GROWING ROOM 2020 LINE-UP

Addie Tsai teaches courses in literature, creative writing, dance, and humanities at Houston Community College. Her writing has been published in Banango Street, The Offing, The Collagist, The Feminist Wire, Nat. Brut., and elsewhere. 

Adèle Barclay is the author of If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You, which won the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and most recently Renaissance Normcore.

Afuwa was born on Karinya and Akawaio land; she makes art on Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, and Squamish territories. Her work encompasses language, the body, and diasporic memory.

Aimee Louw’s chapbook, Less Sweet than Chocolate or Concrete is out now. Follow along as she writes her debut novel, You Deserve Everything.

Aisha Sasha John’s medium is energy. She’s the author of I have to live. (McClelland & Stewart 2017), THOU (Book*hug 2014), and The Shining Material (Book*hug 2011). 

Alessandra Naccarato is the recipient of the 2015 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award and the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize. Re-Origin of Species (Book*hug, 2019) is her debut poetry collection.

Alex Leslie is a Jewish settler born in Vancouver. She has published two collections of short stories, People Who Disappearand We All Need to Eat. She has also published two collections of poetry, The things I heard about you, and Vancouver for Beginners, published this fall by Book*hug.

Alexa Borealis entered the world of theatre in her youth through musical theatre, and is currently producing, performing in, and creating contemporary works. She incorporates her love of design, costume, acting, vocal expression, clown, spectacle, and criticality into all of her artistic practices. Alexa is a strong advocate for the positionality and elevation of plus size bodies on stage in modern and historical art practices as well as their consumption. 

Alicia Elliott is Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Fiddlehead. She’s also the author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground. Online event only.

Alicia Tobin is a comedian and writer living and working in Vancouver. She is the co-host of two popular podcasts, Retail Nightmares and Super! Sick! Podcast! and the creator of Alicia Tobin’s Come Draw with Me.

Amal Rana Amal Rana is a queer Muslim futurist and poet living on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw and səl̓ílwətaɬ territories . Her Pushcart Prize nominated poetry has been published widely. Amal collaborates with multiple communities to vision decolonial futures through the arts. rosewaterpoet.com.

Amanda Leduc is the author of the nonfiction book Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability and Making Space. She is the Communications and Development Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), Canada’s first festival for diverse authors and stories.

Amber Dawn is the author of five queer and trauma-informed books, and the editor of three anthologies.

Andrea Warner writes and talks. She’s the author of Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography and We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the ’90s and Changed Canadian Music. 

Annahid Dashtgard is a speaker, activist and co-founder of Anima Leadership, an international consulting company specializing in issues of diversity and inclusion.

Ayan is a Black, African, Muslim Refugee-Settler on the stolen and occupied territories of the Coast Salish Peoples. She is an international studies major and sociology minor at SFU. When not deeply intrigued by decolonial poetry/art and African literature books, you can find Ayan gushing about basketball, acting and filmmaking, and organizing spaces that meaningfully engage Black youth.

Bee Appletini is a genderfluid queer femme burlesque performer and artist from Vancouver, BC. If you catch them on stage they will be sure to serve it to you shaken, not stirred!

Carleigh Baker is an nêhiyaw âpihtawikosisân /Icelandic writer who lives as a guest on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwu7mesh, and səl̓ilwəta peoples.

Caroline Hébert is from the production Unsettled. Am I a monster to all of you? Don’t be afraid, just ask questions. My first language is ASL.

Cassandra Blanchard was born in Whitehorse, Yukon and is a part of the Selkirk First Nation. Fresh Pack of Smokes is her first book. She currently lives on Vancouver Island.

Chantal Gibson is an artist-educator working in the overlap between literary and visual art. She is the author of How She Read (Caitlin Press 2019).

Chelene Knight is the author of two books and founder of LearnWritingEssentials and Breathing Space Creative. Find her at cheleneknight.com

Chelsea D.E Johnson is your very own Soul Sister! Serving you Female empowerment, and raw vocal Power! With rhythmic guitar lines and poetic cadence delivered with edge, much like Jimmy Hendrix. Mixed in with a healing Soulful rasp reminiscent to Janis Joplin. Chelsea D.E takes a new take on Soul Rock n Roll!

Cheryl Thompson, Ryerson University Assistant Professor, School of Creative Industries, is author of Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture.

Chhaya Naran Chhaya Naran is an artist living and working on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples. Their practice includes writing, drawing, and experimental animation.

CJ Santana is an EastVan-based latinx, queer witch. Her work is guided by intuitive magic, shadow healing and soul connection. Using tarot she provides gentle guidance and counselling.

