Word Arts LIVE! – the Inaugural Session Concludes

The first session of Word Arts LIVE! has ended June 2017 with it’s fifth meeting. It was an inspiring set of readings, presentations and discussions that allowed the local community to come together and grow as it welcomed some of its authors, poets, actors, artists and musicians.

The series is expected to resume later this year. Follow this blog for updates.

More information about Word Arts LIVE! is on this page:

Thanks to our Featured Authors

Sylvia Taylor: February 26. Nasreen Pejvack: March 26. Liam Paul Wallinger: April 30. Teresa Klein: May 28. Deborah Stacey: June 25.

Thanks to our Featured Poets

Wanda John-Kehewin: February 26. Edward Blodgett: March 26. Lozan Yamolky: April 30. Manolis: May 28. Heidi Greco: June 25.

Thanks to our Featured Performers

Kat wahama: February 26. Fauzia Rafique: March 26. Heidi CcCurdy: April 30. Yvette-Dudley Neuman: May 28. Celeste Snowber: June 25.

Thanks to our Open Mic Openers

Poet Art Pouchet: February 26. Poet Sana Janjua: March 26. Performer Helga Parekh: April 30. Author Paul Stacey: May 28. Playwrights/Directors/Actors Celina Strachan & Shonna Morgan: June 25.

And of course, thanks to our Host of all the five events

Virginia Gillespie

Virginia says:

‘I’m very pleased to have completed phase one of Word Arts LIVE! – a collaboration with Surrey Muse At Large. Thank you to Surrey Cultural Grants for support. Held in the Media Room at Camp Alexandra in Crescent Beach. We hosted five monthly reading events from February through June 2017. A group of loyal fans developed starting with 12 and ending with 30 + who enjoyed the diversity and range of the very talented presenters. Authors, poets, performers. In the final session we expanded to a play reading excerpt, and an artist showing deconstructed books. The potential is endless.’

The venue was great.

Appreciation to the staff and volunteers at
Alexandra Neighbourhood House.

And many thanks to Steve Chitty for his ongoing support to this project.

Word Arts LIVE! is the result of a collaboration between Virginia Gillespie (Artistic Director, VG PlayRoom) and Fauzia Rafique (Coordinator, Surrey Muse) for Surrey Muse At Large (smal).

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NasreenPejvack-EdwardBlodgett-MaryCooper-SanaJanjua with Virginia Gillespie at Word Arts LIVE! 26 March 2017

We have an exciting afternoon ahead of us with Author Nasreen Pejvack, Poet Edward Blodgett, Performer Mary Cooper, Open Mic Opener Sana Janjua and Host Virginia Gillespie. Following are brief introductions of our accomplished features.

Nasreen Pejvack

Nasreen Pejvack is a novelist, educator and a poet. Her first novel Amity (Inanna Publications, York University Press 2015), a Finalist for 2016 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, explores the devastating impact of wars on families and individuals within the context of Yugoslavia’s dissolution and Iran’s revolution. Nasreen is a member of The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC) and Royal City Literary Arts Society (RCLAS). She is the founder and host of Tellers of Short Tales, a new reading series in New Westminster. Nasreen was born in Tehran, Iran, a place she left over 30 years ago, and went on to live in Athens, Ottawa, California, finally settling in Vancouver. Nasreen worked in the computer field, progressing from Programmer to Systems Analyst over eleven years, then she studied and worked for twelve years in the field of Psychology. Nasreen is now writing short fiction and enjoying it.

Edward Blodgett

E.D. (Ted) Blodgett is an educator, literary historian, translator, and poet. He has published 27 books of poetry, of which 2 were awarded the Governor General’s Award. His most recent book is Horizons, the third of his books in English and French. His translations include The Love Songs of the Carmina Burana [Latin] (with Roy Arthur Swanson), The Romance of Flamenca [Old Provençal], and Peak Only of the Moon: A New Translation of Rumi [Farsi] (with Manijeh Mannani). He has written books on D.G. Jones and Alice Munro, and, more recently, Five-Part Invention: A History of Literary History in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2003) and Les Enfants des Jésuites ou le sacrifice des vierges. Translations of his poetry have appeared in French, Serbian, Farsi, and Hebrew, among other languages. He was Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta, a former Writer-in-Residence at Grant MacEwan University (2004), and past poet laureate of Edmonton (2007-09). He is now writing another bilingual renga.

