What a wonderful night!
And what a wonderful opportunity to highlight the variety of literary talent in Thunder Bay! NOWW would like to thank the City of Thunder Bay for hosting the literary stage as part of the Ontario Culture Days launch event: Arts & Culture Under the Lights. We would also like to thank our fantastic performers: Holly (Desroches Tsun) Haggarty, Doug Diaczuk, Taina Maki Chahal, John Forget, Katya Arifin, Tessa Hargreaves, Ahmad Hafez whose words brought such depth and diversity to the stage. We would also like to thank Nancy Freeborn, who brought warmth and humor to the stage, and our headlining act, Wali Shah, a powerful advocate and accomplished spoken word poet. Special thanks to Sheila De Corte, whose children's stage was entertaining and eye-opening for even the adults in the room.
Photo credit: Marty Mascarin
THE LITERARY STAGE WAS HELD:
Friday September 22, 2023
Children's Stage 6:30-7:00 pm | Main Stage 7:30-9:30 pm
Baggage Building Arts Centre
Prince Arthur's Landing - Marina Park
Wali Shah is an alumni of RBC’s top 25 Canadian Immigrants and has delivered TED talks, created poetry for corporate events, narrated voice over for commercials and spoken at hundreds of schools and colleges across North America. Wali has toured Canada coast to coast as a WE Day performer and closed out President Barak Obama’s keynote speech with a bespoke poetic message in Toronto. Wali's work inspires thousands to follow his voice, his journey, and his advocacy. He recently collaborated with the Thunder Bay Police Service to create a spoken word poem to connect with youth and encourage them to think about the impact of their choices. Their collaborative project Dear Self can be found HERE.
NOWW is thrilled to welcome
as the headline artist for the
Children's Storytelling Stage
NANCY FREEBORN hosts the
for an evening of literary art that includes poetry, storytelling, spoken word and more.
Nancy is a local entertainer who can be found just about anywhere there's a stage! Whether she's singing with her band, performing with one of the many theatre groups in town, or hosting an event, you can be sure that Nancy will find a way to connect with her audience. We're thrilled to have her as MC for our main stage presentation of family friendly literary art.
MAIN STAGE FEATURED ARTISTS
TAINA MAKI CHAHAL
Taina Maki Chahal finds creative inspiration on morning walks to Lake Superior. Chi Meegwitch to the Anishinaabek on whose territories she resides. A published writer, Taina teaches writing, leads poetry writing workshops, has had plays performed locally, and sketches Women with Things on Their Head, among other creative ventures. She wrote “Poetry Against ‘Oh, Canada!’ Racism” for a European journal to explain feminist collective action against anti-Indigenous racism on the streets of Thunder Bay. She writes site specific poems and reads them in public spaces throughout the city. For paid work, she is a contract lecturer at Lakehead University.
Katya (they/them) is a student, writer, and performer. Their writing has been featured in the 10x10 Short Play Festival (Magnus Theatre), The Artery (Lakehead English Student Association), NTS DramaFest (National Theatre School of Canada), and On The Record (Canadian Youth Journalism Project). They are currently obtaining their BA in English and Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University, and are interested in learning how language reflects identity, and land, particularly through creative writing.
HOLLY (DEROCHES TSUN) HAGGARTY
Holly (Desroches Tsun) Haggarty is an artist, educator and scholar. She loves that art offers a way to connect with others and build a community’s culture. She enjoys creating with and for individuals of all ages, including her grandchildren and her academic peers. Holly teaches and dances with Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group. She also facilitates mindful movement classes at various venues in the city. Author of works both literary and philosophical, Holly currently works as a writer and editor for several Canadian journals, including our local literary journal, Cloud Lake Literary.
Tessa is a single mother of three, a student, and a hospital worker. She also fancies herself a bit of a poet. She loves reading, writing, and preforming her work. As a romantic with a huge interest in psychology and human nature, she writes a lot about love, human connection and her own mental health journey.
A passionate humanitarian worker and fashion designer, Ahmad blends creativity with compassion to empower others. As a refugee newcomer to Canada, he understands firsthand the resilience needed to adapt and thrive in a new environment. Through his work, he strives to inspire, uplift, and make a positive impact on the lives of those in need. With a heart committed to service and a flair for design, he weaves a unique narrative of hope and transformation.
John Forget was born and raised in Thunder Bay where they have been a Drag performer in the local scene for about 20 years. John is a two-spirit member of the 2sLgbtqia community and has been a member of the Thunder Pride Committee involved with organizing Pride events. Committed to living life in a way that respects being a loving and positive space led them to create the "Be a Loving Space" campaign. John's poetry has been published in the Walleye Magazine.
Doug Diaczuk is an author, journalist, and photographer living in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He has a master’s degree in English Literature from Lakehead University. His work has been published in Geist, Quill and Quire, and Subterrain. In 2015, Doug won the 38th Annual 3-Day Novel Contest for his novel Chalk, which was published in 2016 by Anvil Press and won the 2016 Northern Lit Award. In 2019, Doug won the 3-Day Novel Contest for a second time and his novel, Just Like a Real Person, was published by Anvil Press in 2021 and short-listed for the 2022 ReLit Award. In 2023, Doug was the runner-up in the 45th Annual 3-Day Novel Contest with his entry, In a Bus Station Bathroom.