The Toronto Book Awards committee is responsible for:
- reading and evaluating books submitted by publishers and authors (usually from 60 to 90 books per year);
- attending committee meetings as scheduled by the chair of the committee;
- selecting the annual shortlist of authors through consensus with other committee members;
- selecting the annual winner through consensus with other committee members;
- advising and making recommendations on improving the Toronto Book Awards;
- attending a reception in September (shortlist announcement) and October (winning announcement)
- acting as hosts for one day at the City of Toronto tent at
The Word On The Street book and magazine festival, held annually in late-September; and
- participating in related events.
Committee members must be qualified voters in the City of Toronto. There are no defined criteria for selection of members. In general, members should have a demonstrated interest and/or experience in literature, books and book publishing. Committee members receive no remuneration.
The Toronto Book Awards committee has five members, who are appointed for two-year terms.
People interested in serving as a Toronto Book Awards committee member can call Toronto Protocol at 416-392-7805.
Toronto Book Awards committee members
The Toronto Book Awards committee is made up of volunteer members Michael Booth and Tina Edan (co-chairs), Julia Chan, Diane Spivak and Karen Teeple.
Michael Booth is a former policy advisor to the Mayor of Toronto on Arts and Culture. Michael is currently the Director of Special Projects for the Literary Review of Canada and has spent many years in Toronto's live performance and film industries. He has served on the boards of many of our city's Arts Service Organizations and at present is a member of the board of SKETCH and President of the TRANZAC. A graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in English and History, as a student he toiled in rep cinemas, bookstores and publishing company warehouses where he learned you cannot truly love books unless you have unpacked a truck full of them.
Julia Chan is a writer and arts worker living in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in subTerrain and has been supported by the Toronto Arts Council. She is the screenwriter for short film In Shadow, which was produced through the Canadian Film Centre and directed by Shirley Cheechoo. In Shadow screened at several festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival, and won Best Short Screenplay at the International Cherokee Film Festival. Julia holds an MFA in Screenwriting from York University and is a graduate of the prestigious Canadian Film Centre's Writers' Lab. She is the former Artistic Director of Diaspora Dialogues (an organization dedicated to mentoring and promoting culturally diverse writers) and is a freelance story consultant, editor and reader.
Tina Edan is Manager of Leadership Programs at Maytree and a board member with the Toronto Public Library and the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries. She holds an MA in communications from Concordia University and has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations on issues such as diversity, immigrant and refugee narratives, women's rights, anti-racism and poverty. She has served as a juror for the UNHCR-COSTI Refugee Poetry Contest, Ontario Arts Council and Diaspora Dialogues and is an alumnus of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation at the University of San Francisco. Tina has previously curated the literary stage at Toronto's Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Festival and performed her poetry in Toronto, Vancouver and San Francisco. Her work has been published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto and has appeared in a number of literary installations across Toronto, including the ARCFest Human Rights Festival and Doors Open Toronto. In 2009 she was a finalist in the Toronto Arts Council Foundation's Get Lit! Competition.
Diane Spivak is a writer and consultant who holds a B.A. from McGill and an M.A in English literature from the University of Toronto. Diane works as a university and college admission essay consultant and has recently completed her first novel. She is also an active and devoted literacy volunteer in high-needs schools across Toronto. She helps struggling students experience the joy of books and all forms of the printed word. Over the years, Diane has worked as a magazine editor, an advertising executive and in television production.
Karen Teeple is the former City Archivist for the City of Toronto and was responsible for the acquisition, preservation and dissemination of the City’s documentary heritage. She holds an M.A. in Canadian Studies from Carleton University and is co-author of Toronto’s Visual Legacy: Official Photography From 1856 to the Present, published for the City’s 175th anniversary in 2009. She is currently the book review editor for the professional journal of the Association of Canadian Archivists and a member of its editorial board. She has been an active volunteer on many non-profit boards and associations over the years and was a grant adjudicator for the Canadian Council of Archives for Young Canada Works grants. She is a passionate advocate of Toronto’s culture and heritage and is also a bibliophile who has a keen interest in Toronto’s literary community.