Five Things I Learned Last Week

It has been a long time since I’ve written one of these. It’s not that I’ve stopped learning. It’s just that between trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to make things happen, and everything feeling very much “the same” all the time, I didn’t really feel like publishing. Peer pressure brought me back.

Also, I’ve decided to change the title of this series from “this” week to “last” week simply because I like how it sounds better. So there.

  1. Sheikh Jarrah Evictions
Just type in “Palestine” and check the news section

This is a tricky one to write about because (as you must know) there’s history here. But it’s also important. Without going too far down the rabbit hole (although I encourage you to), there has been increased violence between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces over the forced evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

I followed the hashtag #SaveSheikhJarrah (See? Hashtags ARE good for something) and from there, Googled “Palestine” news. It was that easy. I encourage you to do the same.

BONUS: This post didn’t feel right without mention of what’s happening in Colombia (the beautiful country where I spend the last 6 years). Protests over the proposed tax reform began on April 28th and since then, there has been police brutality and a wave of violence unseen in the country in years. I hope the people of Colombia find lasting peace and justice soon.

2. The Festival of Literary Diversity

The Festival of Literary Diversity

This entry is a bit of a cheat. I didn’t just discover The Festival of Literary Diversity (The FOLD) this week, but I did attend for the first time this week. The $39 bundle pass has been worth it — I’ve attended multiple, high quality workshops and panels daily, AND all of the sessions will be posted online so you can watch and rewatch until May 30th. This year’s guests include Ian Williams, Marci Ien and Thomas King, among many other impressive writers and publishing professionals. Time well spent.

3. The Association of Canadian Publishers

We could always use more books. Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

This one is for the Canadian writers out there.

I just discovered the Association of Canadian Publishers, and its website. What’s great about the website is, it allows you to search English-language publishers according to what they publish. For writers looking to submit their work to a publisher, this is extremely helpful. Of course, you still have to do the work of visiting each publisher’s site to review their submissions process, but just knowing who’s out there is helpful. The website is

4. The Ezra Klein Show

Ezra Klein knows a lot about everything

A friend and I were talking about how difficult it has become to have meaningful, candid conversations. She referred me to a brilliant discussion between Ezra Klein (journalist) and Tressie McMillan Cottom (author of Thick: And Other Essays) on The Ezra Klein Show and I have been binging on episodes ever since. Klein is smart as heck and asks thoughtful, interesting questions. He can talk to anyone. Find the show wherever you check out your podcasts.

5. Swaziland has been Eswatini since 2018

Beautiful Swazi people

I knew of Swaziland — the small landlocked country in southern Africa. But I didn’t know that in 2018, King Mswati renamed it the Kingdom of Eswatini (also written eSwatini although I haven’t found an explanation for the difference) during celebrations of the country’s 50th independence celebration.

Eswatini, means “land of the Swazis” but without the imposition of the English “land” found in the country’s previous name. The change is meant to be a break from its colonial past.




I’m a writer and teacher from Toronto, with roots abroad and interests everywhere.

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Alison Isaac

Alison Isaac

I’m a writer and teacher from Toronto, with roots abroad and interests everywhere.

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