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Whether it be poetry written for the page, the silver screen, the poetry slam, or the melody, every poet plays with language to reveal the inexpressible.

Toronto International Festival of Authors, JAYU and Kuumba present the new generation of Canadian poetry who are pushing the possibilities and playing with the rules. Tune in to four distinguished Canadian poets who will take us on a journey through the physical, vocal and material elements of their poems.

Soundtracks & Stanzas: Changing Canada’s Black Future
Free virtual event
February 12, 2021 at 4pm (ET)

Featuring: Jillian Christmas (Vancouver), Tawhida Tanya Evanson (Montreal), Jayda Marley (Toronto), Motion (Toronto)
Curator and emcee: Poet Britta B. (Toronto)

This event will be presented as part of the Bergen International Literary Festival, a five-day festival that celebrates international and Norwegian fiction and non-fiction beginning on February 10, 2021. It will be showcased during Literature Live Around the World, a collaboration project composed of 12 festivals and literature centres from every continent, who have joined forces to provide a unique 12-hour literary programme. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation presenters Siss Vik and Mona B Riise will lead this marathon multinational venture from Bergen on Friday, February 12, 2021. Soundtracks & Stanzas: Changing Canada’s Black Future is a one-hour feature presentation of this broadcast that starts at 4pm (ET). It can be viewed for free right here on FestivalofAuthors.ca.

TIFA is excited to join forces with JAYU, a leader in the space where the arts and human rights intersect, and Kuumba (presented by TD Ready Commitment), a series of events at Harbourfront Centre celebrating Black History Month that features the work of choreographers, authors, musicians, visual artists and thought leaders from across Canada, to bring you this special event.

Register Here!

Meet the Participants

Britta B headshotBritta B. is a Toronto-based poet, spoken word performer, emcee and artist educator. Most recently, Britta was recognized as a 2020 Finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award. Her works have featured in print, in sound and onstage across North America. She is an alumna of the Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Spoken Word Residency. Britta is currently a Creative Writing MFA candidate at University of Guelph. 



Jillian Christmas headshotJillian Christmas is a queer, afro-caribbean writer living on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam people (Vancouver, BC). Jillian works as an artist, educator, curator and consultant, including as a speaker coordinator for Cicely Blain Consulting, long-time Spoken word curator of the Vancouver Writers Fest and former artistic director of Verses Festival of Words. She has won numerous Grand Poetry Slam Championship titles and represented both Toronto and Vancouver at 11 national poetry events, notably breaking ground as the first Canadian to perform on the final stage of the Women of the World Poetry Slam. She is the author of The Gospel of Breaking (Arsenal Pulp Press 2020). 


Tawhida Tanya Evanson headshotTawhida Tanya Evanson is an Antiguan-Québecoise poet, author and artist from Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. She has published six artist bookstwo poetry collectionsBothism (Ekstasis 2017) and Nouveau Griot (Frontenac 2018), and her first novel Book of Wings is forthcoming from Véhicule Press in 2021With a 20-year practice in spoken word, she has performed at literary and arts festivals in over a dozen countries, released four studio albums and six videopoems. In 2013, she was Poet of Honour at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and received the Golden Beret Award for her contribution to the genre. She is the program director for Banff Centre Spoken Word and sits on the Board of Directors for The Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF).

Jada Marley headshotJayda Marley is a 19-year-old nationally acclaimed Queer Afro-Indigenous poet of Ojibwe & Jamaican Descent, youth activist and community healer from Tkaronto. She works with the Community Healing Project and is a youth facilitator and event organizer with One Mic Educators and Develop MYouth. As a former competing poet, Jayda holds the 1st place National championship title of “Voices of Today 2018.” She is also the founder of a new open mic series, For the Queer Coloured Girls After Me, and the non-profit movement Not Another Black Life. Whether you catch Jayda at an open mic around the city, or on bigger platforms like Pride Toronto, Nuit Blanche and Parliament Hill, she is sure to captivate every crowd she touches with her words. 

Motion headshot MOTION is a poet, playwright, screenwriter and emcee. Her works for the stage and screen have been featured across Canada, as well as in the U.S, Caribbean, Europe and Africa. She is a writer and co-producer on the TV series Coroner (CBC/CW) and co-writer of the feature Akilla’s Escape, directed by Charles Officer (2020), which premiered at TIFF 2020. She is writer of Oraltorio: A Theatrical Mixtape (with DJ L’Oqenz), author of Motion in Poetry (Women’s Press), published in The Black Notes (Insomniac Press) and teaches her course Griots to Emcees: Spoken Word, Performance & Culture at York University. 


About Kuumba 2021

Through dialogue and artistic expression, Kuumba 2021 addresses the international struggle for Black liberation today. Kuumba aims to strengthen Toronto’s Black community by connecting with voices beyond our City Lines. This year’s Kuumba is a series of events that runs throughout the month of February featuring the work of choreographers, authors, musicians, visual artists and thought leaders from across Canada. Stay tuned to Harbourfront Centre‘s channels on harbourfront.live for more info as it becomes available and share your ideas online as we celebrate the Black community standing in their Blackness.


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Soundtracks and Stanzas event banner with Jillian Christmas