TORONTO, Ontario (Tuesday, November 23, 2021) — Iconic storyteller, author, teacher and librarian, Dr. Rita Cox, will launch her Wit and Wisdom: Anansi Tales and Other Stories CD during a celebratory event — In Conversation with Rita Cox and Friends — that is being presented by the StorySave Program of Storytellers of Canada.
The event will also feature an online panel discussion and the release of the accompanying StorySave podcast episode, Rita Cox: The Gently Echoed Music.
In Conversation with Rita Cox and Friends will take place online, through ZOOM, on November 30 at 7pm EST (4pm Pacific; 8pm Atlantic).
Dr. Cox, will host this panel-style talk, along with some distinguished colleagues and friends, who are experts in storytelling, library sciences, literacy advocacy and education.
Over the course of 90-minutes, Dr. Cox and her guests will examine the role of oral tradition and the art of storytelling, and why albums, like Wit and Wisdom, are so important. With questions from the audience encouraged, this event promises to be a thought-provoking discussion.
An award-winning author, Dr. Cox has performed, on stage, radio and television, across North America, in Europe, Brazil and the Caribbean. She tells stories, from the Caribbean, Africa and around the world, that have appeared in many anthologies and school readers.
Appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1997, Dr. Cox is a recipient of the 1995 African Canadian Achievement Award of Excellence (ACAAE) in Arts and Entertainment, an ACAAE Lifetime Achievement Award, and honourary degrees from York and Wilfred Laurier Universities.
The CD album and podcast project — Wit and Wisdom: Anansi Tales and Other Stories — is a two-disc collection of Afro-Caribbean stories that draws from her deep knowledge of oral tradition, and is infused with Dr. Cox’s Trinidadian cultural history and her captivating storytelling style.
Disc 1 showcases the much-loved trickster tales of Anansi, brought to the Caribbean by slaves from West Africa and passed on orally through generations. Disc 2 is devoted to legendary tales about how and why things came to be, and to supernatural stories, whose characters’ names reflect the early French colonial influences.
In StorySave’s podcast episode, Rita Cox: The Gently Echoed Music we get the stories behind Wit and Wisdom. Dr. Cox takes us on a journey, from her childhood in Trinidad, to her legendary library and storytelling career in New York and Toronto; and discusses the origins of Caribbean folktales, the profound role of libraries, and how storytelling shaped her life.
Featured panelists at In Conversation with Rita Cox and Friends will be:
Itah Sadu, an acclaimed author, storyteller, and community developer, and co-owner of Toronto’s ground-breaking bookstore and community space, A Different Booklist Cultural Centre.
Jean Augustine, a Grenadian-Canadian educator, social advocate and politician. She was the first Black Canadian woman to serve as a federal Minister of the Crown and Member of Parliament, and served as the first Fairness Commissioner of Ontario. Dr. Augustine has been awarded multiple honorary doctorates, and is a member of the Order of Canada, among many other honours and awards.
Dan Yashinsky, an award-winning storyteller, author, broadcaster and community animator. He is the founder of the Toronto Festival of Storytelling, and 1,001 Friday Nights of Storytelling, and co-founder of Storytelling Toronto. Dan has been storyteller-in-residence for several major institutions, and has performed and taught at festivals across Canada and around the world.
Debra Baptiste is Storytelling Toronto’s first Executive Director. She has a degree in Arts Administration, and is the former Director of the International Storytelling Toronto Festival, and the former Development and Grants Officer for Storytelling Toronto.
Kesha Christie is a professional storyteller, motivational speaker and popular weekly podcast host. Kesha also serves on the board of Storytellers of Canada – Conteurs du Canada, and is guest-host of the StorySave podcast episode on Rita Cox.
Jeffrey Canton is a storyteller, teacher and writer, who has worked for Toronto Public Library, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and The Word on the Street. He has been a lecturer at York University, The Life Institute and Storytelling Toronto and is a longtime member of Queers in Your Ears, Toronto’s oldest LGBTQ storytelling collective. He is currently the Children’s Book columnist for The Globe and Mail.
The StorySave Program was established by Storytellers of Canada – Conteurs du Canada (SC-CC) as a means of enhancing storytelling’s living contribution to Canada’s oral and literary heritage.
The program records the work of highly-accomplished storytellers from the Canadian storytelling community, as multi-volume albums and other recorded products. Tellers selected for inclusion in the recording program are those who tell, out of very particular repertoires, and have something unique to offer.