TOK - a rehash

I attended TOK Winnipeg on Saturday. Held at the Manitoba Museum Auditorium, the free, public symposium was surprisingly not well attended. Is that because ‘free’ is too good to be true, or because it was poorly advertised? It’s unfortunate because the speakers were engaging and dynamic—the topics relevant and important.

What is TOK? From the handout: “TOK, the digital magazine of Diaspora Dialogues, publishes fiercely honest, freshly original writing from our cities, and from around the world.”  

Stories reflect a search for identity. I can relate. Much of CanLit, when I was growing up was about isolation on the prairies and the weather. There were no stories of immigrant girls like me. I tried hard to be invisible by fitting in. It worked. . . sort of.   But as I continued to search for my stories, I realized I had to write them myself.

Here’s a mishmash rehash of my notes—(the ones I can read).
Young people today are more city-based and want to read about their experiences. (MF) 

We reflect ourselves in our stories. (DAR)  

Independent presses are important to these new voices. Winnipeg is a hub for publishing these new stories. (NJS) 

CanLit is a dusty, old castle, while others are out in the meadow enjoying sunshine and new growth. (SK) I love that metaphor! Our home is in our art. 

There’s an international demand for Canadian settings. 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair will highlight Canadian authors, exposing them to eighty thousand new publishers. (MB)

Stop hiding like there’s something wrong with you. (MF) 

Audio books are a big growth industry and there’s a new course at Ryerson specializing in this. (MB)

What does ‘literary’ fiction really mean? What is ‘genre’ fiction? (DAR, SK)

What is CanLit? Answer is in “Refuse.” Stop succumbing to someone else’s definition. (NJS, MB)

When pitching her logline, SK bypassed the Canadian publishing scene and went straight to a pitch-fest in NYC. Learn by doing. (SK)

Always ask writers how they make their money. (MF)

DAR didn't know who he was until he was older. Inspired by the things that were absent. Intergenerational trauma must be healed by reconciling with fathers. Graphic novels show, don’t tell. (DAR)

Believe in yourself. Do the work. Be excited about yourself. (SK)

“Unless the lion learns to write, the tales of the hunt will always reflect the truths of the hunter.” MF

Interview your relatives. Get their authentic stories. (MF)

Do people really have conversations about balsamic vinegar?” (IC)

Canada: founded on oppression and genocide. (MF)

Connection between hip hop and country music: both tell stories. (MF)

It’s ‘story’ that makes us different from other life forms. We learn history through story. (MF)

Robert Sawyer said, “You can’t punch your way to Utopia.” Self-determination begins with self-description. Fiction can show us a better way.  (MF)

Just a brief summary of a day of thought-provoking presentations.  I'm feeling empowered knowing that the next generation is telling their stories with energy and conviction. 

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