UVic Diversity Writing Contest 2015

Spoken Word

Annie Lepage / 1st place

Annie Lepage is a writer, performer, and UVic student experimenting with everything from creative nonfiction to alternative theatre. She is a two-time Vic Slam Championships finalist and achieved semifinals at the 2014 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word on the Vic Slam Team. Interested in issues of equity, social change and child welfare, Annie studies Anthropology and teaches poetry workshops in local schools with Poets Raising Voices. Currently, she is planning LePAGE Poetry, an upcoming experimental poetry night for Victoria poetry series Tongues of Fire.

Hannah Berry / 2nd place

Hannah Berry is a passionate spoken word poet and musician, and an avid writer and reader. She is currently taking a year off to work and write and remember how to breathe, and in the fall she will be attending Quest University in Squamish B.C. to pursue a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences.

Writing Winners

Below are the winning submissions in the categories of Poetry, Fiction and Non-Fiction from this year's 1st and 2nd place entries. Below each entry is the author's biography and this year's judge's comments from poet Ali Blythe.

Poetry

Carmen Craig / 1st place

Christopher Francis Smoke

Carmen Craig is an aspiring playwright and language revitalization activist from Bemadashkodayong in what is now considered Ontario, Canada.  One quarter Nishnaabkwe and three more Canadian, she writes from a perspective in between the two, hoping to learn more about culture, language, and the world.

Judge's comments: "A slight, dancing two-in-one poem."

Diana Carvajal Rojas / 2nd place

I am not less of a person

Diana Carvajal is an eighteen year old psychology student, who has a strong appreciation for the arts. She loves film photography, hiking, yoga and turning even the smallest parts of her life into metaphors. After graduating, she would like to work for a non-profit organization giving psychological aid to refugees. She appreciates poetry because one line can invoke a lot of different emotions; it all just depends on the reader.

Judge's comments: "A poem that stings and soothes as it confronts the pains we take to conceal and reveal ourselves."

Fiction

Bidushy Rahman / 1st place

Wild Berries, Trail Mix

Bidushy is a Canadian Bengali student studying Gender Studies and Writing. They get too attached to fictional characters and they love the smell of flowers and laundry.  They’d like to think we critique the ones we love, but imperialists are an exception.

Judge's comments: "A disorienting, colourful and erotic story with a non-conforming spirit."

Jessica Li / 2nd place

The Social Contract

Jessica studies law at the University of Victoria. Consequently, she spends much of her time reading. When she isn’t reading, she can be found running, hiking, trying new recipes, listening to music or playing the guitar or piano. She started writing in her early years of high school and entered various writing contests to battle writer’s block, pushing herself to finish her work by the deadlines. She continues to enjoy writing as a serious hobby and hopes to complete a novel one day, although that may be challenging as there are no set deadlines for that sort of work.

Judge's comments: "A highly original form built to mull how our brains manage inclusivity with an ever-increasing diversity of signals."

Non-fiction

Alfredo Garcia / 1st place

Diversity as Understanding (In)equality and Social Justice: Celebrate Our Strength Not Only Our Culture

Alfredo Garcia is a PhD student in Political Science with a focus in Indigenous Politics and International Relations. Currently, his research examines the intersections of space, identity formation and self-determination. Particularly, he is interested in Tribal Parks as a space for Indigenous resurgence, which challenge hegemonic models of sustainability.  In addition, his research also focuses on the ways in which El Salvador has begun to (re)claim its Indigeneity.  When not in school, he teaches his nephew how to torment his sister. He is also obsessed with writing music, fitness, Instagram, dancing and shoes.

Judge's comments: "A personal and historical meditation on trauma and strength through a loving, funny and heartbreaking portrait of a father."

Sarah Lazin / 2nd place

At the intersection

Sarah Lazin is a political science and journalism student currently in her third year of study. She works as a staff writer at the Martlet, and tends to focus her pieces on issues relating to politics, gender, and diversity. She hopes to pursue a future that will combine international relations with journalism, so that she can continue her work as a storyteller on a global level.

Judge's comments: "A searching and skillful essay on trans activist Courtney Demone and the discrimination faced by feminine-presenting people."

The 2015/16 Judges

Ali Blythe
Ali Blythe

Ali Blythe completed a residency at theBanff Centre and a writing degree at the University of Victoria, receiving the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship from the Lambda Foundation for excellence in writing and support of the queer community.

Blythe's debut book of poems, Twoism, undresses the accidents and injuries of desire and gender. Poems from the book have been published in literary journals and anthologies throughout Canada and in Germany.

Jeremy Loveday
Jeremy Loveday

Jeremy Loveday's poetry has sparked international debate and earned him a global following. He speaks his truth powerfully on gender violence, pipelines, love, manhood, leadership, self-care, and spirituality. He believes vulnerability is a sign of strength and that together, we can make this world a better place.  

His work has been featured on Upworthy, Huffington Post, CBC, and in Claudia. Jeremy is the founder of the Victorious Voices youth arts festival and Victoria's Youth Poet Laureate project. He is the 2X Victoria Poetry Slam Champion and has been leading workshops on writing, performance, self expression, and spoken word for social change for the past 5 years.  

Jeremy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in History, from Concordia University and currently sits as a Victoria City Councillor.