Growing Room 2020

Jillian Christmas: The #GrowingRoom2020 Curator and Author on Impostor-Syndrome, Poetry, and Joy

Picture of Jillian on the left with artful makeup on her face and decolletage. She's wearing a flower crown made up of orange, red, and white flowers. She's looking down. To the left is the cover of her poetry collection.

Next up, Chimedum Ohaegbu chats with Jillian Christmas, who is—in addition to being a festival author—one of the programming committee members of Growing Room 2020 and the host and curator of the opening night event at Fox Cabaret. The writer and artist is a force in the spoken word/slam poetry community as a performer, facilitator, anti-oppression advocate, and former Artistic Director of the Vancouver Verses Festival of Words. Read what Jillian has to say about being afraid of the internet, her highly anticipation book of poetry coming out, and page vs performance poetry.

Cassandra Blanchard: On Her “Love” Poems and Writing Her First Poetry Collection #GrowingRoom2020

Cover of Fresh Pack of Smokes next to a picture of Cassandra, who's standing and smiling at the camera.

Cassandra Blanchard’s debut poetry collection, Fresh Pack of Smokes, is an immersive, intimate account of drug addiction, love, sex work, and survival on the streets of Vancouver. These are prose poems that shake with urgency, deftly stacking vivid imagery which twists to the emotional core of the book. Her work is unflinching, tender, and fierce. In the following interview, Selina Boan speaks to Cassandra Blanchard about her “love” poems, the biggest challenge in publishing her debut poetry collection, and the community she found because of it.

Kai Cheng Thom, Growing Room 2020’s Keynote Speaker, on Transformative Justice and Writing Different Genres

Picture of Kai Cheng Thom standing next to a window and looking into the camera, next to the cover for I Hope We Choose Love

Kai Cheng Thom’s latest book, I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes From the End of the World (Arsenal Pulp, 2019), is an expansive and intimate collection of essays and poetry on transformative justice and radical love, both in and beyond queer activist communities. Read what the multi-genre writer thinks about choosing love, writing in different genres, and the ideal secret society.

Rebecca Fisseha: On Community Silencing and Believing in Your Work #GrowingRoom2020

Head shot of Rebecca Fisseha (looking into the camera and in front of a white background), next to the cover of her book, Daughters of Silence

Our 2020 Fiction Contest judge and Growing Room Festival author, Rebecca Fisseha, is the author of Daughters of Silence (Goose Lane Editions), which was listed among the most anticipated fiction titles of Fall 2019 by CBC Books and 49th Shelf, and one of Quill & Quire’s breakout debut novels of 2019. Room editorial board member, Lue Boileau, took the opportunity to chat with our fiction judge and festival author about why she chose to write Daughter of Silence before any other book, writing difficult truths, and the faith she has developed for her writing process.

Tanya Boteju: On Goodreads Reviews and Roller Derby #GrowingRoom2020

Image of Tanya Boteju (looking into the camera) juxtoposed with the cover of her novel.

To celebrate the upcoming Growing Room Festival 2020, we are chatting with a few festival authors to learn more about them and their work until March rolls around. In the following interview, Room reader and Growing Room Festival author, Nafiza Azad, chats with fellow festival author—Tanya Boteju!

Currently on Newsstands

  • Room Issue 42.2 Cover
    Room 42.2, Borderlands
    Edited by Rebecca Russell

    In this issue:

    Selina Boan, Jenna Butler, Leonarda Carranza, Carolina Corcoran, Šari Dale, Marisol Diaz, Sarah Ens, Paola Ferrante, Katie Fewster-Yan, Hannah Hackney, Lori Hahnel, Natalie Homer, Liz Iversen, Jac Jenkins, Jaslyn Marshall, Laura McGavin, Emily McKibbon, Alessandra Naccarato, Ezi Odozor, Caitlin Prince, Rebecca Salazar, Ellie Sawatzky, Alysia Sawchyn, Farihah Aliyah Shah, Josephine Sloyan, Tanya R. Ward, jiaqing wilson-yang, Elana Wolff

    .

Subscribe to Growing Room 2020