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OCAD U partners with Canada’s largest literary festival

A hand works on a typewriter on a table.

The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) returns from Sept. 21 to Oct. 1, 2023 at the Harbourfront Centre. Once again, OCAD University is partnering with TIFA to showcase the emerging and established voices from its Creative Writing program.

OCAD U students and faculty members from the Creative Writing program will participate in a range of events as part of Canada’s largest literary festival.

“TIFA provides a valuable platform for our student writers to showcase their interdisciplinary work, engage with the public and feel immersed in a vital literary community,” says award-winning prose poet Catherine Black, who is the Chair of the Creative Writing program and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Science at OCAD U.

“It's a brilliant introduction to community engagement through writing,” she continues.

Since its inception in 1974, TIFA has welcomed thousands of authors to its stages from more than 100 countries, including 22 Nobel Laureates and countless other award winners. This is the second year OCAD U is partnering on events with TIFA.

Events are taking place at various indoor and outdoor locations at 235 Queens Quay West, offering professional development and experiential learning opportunities for current students as well as the occasion for audiences to connect with the University's community of talented creative writers.

Established in 2018, the Creative Writing program at OCAD U is a hands-on, studio-based undergraduate program that uniquely supports students’ development of their literary voices in the context of an art and design education. It cultivates real-world experiences for students and their work, to engage and enrich a literary ecology on and off campus as they forge a culture of transformation.

OCAD U events at TIFA 

OCAD U Animated Literary Projections
Thurs. Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. to Fri., Sept. 29 (as of Fri. Sept. 22, projections begin at 10:30 a.m. and run until the end of the scheduled programming).
Marilyn Brewer Community Space

See vivid animated projects showcasing collaborative work by students in OCAD U’s Experimental Animation and Creative Writing Programs on display.

Student Literary Cabaret
Fri. Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Brigantine Room

This event will showcase the work of fresh voices from OCAD U’s Creative Writing program, Guelph University, Seneca and York University. Visitors must purchase a single day pass or full festival pass to attend this event. 

Writers Behind Typewriters
Mon. Sept. 25 to Thurs. Sept. 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
West Bays

This popular event, organized by Associate Professor Catherine Black, returns to the festival for a second year. Attendees can enjoy the sonic landscape of many writers writing, connect with a typewriter or buy a bespoke letter, poem or piece of flash fiction from OCAD U Creative Writing students. A pay-what-you-may donation box will be nearby with all proceeds going to Pulse, the OCAD U student-produced literary journal. Writers Behind Typewriters is co-sponsored by Toronto Typewriters.

Toronto Poetry Slam
Fri. Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Harbourfront Centre Theatre

OCAD U Instructor Ian Keteku and Patrick de Belen will co-host the Toronto Poetry Slam. Poets can sign up to perform at the event starting at 6:45 p.m. (no advance sign up). Visitors must purchase a single day pass or full festival pass to attend this event.