Join us for our February Culture Blast featuring five Canadian writers who will each read an excerpt from their writing, followed by a moderated discussion on the importance of culture and stories to an open and vibrant democracy. Featured authors include Canisia Lubrin, S.K. Ali, Cherie Dimaline, Amal El-Mohtar, and Aviaq Johnston. The conversation will be moderated by Matthew Davis.
Canisia Lubrin was born in St. Lucia. She has had work published in literary journals including Room, The Puritan, This Magazine, Arc, CV2 and The City Series #3: Toronto Anthology. She has been an arts administrator and community advocate for close to two decades. Lubrin has contributed to the podcast On The Line, hosted by Kate Sutherland for The Rusty Toque. She studied at York University where she won the President's Prize in poetry and the Sylvia Ellen Hirsch Memorial Award in creative writing. Lubrin holds an MFA from the University of Guelph and and teaches at Humber College. She lives in Whitby, Ontario.
S.K. Ali is a teacher based in Toronto whose writing on Muslim culture and life has appeared in the Toronto Star. Her family of Muslim scholars is consistently listed in the The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, and her insight into Muslim culture is both personal and far-reaching. A mother of a teenage daughter herself, S.K. Ali's debut YA novel is a beautiful and nuanced story about a young woman exploring her identity through friendship, family, and faith.
Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally. Her first book, Red Rooms, was published in 2007, and her novel The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy was released in 2013. In 2014, she was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and became the first Aboriginal Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library. Her book A Gentle Habit was published in August 2016.
Amal El-Mohtar is an award-winning writer of prose, poetry, and criticism. Her stories and poems have appeared in magazines including Lightspeed, Uncanny, Strange Horizons, Apex, Stone Telling, and Mythic Delirium; anthologies including The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales (2016), Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories (2014), and The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (2011); and in her own collection, The Honey Month. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the LA Times, NPR Books and on Tor.com. Her poems “Song for an Ancient City,” “Peach-Creamed Honey,” and “Turning the Leaves” won the Rhysling award for Best Short Poem in 2009, 2011 and 2014 respectively, and in 2012 she received the Richard Jefferies Poetry Prize for “Phase Shifting.” In her (few) hours of rest she drinks tea, lifts weights, plays harp, and writes letters to her friends by hand.
Aviaq Johnston is a young Inuk writer from Igloolik, Nunavut. Her debut novel Those Who Run in the Sky was released in the spring of 2017. In 2014 Aviaq won first place in the Aboriginal Arts and Stories competition for her short story ‘’Tarnikuluk’’, which also earned her a Governor General’s History Award. Aviaq is a graduate of Nunavut Sivuniksavut, and she has a diploma in Social Service Work from Canadore College. Aviaq loves to travel and has lived in Australia and Vietnam.
Matthew Davis (Moderator) is the founding director of The Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University. He's the author of When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter's Tale and has been a Fulbright Fellow to Syria and Jordan. He is also currently an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America.
Founded in 1997, each edition of the Ottawa International Writers Festival is a celebration of ideas that features speakers and authors from across Canada and around the world. From politics to poetry, science to music, history to thrillers, the festival celebrates the full diversity of the word and the gifted writers who guide us in our exploration of the world. The Ottawa International Writers Festival is a Oneness-World Communications event.
When: Friday, Feb. 16
12:00 am - 2:00 am
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