Books

Jael Richardson & FOLD share the 2019 Freedom to Read Award

Jael Richardson is the author of two books and founder of the Festival of Literary Diversity, also known as FOLD.
Jael Richardson is the director of the Festival of Literary Diversity. (Arden Wray)

Jael Richardson, author of The Stone Thrower and book columnist on CBC Radio's q, has received the 2019 Freedom to Read Award alongside the Festival of Literary Diversity, also known as FOLD, for which she has served as artistic director since founding it in 2016.

The Freedom to Read Award is presented annually during Freedom to Read Week in Canada and recognizes an individual or group in the literary industry whose work promotes freedom of expression.

FOLD, which takes place in Brampton, Ont., this year from May 2 to 5, actively promotes authors from marginalized communities, while advocating for greater inclusion within the publishing industry.

Richardson and FOLD were nominated by a Canadian writer, who wrote, "True freedom to read requires an invitation to read broadly, to be challenged and inspired toward personal and social transformation, to meet characters beyond categories of likeness in order to build acceptance, empathy and equality."

 Richardson's first book, The Stone Throwera memoir about her father's coming of age during the U.S. civil rights era and tenure as a quarterback in the CFL, was published to critical acclaim and later adapted into a picture book.

Her first novel, Gutter Child, is due out in the fall of 2020.

"Incredibly honoured and overwhelmed," Richardson wrote on Twitter. "This is for the entire @TheFOLD_ team and all of our supporters and sponsors. This is especially for the writers whose stories have been overlooked. May your voice find its way into the world with courage and may they be received with love."

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