2024 Festival:
October 21–27

57. Women Talking

57. Women Talking

These literary works may delve into very different circumstances, but at the heart of each are women protagonists navigating complexity to build their own futures in bold and sweeping narratives. Claudia Dey’s hypnotic tour de force, Daughter, follows a woman caught in her charismatic, womanizing father’s web, starving to make a life—and art—of her own. Emma Hooper asks questions of human nature, connection, and hope in We Should Not Be Afraid of the Sky, following five girls—who call themselves sisters—abducted by Roman soldiers. Zalika Reid-Benta probes the vital importance of ancestral ties in her exhilarating magical realist novel about a millennial Black woman embarking on a quest through Toronto in River Mumma. Moderated by Jasmine Sealy.

Event Participants:

Claudia Dey

CLAUDIA DEY is the author of Stunt, a Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire Book of the Year. Her plays have been produced internationally and nominated for the Governor General’s Award and Trillium Book Award. Dey’s writing and interviews have appeared in many publications, including The Paris Review and The Believer. Dey has also worked as a horror film actress and a cook in lumber camps across northern Canada, and is co-founder of the design studio and clothing label Horses Atelier. She lives in Toronto.

Emma Hooper

Raised in Alberta, EMMA HOOPER is a musician and writer. As a musician she performs as solo artist Waitress for the Bees, a project which earned her a Finnish Cultural Knighthood. She has also performed with Peter Gabriel, The Heavy, her string quartet Red Carousel, and numerous others. Her debut novel, Etta and Otto and Russell and James, was an international bestseller and was published in 24 countries. Our Homesick Songs, her second novel, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2018. She now lives in the soft green of England’s South-West, but comes home to Canada to cross-country ski as much as she can.

Zalika Reid-Benta

ZALIKA REID-BENTA is a Toronto-based writer whose debut story collection, Frying Plantain, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Literary Fiction. Frying Plantain was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and it was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award, the White Pine Award, and the Trillium Book Award. Zalika served as the 2021-2022 Writer in Residence at Western University and was the chair of the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She received an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University, was a John Gardner Fiction Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and is an alumnus of the Banff Centre Writing Studio.

Jasmine Sealy

JASMINE SEALY is a Barbadian-Canadian writer. Her debut novel, The Island of Forgetting, was published in 2022. It was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and it won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award. She lives in Vancouver.