Saklikar is named first Surrey Laureate
November 02nd, 2015
Ever a go-getter, Renée Sarojini Saklikar has been named the first Poet Laureate of Surrey in 2015 having also vaulted into the administrative hierarchy of the Writers Union after one book and having co-written an opera on the Air India tragedy as a Canada-Ireland collaboration. In the same year, she co-edited a new anthology with Wayde Compton, The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press $18) that includes poetry performed during Lunch Poems at SFU, a poetry reading series that she helped to establish. In late October she was featured on the cover of WE, the West Ender , for the opera project, Air India [Redacted], November 6-11 at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
When Renée Saklikar was aged 23, her aunt and uncle were murdered aboard Air India Flight 182. Among the many viewpoints encased in her debut collection, children of air India (Nightwood 2013), she examines why most Canadians still feel more strongly about the 9/11 terrorism attacks that killed New Yorkers rather than the Air India disaster, on June 23, 1985, that killed 329 people, mostly Canadians, making it Canada’s worst mass murder. Saklikar’s elegiac sequences explore private loss and public trauma, blending fiction and poetry, after a 20-year investigation culminated in a high-profile trial that ended with the accused being acquitted, adding to the pain. The title of her debut collection is uncapitalized and presented as children of air india: un/authorized exhibita and interjections. It won the Canadian Authors Award for best book of Canadian poetry to be published in English and was a finalist for the B.C. Book prize Dorothy Livesay award.
Renée Sarojini Saklikar was born in India but moved to Canada at a young age. A graduate of SFU Writers Studio, she is the wife of former provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix and the daughter of Rev. Vasant Saklikar, deceased, a former B.C. School Trustee and United Church Minister. Portions of her life-long poem chronicle called thecanadaproject have been published in various publications such as Ryga: A Journal of Provocations, Georgia Straight, The Vancouver Review, and Prism International.
children of air india: un/authorized exhibita and interjections.(Nightwood 2013) $18.95 978-0-88971-287-4
The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press 2015), co-edited with Wayde Compton. $18 978-1-77214-032-3