Jillian Christmas – Surrey Muse

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Jillian Christmas is a stunning performer who delivers with ease her poetics of depth, awareness and protest. An innovator, a firebrand community developer, and a musician with her own band, she won Grand Poetry-Slam Championship titles at both the Vancouver BedRocc poetry-slam (2011) and the Vancouver Poetry Slam (2012, 2014). She represented Vancouver at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Minneapolis, Minnesota (2013) and Austin, Tx (2014).

Jillian’s work has been published in a number of collections including Matrix New Queer Writing (issue 98), and The Great Black North (anthology). She has held spots on five Canadian slam teams, and she has competed in nine North American national poetry slams.

From 2011-2014, Jillian served as a member of Spoken Word Canada’s board of directors, with duties regarding the development of national policy to improve political dynamics within the spoken word community, and to increase anti-oppression initiatives. She has facilitated spoken word workshops for youth and adults across the country.

Born and raised in Markham ON, Jillian now lives in Vancouver BC where she works as the Artistic Director of Versəs Festival of Words, and, she is preparing to go back on the road with her band Late Night Ruckus.

More about Jillian
blackcanadianpoetry.com
Contact
jillian.christmas@gmail.com

At the October 23 gathering of Surrey Muse, Jillian will present a selection of her published work. More about the event is here:
October-23-gathering

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Siobhan ‘Mama Says’ Barker – Surrey Muse

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Siobhan Barker is an African-Canadian author of fiction and non-fiction, a storyteller, a bilingual singer, a textile artist and a community activist.

Siobhan grew up in Ontario and lived in Quebec before moving to British Columbia. In Montreal, she wrote on books, performers and films for the bilingual magazine Image, Nation et Culture.  She is a storyteller of folklore, world issues and cultures and has spoken and performed in public talks including at the African-Canadian Writers Festival, where she presented “Reigning Words: Black Playwrights in BC Theatre” (published in issue 118 of Canadian Theatre Review). 

Siobhan has written engaging stories with the many “Anansi and Aesop” tales which look at creation tales, community living, and honouring resources – with lots of laughs along the way!

Her poems have been published in The Great Black North which was launched as part of the 2013 Black History Month. She has read her stories and poems at the “Word on the Street” with the Vancouver Society of Storytelling and at the first annual Hogan’s Alley Poetry Festival which was held in 2011 and which honoured the various poetic communities and traditions of Vancouver. She will be performing in a play at “Clean Sheets 2013” as part of the Queer Arts Festival.

Siobhan has also been a community activist in encouraging reading and the arts amongst children in the Vancouver area.  She organizes weekly workshops on multicultural stories, songs and plays for children at local community centres and neighbourhood houses and  storytelling shows with songs and participation of children.

Siobhan’s inspirations include community choirs in which she has sang in, Paul Robeson, Josephine Baker, Toronto poet D’Bi Young, and her father, Carlyle Barker, a poet in his own right.

Siobhan also crotchets hats and tuques sporting West African adrinka symbol influences and other designs, so, “put a hat on!”

Siobhan’s Website
putahaton.com

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