Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Bestselling authors and Toronto Students Discuss Muslim and Non-Muslim Relations

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Bestselling authors and Toronto Students Discuss Muslim and Non-Muslim Relations

On January 17th, Governor General's-award winner Deborah Ellis and Silver Birch-award winner Eric Walters, 300 Toronto high-school students, and a dozen teachers met at the Yorkdale SilverCity to discuss the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in North America. Ellis and Walters hosted the event, which focused on their book, Bifocal (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2007). The event included a book signing, presentations, and a discussion of Bifocal, which the students had all studied in class.

Bifocal tells the story of Haroon, who because of his Afghani roots is accused of terrorism and Jay, the football star who initially believes the accusations. The Hamilton Spectator describes Bifocal as "the bravest, most important, engaging and enraging, most satisfying work of fiction for young Canadians in a long while." With the death of Aqsa Parvez, the 2006 arrests in Toronto of 17 men accused of terrorism, and the recent events in the Middle East, Ellis and Walters feel it's never been more important to address the concerns of area youth.

You can view photos from the event at Open Book's flickr page.

Deborah Ellis is the acclaimed author of The Heaven Shop and the Breadwinner trilogy. She has been honoured with the Vicky Metcalfe Award for a body of work and the Africana Book Award. She has traveled the world to hear the stories of children marginalized by war, illness, and poverty. She will be Open Book’s Writer in Residence in March.

Eric Walters is one of Canada's most successful and prolific writers for teenagers. His novel Shattered recently won the 2007 National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Award and the 2007 White Pine Award. Eric visits school classrooms across the country, and he has spoken to more than 750,000 students.

Visit the Fitzhenry & Whiteside website to read more about Bifocal.

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