Mary Cooper***

Mary Cooper is a singer-songwriter who performs both original and cover songs. She regularly sings at a variety of events such as the Delta Cultural Association’s open mic and art shows, the Ceilidh in Fort Langley, the Coffee House at Crescent Beach, and the Sunshine Café in South Surrey. Mary started singing and playing the guitar when she was in early teens while growing up in Ontario on a farm near Peterborough where her oldest brother ‘started everything by learning how to play a guitar that was given to him by a cousin who wasn’t having any success with it’. Mary plays the guitar, and ‘a little bit’ of piano and ukulele. She has performed music by many artists such as Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Joan Baez, the Eagles, plus traditional ballads. She was inspired to write music by other young musicians who she met in high school and university, as well, she recognizes many songwriters in the local communities as inspiring. She is working on a writing/music project about her heritage as a descendant of the Peter Robinson Settlers who emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1825.
*** Update: Mary cooper was unable to attend due to health reasons. Fauzia Rafique presented a spoken word item instead.

Sana Janjua

Sana Janjua is a poet, performer and playwright. Her writings have been published at The Laaltain and Uddari Weblog, and she has presented monologues at cultural and literary venues. Her play Migration, written and directed for a group of Pakistani-Canadian youth, expresses the experience of loneliness and pathos of (forced) migration and exile. Her monologue Smaller Names explores the dynamics of silencing of women’s stories, and the trauma and shame they endure as they speak. She has hosted events for Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Women’s International Day, Surrey Muse, and numerous book launching ceremonies for authors. Sana is now working on a full-length play and a chapbook of her poetry and essays. She is a Founding Member and the President of Surrey Muse. Sana is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, and enjoys working in the field of mental health.

Virginia Gillespie
sm-virginia-gilespie Virginia is a writer, arts advocate and the Artistic Director of VG PlayRoom, a multi-disciplinary arts incubator with a Word Studio to develop projects and events in the Verbal Arts. She is a co-founder, co-organizer and the host of Word Arts LIVE! series.

Word-Arts LIVE!
Sunday March 26, 2017

4-6 pm, Media Room
Upstairs The Lodge
Alexandra Neighborhood House
2916 McBride Av, Surrey BC

Fauzia Rafique surrey.muse@gmail.com
Virginia Gillespie vgplayroom@gmail.com


Series co-founded and co-organized by Fauzia Rafique

Word-Arts LIVE! is a collaboration between Surrey Muse At Large (SMAL) and VG PlayRoom. We are grateful to the City of Surrey for the 2017 Cultural Project Grant for Word-Arts events, forums and training. Alexandra Neighbourhood House is home base and a strong supporter.

Surrey Muse At Large (SMAL) is a project of Surrey Muse.

Word Arts LIVE! – Sunday March 26 – South Surrey

After Word Arts LIVE! in February with Sylvia Taylor, Wanda John-Kehewin, Kat Wahaama and Art Pouchet, you are invited to the second event of this new reading and presentation series at ‘Camp A’.

Hosted by Virginia Gillespie, Word Arts LIVE! features an author, a poet and a performer- a bit of time to discuss, to linger and to savor each presentation; and, an Open Mic session at the end. The event is FREE. Donations are welcome.

Word-Arts LIVE!
Sunday March 26, 2017

Author Nasreen Pejvack
Poet Edward Blodgett
Performer Fauzia Rafique
Open Mic Opener Sana Janjua
Host Virginia Gillespie

4-6 pm, Media Room
Upstairs The Lodge
Alexandra Neighborhood House
2916 McBride Av, Surrey BC

For more information, contact
Fauzia Rafique surrey.muse@gmail.com
Virginia Gillespie vgplayroom@gmail.com

Visit our web page

Word-Arts LIVE! is a collaboration between Surrey Muse At Large (SMAL) and VG PlayRoom. We are grateful to the City of Surrey for the 2017 Cultural Project Grant for Word-Arts events, forums and training. Alexandra Neighbourhood House is home base and a strong supporter.

Surrey Muse At Large (SMAL) is a project of Surrey Muse.

Word Arts LIVE! – Inaugural Session: Feb to June 2017


Word Arts LIVE Series
Inaugural Session Program February-June 2017
4-6 pm, Media Room
Alexandra Neighborhood House

Series hosted by Virginia Gillespie

February 26
Author Sylvia Taylor
Poet Wanda John-Kehewin
Performer Kat Wahamaa
Open Mic Opener Art Pouchet

March 26
Author Nasreen Pejvack
Poet Edward Blodgett
Performer Fauzia Rafique
Open Mic Opener Sana Janjua

April 30
Author Liam Paul Wallinger
Poet Lozan Yamolky
Performer Heidi McCurdy
Open Mic Opener Helga Parekh

May 28
Author Teresa Klein
Poet Manolis
Performer Yvette Dudley-Neuman
Open Mic Opener Paul Stacey

June 25
Author Deborah Stacey
Poet Heidi Greco
Performer Celeste Snowber
Open Mic Opener Celina Strachan & Shonna Morgan

Artwork by Elizabeth Carefoot


For more information and to participate, contact
Virginia Gillespie
Fauzia Rafique

Word Arts LIVE Series is a collaboration
between VG PlayRoom and Surrey Muse At Large (SMAL).