Toronto Urban Book Expo kicks off this weekend

Feb 27, 2015 | Arts, News


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By Rebecca Hamill-Nobrega

The Toronto Public Library is putting on the Toronto Urban Book Expo this weekend, an event that recognizes Canadian urban fiction.

The book fair will feature several urban authors and publishers, book signings, live music and giveaways.

Stacey Marie Robinson, coordinator, founder and organizer of the book expo said the first time she held the event there were only five writers. This year there’s 14.

“In the last week or so, i’ve gotten calls from many writers in the city who have heard about the event and it’s too late for them to participate,” said Robinson. “But they’re interested in coming to network because they’re almost surprised that these writers exist, and they haven’t heard of them and want to give them the motivation to pursue their writing dreams.”

The event is all ages and runs from 12 to 4 p.m. this Friday at the Toronto Public library Malvern Branch.

 A place to celebrate writing

Photo courtesy of Stacey Marie Robinson

Robinson, who owns and runs Kya Publishing, founded the Urban Book Expo two years ago to highlight different urban writers in the city and their projects. She told Humber News it provides a place to celebrate writing and culture.

“They’re almost surprised that these writers exist.”

Robinson defines her books as Canadian urban fiction.

They’re all about life, love and relationships in Toronto. Her novels to date have been written over the span of 15 years, chronicling different ages of adulthood, from college to the early workforce years and different experiences in the city.

Her collection is called The Urban Toronto Tales.

Robinson said her novels are culturally “heavy” blending Caribbean culture as well as urban music.

Urban fiction is relatively new to Canada and her goal is to spread awareness, she said.

Through her publishing company she wants new writers to realize this establishing genre fiction is an opportunity to learn more about urban fiction.

“I think that in everything I create, even as a writer, it’s always going to lean back on documenting history, how far we’ve come, what the future plans are, and how we’re going to create the future through writing,” said Robinson.

“I will always use Black History Month as an influence for my stories.”

Spotlights Black History Month

Robinson the expo is important for Black History Month because it recognizes Canadian authors who have paved their way in black literature. It’s a way to establish themselves as writers, she said.

“A lot of the urban writers happen to come from black origin, so the message I’m trying to convey is that we’re creating history right now,” said Robinson.

“It’s not that a lot of these texts are historical or anything of that nature, but just by being black and being in Canada, I think the fiction we’re writing is documenting a generation’s experience and creating history as it happens.”

Robinson said she hopes to always work with the library for Black History Month. There are so many programs going on that are bringing attention to everyone’s individual projects, she said.

“I will always use Black History Month as an influence for my stories.”

“For new writers, it’s an opportunity to use their stories and this new genre of fiction to share history with the readers,” said Robinson.


The Urban Toronto Tales

Courtesy of Kya Publishing



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Join us at the TORONTO URBAN BOOK EXPO this Saturday, February 28 at the Toronto Public Library (Malvern) from 1-4pm