Corinne Manning is the author of the story collection We Had No Rules from Arsenal Pulp Press. Their work has been widely published including anthology selection in Toward an Ethics of Activism and Shadow Map: An Anthology of Survivors of Sexual Assault. 

courtenay mayes is an artist and designer and graduate of Concordia University who has worked in a variety of roles in service to artists and is leading the guided soundbath event at Growing Room.

Délani Valin is a Cree-Metis writer living on traditional Snuneymuxw territory on Vancouver Island. Her work has been awarded the Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize and subTerrain’s Lush Triumphant Literary Award. She is part of the Room Collective and is the editor at Culturally Modified

DJ Denise is one of the leading female DJs in Vancouver. Breaking boundaries for female DJs around the world; producing her own beats, promoting events, recruiting new artists and most importantly, making bodies sweat on dance floors all over.

Dina Del Bucchia writes books, co-hosts a podcast and hosts events.

Domenica Martinello is a writer from Montreal, QC, and the author of All Day I Dream about Sirens (Coach House Books, 2019).

Doretta Lau is the author of How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? and cofounder of the culture website The Unpublishables.

Edzi’u is a 2spirit Tahltan and Taku River Tlingit sound and text artist. Her work as a multi-medium storyteller centres resisting colonial narratives.

Rooted in the rainy Pacific Northwest, Efemeral’s multilingual written verse and spoken word performance entwine her reflections on spirituality, language and the human psyche.

Elliot Scott-Bigsby is a Victoria-based poet who uses poetry as a means of connecting difficulties in life with art. 

Emily Dundas Oke is an emerging curator, interdisciplinary artist, and arts administrator. She is grateful to be the organizer and a co-curator of Indigenous Brilliance.

Emma Hansen is the author of Still: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Motherhood. She is trained as a full spectrum doula and offers education on the realities surrounding loss and grief.

Emma Healey‘s latest book of poems, Stereoblind, was published in 2018 by House of Anansi. She’s currently working on a nonfiction book for Penguin Random House Canada.

Erika Thorkelson writes fiction and creative non-fiction. Recently, her work has appeared in the Walrus, Room Magazine and Chatelaine. She teaches at Emily Carr University.

Eve Joseph‘s three books of poetry were nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award. In the Slender Margin, published by HarperCollins in 2014, won the Hubert Evans nonfiction award. Her most recent book of poetry, Quarrels, won the 2019 Griffin Prize.

Fiona Tinwei Lam has authored three poetry books and a children’s book and co-edited two nonfiction collections. Her poetry videos have screened at festivals internationally.

Francine Cunningham is an award-winning Indigenous writer, artist and educator. Her debut book of poetry is titled ON/Me. You can find more about her at francinecunningham.ca

Glosa Golestaneh is a young woman of colour, a former refugee and current political science student at SFU who loves using her lived experiences in her writing and education.

Gwen Benaway is a trans girl of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She has written four collections of poetry.

Hannah McGregor is an Assistant Professor of Publishing at Simon Fraser University and the host of Secret Feminist Agenda, a podcast about the mundane and radical ways we enact our feminism in our daily lives.

Hazel Jane Plante is a queer trans librarian, cat photographer, and writer. Her debut novel Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) was published in fall 2019 by Metonymy Press.

Helen Knott is a Dane Zaa, nehiyaw and mixed Euro woman who released her debut memoir, In My Own Moccasins in the fall of 2019.

Isabella Wang is the author of On Forgetting a Language (Baseline Press 2019). She is an assistant editor with Room magazine.

Jackie Wong is a facilitator, writer, and editor. She works as hua foundation’s Race & Equity Project Director while resetting her relationship with work. 

Jacqueline Turner is Writing Specialist and Lecturer at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the author most recently of Flourish from ECW Press.

Jade Baxter is Nlaka’pamux from Skuppah and an independent filmmaker/artist. Utilizing filmmaking for Salish stories and anti-colonialism while working to understand what ndn cinematic protocol can be.

Jasmine Gui is the founder of Project 40 Collective – a pan-Asian interdisciplinary artist collective, and managing editor at LooseLeaf Magazine, and runs Teh People Studio. Online event only.

jaye simpson is an Oji-Cree Saulteaux queer writer residing in what is colonially known as Vancouver. Their work has been featured across Turtle Island in print, performance and multimedia platforms. 

Jen Currin is the author of Hider/Seeker: Stories, a 2018 Globe and Mail top 100 book; and four poetry collections, including The Inquisition Yours, winner of the 2011 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry.

Jenny Sun lives in Surrey, BC. She is a grade 12 student at L.A. Matheson. She enjoys writing poetry and walking in the park in her free time.

