Jael Richardson is an author, founder and artistic director of FOLD, the Festival of Literary Diversity. Jael is the author of two books telling the story of her father, Chuck Ealey. Both books tackle issues of race, identity, prejudice and the power of perseverance. The Stone Thrower children’s book came out in 2016, while the memoir The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’s Life received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award as an Emerging Artist. Through this memoir Jael contrast her father's story, growing up during the American civil rights movement with Richardson's own experiences as a young, black Canadian striving to understand her sense of identity in the world.
Jael’s other publications include the essay “Conception” published in Room Magazine's first Women of Colour edition, and excerpts from her play, my upside down black face, are published in the anthology T-Dot Griots: An Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers. Richardson has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She lives in Brampton, Ontario where she serves as the founder and Artistic Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (The FOLD).
Richardson is a returning Writer in Residence, having previously inspired schools in 2013-14 with her “powerful message of resilience, persistence and self-reliance” (from C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute). For more information visit www.jaelrichardson.com
“My parents are American by history and birth, Canadian by choice. I thought a lot about that choice, and my African-American roots, during those years when most teens struggle with who they are who they want to be. When I was younger, writing wasn’t part of my life. It wasn’t even a hobby. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a playwriting class at university that I discovered what writing could do for me. It was like learning to truly speak for the first time. It still blows my mind that other people might want to read what to me is a pretty affordable form of therapy.”