The Tartan Turban Secret Readings is a literary reading series that shines a spotlight on Indigenous and Visible Minority writers – for whom there are few such platforms. Readings primarily feature poetry, drama and prose. Each evening has a different curator – usually a writer or curator of some note.
Primary target audience: established and emerging visible minority writers from the South Asian, Chinese, Black and other visible minority communities, as well as Indigenous writers.
Secondary target audience: visible minorities and allies who embrace Canada’s multiculturalism, diversity and indigenous heritage and want to celebrate and support its complex cultural wealth.
Goals 1. Find a way to break through the challenges of retaining existing audiences and attracting new and repeat audiences for a literary event forced to become completely virtual during the pandemic 2. Create awareness for The Tartan Turban Secret Readings so that established and emerging visible minority writers are eager to share their works and their voices at the series 3. Attract a discerning audience of listener-readers to an excitingly diverse, high-quality reading series packed with new and established writers. 4. Increase the awareness of the wealth of talent in the visible minority literary community and expand its pool of readers 5. Attract funding from grants organizations to support writers who otherwise read for free.
A key image is custom-designed for each evening.
Each of these images is itself a work of art, using typography and imagery to evoke the theme of one evening or the larger themes of diversity, exile, freedom of expression, journey or protest. They are designed to be subtle, visual stimulating, things of beautiful and intellectual depth.
By treating each poster as a collectible work of art, we highlight the quality of the series and the calibre of the writers who feature at the readings.
This in turn creates a desire in other writers to take their turn at the microphone, and to feature on a poster of their own, when they donate their own talent and work to promote awareness for visible minority literature in Canada.
The 2020 season went on to become the most successful season in Tartan Turban history, bookended by two readings that have categorically set the bar for reading series excellence in Canada.
The Canadian Authors Association curated the first reading of the 2021 season, ensuring the season began with a bang.
The last reading of the 2021 season attracted Toronto’s Poet Laureate as a featured reader and won funding from the League of Canadian Poets and The Canada Council for the Arts.
The series went national for the first time drawing attendees and participants from Toronto, Vancouver, Peterborough, Ottawa and Montreal and even from the US.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 season had just over half the number of readings vs 2019. Despite this, the 2020 season outperformed the 2019 season by nearly 200% with audience numbers frequently hitting 3x the audience sizes seen in 2019.