Festival Weekend – September 26-27

Meet the Team

The Word On The Street is more than a festival, it’s a community! Get to know our team, working year-round to help you discover great books by Canadian and Indigenous authors.

David Alexander

Festival Director


David Alexander is the Festival Director for The Word On The Street Toronto. A published poet with over a decade of nonprofit leadership experience, David helped build Toronto’s Veg Food Fest, North America’s largest annual vegetarian food festival. His first book, After the Hatching Oven, was released by Nightwood Editions in 2018.

David manages artistic programming and overall festival production.

Maya Baumann

Programming Manager


Maya Baumann joined the WOTS team in 2017, excited to braid together her passion for the literary arts and her background in arts management, diaspora and Indigenous studies. Since, she has been helping connect diverse thinkers and creating platforms for them to share their ideas.

Maya manages artistic programming and relations with programming partners.

Rebecca Diem

Communications Coordinator


Rebecca Diem writes smart and hopeful speculative fiction and poetry. She is the author of the indie steampunk series Tales of the Captain Duke and a Tor.com contributor. An avid bookworm, Rebecca was once honoured to receive the ‘Nose in a Book’ award from her elementary school librarian. Somewhere between reading Virginia Woolf and Neil Gaiman she began to write her own stories, and has no plans to stop.

Rebecca manages communications, marketing strategy, and social media.

Sienna Tristen

Event Coordinator


Sienna Tristen is an author of speculative fiction and poetry who explores queer platonic partnership, radical compassion, and mythmaking in their work. A purveyor of many skills and talents, Sienna can lead a yoga class, speak to you in three and a half languages, and climb forty feet in the air on a pair of silks. She joined WOTS as an assistant in 2019 and wouldn’t stop bothering them until they gave her a full-time job in 2020.

Sienna manages event logistics and the festival’s exhibitor marketplace.

Vannessa Barnier

Programming Specialist


Vannessa Barnier is an instigator, community organizer, publicist, workshop facilitator, and the host of Legible Intelligibles: a summer open mic poetry reading series in the park.

Vannessa has teamed up with Maya for a second summer, now as the Programming Specialist for 2020! With a focus on poets and debut authors, Vannessa is especially excited about the festival’s programming this year, including the new addition of poets reading between panels.

Paola Gonzalez

Communications Assistant


Paola Gonzalez is WOTS’ comms assistant this year. Working towards a Specialization in Children’s Publishing at Ryerson University, Paola hopes to break the stigma associated with adults reading YA lit. You can also catch her as the CCBC’s Channel Assistant for Bibliovideo—a YouTube channel promoting Canadian books for kids and teens.

Ayesha Mumal

Festival Assistant


Ayesha Mumal is WOTS’ Festival Assistant this year. After a move from education, Ayesha is diving into the professional literary scene. She’s currently a Publishing student at Ryerson and working to become a book publicist! Ayesha is committed to diversity initiatives and hopes to help improve representation in the publishing industry. Her passions include being too politically correct, Crocs, and watching far too many Tiktoks.

Board of Directors

Sarah Dunn, President
Athmika Punja, Vice President
Masood Abid, Treasurer
Evan Dickson
Lauren Hummel
David Leonard
Grace O’Connell
Amanda Olson
Mary Sadlier
Alex Snider
David Torchetti