Hya Sheikh is a poet, writer and visual artist who has recently earned an Honorable Mention for the Vera Manuel Award for Poetry 2022. Much of her creative work is centered around mental illness, emotional hardship, and unraveling the ‘other. Informed by personal experiences and being a minority in more ways than one, Hya finds expression in poetry, writing and art, and she is passionate about social justice, intersectional feminism and mental health. When she’s not petting cats or listening to metal, Hya finds herself articulating and disentangling the emotional, personal and social, weaving narratives, poems and visual illustrations of how the realms interject. Hya has a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Toronto where she now works as an Academic Counselor.
Diary Marif (aka Dyari Xalid Marif) is an Iraqi-Kurdish writer, activist and journalist with over 15 years of experience as a reporter, editor, and researcher. He earned a master’s degree in History from Pune University in India in 2013, and he moved to Vancouver from Iraq in 2017. Diary has been focusing on nonfiction writing and has recently written two book chapters for two different projects. An author at New Canadian Media, he writes about immigrants, newcomers, and minorities. He participates in rallies in solidarity with minorities and subminorities and fights against discrimination and racism. Diary is the recipient of an Honorable Mention for the Susan Crean Award for Nonfiction 2022.
Kenzie Housego is a Calgary-based multidisciplinary artist and arts activist who has recently completed a Master of Fine Art specializing in new media at the University of Calgary, Mohkinstsis, in Treaty 7 region southern Alberta. As a multidisciplinary artist, her practice includes fiber, embroidery, new media, and assemblage mediums. The use of technology such as LEDs, Arduino micro-controllers, texting, and screens within her research is symbolic of the virtual realms in which we participate as a society. It’s important to Kenzie that her artwork always offers an invitation for interactivity, encouraging viewers to shift from being passive observers to active co-producers as they engage with the digital media, experience other points of view, and ultimately, form their own individual meanings. Her recent series titled “❤️💔❤️” explores contemporary courtship, romance, technology, and historical signs and signifiers connected to dating and romance. Kenzie has had the opportunity to showcase her art nationally and internationally. Kenzie is the Second Place Winner of the Norval Morrisseau Award for Visual Arts 2022.
Dorothy Ellen Palmer is a former English/Drama teacher, improv coach and union Branch President, now a disabled senior writer and disability activist. Her short fiction and nonfiction appear in over forty literary and disability journals. Long-listed for the Re-Lit Award, her first novel, When Fenelon Falls, (Coach House, 2010) features a disabled teen protagonist in the Moonwalk-Woodstock summer of 1969. Her adoption-disability memoir, Falling for Myself, (Wolsak and Wynn, 2019), was a finalist for The Hamilton Book Awards, and acclaimed by The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and Quill & Quire. She is the winner of the 2020 Helen Henderson Award for disability journalism, has served on FOLD’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, and appeared at FOLD, GritLIT, WOTS, The Next Chapter, The Eh List, and CBC Radio. She can always be found tweeting @depalm.
At the February 25, 2023 gathering of Surrey Muse, Dorothy will be the Featured Author participating via Skype. More about the event is here: saturday-february-25