
Jennifer Gold is a lawyer and mother of two and the author of the YA novels Soldier Doll and Undiscovered Country. A history buff, she also has degrees in psychology, law, and public health. She lives with her family in Toronto.
There are three kinds of people in my world:
1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do.
2. Misfits, people who don’t belong. Like me—the way I don’t fit into Dad’s brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother.
3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O’Connor’s stories. Like the monster at my mosque. People think he’s holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask.
S.K. Ali is a teacher based in Toronto whose writing on Muslim culture and life has appeared in the Toronto Star. Her family of Muslim scholars is consistently listed in the The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, and her insight into Muslim culture is both personal and far-reaching. A mother of a teenage daughter herself, S.K. Ali’s debut YA novel is a beautiful and nuanced story about a young woman exploring her identity through friendship, family, and faith.
Ryan finds his freedom in the water, where he is not bound by gravity and his wheelchair. When he rescues his schoolmate, Jack, from the water their lives become connected, whether they like it or not. Ryan keeps Jack’s secret about that day, but with Jack dogged by rumours about his sexuality at school, Ryan feels that Jack still might need help.
Liane Shaw is the author of five books for teens. Her first novel, thinandbeautiful.com, was shortlisted for the Stellar Award and named on the CCBC’s list of Best Books for Kids and Teens. Her novel The Color of Silence was shortlisted for both the Stellar Award and the Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Book award. Liane was an educator for more than 20 years, with much of her time spent in the field of special education. All of her novels focus on the diverse challenges facing young people. Liane lives with her family in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario.
All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth—that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.
M-E Girard lives just outside of Toronto, where she splits her time between writing YA fiction about badass teen girls and working nights as a pediatric nurse. A 2013 and 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow, M-E is a proud feminist who is endlessly fascinated by the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding the concept of gender. You can find her online at www.megirard.com and all over social media.