Lillian Allen is a Creative Writing Professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design University in Toronto Canada. Allen emerged from the grassroots in the seventies to become a leading influential figure on the Canadian cultural landscape.
She is an award winning and internationally renowned poet. As one of its lead originator and innovators, she has specialized in the writing and performing of dub poetry, a new genre of English Literature which is a highly politicized form of poetry preferring a black aesthetic and specific cultural codification. Dub poetry is a poetic form that stylizes vernacular language, the emotive quality and inherent musicality of words, and it is sometimes set to music. It is considered a literary godmother of rap, hip-hop and spoken word poetry. Allen is responsible for opening up the form to insist and engrave feminist content and sensibilities.
She has published several books and recordings, and has worked in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, writing for children, experimental writing forms, and has written several plays. Her work also appears in a variety of media. She has spent almost four decades writing, publishing, and performing her work in Canada, The US, Europe, and England and elsewhere.
A selection of her published works in book and CD forms include: Psychic Unrest, 2000, Women Do This Every Day, 1993; Nothing But A Hero, 1992; Why Me, 1991; If You See Truth, 1987. Her recordings (CDs) include; ANXIETY 2012, Freedom & Dance, 1999; Conditions Critical, 1988; Revolutionary Tea Party, 1986.
“Revolutionary Tea Party” and “Conditions Critical” won Canadian Juno awards in 1986 and 1988 respectively. An inspired strategic thinker and cultural strategist, Allen is a leading expert on cultural diversity and culture in Canada and has been a consultant and advisor to all levels of government, to several leading Canadian institutions, and to community groups. She has initiated, designed and facilitated the establishment of a number of organizations in various culturally diverse communities, and has worked within several established organizations to implement strategies to create access and change. She also initiated such programs as the legendary Fresh Arts and the International Spoken Word Program at Banff Center for the Arts. Multi-talented and multi-dimensional, she instigated, co-produced and hosted CBC’s Wordbeat, a national weekly radio show on poetry and the spoken word.
Allen is a recipient of many awards and citations, which include The Margo Bindhardt Award for significantly impacting the arts in Toronto through leadership and vision in both creative work and activism, and the City of Toronto Cultural Champion Award, and the William P. Hubbard Race Relations award.
Susan Crean is a writer of literary non-fiction whose book The Laughing One — a Journey to Emily Carr was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award and won the Hubert Evans B.C. Book Prize in 2001. She is a journalist, cultural critic and activist and a former Chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada who was heading the Union when “The Appropriate Voice” gathering was convened in 1992. She was a member of the committee of TWUC members living in Vancouver who worked with Roy Miki on the organizing committee for the Writing Thru Race conference two years later. Susan was the founding Co-chair of the Creators’ Rights Alliance/Alliance pour les Droits des Créateurs in 2001 with Michel Beauchemin (Quebec), and Greg Young-ing (Indigenous Peoples). She’s a recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship for her current book Digging to China, about the life of a Head-tax payer named Wong Zongwong, who was hired as a cook by her grandfather in 1928.
George Elliot Clarke, the Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15), is an Africadian (African-Nova Scotian). A prized poet, his 13th work is Traverse (Exile, 2014), an autobiographical poem. His forthcoming title is the epic poem, “The Canticles,” whose subject is slavery, to be published over five years, beginning in Fall 2016. Currently the inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, Clarke has also taught at Duke University (1994-99), McGill University (1998-99), the University of British Columbia (2002), and Harvard University (2013-14). He has won several awards for his poetry and a novel, and received eight honorary doctorates, plus appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada at the rank of Officer.
Lenore Keeshig (of the Wolf Clan) is a traditional storyteller and an award-winning author from the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation on the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula. She coordinates the Interpretative Program for the Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park in Tobermory. As a traditional storyteller, Lenore has always had a personal interest in the “truth” documented in traditional Anishnaabe stories (myths and legends), and is working to show the parallels between these ancient stories and current geologic research. Keeshig’s poetry appears in a number of anthologies. Her first book of poetry will be published this fall (2015) by Quattro Books. Primarily an author of stories for children, she produced two bilingual (Ojibwe and English) books: Bird Talk (1991) and Emma and the Tree (1996), and in 2005, co-authored The Truth About Nibbles with her husband, David McLaren. Bird Talk won the 1993—Living the Dream Book Award (an award commemorating Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.). Prior to accepting employment with Parks Canada, Lenore taught at George Brown College in Toronto; served a 5-year term as the chair for the Chippewas of Nawash Board of Education; and served on the Anti-Racism Ethnocultural Equity Committee for the Bruce County Board of Education (now Bluewater District School Board). Before returning home to Neyaashiinigmiing (aka Cape Croker) in 1993, she served as the founding chair of the Racial Minority Writers Committee of The Writers Union of Canada (1991). Earlier, she with Daniel D. Moses and Tompson Highway co-founded of the Committee to Re-Establish the Trickster, a group established to foster and promote Aboriginal writers.
Larissa Lai is the author of two novels, When Fox Is a Thousand and Salt Fish Girl; two books of poetry, sybil unrest (with Rita Wong) and Automaton Biographies; and a chapbook, Eggs in the Basement. Her critical book, Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s came out as part of the TransCanada Series at WLUP in 2014. A recipient of the Astraea Foundation Emerging Writers’ Award, she has been shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Tiptree Award, the Sunburst Award, the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Award, the bpNichol Chapbook Award and the Dorothy Livesay Prize.
