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What’s Your Sign? WOTStrology Part 3: 30th Anniversary

September 12, 2019

With over 200 authors delivering readings and having conversations, alongside a marketplace of more than 150 publishers and booksellers, The Word On The Street 2019 has so much to offer it’s nearly overwhelming. Having a hard time planning your day? Fear not! We’re laying out six bundles of must-sees according to your interests in our WOTStrology series—think of it like a choose-your-own-adventure, or better yet, a literary horoscope.

So tell us—WOTS your sign?

If you want to make memories, participate in the literary community, and celebrate the past and future of Canadian publishing, the 30th Anniversary track is for you! Read on to hear our hand-picked suggestions for a birthday party like no other.



Featured Events: The City Imagines and WOTS Plus

For many years we were able to pack all the fun of WOTS into a single festival day–but times have changed, and we’ve grown with our audience. For our 30th anniversary we’re pleased to present not one but TWO extra days of programming. For the full #WOTS30 experience, be sure to check them both out!

First up is The City Imagines, a keynote speech delivered by urbanist Ken Greenberg on Tuesday September 17th at the Concert Hall (888 Yonge). Ken will be discussing how we can foster a thriving arts and culture scene in Toronto alongside a panel of experts, including Kerry Swanson (Indigenous Screen Office), Menon Dwarka (Art of Time Ensemble), Ilana Altman (Bentway) and Devyani Saltzman (AGO). To top it off, the panel will be moderated by the insightful and incisive John Lorinc of Spacing Toronto!

Then, come to Harbourfront Centre on Saturday September 21 for WOTS Plus, a day of discussions on writing and civil society with Diaspora Dialogues and the Toronto Public Library. From “Re-Imagining Tech for a Better World” to interviews with authors like Melanie Florence and Derek Mascarenhas, these talks are ideal for anyone looking to engage in Canada’s current literary landscape. And don’t forget to stick around past 6PM for the book launch of Ruth Panofsky’s Toronto Trailblazers: Women in Canadian Publishing, featuring a conversation between Ruth and literary agent Bella Pomer moderated by Sue Carter of Quill & Quire!


Panels to Pique Your Interest

The Future of Reading

Great Books Marquee | 10AM

Literature and literacy have come a long way in the last thirty years–but how much farther do they have to go? Cory Doctorow, Gwen Benaway, Ben Dugas, and Andreya Klobucar are digging into this fascinating topic of what literature could look like, in the far or near future.

Building Literary Communities

Vibrant Voices of Ontario stage | 11:30AM

Art–and its artists–thrive best when they’re part of a larger community of support and encouragement. Join poets and community organizers rob mclennan, Kirby, and Bänoo Zan in a conversation moderated by Khashayar Mohammadi about how to involve yourself in the community and build relationships within it.

Digital Magazines in the Age of Disinformation

Vibrant Voices of Ontario stage | 1PM

Presented by Magazines Canada, four leading digital magazine publishers will discuss news and entertainment in an era where gratification is instant and facts are often skewed. Rehana Begg, Drew Brown, Andrew Yates, and Camille Dundas come together for this timely discussion moderated by Craig Silverman.

Writing With The City In Mind

Toronto Star Tent | 3PM

Much like writing about Toronto, writing in Toronto is a unique experience with its own set of paradigms and milestones. Kevin Hardcastle, Devyani Saltzman, and Toronto Poet Laureate A.F. Moritz discuss these nuances with Deborah Dundas as moderator. Come see how the city appears between pages!

Queer Writing in Canada: Past, Present, Future

Amazon Bestsellers stage | 3:15PM

Queer literature is an essential component of CanLit; if you wanted to know where it came from or where it’s going, this is the panel for you. Amazon First Novel Award-winning Casey Plett facilitates a discussion with Nancy Jo Cullen, Farzana Doctor, Kai Cheng Thom, and Zoe Whittall about the past and future of queer lit in Canada.

Toronto 2033

Across The Universe stage | 4:15PM

To close off your day on an imaginative note, sit and listen to readings from Toronto 2033, a collection of ten short stories envisioning the challenges Toronto and its residents might soon face, and the ways they might persevere. With Jim Munroe, Zainab Ahmadahy, Madeline Ashby, and illustrator Mathew Borrett, this panel is sure to invoke the possibilities of Torontonian future.


Exhibitors Not to Miss

Did you know The Word On The Street isn’t the only literary festival celebrating an anniversary? During your day, be sure to stop over at the TIFA (Toronto International Festival of Authors) booth to congratulate them on 40 years! The Toronto Public Library is offering a fun-filled and informative sneak peek at the new look of the TPL at their Transformation Station on the Brigantine Patio; come see what the future of information architecture looks like.

And of course, you don’t want to miss out on the festival’s special 30th anniversary tote bags and enamel pins, available at our WOTS Shop in the festival marketplace!



There you have it: our top picks for everyone wanting to celebrate the past and future of Canadian writing. Remember, these are only suggestions—the world of WOTS is wide and full of wonder, and you’re guaranteed to get something out of it no matter how you spend your day. Stay tuned for our other WOTStrology posts going up this week, and we’ll see you on the 22nd!