Chief Robert Joseph is a Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, Member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elder Council, and Special Advisor to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, among other distinctions. His tireless work to renew relationships among Canada’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples includes co-chairing British Columbia’s national Truth and Reconciliation event, as well as envisioning and organizing the 70,000-person Walk for Reconciliation on September 22, 2013 that brought Canada’s many cultures together to walk a shared path in reconciliation.
Creating space for transformative conversations
Guest of Honour Biography
Jordan Abel is a Nisga'a writer from Vancouver. Abel’s work has appeared in numerous periodicals, and his chapbooks have been published by Above/Ground Press and JackPine Press. Abel’s first book, The Place of Scraps (Talonbooks), was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.
Read Jordan's poem Please Check Against Delivery
Joanne Arnott is a Métis/mixed-blood writer and arts activist living in Coast Salish territories, based on an island in the mouth of the Sto:lo River (Richmond, BC). She has lived in the lower mainland for thirty-five of her fifty-two years. Mother to five sons and one daughter, all born at home, she is a poet, essayist, activist, mentor and blogger. A founding member of Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, Joanne facilitated Unlearning Racism workshops for many years, and continues to apply peer counselling and storytelling strategies in her work in the literary arts. She has volunteered with The Writers Union of Canada (National Council 2009–2010), and currently is a member of the Author’s Advisory Group of The Writers Trust of Canada. She has published seven books, all well reviewed, with Wiles of Girlhood (Press Gang, 1991) winning the Gerald Lampert award. Her newest poetry title is A Night for the Lady (Ronsdale, 2013).
Read Joanne's poem Truth & Wreck
Juliane Okot Bitek is an award-winning writer and community leader for social change. Originally from northern Uganda, she moved to Canada in 1990. Her poetry, fiction and essays have been published widely. Currently working on her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia, Juliane is interested in the politics of story telling, nation building and identity. She lives with her family in Vancouver.
Read Juliane's poem A Love Letter or Considering Reconciliation in Canada
Jordan Scott is the author of Silt (nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), Blert, and Decomp (a collaboration with Stephen Collis and the ecosphere of British Columbia). Blert, which explores the poetics of stuttering, was adapted into a short film for Bravo! and was the subject of an online interactive documentary commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada. Jordan lives in Port Moody, BC.
Read Jordan's poem NUISANCE. BRAVE.
Daniel Zomparelli is editor-in-chief of Poetry Is Dead magazine and recipient of the 2011 Pandora’s Collective Publishers of Magazines Award. The fourth issue of Poetry Is Dead, “Vancouver: Influence,” was a key feature at the Vancouver 125 Poetry Conference in 2011. Zomparelli also helped establish the Megaphone magazine Community Creative Writing Program, which offers free creative writing classes for low-income and homeless people. He writes for and works with several magazines across Vancouver, including Geist, Megaphone, Sad Mag, and, formerly, Adbusters. Davie Street Translations is Zomparelli’s first book of poems.
Read Daniel's poem To Fill the Sky