What Happened at the FOLD

Posted by 
Nailah King, Alissa McArthur, & Rachel Thompson

“I had the opportunity to represent Room, along with Nailah King, at the FOLD's Writers' Hub. A free event, the Writer's Hub was an opportunity for diverse writers to speak directly to editors and publishers. Nailah and I spoke to many writers, some of whom were hearing about Room for the first time. We let them know that Room is an inclusive space for women writers of colour, and talked them through the submissions call for the upcoming Food issue. It was a great experience to meet so many enthusiastic writers and get the word out that Room welcomes diverse writing. The FOLD is a great event, and I'm happy I got to participate and encourage writers to submit to Room. I hope to return to Brampton again next year for the FOLD!”

—Alissa McArthur


“I can’t quite remember the first time I heard about The Festival of Literary Diversity, but I knew right away that it would be something incredible. Despite writing for some time, I’ve never been one to spend money on working on my craft. However, the lineup of workshops for the FOLD had such amazing talent, so I got a ticket to the YA Workshop. Hosted by writer of the Portia Adams series, Angela Misri. I found that the best part about attending the workshop was the level of professionalism. Misri was blunt about what it takes to make it in the industry and wasn’t afraid to answer tough questions. For example, when asked about choosing an American or Canadian publisher, I was impressed by her candid response. She emphasized that while it was important to her to pick a Canadian publisher, some writers may find more widespread success with an American publisher. The workshop explored how to navigate the industry, provided some concrete tips and things to keep in mind when writing YA, and how to write good fiction in general. I think there is great potential for workshops to evolve into writing sessions and that’s why I’m looking forward to next year.”

—Nailah King


“Going into the FOLD, I thought of it as a necessary weekend on writing, diversity, and inclusion. My experience at the FOLD was delightful and overwhelming. There were so many great readings and panels to see and I couldn't do them all. It was a weekend that inspired me to do better at inclusion—they really lead by example and by kindness. I'm still buzzing from conversations and things I heard in sessions. While there, I represented Room on the panel Publishing (More) Diverse Stories, hosted by #DiverseCanLit's Léonicka Valcius. I got to hear about the struggles of industry insiders on the book publishing side, while also sharing lessons learned as Room has worked and continues to work on our diversity and inclusion. (Key shared panel point: improve working conditions for those starting out to get more diverse behind the scenes, and therefore increase diversity of content.) There was a great moment where Room received a round of applause, while we were also gently challenged on the lack of age diversity and visibility of writers with disabilities in our lit mag. (Though, I was happy to say we are aware of this and we're working on it!)”

—Rachel Thompson

Author, editor, and member of the Room collective, Rachel Thompson, sends out free weekly letters to writers to help illuminate their writing lives. Sign up on Lit Writers.


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    In this issue:

    Manahil Bandukwala, Dessa Bayrock, Megan Beadle, Brandi Bird, lue boileau, Rachel Burlock, Justina Chong, Mollie Cronin, Marilyn Dumont, Edzi'u, Ashleigh Giffen, katia hernandez velasco, erica hiroko, Jessica Johns, Shaelyn Johnston, Yume Kitasei, Mica Lemiski, Jessie Loyer, Annick MacAskill, Callista Markotich, Sonali Menezes, Kai Minosh Pyle, Natasha Ramoutar, Carmina Ravanera, Rohsni Riar, Jessica Rose, Rowan Siah, Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch, Kelly S. Thompson, Arielle Twist, Phoebe Wang, Yu-Sen Zhou