Introducing Firefly’s 2018 Writers In Residence
Last fall we had an idea. Why not use the resources we have in abundance (a gorgeous studio, an eager and big-hearted community, and a lovely reputation) to support an emerging writer? They could use our studio for quiet writing time, gain access to a new audience, get some sweeeeet resume material. In turn, they could help us to expand our reach by offering free or low-cost scholarship-fundraiser programs in their area of expertise.
It’s a great idea, right?
The problem came when the applications started to roll in, one after another that shone with insight and intelligence and warmth. We talked and talked, passed lists around, emailed endlessly, but could not narrow this down to one person.
So, it is my great pleasure to present to you our FOUR writers in residence this year. These women are luminous souls with so much to offer through their words and their presences. You’ll hear more from them throughout the year.
And yes, you can apply next year if you like! It’ll look something like this.
Amanda Ghazale Aziz is a writer, performer, and journalist. Her work has been published in Macleans, FLARE, Chatelaine, Now Toronto, and more. As well as cultural essays, she writes poetry and fiction and fosters an affinity for short stories. This fall her short story “Miim” won second place at The Word On The Street’s Writing DiverCity Awards, and her short story “Linen on the Wire” made it onto the Room Magazine’s 2017 Fiction & Poetry Award longlist. This February, she’ll be acting in Generous Friend’s (Erum Khan and Erin Brubacher) production of Noor at the 39th annual Rhubarb Festival and the Aga Khan. Say hi to her on Twitter at @a_ghazale.
When she’s not writing, she can be found strolling around and working at one of the many libraries in Toronto, or window shopping for scented candles and perfumes.
As Writer In Residence at Firefly, she’s looking forward to facilitating workshops on freelance writing (how to pitch stories to publications and get paid), as well as holding a reading for emerging writers in the GTA.
Simone Makeba Dalton is a writer currently working on her MFA thesis through the University of Guelph, which explores the histories inherited by daughters of absentee fathers. Her story “Undersigned” was published in The Unpublished City, curated by Dionne Brand, and her essay “What Will You Tell Your Children” will be published in the forthcoming Black Writing Matters, curated by Whitney French. She is the co-host of Guelph’s Speakeasy reading series.
When she’s not writing or reading, she leads the Esther Dalton Foundation—a nonprofit based in Trinidad and Tobago with steelpan music-centred heart and focus. She also runs a vacation rental business with her wife and freelances from time to time.
As Writer In Residence at Firefly, she’s looking forward to being boldly vulnerable with a new community of writers and co-creating new opportunities for missing voices through the studio.
Erin Kang is a storyteller, facilitator, event producer, grassroots community-builder and writer. Among other pursuits, she runs a project that uses storytelling and art to challenge dominant narratives called Stories of Ours, and she recently made the jump to self-employment. She has performed stories at High Stakes Storytelling, Stories We Don’t Tell, and SeeSaw Storytelling, as well as on her own show. Her writing focuses on personal storytelling, poetry (which she shared with us all at our Open Mic night in November!) and increasingly speculative fiction.
When she’s not writing, she is writing in her head, hungrily absorbing other peoples’ words and art, and continually evolving her practice with Stories of Ours. Erin has a background in Urban Studies, Human Geography and History, forming the foundation for her interest in how power dynamics manifest physically and socially through space and time.
As Writer In Residence at Firefly, she’s looking forward to examining her craft as a writer and filling her life with the beauty of this community.
Fiona Raye Clarke is a writer and community-engaged artist who focuses her art on screenwriting, playwriting, fiction writing, and is starting to explore poetry. Wildly prolific (our words) she’s working on too many projects to even list, but one that shines especially brightly is a short fiction collection called Kites Fly Highest Against the Wind which was chosen for the Diaspora Dialogues 2018 Long-Form Mentorship Program. Her short plays Broken Windows and When God Closes His Eyes have appeared in the InspiraTO Festival, b current’s rock.paper.sistahz festival, and the WriteOn Readings summer showcase. Fiona also won the 2017 CaribbeanTales CineFAM Short Film challenge for her co-created short film Intersecting. As well as all this, Fiona is a lawyer (for real!), though creative writing is her focus these days.
When she’s not writing, she is listening to audiobooks of Black speculative fiction organizes a Black youth oral history theatre project she founded three years ago called INTERGENERACIAL.
As Writer In Residence at Firefly, she’s looking forward to silent writing time in the beautiful Firefly studio and making her first Messy Beautiful Pages video.