Jillian Christmas is a poet, musician, clown, educator, organizer, and advocate in the arts community. Utilizing an anti-oppressive lens, Jillian has performed and facilitated workshops across the continent.

Jody Mariko Okabe is a Queer, Tsimshian, Japanese, and French Canadian musician, born and raised in Northern BC. She is currently working on her first album.

Moving from Ho Chi Minh City to Vancouver, BC to do her bachelor’s degree in interaction design, June Tang is interested in combining interaction design skills with her cultural background to foster mindful and delightful experience. 

Justin Ducharme is a filmmaker, writer, dancer and curator from the small Métis community of St. Ambroise on Treaty 1 Territory. He currently lives and works on Unceded Coast Salish Territory.

Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performer, community facilitator and healer based in Toronto.  She is the author of four award-winning books, including the novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir and the children’s book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea. Kai Cheng’s latest book is her essay collection, I Hope We Choose Love, an exploration of transformative justice and the ethics of love in social justice activism.

Kalilah Rampanen comes from the western coast of Vancouver island she stems from nuučaan̓uł ,Cree and Finnish ancestry. Kalilah’s music explores a diverse range of indigenous, environmental and social horizons that combine a blend of acoustic, blues and alternative styles of expression.

Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros is an urban Indigi-queer born into diaspora. Her people come from Brazil (linking back to Africa through the slave trade), and the Mistawasis Cree nation.

Kat Norris is Coast Salish, activist, mother and grandmother. Graduating from Spirit Song Native Theatre, Kat is Elder In Residence for Heart of the City Festival.

Kathy Mak is an emerging writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Visit her website: http://kathymak.weebly.com/

Kayla Czaga is the author of two collections of poetry: For Your Safety Please Hold On and Dunk Tank. She lives in Victoria B.C.

Liz Howard’s debut collection Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize. She is of mixed settler and Anishinaabe heritage.

Lucia Misch is a writer and creative facilitator with deep roots in spoken word poetry. Her debut collection, The Problem With Solitaire, was released in 2019.

Mallory Tater is a writer from Ottawa living in Vancouver. Her debut novel is The Birth Yard (HarperCollins Canada, 2020). Mallory is the publisher of Rahila’s Ghost Press.

Manahil Bandukwala is a Pakistani writer and artist. She was longlisted for the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, and won Room’s Emerging Writer Award in 2019. Online event only.

Maneo Mohale is a South African editor, feminist writer and poet. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Jalada, Prufrock, The Mail & Guardian, and others.

Mercedes Eng is the author of Mercenary English, Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, winner of the BC Poetry Prize, and my yt mama

Missy D is a bilingual female emcee born and raised around the Motherland from the thousands of hills of Rwanda to the Drogba city of Cote d’Ivoire and the Victoria Falls of Zimbabwe. Missy D is now based in Vancouver making what she calls “Rap&Soul” for the people  She writes to inspire, to purge, and also to celebrate resilience! She has performed as a 2018 SXSW Official Artist and for the 2018 Juno Fest performing with the likes of Maestro Fresh Wes, Jully Black, Nomadic Massive, Sons of Kemet, and Mr.Eazi. Currently working on a 2020 Spring EP,  Missy D will have you catching that je ne sais quoi with her music. #yesmama #2020

Molly Cross-Blanchard is a Métis writer, Poetry Editor at PRISM, Assistant to the ED at BCYBP, and author of I Don’t Want to Tell You.

Nafiza Azad is a self-identified island girl. Her debut novel, The Candle and The Flame, was released by Scholastic in 2019.

NASRA is a queer, Muslim, Oromo multidisciplinary creator living in Amiskwaciy (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory. Their heartwork centres the liberation of Black and Indigenous Peoples everywhere.

Neko Smart is the current City of Victoria Youth Poet Laureate. Poetry as a means of creative expression enables her to process the world through the lens of her anxiety disorder.

Nisa Malli is a writer and a researcher, born in Winnipeg and currently living in Toronto. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria and has completed residencies at the Banff Centre and Artscape Gibraltar Point. Her first chapbook, Remitting, was published by Baseline Press in 2019. Her poems have been nominated for a Rhysling Award and the Best of the Net Anthology, named a finalist for the Letheon Prize, and won the Maisonneuve Magazine Haiku Contest. She is the curator of the interview series The Policymaker’s Guide to the Galaxy: What Science Fiction Can Teach Us About the Future of Work.

Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek is a poet. Her writing has won and been nominated for several writing prizes. She lives on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Patricia Massy is Cree and English and a member of the Kelly Lake Cree Nation. She owns Massy Books on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh land.

