Koffler Centre of the Arts Announces its Fall 2020 Books & Ideas Series


A series of online literary events highlighting themes of youth activism, food culture and politics, environmentalism, and more

The Koffler Centre of the Arts is delighted to announce its Fall 2020 Books & Ideas series. The year-round series spotlights provocative writers, novelists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and in-depth interviews.

The season opens with three events highlighting youth activism, spotlighting the writers featured in Penguin Teen Canada’s Pocket Change Collective collection. Pocket Change Collective is a series of small books with big ideas by some of today’s leading youth activists and artists.

The Koffler is thrilled to present virtual conversations with all six Pocket Change Collective contributors: Adam Eli & Alok Vaid-Menon on September 29, Kimberly Drew & Xiuhtezcatl Martinez on October 6, and Amyra León & Hannah Testa on October 21. The texts explore issues surrounding sexuality, gender, race, class, environmentalism, in addition to contemporary art practices. The Pocket Change Collective events are presented in partnership with Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers.

On October 26, the Koffler presents an online conversation with African-American and Jewish food writer, culinary and cultural historian, and educator Michael W. Twitty. Mr. Twitty will discuss such themes as food justice, cultural appropriation, global Diasporic foodways and how Black and Jewish people have mediated otherness and oppression through what they eat.

Michael W. Twitty is a recognized historical interpreter, independent scholar, and the founder of afroculinaria.com, the first website/blog devoted to the preservation of historic African-American foods and foodways. Twitty’s book, The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South, won two James Beard Awards in 2018 for Food Writing and Best Book and his piece in Bon Appetit, “I Had Never Eaten in Ghana Before. But My Ancestors Had” was nominated for a 2019 James Beard Award and was selected to be included in The Best American Food Writing 2019. In 2020, The Cooking Gene was named on Book Authority’s List of 100 Best Food Books of All Time. Twitty’s next book, Kosher Soul, is slated for publication in 2021.

On November 5, the Koffler is pleased to present the official launch of Shani Mootoo’s latest novel, Polar Vortex. The four-time Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated writer and visual artist will appear in an online conversation with another of Canada’s best-loved writers, Jane Urquhart. The event is co-presented by Diaspora Dialogues.

Books & Ideas concludes its Fall 2020 season on November 30 with bestselling, New York Times Notable Book author Catherine Bush (Blaze Island) in conversation with award-winning, Montreal-based writer, Saleema Nawaz (Songs for the End of the World), reflecting on human connectivity amidst world-changing events. Both writers will speak about their timely novels, which incorporate largely realistic fictional narratives to reimagine the contemporary global threats of climate change and pandemic.

All events are FREE. Online registration required.

Books & Ideas was launched with the generous support of Dorothy Shoichet & Family and the Estate of Joseph Koenig. Books & Ideas Media Partner: The Toronto Star.


Pocket Change Collective 1: Adam Eli and Alok Vaid-Menon in Conversation with Seth Day
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE | Details & Registration

Pocket Change Collective 2: Kimberly Drew & Xiuhtezcatl Martinez in Conversation
Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE | Details & Registration

Pocket Change Collective 3: Amyra León & Hannah Testa in Conversation
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE | Details & Registration

Michael W. Twitty in Conversation
Monday, October 26, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE | Details

Shani Mootoo & Jane Urquhart in Conversation
Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE | Details

Catherine Bush & Saleema Nawaz in Conversation
Monday, November 30, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE | Details

The Koffler Centre of the Arts is a cultural platform that explores critical ideas and concerns of our time through a year-round program of exhibitions, publications, performances, literary events, digital initiatives and arts education programs. We examine complex issues through transformative art experiences that stimulate intercultural dialogue and promote social change. Through our in-gallery and off-site programs, the Koffler engages thousands of visitors each year. From school children and teens, to newcomers and seniors, we provide vital opportunities for self-expression and community connection, including to those in greatest need.

As a Jewish organization, we value – and aim to foster – social justice and equality while nurturing a passion for learning and understanding. We position Jewish identity in conversation with diverse perspectives and global voices to examine complex issues in a respectful, constructive way. These principles support the Koffler’s engagement with the best contemporary creative minds in producing and presenting art that provides common ground for experiences shaping our shared cultural life and defining our social values.

Visit us online at kofflerarts.org

Images (clockwise from top left): The New Queer Conscience by Adam Eli. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky | Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. | Michael W. Twitty | Concrete Kids by Amyra León. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky | Taking on the Plastics Crisis by Hannah Testa. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky | Jane Urquhart, photo: Nick Tinkl | Shani Mootoo, photo: Ramesh Pooran | This Is What I Know About Art by Kimberly Drew. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky | Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky | Saleema Nawaz, photo: Thomas Blanchard | Catherine Bush, photo: Arden Wray.


Artscape Youngplace | 180 Shaw Street, Suite 104-105 | Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
647.925.0643 | info@kofflerarts.org | kofflerarts.org | koffler.digital

Tony Hewer, Director of Marketing, Communications and Archives
647.920.2398, thewer@kofflerarts.org

The Koffler Gallery and its administrative offices are located at Artscape Youngplace, in Toronto’s vibrant West Queen West art and design district. The Koffler Centre of the Arts acknowledges the support of the Koffler Family Foundation, Cultural Season Sponsor CIBC Wood Gundy, the Ontario Arts Council through the Community and Multidisciplinary Arts Organizations Program, TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, our donors and patrons. The Koffler Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Toronto Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.