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Live Mic: Best of TPL Conversations features curated discussions and interviews with some of today’s best-known and yet-to-be-known writers, thinkers and artists, recorded on stage at one of Toronto Public Library’s 100 branches.

Live Mic: Best of TPL Conversations Toronto Public Library

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Live Mic: Best of TPL Conversations features curated discussions and interviews with some of today’s best-known and yet-to-be-known writers, thinkers and artists, recorded on stage at one of Toronto Public Library’s 100 branches.

    The Chef’s Secret with Crystal King

    The Chef’s Secret with Crystal King

    In her first two novels, Boston-based Crystal King has explored the unique ways that history and food both reflect and affect each other. King talks with Canadian historical novelist, Roberta Rich, about The Chef’s Secret, set in Renaissance Italy, which details the life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time. King talks about, among other topics, how the few details known of Scappi’s life afforded her an opportunity as a novelist to invent and imagine.

    Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston but considers Italy her next great love after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin.

    Roberta Rich divides her time between Vancouver and Colima, Mexico. She is a former family law lawyer. The Midwife of Venice, her #1 bestselling debut novel, has been published to acclaim in thirteen territories, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Spain and Brazil. Her second novel, the nationally bestselling The Harem Midwife, has published in over ten countries.

    • 42 Min.
    Yuri Herrera and Post-Apocalyptic Noir

    Yuri Herrera and Post-Apocalyptic Noir

    Mexican novelist, Yuri Herrera, talks to Alejandro Soifer about his work which explores the relationship between power and art. The conversation centres around two of Herrera’s most recent English translations, showing how novelists can deftly challenge the fictions of the particular societies that they are portraying. He reads from his work Transmigration of Bodies, (published in Mexico in 2013 and translated to English in 2016 by Lisa Dillman) and demonstrates how there is humour to be found even in the midst of violence and terror that challenge the very structures of power that keep a country from receding into chaos.

    Born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970, Yuri Herrera studied Politics in Mexico, Creative Writing in El Paso and took his PhD in literature at Berkeley. His first novel to appear in English, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was published to great critical acclaim in 2015 and included in many Best-of-Year lists, including The Guardian‘s Best Fiction and NBC News’s Ten Great Latino Books, going on to win the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. He is currently teaching at the Tulane University, in New Orleans.

    The host of this episode is Alejandro Soifer. Alejandro was born in Buenos Aires in 1983 and holds a degree in Letras (Comparative Literature) with a specialization in Argentinian and Latin American Literature and a degree in Spanish Language and Literature Teaching both granted by the Universidad de Buenos Aires. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Book History and Print Culture program. His field of studies is Modern and Contemporary Hispanic Literature and Culture (1700-present) and his field of research is popular literature genres in Latin America. His current research is on contemporary noir, hardboiled and mystery Mexican literature.

    • 43 Min.
    Vanessa Sasson and the Buddha’s Wife

    Vanessa Sasson and the Buddha’s Wife

    Professor and scholar Vanessa R. Sasson talks with Parul Pandya about her fictionalized account of the often overlooked story of the Buddha’s wife. It is through her eyes that the reader witnesses the transformation of Siddhārtha Gautama, from pampered prince to the journey that will end in Buddhahood, all the while portraying the fabulist and magical touches that call back to the tradition of the age as well as showing the confined roles that women played “behind the scenes.”

    Vanessa R. Sasson is a professor of Religious Studies in the Liberal and Creative Arts and Humanities Department at Marianopolis College, Quebec. She is also a Research Fellow for the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State in South Africa, as well as Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Religious Studies of McGill University, Montreal. As a scholar, her focus is on Buddhist studies, with particular emphasis on hagiography, gender and childhoods. Vanessa’s published books include The Birth of Moses and the Buddha: A Paradigm for the Comparative Study of Religions, and the edited volumes Little Buddhas: Children and Childhoods in Buddhist Texts and Traditions and imagining the Fetus: The Unborn in Myth, Religion and Culture.

    The host of this episode is Parul Pandya. Parul has been working in non-profit in various roles through the past decade, including as a community builder, consultant, programmer and producer. She specializes in using arts for social change. After finishing managing in community granting for the largest government funder in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, she began her own consulting practice, Community Impact Non-Profit Consulting, which enables community engagement and equitable innovation. She is also a Queer South Asian freelance writer/poet, and has worked for various activist causes for over a decade. She has a deep passion for ethics and social justice, which she also teaches at Centennial College.

    • 44 Min.
    Ned Christie: Cherokee Outlaw or Hero?

    Ned Christie: Cherokee Outlaw or Hero?

    Who was Nede Wade Christie? Was he a violent criminal guilty of murdering a federal officer? Or a Cherokee statesman who suffered a martyr’s death for a crime he did not commit? For more than a century, journalists, pulp fiction authors, and even serious historians have produced largely fictitious accounts of “Ned” Christie’s life. Now, in a tour de force of investigative scholarship, Devon A. Mihesuah offers a far more accurate depiction of Christie and the times in which he lived.

