Jennilee Austria-Bonifacio is the author of Reuniting with Strangers (Douglas & McIntyre) and the founder of Filipino Talks—an initiative that builds bridges between Filipino families and Canadian school boards using survey data collected from over 1200 Filipino students. After completing her International Studies BA at Trent University and Immigration and Settlement Studies MA at Toronto Metropolitan University, she finished writing programs at the Humber School for Writers and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Jennilee was a finalist for the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Authors Award, and her work has been published in Geist, TAYO Literary Magazine, Changing the Face of Canadian Literature (Guernica Editions), Magdaragat: An Anthology of Filipino-Canadian Writing (Cormorant Books), and more. Originally from Sarnia, Jennilee now lives in Toronto, where she leads walking tours of Little Manila and is working on her next novel. She is a founding member of Pluma, a collective of Toronto-based Filipino authors.
Her topics have included culturally-responsive outreach strategies, multicultural education, the journey of a diasporic author, public speaking tips, and walking tours of North York’s Little Manila.
Whether the topics are Filipino-specific (Impacts of Separation and Reunification on Filipino Student Aspirations) or for a more general audience (The Journey of an Author), her presentations are tailor-made for audiences ranging from school board trustees to newcomer students.
Using a combination of humour, empathy, and real stories, she delivers presentations that are engaging, touching, and memorable.
Her presentations are available both in-person and online.
Read more about her public speaking experience here:
While Jennilee is happy to present her debut novel, Reuniting with Strangers, she is also able to contextualize it within the wider framework of the Filipino-Canadian diaspora.
As a school board consultant through her initiative, Filipino Talks, Jennilee often speaks about family reunification, academic attainment, mental health, inclusive curriculum design, and multicultural literature.
Here are a few of her recent presentations:
- Building Bridges to Support Filipino Students” (Audience: educators, non-profit organizations, frontline workers; 3 hours)
- “Filipino Curriculum Explorations: Filipino Literature Through a Culturally-Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy Lens” (Audience: Educators; 1 hour)
- “Walking Tour of North York’s Little Manila” (Audience: general public, university students, 2 hours)
Learn more about her speaking here: http://jennileeaustriabonifacio.com/public-speaking
Jennilee is very happy to do workshops for youth. In her debut novel, Reuniting with Strangers, over half of the linked short stories are from voices aged 5-17. As a longtime youth worker, she was adamant about representing young voices, and enjoys showing young people the joy of finding diverse stories in the literary world.
She is very experienced with presenting for elementary, middle school, secondary, and university students.
Here are a few of her most recent workshop topics:
- “The Journey of a Filipino-Canadian Author” (Audience: middle school and secondary school students; 1 hour)
- “Unleashing Your Public Speaking Potential: Self-Esteem Tips for Future Authors” (Audience: middle school and secondary school students; 1 hour)
- "Communicating With Your Parents: Connecting to Reuniting with Strangers" (Audience: middle school and secondary school students; 1 hour)