Filtering by: Arts

7:00 PM19:00

M. NourbeSe Philip with Donna Bailey Nurse

In recent decades Black Women’s writing has emerged as one of the most prominent and profound literatures in the world. From Chimamanda Adichie in Nigeria to Angie Thomas in the United States to Esi Edugyan in Canada to Zadie Smith in the U.K. – its reach is diasporic. And its stories – set everywhere – unfold at the fiery intersection of race, class and gender. Their writings contemplate the chief mystery of the human condition: Namely, how to liberate the human spirit.

M. NourbeSe Philip is a poet, essayist, novelist, playwright, and former lawyer who lives in Toronto. She is a Fellow of the Guggenheim and Rockefeller (Bellagio) Foundations, and the MacDowell Colony. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Casa de las Americas prize (Cuba). Among her best-known works are: She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks, Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence, and Zong!, a genre-breaking poem that engages with ideas of the law, history, and memory as they relate to the transatlantic slave trade. Her latest book is Bla_k: Essays and Interviews (2018, Book*hug Press).

Donna Bailey Nurse is a literary journalist living in Toronto. She is a columnist for CBC Radio's The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers and her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Hazlitt, The National Post, The Toronto Star. She has also contributed to Publishers Weekly and The Washington Post. She is editor of Revival: An Anthology of Black Canadian Writing (M&S) and the author of What's a Black Critic To Do? and What's a Black Critic to Do ll (insomniac Press).

View Event →
5:00 PM17:00

Marlon James // Curious Minds Weekend - Black Leopard Red Wolf

Originally from Jamaica and now based in the United States, Marlon James is one of the world's most electrifying authors. In 2015, he won the prestigious The Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings. Now he returns with Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the stunning first installment of his Dark Star trilogy that is being hailed as an “African Game of Thrones.” At this Canadian debut, James will introduce Toronto readers to the unforgettable story of Tracker, a mercenary scouring the ancient cities of Africa on a hunt for a missing child. As he unveils this epic fictional universe, James will discuss how he created a new kind of contemporary mythology—a work of prodigious imagination that is quickly becoming the year’s most talked-about novel.

"A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made.” – Neil Gaiman

Book sale and signing to follow

In conversation with Craig Offman, The Globe and Mail's Arts Editor

Promotional Partner: The Festival of Literary Diversity


Meet the thinkers, trailblazers and creative shakers that are shaping the issues and ideas of the day at our annual speaker series, presented in partnership with The Globe and Mail.

Tickets: $19 (Members & Globe subscribers with a discount code: $16)

All Access Pass: $159 (Members & Globe subscribers with a discount code: $139)

View Event →
6:00 PM18:00

Black Writers Matter

Black Writers Matter is a powerful new anthology of African-Canadian writing, edited by Whitney French. The stories in this collection offer a cross-section of established writers and newcomers to the literary world who tackle contemporary and pressing issues with beautiful, sometimes raw, prose.

Come to an evening discussion about the Black Canadian experience, as told through the stories of some of the writers in this collection.

- Whitney French: writer, storyteller, and multidisciplinary artist.
- Angela Walcott: multidisciplinary artist and writer.
- Sapphire Woods: queer nerd with a passion for Black education.

Moderated by Canisia Lubrin, award-winning writer, critic, teacher.

As David Chariandy says "Black Writers Matter is an extraordinary achievement [...]. Whitney French and the talented contributors to this book offer us vital new writings within a two-hundred-year legacy of yearning and truth-telling. Please read this book."


This event is free , but you must register to attend. Tickets will become available on February 6 at 9am. Use the "Get tickets" button on this page to reserve tickets via Eventbrite.

Location: Novella Room in the Appel Salon, at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St.

This event is part of TPL's Black History Month programming. For the full lineup, go to

View Event →
11:00 AM11:00

Black Opera: Uncovering Music History

This symposium, presented by the Toronto Public Library in partnership with The Glenn Gould Foundation, traces the heroic struggles of pioneering artists of African origin to enter the operatic world, their fight for acceptance and recognition, their triumphs and accomplishments.

This event is part of a week of celebrations in Toronto for Jessye Norman, winner of the Twelfth Glenn Gould Prize.

11:00-11:30 am → OPENING CONCERT
With soprano Nadine Anyan, tenor Tristan Scott, baritone Korin Thomas-Smith and pianist Angela Park.

11:30-12:30 pm → BLACK VOICES IN THE OPERA
A conversation between Dr. Naomi André (University of Michigan) and Dr. Gregory Hopkins (Artistic Director of the Harlem Opera Theatre), moderated by Dr. Melanie Zeck (Centre for Black Musical Research, Columbia College).

Inspired by Naomi André's book Black Opera, this conversation on the history of Black opera will explore how artists and composers have used opera to reclaim Black people's place in history.

Gregory Hopkins will present a selection of key performances from the history of Black opera.

Robert Harris & Naomi André discuss cultural appropriation in the opera and the performing arts, and explore recent examples.

3:45-4:00 pm → SECOND CONCERT
Presented by The Glenn Gould Foundation.

Eleanor Wachtel hosts a conversation with Jessye Norman about her life in Opera.

Please note: Jessye Norman will NOT be signing memorabilia at this event

We've created TWO ticket types to help us manage attendees for this day of events.

- If you want to attend any of the symposium events AND the Jessye Norman talk, please select BOTH ticket types.

- If you are planning to ONLY attend the Jessye Norman talk at 4pm, please only select tickets for that.

Get tickets here:

Please note that all tickets are general admission, and seating is on a first come, first served basis.

This event is part of our Black History Month programming. For the full lineup, see:

View Event →
to Feb 10

Blackout: The Concordia Computer Protests, 50 years later

Tickets | Billets - 438 788 3529 //

In 1969, students occupied the computer centre on the 9th floor of the Hall Building of what is now Concordia University to protest the university’s mismanagement of a racism complaint lodged by West-Indian students against their biology professor. Riot police were called in when an agreement to end the occupation fell through, resulting in widespread damage, a mysterious fire, and over a hundred arrests. Created and devised by some of Montréal’s most prolific artists, Blackout re-examines the events that led to the occupation and protests, asking how race relations have changed in Québec over the last 50 years.

En 1969, des étudiants occupent le centre informatique situé au 9e étage du Henry F. Hall de l’Université Concordia pour protester contre la mauvaise gestion de l’Université suite à une plainte pour racisme déposée par des étudiants antillais contre leur professeur. Après deux semaines d’occupation, et face à l’échec d’un accord, l’escouade anti-émeute intervient pour disperser les protestataires. Le bilan est lourd, les dégâts considérables (plus de 2 millions en dommage) et la police procède à une centaine d’arrestations. Développé et conçu par certains des artistes anglophones les plus prolifiques de Montréal, Blackout retrace la série d’évènements ayant conduits à ce soulèvement. Cinquante ans plus tard, les relations raciales au Québec ont-elles évoluées ? //

View Event →