2019 Sessions

Attendees will choose one panel from each of the three breakout sessions


Preaching to a New Choir:  Widening the Audience for Literature

Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Lisa Lucas (Executive Director, National Book Foundation)

A discussion on what inclusion in publishing really means, the crucial roles that everyone who works in books plays when it comes to widening the audience for literature, and the National Book Foundation’s work to expand readership across America.

Followed by a conversation with maxine bailey 

Breakout Session One

Generating Book Buzz

Studio Theatre

Chris Houston (DK Books), Hope Nicholson (Bedside Press), Kara Wark (Bad Girls Collective), Lisa Wray (Harlequin)
Moderated by Elamin Abdelmahmoud (BuzzFeed News)

Regardless of the size of your marketing budget, you can create a buzz. The secret is how you go about doing it and how creative you get with your execution. In this session, we’ll explore some of the clever, creative marketing initiatives that have been used to get the reader’s attention. Be inspired by the ideas in this session, and get ready to take away some unique ideas that will fuel your own marketing campaigns.

New Literary Landscapes: Creating Vibrant Cultural Organizations

Lakeside Terrace

Sponsored by Penguin Random House Canada

Lisa Lucas (National Book Foundation), Jael Richardson (Festival of Literary Diversity), Devyani Saltzman (Art Gallery of Ontario)
Moderated by Randy Boyagoda (University of Toronto)

In recognizing the importance of connecting readers through literary festivals, reading series, community events, book clubs and literary prizes, many events and cultural spaces are working to do more to raise the bar of inclusivity. How can publishers and literary event organizers ensure they are reaching audiences who may not have traditionally been served? Our panel of innovators are among those currently engaged in the vital work of reinvigorating a number of established organizations or forging new ones in order to meet the needs of the next generation of readers. They share their experiences and insights on connecting with new audiences, eliminating barriers to participation to building sustainable and inclusive engagement across the literary landscape.

Reaching Young Readers

Miss Lou’s Room

Danièle Courchesne (Children’s Literature Consultant), Khary Mathurin (Another Story Bookshop), Heidi Waechtler (Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia)
Moderated by Brendan Ouellette (Annick Press)

Reaching young readers in the classroom with Canadian books presents different challenges in different provinces. Hear from a number of experts from across the country about how innovative initiatives can connect educators and students to the right source materials.

Breakout Session Two

Bringing Books to the Screen

Miss Lou’s Room

Jon Baker (Baker Literary Scouting), Paula Devonshire (Devonshire Productions Inc.), Damon D’Oliveira (Conquering Lion Pictures)
Moderated by maxine bailey 

A film or TV adaptation of a book can give the title a second life, broaden the audience, create great excitement and provide welcome income for publishers, agents and authors. But how do books come to the attention of screen producers? Where do scouts come in? And what happens after the deal is signed? Find out as our panelists demystify the glamorous world of getting our precious books on the silver screen.

Evolving Book Coverage

Lakeside Terrace

Sponsored by Penguin Random House Canada

Randy Boyagoda (University of Toronto), Deborah Dundas (Toronto Star), Jason Purcell (Canadian Literature Centre / Glass Bookshop), Parul Sehgal (The New York Times)
Moderated by Sue Carter (Quill & Quire)

The past few years has witnessed a steady decline in print media space devoted to book reviews, criticism and in-depth analysis. While many local daily newspapers have shuttered, others have greatly reduced the space given over to the arts. What’s a book publicist do to? Representing a range of media outlets established and emerging our panelists will explore how traditional book media can maintain vital cultural conversations and how innovative online and audio platforms can bolster book coverage, bringing relevant literary criticism formatted for a changing audience into new cultural spaces.

Tech Trends Defining Publishing Now

Studio Theatre

Simon-Pierre Marion (Scenarex Inc.), Naveen Menon (Indigo), Katey Townshend (Wattpad)
Moderated by Noah Genner (BookNet Canada)

Machine learning, attribution data, blockchain… what’s it got to do with publishing and what can we learn from these tech trends? In this session, you’ll hear from experts who are paving new paths in the publishing world. And it’s not science fiction these technologies are already shaping the business of book creation, promotion and sales.

Breakout Session Three

Accessible Ebook Publishing: The Business Case

Miss Lou’s Room

Laura Brady (House of Anansi Press), Daniella Levy-Pinto (National Network for Equitable Library Service)

This panel will explore the importance of developing and promoting ebooks that can be accessed and enjoyed by all audiences, including those with print disabilities. Our panelists will discuss why incorporating accessibility at every stage of the publishing process makes for better content for everyone and can benefit a publisher’s front list and backlist.  

Mentorship: Models, Merits & More

Lakeside Terrace

Whitney French (Author, Editor, Educator), Téa Mutonji (Author, VS Books), Wendy Whitebear (University of Regina Press)
Moderated by Jael Richardson (Festival of Literary Diversity)

Mentorship comes in many forms, but it is essential to the health of any industry. It’s how young professionals get trained and championed into new roles and responsibilities how a new generation is ushered in. In this panel, we’ll explore why mentorship is so important, especially to underrepresented communities, and how we can build effective and inclusive mentorship models in the publishing industry. With the help of speakers who have mentored, been mentored or run mentorship programs, we’ll discuss the many forms mentorship can take and its potential to drive progress and innovation in our industry.

Of Publishers & Podcasts

Studio Theatre

Sponsored by Penguin Random House Canada

Kristina Chin (semi-prose podcast), Anne T. Donahue (Nobody Cares (Except Me)), Katie Jensen (Vocal Fry Studios)
Moderated by Hannah Sung (TVO)

How can publishers best capitalize on the current podcasting trend and integrate audio storytelling into their overall strategy to grow audiences and sell more books? Should publishers focus on leveraging existing podcasts or work to create their own? What are the benefits and challenges for accessing niche audiences through podcasts? Tune into this panel of creators, hosts and producers as they discuss the value and potential of podcasts.

Closing Panel

The Future of Publishing: Toward the Next Decade

Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Alicia Elliott (The Fiddlehead), Hana El Niwairi (BIPOC of Publishing), Casey Plett (Biblioasis), David Ross (Penguin Canada)
Moderated by Leigh Nash (Invisible Publishing)

Our program closes with an engaging panel discussion from a group of dynamic creators and publishing professionals for a candid conversation on what the future holds for book publishing. Where do they envision the industry will be in 10 years? What insights will influence the ways in which books are created, marketed and publicized in the years to come? How will our industry evolve so that it can continue to tell essential stories?