    In this conversation, Mihesuah talks to playwright, Falen Johnson, placing Christie’s story within the rich context of Cherokee governance and nineteenth-century American political and social conditions. More than a biography, Ned Christie traces the making of an American myth.

    Devon Abbott Mihesuah is the Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professor in International Cultural Understanding. She holds a Ph.D. in American History from Texas Christian University. Her career has been devoted to the empowerment and well-being of Indigenous peoples. She served as Editor of the American Indian Quarterly for nine years. Her research, writing and speaking focuses on decolonization strategies and is one of the few Indigenous writers who successfully writes non-fiction and fiction. She regularly speaks nationally and internationally about issues pertaining to empowerment of Indigenous peoples; her works are cited and reprinted in hundreds of publications and her books and essays are used in classrooms across the world.

    The host of this episode is Falen Johnson, Mohawk and Tuscarora from Six Nations Grand River Territory. She is bear clan. Falen is a writer, producer, director, and actor. Her plays Salt Baby, Two Indians, and Ipperwash have played in theatres across the country. Her writing appears in publications such as Granta Magazine, Brick Literary Journal. She has also been featured in The Canadian Theatre Review as well as on the Moth Storytelling podcast. Falen has earned TV writing credits for Urban Native Girl (APTN) and was a researcher on Colonization Road (Frog Girl Films). She co-hosts the podcast The Secret Life of Canada with co-creator Leah-Simone Bowen.

    • 42 Min.
    Bruce Pascoe: A “Truer” Aboriginal History

    Bruce Pascoe: A “Truer” Aboriginal History

    Australian Aboriginal writer and activist, Bruce Pascoe, presents his ground-breaking book, Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? with University of Guelph Métis scholar, Kim Anderson. Using compelling evidence from the records and diaries of early Australian explorers and colonists, Pascoe reveals that Aboriginal systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia's past is required - for the benefit of all Australians and Indigenous people around the world.

    Bruce Pascoe is a Bunurong, Yuin and Tasmanian man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria and has been the director of the Australian Studies Project for the Commonwealth Schools Commission. Bruce has had a varied career as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor. His book Fog a Dox won the Young Adult category of the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. His book Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?, won the NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award in 2016.

    The host of this episode is Dr. Kim Anderson, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Relationships, whose work explores how “all our relations” are developed and maintained in urban environments. Anderson builds on decades-long work with Indigenous Friendship Centres in Canada to determine how women build community. Knowing that the position of men and masculinities is an underexplored area at the heart of Indigenous relationships, Anderson and her research team are also working with a growing network of Indigenous masculinities scholars to publish collective work, sponsor public dialogue, and set the stage for program and policy work for Indigenous men. She has published six books, including Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings and Story Medicine and Indigenous Men and Masculinities: Legacies, Identities, Regeneration.

    • 42 Min.
    Fruit of the Drunken Tree: Violence, Childhood and Escobar's Columbia

    Fruit of the Drunken Tree: Violence, Childhood and Escobar's Columbia

    How does a country live in peace when for generations, there has been no model for peace? How does growing up amidst violence and fear affect the way a child sees the world - and how might she come to feel about that country looking back as an adult in a wealthier country?

    These are questions that author Ingrid Rojas Contreras considers in her gripping debut novel, Fruit of the Drunken Tree. Set in Colombia during the height of the Escobar cartel’s grip on Colombia, the novel tells the story of an unlikely friendship between two young girls growing up in a climate of political assassinations, kidnappings and car bombs. “You don’t need to have grown up in Bogotá to be taken in by Contreras’s simple but memorable prose and absorbing story line,” says The New York Times review of Contreras’s Impac-Dublin Literary Award-nominated book.

    Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her first novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree is an Indie Next selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and a New York Times editor's choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Buzzfeed, Nylon, and Guernica, among others. Rojas Contreras has received numerous awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, VONA, Hedgebrook, The Camargo Foundation, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. She is the book columnist for KQED, the Bay Area's NPR affiliate. She teaches writing at the University of San Francisco, and works with immigrant high school students as part of a San Francisco Arts Commission initiative bringing writers into public schools. She is working on a family memoir about her grandfather, a curandero from Colombia who it was said had the power to move clouds.

    The host of this episode is Jael Richardson, 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 Stone Thrower was adapted into a children’s book in 2016 and was shortlisted for a Canadian picture book award. Richardson is a book columnist and guest host on CBC’s q. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and lives in Brampton, Ontario where she founded and serves as the Artistic Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD). Her debut novel, Gutter Child, is coming Fall 2020 with HarperCollins Canada.

    • 40 Min.

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