The Indigenous Advisor's role is to provide mentorship to Indigenous students in the Writer's Studio. Through a combination of one-on-one meetings, informal conversations and larger gatherings, the advisor supports emerging Indigenous writers as they navigate the unique challenges and rewards associated with telling their stories.
The Indigenous Advisor may also offer guidance to staff, mentors, editors and non-Indigenous students writing about Indigenous characters or issues.
Jónína Kirton, a Red River Métis/Icelandic poet, author and facilitator, was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba (Treaty One), in 1955. She has been a guest in the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh since 1987.
A graduate of the 2007 Writer’s Studio, she had the honour of being Betsy Warland’s mentor apprentice at the Studio in 2017 and 2018. She is currently one of Betsy’s Vancouver Manuscript Intensive mentors.
A late-blooming poet, she was 61 when she received the 2016 Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for an Emerging Artist in the Literary Arts category. Her second collection of poetry, An Honest Woman, was a finalist for the 2018 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.
Until 2018 she was a member of Room Magazine’s editorial board, the curator of their online news-related poetry series, Turtle Island Responds, and one of the co-founders of their reading series, Indigenous Brilliance.
Jónína is committed to author care—her own and that of others. She is one of Chelene Knight’s Breathing Space Creative care consultants.