Presentation: Jael Richardson on Diversity in the Literary Landscape

Beyond Tokenism: Diversity in the Canadian Literary Landscape

Monday February 20th, 5 PM
Atwater Library Auditorium, 1200 Ave. Atwater, 2nd floor
Free; please RSVP to

Diversity is a hot topic in the writing and publishing industry, but without concrete action it’s little more than a buzzword. What does it mean to nurture and make space for a breadth of literary voices? As part of AELAQ’s professional development series, Jael Richarson—author, book columnist, and artistic director of the Festival of Literary Diversity—will speak to what it means to be a reader, writer and industry professional in Canada, and how to contribute to an industry that accurately reflects the wide range of people and voices that define us as a nation. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Malek Yalaoui.

Jael Richardson is the author of The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’s Life, a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The book received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award. A children’s book is coming May 2016. Richardson is a book columnist on CBC’s q and served as the Toronto District School Board’s Writer-in-Residence. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and lives in Brampton, Ontario where she serves as the Artistic Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).

Malek Yalaoui is a force to be reckoned with. Born in North Africa but bred in the American midwest, Malek’s work is all about reconciling her multiple, intersecting identities as she moves towards wholeness. A queer femme of color and adult survivor of child abuse living with long-term depression, the sole purpose of Malek’s work is to heal herself and her community. Malek believes in the power of representation to lift up underserved communities and uses social and independent media to highlight both her own voice and the voices of other women of color. She is currently working on a memoir entitled “Too Much” which traces her journey thus far through the poetry, published essays, e-mails and journal entries she wrote throughout her teens and twenties.

This event is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Atwater Library auditorium, which is located on the second floor, up two flights of stairs. The library does not have an elevator. In addition to a multi-stall women’s washroom, there is a single-stall gender-neutral washroom next to the auditorium. For further accessibility inquiries, please contact

This event is taking place on the unceded traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka people.

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