Speakers for this event
Alicia Elliott is a Mohawk writer living in Brantford, Ontario. She has written for The Globe and Mail, CBC, Hazlitt and many others. She’s had essays nominated for National Magazine Awards for three straight years, winning Gold in 2017, and her short fiction was selected for Best American Short Stories 2018, Best Canadian Stories 2018, and Journey Prize Stories 30. She was chosen by Tanya Talaga as the 2018 recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Her first book, A Mind Spread Out On The Ground, is a national bestseller.
Hana Shafi (a.k.a. Frizz Kid) is a writer and artist. Her visual art and writing frequently explores themes such as feminism, body politics, racism, and pop culture. Her first book, It Begins with the Body, was listed by CBC as one of the Best Poetry Books of 2018. A graduate of Ryerson University’s Journalism Program, she has published articles in The Walrus, Hazlitt, THIS Magazine, and Torontoist, and has been featured on Buzzfeed, CBC, and in Flare, Shameless, and The New York Times. Known on Instagram for her weekly affirmation series, Shafi is the recipient of the 2017 Women Who Inspire Award, from the Canadian Council for Muslim Women. Born in Dubai, Shafi immigrated with her family to Mississauga, Ontario, in 1996. She lives and works in Toronto.
S. Bear Bergman
S. Bear Bergman
S. Bear Bergman is a writer, storyteller, activist, and the founder and publisher of the book press Flamingo Rampant, which makes feminist, culturally diverse children’s picture books about LGBT2Q+ kids and families. He writes creative non-fiction for grown-ups, fiction for children, resolutely factual features for various publications, and the advice column “Asking Bear.” His books include The Nearest Exit May Be Behind Us and Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter, and he was the co-editor along with Kate Bornstein of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation.
Between love, loneliness, justice, body image, and other struggles inherent in being human, there are a lot of things where we tend to cry “why did no one
Between love, loneliness, justice, body image, and other struggles inherent in being human, there are a lot of things where we tend to cry “why did no one teach me how to do this?” Managing our mental health, knowing how to apologize, setting ourselves free of social expectations: none of these topics were covered in school. Join us as we pick the brains of several authors who are trying to teach themselves—and their readers—about the human condition through their work.
- Special Topics in Being a Human by S. Bear Bergman (ebook / paperback)
- Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty by Hana Shafi (ebook / paperback)
Special Topics in Being a Human
Arsenal Pulp Press
As an author, educator, and public speaker, S. Bear Bergman has documented his experience as, among other things, a trans parent,with wit and aplomb. He also writes the advice column “Asking Bear,” in which he answers crucial questions about how best to make our collective way through the world. Featuring disarming illustrations by Saul Freedman-Lawson, Special Topics in Being a Human elaborates on askingbear.com’s premise: a gentle, witty, and insightful book of practical advice for the modern age. It offers Dad advice and Jewish bubbe wisdom, all filtered through a queer lens, to help you navigate some of the complexities of life—from how to make big decisions or make a good apology, to how to get someone’s new name and pronouns right as quickly as possible, to how to gracefully navigate a breakup. With warmth and candor, Special Topics in Being a Human calls out social inequities and injustices in traditional advice-giving, validates your feelings, asks a lot of questions, and tries to help you be your best possible self with kindness,compassion, and humour.
Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty
Let’s get one thing straight: Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty: Affirmations for the Real World is not a book of advice. You’re not going to find a step-by-step guide to meditation here, or even reminders to drink lots of water and get enough sleep. Those things are all good for you, but
that’s not what Hana Shafi wants to talk about.
Instead, Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty—built around art from Shafi’s popular online affirmation series—focuses on our common and never-ending journey of self-discovery. It explores the ways in which the world can all too often wear us down, and reminds us to remember our worth, even when it’s hard to do so. Drawing on her experience as a millennial
woman of colour, and writing with humour and a healthy dose of irreverence, Shafi delves into body politics and pop culture, racism and feminism, friendship, and allyship. Through it all, she remains positive without being saccharine, and hopeful without being naive.
So no, this is not an advice book: it’s a call to action, one that asks us to remember that we are valid as we are—flaws and all—and to not let the bastards grind us down.