Christmas wins the Sheri-D Wilson
May 06th, 2021
Vancouver poet Jillian Christmas has won the 2021 Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award, which honours an established Canadian poet with a history of achievement and performance in spoken word. The prize money is $2000.
The jurors wrote: “Jillian Christmas was named Poet of Honour at the 2016 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and that was a sure sign of things to come. Christmas is known for their spoken word performances at Van Slam, Women of the World Slam and literary arts festivals across Canada. Their six-year run as director of the Verses Festival of Words also makes them a national treasure in my view. It is this dedication to craft, to creating spaces for other artists as well as to arts education in schools that makes Christmas such a gift to us all.”
Jillian Christmas, who teaches poetry through word play exercises and whose work often focusses on anti-oppression initiatives, has developed programs and workshops in partnership with the Toronto Poetry Project, UBC, Vancouver Opera, Wordplay, Brendan McLeod’s Travelling Slam, CULTCH Mentorship and the Museum of Anthropology.
Born and raised in Markham, Ontario, with lineage from Trinidad and Tobago, Christmas served for six years as Artistic Director of Verses Festival of Words. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Matrix New Queer Writing (issue 98), The Post Feminist Post, Plenitude Magazine, Room and The Great Black North anthology edited by Valerie Mason-John and Kevan Anthony Cameron.
“I love hard as I know how,” she writes in her debut poetry collection The Gospel of Breaking (Arsenal, 2020). 9781551527970