George Elliott Clarke is a seventh-generation Canadian of African-American and Mi’kmaq heritage. His honours are many and include, though are not limited to, the Governor General’s Award for Poetry (2001), the National Magazine Gold Medal for Poetry (2001), the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (2004), the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship Prize (2005-08), the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction (2006), and the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry (2009). His books, including Whylah Falls, Execution Poems, I & I, Beatrice Chancy, and George and Rue, are widely celebrated. His writing documents the history and culture of “Africadians” within the Canadian colony and, more specifically, the maritime provinces. Clarke is currently serving as the seventh Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate while also working as a professor of English at the University of Toronto.
SKY Lee is a lauded Canadian illustrator, novelist, and short-story writer. Lee, a native of Port Alberni, B.C., earned a BA in fine arts from The University of British Columbia. Her groundbreaking novel, Disappearing Moon Cafe, was published in 1990 and nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award in 1990. She is also one of the authors of Telling It: Women and Language Across Cultures. Her writing, including the short story collection, Bellydancer: Stories, deals with issues of racism and homophobia experienced by Indigenous, lesbian and Asian Canadian women. She divides her time between Vancouver and Toronto. The new edition of her now classic novel, Disappearing Moon Cafe, with an interview by Smaro Kamboureli and an Afterword by Chris Lee, will be launched at the conference.
Roy Miki is an academic, poet, critic, editor, and activist. Miki, a third-generation Japanese Canadian, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and attended the universities of Manitoba, British Columbia. He was a professor in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University until his retirement. Miki’s Surrender won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry in 2002. His other poetry titles include Saving Face (1991), Random Access File (1995), There (2006), and most recently Mannequin Rising (2011). His poetry examines questions of identity, race, citizenship, and place. His critical publications include The Propoetics of William Carlos Williams (1983), Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for Justice (2004), and In Flux: Transnational Shifts in Asian Canadian Writing (2011). He currently resides in Vancouver where he continues to be an active advocate for equity for racialized Canadians.
Michael Helm’s most recent novel is After James. His other novels include Cities of Refuge, a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and a Globe and Mail Book of the Year; In the Place of Last Things, finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and a regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book; and The Projectionist, finalist for The Scotiabank Giller Prize. His writings on fiction, poetry, and photography have appeared in North American newspapers and magazines, including Brick, where he serves as editor. He teaches at York University in Toronto and lives in Dundas, Ontario.
Pamela Mordecai is a poet, novelist, critic, teacher, children’s author, anthology editor, and playwright. Her most recent novel, Red Jacket, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her poems have been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Award for Poetry (2007) and The Bridport Prize (UK, 2008); other awards for her writing include the Institute of Jamaica’s Centenary Medal for Services in the Field of Writing (1980), Jamaica’s first Vic Reid Award for children’s writing (1993 – for Ezra’s Goldfish and Other Storypoems), and Burke Bookstore’s Burla Award (2005) for her contribution to Caribbean literature. In 2013, she was awarded the Institute of Jamaica’s Bronze Musgrave Medal, and in Spring 2014 she was a fellow at the prestigious Yaddo Artists Community in Saratoga Springs, New York. She was born and grew up in Jamaica, completed a PhD at the University of the West Indies, and now lives in Kitchener, Ontario.
Tracey Lindberg is a writer and academic, the first Aboriginal woman in Canada to complete her graduate law degree at Harvard University. The recipient of the Governor General’s Award in 2007 for her dissertation “Critical Indigenous Legal Theory,” which she completed at the University of Saskatchewan, she publishes in areas related to Indigenous law, Indigenous governance, Indigenous women and Indigenous education. Her academic publications include the co-authored Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies. Her debut novel, Birdie, was selected for the 2016 edition of Canada Reads. A citizen of As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation Rocky Mountain Cree, she hails from the Kelly Lake Cree Nation community, she teaches at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research at Athabasca University, and is also Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa.
Liz Howard’s debut poetry collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Her chapbook Skullambient was shortlisted for the 2012 bpNichol Chapbook Award. She recently completed an MFA in Creative Writing through the University of Guelph and works as a research officer in cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto.
Lillian Allen is a two-time Canadian Juno award winning recording artist and one of the world’s leading dub poets. Lillian Allen’s albums Conditions Critical and Revolutionary Tea Party feature her groundbreaking, original poetry. Her latest album ANXIETY continues the cutting edge style which made her a Ms Magazine Landmark artist.
In Eekwol’s world, mothering, music and academics are chaotically coordinated into a delicate balance. As a member of the Muskoday First Nation, she holds a lifelong background of Plains Cree Indigenous music and culture, and invites the audience into a space of experimental hip hop unique to her land and place while respecting the origins of hip hop.