DD at Spur 2017

Spur Festival

Diaspora Dialogues is pleased to announce it will co-present a few events at the 2017 Spur Toronto festival. We have also programmed a number of established and emerging poets and spoken word artists to open various panels.

On Friday, April 7, Bee Quammie will interview B. Denham Jolly on his book In The Black, which traces his personal and professional struggle for a place in a country where Black Canadians have faced systematic discrimination. Books That Spur: Denham Jolly on In The Black, My Life will take place at the Yorkville Public Library at 5:30 pm. The event is free, but register in advance to reserve your seat.

Denham Jolly arrived from Jamaica to attend university in the mid-1950s and worked as a high school teacher before going into the nursing and retirement-home business. Though he was ultimately successful in his business ventures, Jolly faced both overt and covert discrimination, which led him into social activism. The need for a stronger voice for the Black community fuelled Jolly’s 12-year battle to get a licence for a Black-owned radio station in Toronto. At its launch in 2001, Flow 93.5 became the model for urban music stations across the country, helping to launch the careers of artists like Drake.

Bee Quammie is a writer, communications specialist, and media commentator based in the Toronto area. Her writing has been featured in publications like VICE, Canadian Living, The Globe & Mail, Chatelaine, and more. She can also be seen on the screen, most recently as a ViewPoints commentator on CBC’s The National. Bee also publishes two blogs – ‘83 To Infinity, which focuses on anything from natural hair care to wellness to race and culture, and The Brown Suga Mama, which focuses on motherhood from the perspective of a Black Jamaican-Canadian mom.

On Thursday, April 6 at 5:30 pm Phoebe Wang will read some of her poetry to kick off an interview with Lynne Olson on her book ‘Last Hope Island’. She will also read her poetry before a panel on the Psychology of Collection taking place on Friday, April 8 at 10:00 am.

Born in Ottawa, Phoebe Wang is a writer and educator based in Toronto. She holds a BA in English from York University and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Her poetry and criticism has appeared in numerous journals, such as Arc Poetry Magazine, Canadian Literature, Maisonneuve, The Malahat Review, This Magazine and Diaspora Dialogues’ TOK 6: Writing the New Toronto anthology. Her first chapbook,Occasional Emergencies, was published with Odourless Press in 2013, and she was the 2015 Grand Prize winner of the Prism International Poetry Prize. She serves as volunteer Outreach Coordinator with Puritan Magazine and has been a Teacher-in-Residence at Artscape Youngplace. Her second chapbook is forthcoming with The Emergency Response Unit this spring and her debut collection of poetry, Admission Requirements, will be published with McLelland and Stewart in spring 2017. More of work can be found at alittleprint.com.

On Sunday, April 9th at 12:30 pm, Chimwemwe Undi will be at the OISE Auditorium to present her poetry before the panel Risk and the Economy. She will also perform on Sunday, April 9th at Innis Town Hall, opening a panel on Risk and Geopolitics.

Chimwemwe Undi was raised first in southern Africa and then as a guest on Treaty One Territory in south Winnipeg. She is currently pursuing an MA in Linguistics at York University, focusing on language use in alternative justice systems. A lover of language in every sense, she has travelled internationally to perform her poetry and is co-founder of Voices, Ink., a project which provides opportunities for young people to explore the literary arts.

On Friday, April 7th at 8:00 pm, Heliconian Hall will be open for a night of Irish poetry, storytelling, music and drink. Doors open at 7pm and the performances begin at 8. General admission to A Night of Irish Music and Poetry is $15.00 or $5.00 with valid student ID. Buy tickets here.

Adam Crothers was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1984 and lives in Cambridge, England, where he works with special collections in an academic library and as a literary critic and teacher. A contributor to New Poetries VI (Carcanet, 2015), he is the author of Several Deer (Carcanet, 2016), which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Shine/Strong Poetry Award for best first collection by an Irish writer; he was one of the poets selected for Poetry Ireland Review‘s special issue on ‘The Rising Generation’ in 2016.

Catherine Graham’s most recent poetry collection, Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Poetry Award and the CAA Poetry Award. She completed an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University while living in Northern Ireland. Her work is anthologized in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Vol IV & V and The White Page/An Bhileog Bhan: Twentieth Century Irish Women Poets and has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Daily, The Glasgow Review of Books, The Ulster Tatler, LRC, Malahat Review, CBC Books and elsewhere. Winner of IFOA’s Poetry Now, she publishes two books in 2017: her sixth poetry collection, The Celery Forest and her debut novel, Quarry.

Charlie Foran was born and raised in Toronto. He has published eleven books, including five novels. His fiction, non-fiction, and journalism have won the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Weston Prize, the Taylor Prize, the Canadian Jewish Book Award, two QSPELL prizes, and several National Magazine Awards. A past president of PEN Canada, he is a senior fellow at Massey College, and an adjunct professor in the Dept of English at the University of Toronto. In 2014 he was named to the Order of Canada.

Deb Quigley (Uilleann Pipes) was born in Newtownards, County Down and lived during the early 70’s in the town of Bangor where she was first introduced to the native music of Ireland. During the late 80’s she was once again inspired musically by the playing and teaching of the late Chris Langan; Uilleann piper, instrument maker, and music teacher originally from Rush, County Dublin who lived for many years in Toronto. Deb credits much of her music to the patient, and informative teaching style of her mentor and friend.

Mary Noonan’s first collection, The Fado House (Dedalus, 2012), was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and the Strong/Shine Award. The manuscript of the collection won the Listowel Poetry Collection Prize in 2010. Her poems have been published in Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, PN Review, The Threepenny Review, Poetry London, New Hibernia Review, and The Spectator. A limited edition pamphlet, Father (Bonnefant Press) was published in 2015. Her second collection will be published in 2018. She is the current poetry editor of the online poetry periodical Southword, and is judging the international Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Prize 2017.

Fiddle Player Patrick Ourceau, based in Toronto and for many years resident of New York City, has for over twenty years been performing and teaching Irish Music all over North America and Europe. He has released and been featured on a host recordings, most notably on Tracin’ with concertina player Gearoid O hAllmhurain; Live at Mona’s with Guitarist Eamon O’Leary; on the Chulrua release The Singing Kettle; on flute player Cathal McConnell’s Long Expectant Comes at Last; on accordion player John Whelan’s Celtic Roots; and on the TG4 CD and DVD release Geantrai, a compilation celebrating the first ten years of the popular traditional Irish music television program.

Sharlene Wallace (Harp) is one of Canada’s most prolific and influential Celtic/lever harpists. Playing both Classical/pedal and lever/Celtic harps has led Sharlene to copiously diverse musical influences and opportunities. Sharlene is on the music faculties of York University, University of Guelph and Wilfred Laurier University teaching both Classical and lever harps. Her own performance degree is from the University of Toronto where she studied with the eminent Judy Loman, O.C.. Sharlene is Principal Harpist with the Kingston, Guelph, and Oakville Symphonies.