7 engaging virtual events to attend at this year’s Toronto International Festival of Authors

Sponsored feature: Toronto International Festival of Authors


Canada’s largest and longest running literary festival is back from October 22 to November 1  with an impressive new virtual format. The shift online means the majority of the events and at this year’s Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) are free and accessible from around the world.  

The festival features more than 200 events designed to inspire discussion, curiosity and creativity. The lineup includes a mix of international and Canadian musicians, artists and performers.

This year’s programming circles around the concept of bringing a new world into focus. Writers, poets, musicians and hosts will explore pressing topics like the U.S. Election, COVID-19, dealing with grief and loss, political change, identity, and more. 

Here are seven unique and stimulating events sure to capture the attention of TIFA’s inquisitive attendees. 

An Evening With Margaret Atwood

On opening night, Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood and TIFA director Roland Gulliver will take the virtual stage for a thought-provoking conversation. Atwood will discuss her recent works and fan favourites like The Handmaid’s Tale and its 2019 sequel, The Testaments. Audiences will also get a sneak peek into Atwood’s upcoming poetry collection. 

Critical Conversations: The Opioid Crisis 

This year’s festival will see authors candidly discussing topics that matter most during this unprecedented time. At this event, a panel of authors and experts will reflect on the complex health and social issues driving Canada’s national opioid epidemic. Guests will learn some of the compassionate and evidence-based ways that Canadians can battle the crisis.

Find Your Pleasure: Cynthia Loyst

Join The Social’s cohost, sex educator and advice columnist Cynthia Loyst as she discusses how to take the guilt out of pleasure. Loyst will also chat about her debut self-help book, Find Your Pleasure: The Art Of Living A More Joyful Life. The book helps readers realize their needs and wants in all aspects of life – from family, home and work to love and sex. The event will end with a no-holds-barred Q&A for adults only. 

Between The Shorelines: Storying Indigenous Presence In Toronto 

Explore the Indigenous history of Toronto and reflect on its heritage in real time and space. This interactive podcast will bring to the fore the importance of sharing, listening and witnessing Indigenous oral histories and truth-telling.

Toronto Poetry Slam

Poetry fanatics rejoice: Toronto’s largest poetry showcase returns for its fourth TIFA appearance. This high-energy slam will be presented in two parts: a performance by award-winning Nova Scotia author and artist Andre Fenton, along with a competition between some of Toronto’s greatest spoken-word artists. 

Toronto District School Board’s Young Writers Conference

Young writers in Toronto are striving to tell their truths, exercise their imaginations and hone their craft. This conference helps young writers thrive by connecting them to a community of established writers who offer lessons learned from their experiences.

The Last Poets & Christine Otten

This event features a hip-hop and spoken word performance by The Last Poets from Harlem, New York. The Last Poets have been producing protest poetry and championing civil rights, from 1960s Harlem to their 2018 album Understand What Black Is. The group will be joined by Dutch novelist and playwright Christine Otten, author of the novel The Last Poets.

For more information or to register to attend the festival, visit www.festivalofauthors.ca.

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