Phay Moores is an intimacy director, director, arts administrator and artist based in what is now known as Vancouver. She is English, French, and Assiniboine. 

Rachel Thompson edits with Room and created the Lit Mag Love podcast and course. She shares #litmaglove in the warmest community of writers. Online event only.

Raquel Milosavljevic is from Vancouver, BC and recently graduated from Simon Fraser University. She writes poetry and fiction and is currently working on her first novel. 

Rebecca Fisseha‘s fiction and non-fiction explore the Ethiopian diaspora. Born in Addis Ababa, she currently lives in Toronto. 

Rebecca Salazar (she/they) has written two poetry chapbooks, edits poetry for The Fiddlehead and Plenitude magazines, and co-hosts the Elm & Ampersand podcast.

Rhea Tregebov is the author of poetry and fiction, most recently the novel Rue des Rosiers. She taught creative writing at UBC until 2017.

Sandra Pronteau is a Cree-Metis, 60’s Scoop Survivor who lived grew up in Winnipeg and graduated from high school in ‘85. She’s a mother of four with one Grandson.  Varied experiences within theatre work has helped her open up and perform in ways that tell amazing stories. She came into the artisan world in 2003 and still works within the DTES.

Savannah Erasmus is a nehiyaw iskwew sohkihtakosiw from Kikino, Alberta. She is a glamorous comedian, Indigenous storyteller, producer, and journalist. 

Serena Lukas Bhandar is a Punjabi/Welsh/Irish transfemme witch, youth worker, and facilitator living as a settler on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ lands. Her Pushcart Prize-nominated writing has appeared in print in Nameless Woman and Turn This World Inside Out: The Emergence of Nurturance Culture. She is currently working on a novel and a hybrid collection of essays and poetry.

Shane Sable is a 2spirit Gitxsan artist, activist, and Convening Member of all-Indigenous burlesque collective Virago Nation. Shane’s work focuses on rematriating Indigenous sexuality. 

Shani Mootoo is a novelist, poet and visual artist. A longtime Vancouver resident, she currently lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Sharon Pink is a queer Priestess, magic maker, Portuguese/Polish femme living on the unceded, ancestral homelands of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil Waututh Nations. 

Shashi Bhat is editor-in-chief of EVENT and teaches creative writing at Douglas College. Her next two books of fiction are forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart.

Sheryda Warrener is the author of two poetry collections: Hard Feelings (Snare, 2010) and Floating is Everything (Nightwood, 2015). She teaches in the creative writing program at UBC.

Soo Jeong is a storyteller and a comic. She enjoys romantic walks on the beach and prefers food over affection.  She is currently working on her solo show, “The Ways I Bring Shame On My Korean Family”

Sparkle Plenty is Vancouver’s glamedian, weirdlesquer and word-maker-upper who has been delivering beautifully bizarre burlesque acts for over 10 years! This fiery goddess is Cree with mixed heritage and is a proud sister of the first-ever all Indigenous-burlesque group, Virago Nation.

Sparrow Terbasket is a two-spirit Syilx, Ho-Chunk, Anishinaabe performing artist that explores themes of cultural identity, sexuality, and mental health in their work.

Tanya Boteju is a teacher and writer living on unceded Coast Salish territories. Her young adult novel, Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, debuted in May.

Taryn Shepherd is an Emily Carr student and panelist for <h1>Expanding the Boundaries of Writing: Animation and Coding as Composition</h1>.

Tash McAdam writes plot-focused fiction for young adults. They write stories centring marginalised identities that aren’t about The Struggle of being marginalised.

Congolese born, Téa Mutonji is a writer and poet. Her collection of short stories, Shut Up You’re Pretty, was the first book published by Vivek Shraya’s imprint, Vs. Books with Arsenal Pulp Press. Originally from Scarborough, Téa now lives and writes downtown Toronto.

Tin Lorica is a queer Filipinx comedian and writer based in Vancouver. They co-host and produce Millennial Line, a monthly comedy and poetry series, as well as Yellow Fever, an all-Asian comedy show.

Tonye Aganaba is a musician and artist residing on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam & Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Tonye moves fluidly through genres, but lands comfortably in the realms of Soul/Neo-Folk and R&B. Their style has been likened, and pays homage to trailblazing icons like Lauryn Hill, Ani DiFranco and Chaka Khan. Tonye is a fixture in their arts community and the kind of performer that turns heads wherever they go

Zainab Osman is a senior student at L.A. Matheson Secondary. She is a curious individual, passionate about her work, and an aspiring changemaker.

Zalika Reid-Benta is a Toronto-based writer whose debut short story collection Frying Plantain was longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She is currently working on a young-adult fantasy novel drawing inspiration from Jamaican folklore.