Poets on Memoir

Moderator: Aislinn Hunter

Poets on Memoir

Friday, Oct 23
Live on Zoom

In the world of memoir, there is nothing quite like the precision, intimacy and beauty of a poet’s words. In this panel of Governor General Award winners and finalists, masters of their craft join moderator, friend of the Festival and multi-award winning author Aislinn Hunter. Billy-Ray Belcourt reminisces on his kokum and memories of his early life, as well his earliest loves, revelations and grief in A History of My Brief Body; Lorna Crozier discusses her long and devoted marriage to Patrick Lane (and their cats) in Through the Garden; Steven Heighton recounts his time volunteering on the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis in Reaching Mithymna. A trifecta of exceptional memoirs bound by the skill of the poets that penned them, this is sure to be a life and love-affirming event with meaningful messages for our modern world.

This event is presented in partnership with KPU Creative Writing and organized in collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts to celebrate the finalists and winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards.

Event Participants:

Billy-Ray Belcourt

British Columbia / Alberta

BILLY-RAY BELCOURT is a poet, author, and scholar from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize for his debut collection, This Wound Is a World, which was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Belcourt is a recipient of the prestigious Rhodes scholarship and an Indspire Award, the highest honour the Indigenous community bestows on its leaders.

Lorna Crozier

British Columbia

LORNA CROZIER is the author of numerous books of poetry, including God of Shadows, The Wrong Cat, Small Mechanics and the Governor General’s Literary Award winning Inventing the Hawk. She has received the Canadian Authors Association Award, three Pat Lowther Memorial Awards and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been acknowledged for her contributions to Canadian literature, her teaching and her mentoring with five honourary doctorates.

Steven Heighton


STEVEN HEIGHTON‘s written works include The Waking Comes Late, which received the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. His work has received four gold National Magazine Awards and has appeared in Granta, London Review of Books, Best American Poetry, and five editions of Best Canadian Stories. Heighton is also a translator, an occasional teacher, and a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.

Aislinn Hunter

British Columbia

AISLINN HUNTER is an award-winning novelist and poet and the author of seven highly acclaimed books including The World Before Us, which was a  New York Times  Editor’s Choice book, a  Guardian, The Globe and Mail  and NPR  “Book of the Year,” and winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her work has been adapted into music, dance, art, and film forms—including a feature film, based on her novel Stay, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.