2016 Lineup

July 6

Joanne Arnott

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Joanne Arnott is a Métis/mixed-blood writer and arts activist, based in Richmond, BC. Author of six books of poetry and three books in other genre, Joanne’s essays and poetry appear in more than 25 anthologies, including Indigenous Poetics, Uncommon Wealth, Native Poetry in Canada, Native Literature in English, How the Light Gets In (Ireland), Double Lives, Without Reservation, Manitowapow, 111 West Coast Literary Portraits, Alive at the Centre (PPP), and Force Field. She is currently the Poetry Editor for EVENT Magazine.

A founding member of the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, past volunteer on The Writers Union of Canada’s National Council and The Writers Trust Author’s Committee, Joanne is mother to six young people, all born at home. She has also worked as judge or jurist on a variety of literary prizes and awards, including Manitoba Book Awards, BC Book Prizes (Poetry), SaskArt (short non-fiction), Governor General’s Award (Poetry), and Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize (Uganda).

Jordan Abel

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Jordan Abel
is a Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD at Simon Fraser University where his research concentrates on the intersection between Digital Humanities and Indigenous Literary Studies. Abel’s creative work has recently been anthologized in Best Canadian Poetry (Tightrope), The Land We Are: Artists and Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation (Arbiter Ring), and The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Hayword).  Abel is the author of  Injun, Un/inhabited, and The Place of Scraps (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award).

July 13

Candice James

CJ May 25 2016

Candice James (Poet Laureate Emerita, New Westminster, BC) is a poet, writer, visual artist, musician, singer-songwriter, book reviewer, workshop facitlitator and a director of The Festival of the Book Society, Victoria BC. She is author of eleven poetry books: the first was published in 1979“A Split In The Water” (Fiddlehead Books); and the most recent “Short Shots” 2016 (Silver Bow Publishing). Candice’s awards include Bernie Legge Artist Cultural Award and Pandora’s Collective Citizenship award.


Geoffrey Nilson

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Geoffrey Nilson is a Contributing Editor with Arc and Social Media Editor with The Rusty Toque. Nilson’s poems and essays have appeared recently in Event, PRISM, subTerrain, and Qwerty. We Have To Watch, his second chapbook, was published this past March by The Quilliad Press and his book length manuscript Paraphrases from a public whiteboard won Honorable Mention for the 2015 Alfred G Bailey Poetry Prize.



July 20

Elizabeth Bachinsky


Elizabeth Bachinsky (b. 1976) is the author of five collections of poetry. Her most recent book The Hottest Summer in Recorded History (Nightwood Editions) was nominated for the 2014 Pat Lowther Award for poetry and Brecken Hancock of Open Book Toronto says the book is “…gripping, moving, inspiring, and hilarious. (Bachinsky’s) work delivers optimism, exuberance, pleasure… one of my favourite poetry performances of the year.” Elizabeth teaches creative writing at Douglas College where she teaches her students to write poems and stories about their lives. She lives in New Westminster, BC, with her husband and baby girl.

Erin Kirsh


Erin Kirsh is a writer and performer living in Vancouver. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including Arc Poetry Magazine, Strange Days Books, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and Geist. Erin is the Executive Director of Vancouver Poetry House, has been a two-time member of the Vancouver Poetry Slam Team, and has toured her original works across North America.


July 27



Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) is a Greek-Canadian poet and author. He is the most prolific writer-poet of the Greek diaspora. He was recently appointed an honorary instructor and fellow of the International Arts Academy, and awarded a Master’s for the Arts in Literature. He’s recognized for his ability to convey images and thoughts in a rich and evocative way that tugs at something deep within the reader. His articles, poems and short stories in both Greek and English have appeared in various magazines and newspapers in Canada, United States, Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Australia, Jordan, Serbia and Greece. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Romanian, Swedish, German, Hungarian, Arabic, Turkish, Serbian, Russian languages and has been published in book form or in magazines in various countries. His translation book George Seferis-Collected Poems was shortlisted for the Greek National Literary Awards the highest literary recognition of Greece.

