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Featured Guests - TCAF 2023 - Round 6

It’s our last featured guest post! We are so excited for TCAF 2023, and cannot wait to see you in just over a week!

Kate Beaton was born and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. During the years she spent out West, Beaton began creating webcomics under the name Hark! A Vagrant, quickly drawing a substantial following around the world. The collections of her landmark strip Hark! A Vagrant and Step Aside, Pops each spent several months on the New York Times graphic novel bestseller list, as well as appearing on best of the year lists from Time, The Washington Post, Vulture, NPR Books, and winning the Eisner, Ignatz, Harvey, and Doug Wright Awards. She has also published the picture books King Baby and The Princess and the Pony, and more recently, the graphic novel Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands. Beaton lives in Cape Breton with her family. **DIGITAL ONLY**

Scott Chantler is the acclaimed cartoonist of the graphic novels BIX, TWO GENERALS, and the THREE THIEVES series. His work has been nominated for five Eisner Awards, selected for Best American Comics 2012, longlisted by CBC's Canada Reads, and he was the first cartoonist to be appointed to a residency at a Canadian university (at the University of Windsor in 2015.)​ His new First Second graphic novel, SQUIRE & KNIGHT (making its debut at TCAF 2023) marks his return to the world of kids’ fantasy.

Fanny Britt is a playwright, novelist and translator. She collaborated with Isabelle Arsenault on two previous graphic novels: Jane, the Fox and Me, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration (French) and the Joe Shuster Award for Best Writer and for Best Artist, and Louis Undercover. Her other award-winning works include the play Bienvaillance and her first novel, Les maisons (published in English as Hunting Houses). Fanny lives in Montreal, Quebec, with her husband and two sons.

Isabelle Arsenault is an internationally renowned children’s book illustrator. Her award-winning books include Jane, the Fox and Me and Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt, Spork and Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky (BolognaRagazzi Award) and Colette’s Lost Pet, which marked her debut as an author. She has won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature three times, and three of her picture books have been named as New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Isabelle lives in Montreal, Quebec, with her family.

Ben Passmore's work contains cold takes on politics, riots, anarchism, police brutality, radical history and praxis, sports, identity, and the unrelenting awareness of all that mess. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Believer, and LAAB magazine, as well as frequent contributions to The Nib. His book Sports Is Hell, a story about football riots, political tensions, and kneeling, won the 2021 Eisner award for Best Single Issue. His latest graphic novel following the lives of seven armed Black insurrectionaries, These Black Arms To Hold You Up, is in the works for Pantheon Publishing.

Ryan North's recent work includes the non-fiction books How To Take Over The World and How To Invent Everything, the semi-fictional graphic novel adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, and the so-far-fictional Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series for Marvel. He's a multiple New York Times bestseller whose work has been translated into 16 different languages so far, and as a linguist, he's very happy about that. He lives in Toronto, where he once messed up walking his dog so badly it made the news.

James Kochalka’s comics have been published internationally by nearly everyone from the smallest alternative publishers to some of the largest publishing houses on earth; he’s recorded several music albums under the name James Kochalka Superstar, and he’s developed animated cartoons for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Hangover. He is the first official Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont, appointed in 2011. Among his best-known works is the Monkey vs Robot series, the beloved children’s series Johnny Boo, Dragon Puncher, Glork Patrol, and Banana Fox, and the 14-year span of daily diary comics for adults known as American Elf.

Matt James has won many prestigious awards, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the New Mexico Book Award, and the Governor General's Award for Illustration. He illustrated When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge and The Stone Thrower by Jael Ealey Richardson. His author-illustrator debut, The Funeral, was named a New York Times and New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book. As a child, Matt liked to trace comics and pretend that tennis racquets were guitars —now he lives in Toronto and behaves more like a grown up.

Jim Zub is a writer, artist and art instructor based in Toronto, Canada. Over the past twenty years he’s worked for a diverse array of publishing, movie and video game clients including Marvel, DC Comics, Disney, Capcom, Hasbro, Cartoon Network, and Bandai-Namco. He juggles his time between being a freelance comic writer and a professor teaching drawing and storytelling courses in Seneca College’s award-winning Animation program. His current comic projects include Conan the Barbarian, the monthly adventures of Robert E. Howard’s legendary sword & sorcery hero, Dungeons & Dragons, the official comic series of the world’s most popular tabletop role-playing game, and Stone Star, a space-fantasy adventure set inside a roving gladiatorial arena.


This year, TCAF will take place at the Toronto Reference Library from April 28th - 30th. There will also be a digital marketplace and digital events from April 21st - May 7th. As always, tickets for TCAF and related TCAF events are FREE. Some pre-registration is required for online activities and will be announced beforehand.

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