Lee Maracle is the author of many critically acclaimed literary works, including the novels Sundogs (1992), Ravensong (1993), and its recently published sequel, Celia’s Song (2014), Daughters Are Forever (2002), and the collections of short fiction Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories (1990) and First Wives Club: Coast Salish Style (2010). One of the first Indigenous authors to be published in the 1970s and among the most prolific ones, she was born in North Vancouver and is a member of the Sto: lo Nation. The granddaughter of the renowned Chief Dan George, she is considered to be a “knowledge keeper” of her people’s history. Widely published in anthologies and scholarly journals, she is also the author of the poetry book, Bent Box (2000), the young adult novel, Will’s Garden (2002), and the autobiographical narratives of Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel (1975, 1990), and I Am Woman (1988). The editor and co-editor of a number of anthologies, including the award-winning My Home As I Remember (2000), she is widely published in anthologies and scholarly journals and has lectured around the around. Currently an instructor and student mentor in the Aboriginal Studies Program at the University of Toronto, as well as and the Traditional Teacher for First Nations’ House at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto, where she also served as Cultural Director, she was one of the founders of the En’owkin International School of Writing in Penticton, British Columbia. A Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, and the University of Western Washington, Maracle has had her writing and contributions to First Nations Communities and beyond recognized by many awards, including the JT Stewart Award. She has received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Thomas University, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Ontario. Her collection of oratories, Memory Serves, will appear late in 2015 from NeWest Press.
Roy Miki grew up in Winnipeg and moved to Vancouver in the late 1960s. He is a poet, critic, editor, and cultural activist who taught in the English Department of Simon Fraser University from the late 70s until his retirement. Roy is the author of many books, including Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for Justice (Raincoast 2004), as well as five books of poems. His third book of poems, Surrender (Mercury Press 2001), received the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. His two latest books are Mannequin Rising (New Star 2011), a series of poems and photo collages that probe the internal effects of commodity culture, and In Flux: Transnational Shifts in Asian Canadian Writing (NeWest 2011), an essay collection. A children’s book, Dolphin SOS, co-written with his wife Slavia, has just been published by Tradewind Books. He received the Order of Canada in 2006 and the Order of British Columbia in 2009.
Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad. Her acclaimed first novel, Cereus Blooms at Night, was published worldwide, was a finalist for the Giller Prize and long listed for the Man Booker Prize. Her second novel, He Drown She in The Sea, was on the long list for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her third, Valmiki’s Daughter, and her most recent Moving Forward Sideways Like Crab were long listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Mootoo immigrated to Canada more than thirty years ago. She is currently The Writer in Residence at the University of Toronto.
Daniel David Moses is a Delaware from the Six Nations Reserve in southern Ontario. His plays include Coyote City, a nominee for the 1991 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, his most traveled, Almighty Voice and His Wife, and the James Buller Award Winner The Indian Medicine Shows. His newest books are A Small Essay on the Largeness of Light and Other Poems (2012) and the Oxford University Press’ fourth edition of An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English, of which he is a founding co-editor (2013). He teaches as an associate professor and a Queen’s National Scholar in the Department of Drama, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.
Sherene Razack is a full professor in the Department of Social Justice Education, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She has published At the Limits of Justice: Women of Colour On Terror (2014, ed. With Suvendrini Perera); States of Race (2011, co-editor with Malinda Smith and Sunera Thobani); (2008) Casting Out: Race and the Eviction of Muslims From Western Law and Politics; (2004) Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping and the New Imperialism. (2002, Editor) Race, Space and the Law: Unmapping a white settler society. Toronto: Between the Lines;(1998) Looking white people in the eye: gender, race and culture in courtrooms and classrooms; (1991) Canadian feminism and the law: The women’s legal education and action fund and the pursuit of equality.
Madeleine Thien is the author of three books of fiction, including her most recent novel, Dogs at the Perimeter, which was a finalist of the 2014 International Literature Prize awarded in Berlin. She is a recipient of the City of Vancouver Book Award, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and the Ovid Festival Prize, and her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Granta, PEN America, Asia Literary Review, and Brick and her books have been translated into 22 languages. Since 2010, she has been part of the international faculty in the MFA program at City University of Hong Kong.
As an interdisciplinary scholar Rinaldo has published on music, literature, film and theater and policy among other topics. All of Rinaldo’s research is founded in a philosophical orientation that is concerned with the ways in which coloniality shapes human relations across social and cultural time. Rinaldo is the author of Black Like Who: Writing Black Canada (Insonmiac Press, 1997 with a second revised edition in 2003); he is also the editor of Rude: Contemporary Black Canadian Cultural Criticism (Insomniac, 2000); and the Co-editor with Roy Moodley of Counselling Across and Beyond Cultures: Exploring the Work of Clemment Vontress in Clinical Practice (University of Toronto Press, 2010). In all of Rinaldo’s research and publications he focuses on Black cultural politics; histories of colonialism in the Americas, multiculturalism, citizenship, and diaspora; gender and sexuality; and social, cultural and public policy.