Julia Chan on the Literary Scavenger Hunt

What is Diaspora Dialogues?

We are a Toronto organization supporting the creation and presentation of new fiction, poetry and drama that reflect the complexity and richness of our diverse city. We accomplish this through a mentoring program for emerging writers, an annual anthology of Toronto-set work called TOK: Writing the New Toronto, a year-round multidisciplinary performance/reading series in partnership with organizations and festivals like The Word On The Street, and creative writing workshops for teens.

Our work is all about connection and dialogue. We strive to program a diverse selection of writers and artists from many different communities, artistic forms and stages of career, and then to connect them with the widest possible audience.

Literary Scavenger Hunt

So tell us about the Literary Scavenger Hunt.

Our Literary Scavenger Hunt is part of this year’s The Word On The Street Book & Magazine Festival on Sunday, September 26. We’re really excited about it, because it’s the first year we’ve been at The Word On The Street where we’ve taken our programming outside a tent – and outside the standard stage/audience setup – and into the park. Those who participate in the hunt will have opportunities for fun interactions – they’ll be searching out and listening to short one-on-one readings with authors in order to find a piece of information; they can join a guided psychogeographic walk through Queen’s Park; they’ll be collecting short one-line poems written for them on the spot from poets. So it’s going to give writers and audiences opportunities to interact in a more uniquely personal way.

Sean Micallef

People can also search for a box hidden somewhere in the park filled with literary quotations; they can find our volunteers walking around with large blank books waiting for their personal contributions; as well as visit other tents and booths all around the park to collect items or information.

Those interested in hunts should also check out The Word On The Street’s Elephoto Photo Hunt.

Who is involved in the hunt?

We have a terrific lineup of writers! For the one-on-one readings, we have Marianne Apostolides, Farzana Doctor and Priscila Uppal. We’ll also be featuring one-on-one readings with writers published in our latest anthology, TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 5, which is a collection of stories and poetry all set in our city, including Anthony De Sa, Michael Fraser, Kyle Greenwood, and Dawn Promislow. Our on-the-spot poets include Chelsea Gamble, Aisha Sasha John, Marge Lam, and Ian Malczewski. Last but not least, we have Shawn Micallef leading a guided psychogeographic walk around Queen’s Park – an “informal drift” through the neighbourhood where participants are encouraged to share their own stories and experiences.

Are there prizes for people who complete the hunt?

Yes, absolutely. Everyone who completes the hunt will receive a completion prize – you don’t have to find every single item on the list, but there is a minimum in order to claim a completion prize. Those who have completed the minimum are also eligible for the larger prizes in our Grand Prize draw – some of them include a one year subscription to the Literary Review of Canada, gift certificates to Grano Restaurant, Word of Mouth subscriptions to Theatre Passe Muraille’s 2010-11 season, a gift certificate to the Park Hyatt Toronto’s Annona Restaurant – and, of course, lots of books! Please visit www.diasporadialogues.com for more details.

So how can people take part?

People can start the hunt anytime after 11 am. The clue checklist can be picked up at the Diaspora Dialogues tent on the day of the hunt – or it can be downloaded from our website ahead of time starting September 24.

We recommend about an hour to complete the minimum number of clues, but we think everyone will enjoy it so much that they’ll do more! Also, the first person who completes all the clues will receive a special prize. The hunt ends at 5 pm, so all completed checklists must be submitted by then in order to qualify for the draw at our tent at 5:45 pm.

Is this hunt suitable for children?

We recommend the hunt for ages 14 and up, although children accompanied by adults may enjoy helping to find some of the clues.


Diaspora Dialogues Literary Scavenger Hunt

The Word On The Street Book & Magazine Festival

Queen’s Park

Sunday, September 26

11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Grand Prize draw: 5:45 pm

Julia Chan is the Artistic Manager of Diaspora Dialogues


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