& occasionally about other things, too...

Sunday, May 02, 2010

TOK 5: Writing the New Toronto

Later this month, Diaspora Dialogues will release the fifth edition of TOK: Writing the New Toronto.

It includes my short story – The New Canadians.
I’ve described my participation in the Diaspora Dialogues’ mentoring program, and the privilege and honour of working with my mentor MG Vassanji on my Canadian Immigrant blog (The Write Stuff). 

I don’t exaggerate when I say that Diaspora Dialogues’ mentoring program gave a new direction and purpose to my writing. I’m sure many other writers have felt the same over the last five years.

Even a cursory browsing through the earlier
four volumes of TOK shows how Diaspora Dialogues has nurtured writers from a diverse cross section of Toronto’s multi-ethnic population.

In the Preface to TOK-1,
Helen Walsh, Editor, and President Diaspora Dialogues, explains, “In 2005, Diaspora Dialogues was launched to encourage writers from diverse communities to create new work that explored Toronto as “place” in their fiction, poetry and drama. We wanted to create a literature of the city that was current and vibrant and truly reflected the people who live in it.”

Walsh adds, “We wanted to support a range of work that mirrors the city’s complexity, and that brings to life, sometimes overtly and sometimes obliquely, the taste and smell, sights and sounds, of this city as people experience it every day.”

In his Foreword to TOK-1,
Alan Broadbent, the then Chairman of Diaspora Dialogues Charitable Society, lists the two objectives with which the organisation was launched:
  • To let immigrant writers be heard, and to help them find a market for their work.
  • To reflect back to those Canadians who arrived earlier the changing face of their communities and country.
Broadbent adds, “By providing outlets for works that have local settings and themes, we can see our country anew, and see it differently. We think this will deepen our understanding of who we are, and where we live.”

In a country that is made and remade by immigrants, it’s surprising nobody thought of this before.

TOK 5’s launch details:

Location: Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library

Date: Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time: 7:30pm
You can order the earlier volumes here

Image: http://torontoist.com/attachments/toronto_prathnal/2007_16_08TOK1.jpg

No comments:

Post a Comment