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In Her Voice Festival: First Fictions

June 1, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 1:30 pm


Please join us for the third annual In Her Voice Festival!

Our first event of the Festival will feature three debut fiction writers discussing their process and their paths to publication. Our three authors, Zalika Reid-Benta, Téa Mutonji, and Nadja Lubiw-Hazard will be joined by moderator Samia Madwar for an hour-long panel, followed by an audience Q and A. Books will be for sale and an official signing will end the event.


Saturday, June 1st

12 to 1:30pm

(Doors at 11am)


The Centre for Social Innovation Annex – Lounge

720 Bathurst Street



Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

Please note: we do try to keep ticket prices as low as possible to make our events as accessible as we can. If you would like to attend the conversation but have difficulty covering the cost of a ticket please email Olivia (olivia@benmcnallybooks.com) for a complimentary ticket.

A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.


Zalika Reid-Benta is a Toronto-based writer whose work has appeared on CBC Books, in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, and in Apogee Journal. In 2011, George Elliott Clarke recommended her as a “Writer to Watch.” She received an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University in 2014 and is an alumnus of the 2017 Banff Writing Studio. She completed a double major in English Literature and Cinema and a minor in Caribbean Studies at University of Toronto’s Victoria College. She also studied Creative Writing at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies. She is currently working on a young-adult fantasy novel drawing inspiration from Jamaican folklore and Akan spirituality.

In Téa Mutonji’s disarming debut story collection, a woman contemplates her Congolese traditions during a family wedding, a teenage girl looks for happiness inside a pack of cigarettes, a mother reconnects with her daughter through their shared interest in fish, and a young woman decides to shave her head in the waiting room of an abortion clinic. These punchy, sharply observed stories blur the lines between longing and choosing, exploring the narrator’s experience as an involuntary one. Tinged with pathos and humour, they interrogate the moments in which femininity, womanness, and identity are not only questioned but also imposed.


Téa Mutonji is an award-winning poet and writer. Born in Congo-Kinshasa, she now lives and writes in Scarborough, Ontario where she was named emerging writer of the year (2017) by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization. Shut Up You’re Pretty is her first book.

In the heart of Scarborough sits the Nap-Away Motel, a hunched building providing hidden worlds for its occupants. Within its derelict walls, Suleiman longs to rebuild his broken family, Tiffany creates a fantasy world to escape from her mother’s neglect and Ori plans a search for their run-away twin brother. While they grapple with the challenges of mental health, addiction, and grief, the three dwellers manage to forge a friendship over a litter of stray kittens. Together, they find joy in ruin, and hope when everything seems lost.


Nadja Lubiw-Hazard is a writer and a veterinarian. Her work has been published in Understorey, Room, Canthius, and The Dalhousie Review. The Nap-Away Motel is her first novel. She lives in Toronto with her wife and their two daughters.

Samia Madwar is managing editor at The Walrus magazine. She has previously worked at Up Here and Canadian Geographic magazines and written for the CBC, Hakai magazine, and Arctic Deeply.


June 1, 2019
11:00 am - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


CSI Annex Lounge
720 Bathurst St
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2R4 Canada


In Her Voice