The Koffler's year-round Books & Ideas series spotlights provocative writers, novelists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and in-depth interviews. This fall, in conjunction with programming across the Koffler's multidisciplinary art streams, Books & Ideas presents a series of virtual events addressing themes of youth activism, food culture and politics, and environmentalism.

L-R: Adam Eli & Alok Vaid-Menon, Kimberly Drew & Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Amyra León & Hannah Testa. 

The season opens with three online events spotlighting the writers featured in the Pocket Change Collective, a series of small books with big ideas by some of today's leading youth activists and artists. Presented in partnership with Penguin Random House Canada, the program explores issues of sexuality, gender, race, class, environmentalism and art-based activism, and includes 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.

Michael W, Twitty.
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, 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.

L-R: Shani Mootoo (photo: Ramesh Pooran), Jane Urquhart (photo: Nick Tinkl).

On November 5, the Koffler is pleased to present the official Canadian 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.

L-R: Catherine Bush (photo: Arden Wray), Saleema Nawaz (photo: Thomas Blanchard).

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.

Fall 2020 Books & Ideas Online Event Details:
Pocket Change Collective 1: Adam Eli and Alok Vaid-Menon in Conversation with Seth Day
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE
Pocket Change Collective 2: Kimberly Drew & Xiuhtezcatl Martinez in Conversation
Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE
Pocket Change Collective 3: Amyra León & Hannah Testa in Conversation

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE 
Michael W. Twitty in Conversation
Monday, October 26, 2020 | 7 PM | FREE

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

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

Koffler family FoundationCIBC Wood GundyOntario Arts Council | Conseil Des Arts De L'OntarioToronto Arts Council | Funded by the City of TorontoCanada Council