Cecily Nicholson


Cecily Nicholson is the administrator of the artist-run centre Gallery Gachet and has worked since 2000 in the downtown eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqeam territories. She collaborates with the Joint Effort prison abolition group and is the author of Triage (2011) and From the Poplars (2014), winner of the 2015 Dorothy Livesay prize for poetry.

Kevin Spenst

Kevin Spenst Black and White (1)

Kevin Spenst, a Pushcart Poetry nominee, is the author of Jabbering with Bing Bong, Ignite (both with Anvil Press), and over a dozen chapbooks including Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press), Retractable (the serif of nottingham), and Surrey Sonnets (JackPine Press).  His work has won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry, been nominated for both the Alfred G. Bailey Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and has appeared in dozens of publications including Prairie Fire, CV2, BafterC, Lemon Hound, Poetry is Dead, and the anthology Best Canadian Poetry 2014.

August 3

Jónína Kirton


Jónína Kirton, a prairie born Métis/Icelandic poet and facilitator currently lives in the unceded territory of the Salish people. Jónína graduated from the SFU’s Writer’s Studio in 2007. She is currently a member of their advisory board and a member of the Room Magazine Editorial board. Her first collection of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, released in April 2015 by Talonbooks, has been described as “restorative, intimate poetry, drawing down ancestral ideas into the current moment’s breath.” 

RC Weslowski


RC Weslowski is the winner of the 2016 Sheri D Wilson Golden Beret Award, the 2012 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion and has been a 2 time World Cup of Poetry Slam Finalist in Paris, France. RC has recently been published in two separate anthologies: “The Nights are Twice as Long” from Goose Lane Editions and “Red Reads First” from Sargent Press. RC is the co-founder and co-director of Hullabaloo: the BC Youth Spoken Word Festival.

August 10

Kyle McKillop

Kyle McKillop 2016

Kyle McKillop is a master’s student in UBC’s Optional-Residency Creative Writing program and also teaches high school English in Surrey. The host of the 2014 Poetry in the Park series and organizer for 2015, Kyle is a Past President of Royal City Literary Arts Society. He has been published in a number of anthologies, online journals, and print periodicals and can be found online at kylemckillop.wordpress.com



August 17

Susan McCaslin


Susan McCaslin has published thirteen volumes of poetry. Her next, Painter, Poet, Mountain: After Cézanne, is forthcoming from Quattro Books in Oct. 2016.  Previous volumes include The Disarmed Heart (The St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2014) and Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2011).  Susan has also published a memoir, Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga (Inanna Publications, 2014).  A lover of poetry, visual art, trees, mountains and the sea, she divides her time between Victoria and Fort Langley, British Columbia.

Rob Taylor

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Rob Taylor lives with his wife and son in Vancouver, where he is one of the coordinators of the Dead Poets Reading Series. His first collection of poems, The Other Side of Ourselves, was published in 2011 and won the Alfred G Bailey Prize. His second collection, The News, will be published in the Fall of 2016 by Gaspereau Press. http://roblucastaylor.com



August 24

Raoul Fernandes

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Raoul Fernandes was a finalist for the 2010 Bronwen Wallace Award and his poems have been published in numerous literary journals, including the Best Canadian Poetry Anthology 2015. He is an editor for the online poetry magazine The Maynard. His first collection of poems, Transmitter and Receiver, out from Nightwood Editions, is a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Award and winner of the 2016 Dorothy Livesay Award.


Johnny MacRae

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Johnny MacRae is a mouthy poet.  The 2013 Poet of Honour for the Victoria Spoken Word Festival, he has been a regional and a national poetry slam champion.  Since 2010, MacRae has regularly toured across Canada performing at slams, readings, poetry, theatre and music festivals – both solo and as a member of “spoken weird” talk rock duo, 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac.

August 31

Wayde Compton


Wayde Compton’s latest book, The Outer Harbour, won the City of Vancouver Book Award. He also recently edited the poetry anthology The Revolving City with Renée Sarojini Saklikar. Compton is a co-founder of the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project, an organization that seeks to raise awareness about the history of Vancouver’s black community. He is the associate director of Creative Writing in Continuing Studies at Simon Fraser University, where he administrates the Writer’s Studio.