Tea Mutonji Zalika Reid Benta vt program graphic

STARFest facts

Born in Congo, Kinshasa, Téa Mutonji is a poet and author. Her debut collection, Shut Up You’re Pretty, was published by Vivek Shraya’s imprint, VS. Books (Arsenal Pulp Press). It was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust in Canadian fiction (2019) and a Globe & Mail Best Book of the Year. Shut Up You’re Pretty is the winner of the 2020 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and the 2020 Trillium Award for Fiction. Her essay, “The Price of Being Pretty,” published by Walrus Magazine, is a finalist for a Digital Award in Publishing for Best Personal Essay. Mutonji writes and gets lost in Downtown Toronto.

Since the 1990s, Valerie Mason-John has been a performer and spoken-word poet using the stage name Queenie. Black British by birth, she has now become a Canadian. Mason-John is the award-winning author of nine books, including the timely book I Am Still Your Negro: An Homage to James Baldwin. She works as a public speaker in Mindfulness for Addiction and Emotional Well Being and is a trainer in anti-bullying, conflict resolution and compassionate inquiry.

Order Shut Up You're Pretty from Glass Bookshop or Audreys Books.

STARFest facts

Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her North American identity and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Frying Plantain offers a rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, and 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.

Frying Plantain won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Literary Fiction, and was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award and the Forest of Reading Evergreen Award. It was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, appeared on many must-read lists, and was one of Indigo’s Best Books of the Year. Zalika is the winner of the ByBlacks People’s Choice Award for Best Author, was a Writer in Residence for Open Book, and was named a CBC Writer to Watch. She received an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, was a John Gardner Fiction Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and is an alumnus of the Banff Centre Writing Studio.
Order Frying Plantain from Glass Bookshop or Audreys Books.


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