Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Special Feature! Interview with FOLD Festival Guest Author Chase Joynt

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Chase Joynt

YOLO is old news. For truly interesting stories, consider YOLT — which is both the title of and driving philosophy behind You Only Live Twice (Coach House Books), by trans writer and media artist Chase Joynt and HIV-positive movie artist Mike Hoolboom.

CanLit icon Robertson Davies spoke of people and characters who are "twice born", for whom life begins not once but twice by either necessity or circumstance, and Chase and Mike explore that phenomenon in two connected non-fiction stories: one of Chase's transition from female to male and one of Mike’s near-death experience with AIDS. The writers bond over the films of Chris Marker as they relate their YOLT experiences.

The book is an innovative hybrid, part cultural analysis, part memoir, part frank discussion of the big questions — love, death, identity — that drive our lives, however many times we might live them.

We're thrilled to welcome Chase to Open Book today as part of our series in partnership with the FOLD: Festival of Literary Diversity. We're speaking to several FOLD guest authors as the festival approaches, so stay tuned to Open Book for more. You can also see our interview with FOLD founder and Creative Director, Jael Richardson.

You have several chances to see chase Chase in person at the FOLD: Chase will appear in the The First Book Club panel onMay 6, 2016 at 1:00pm; the Defying Boundaries in Literature discussion on May 7, 2016 at 1:30pm; and the In the News panel on May 8, 2016 at 12:00pm.

Today, Chase tells us about what authors can learn from Babs, offers a timely and powerful reading recommendation and gives us a peek into exciting upcoming film projects.

Open Book:

Tell us about how you become involved with FOLD and what you'll be doing in the festival.

Chase Joynt:

My new book, You Only Live Twice (YOLT), co-authored with Mike Hoolboom, launches in May with Coach House Books. At FOLD, I will be on three panels: First Book Club (Friday), Defying Boundaries (Saturday), and In The News (Sunday).


What has your experience of diversity in Canadian literature been, as a writer and reader?


I am particularly motivated by writers who endeavour to cross artistic, academic, and activist boundaries. As a student, I am drawn to texts authored by people working on the frontlines of social and political change. As a filmmaker, I am attracted to texts penned by writers who are attempting to excavate deeply personal and amorphous histories. My writing could be summarized as a product of these reading processes, constantly searching for new potentials on the fringes of genre and form.

Open Book:

What makes a great literary event, in your opinion? Do you have any advice about readings and events for emerging writers?


The best literary events are those hosted by people who refuse to read bios from a page. Also, I appreciate a snack spread that avoids the crudité.

In all manners and matters of public appearance, I am reminded of a story my mom told me when I was a young person doing musical theater: “Barbara Striesand throws up before every performance, and she still manages to sing beautifully!”

Open Book:

Tell us about a favourite book you've read that you feel is an example of the diverse literature FOLD is bringing attention to.


I continue to re-approach Claudia Rankine’s CITIZEN: An American Lyric, a devastating and urgent portrait of racism and its effects in America. The depth and design of the book continues to shift and change with each reading, which reminds me that I need to keep paying closer attention.


What is up next for you?


I have two films launching at the same time as FOLD; Between You and Me will premiere at Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, and then join my second film Genderize online as two of the lead projects in CBC’s new Digital Docs series.

Chase Joynt is a Toronto-based moving-image artist and writer. Recently awarded the EP Canada/Canada Film Capital Award for Emerging Canadian Artist and jury awards for Best Documentary and Best Short, Chase’s work continues to be exhibited internationally. Chase is a PhD candidate in Film at York University and a recipient of a Mellon Fellowship in Arts Practice and Scholarship at the University of Chicago.

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