Afghani flight to freedom

Shahnaz Qayumi (left) writes about the aftermath of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and details life under Taliban rule for young readers in her latest novel.FULL STORY


simpson up for award

May 21st, 2021

Poet jaye simpson has been shortlisted for a 2021 Indigenous Voices award in the Published Poetry in English category for their debut collection, it was never going to be okay (Nightwood Editions $18.95).

Known for writing about being queer in the child welfare system, as well as being queer and Indigenous, simpson’s poems speak to the intergenerational trauma of aboriginal people, Indigeneity and queerness, breaking down the limitations of sexual understanding as a trans woman and urban Indigenous diaspora issues.

simpson’s book was also shortlisted for a 2021 ReLit award earlier this year. 

Established in 2017, the Indigenous Voices Awards are presented in nine categories and aim to support Indigenous literary production in its diversity and complexity. The awards honour the sovereignty of Indigenous creative voices and reject cultural appropriation; to be eligible for the Indigenous Voices Awards, authors must be Indigenous and must make a declaration of Indigenous identity.

The complete list of shortlisted books in all categories is available at The winners of the 2021 awards will be announced on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, at a virtual gala.


jaye simpson, who identifies as non-binary, is a Two-Spirit Oji-Cree person of the Buffalo Clan with roots in Sapotaweyak and Skownan Cree Nation. simpson’s work has been performed at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (2017) in Peterborough, and in Guelph with the Vancouver Slam Poetry 2018 Team. simpson has recently been named the Vancouver Champion for the Women of the World Poetry Slam and their work has been featured in Poetry Is Dead, This Magazine, PRISM international, SAD Mag, GUTS Magazine and Room. simpson resides on the unceded and ancestral territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlilwəta’Ɂɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations peoples, currently and colonially known as Vancouver, B.C.

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