Words Aloud 2021

. . . crevassed by contagion / touch and breath the territory / of sacrifice and transgression / give-and-take a tangle / of shelter and snare.

From “Reading Gilead during Covid-19” by Terry Burns

What a year. So much to feel, deal with, and, in the case of artists and writers, turn into work. For Words Aloud, 2020 is turning out to be our “gap year,” the year we pause, rest, reflect, and regroup. In the meantime we know that our poets and spoken word artists are in the thick of things and trying, in each of their small ways, to make sense of the times in which we are living. As always, Words Aloud applauds them, in all their rich racial, ethnic, socio-economic, regional and gender diversity. So, stay well, stay strong, and we will meet again in 2021.

Words Aloud 2019: Community and Communication

This year's Words Aloud Spoken Word and Storytelling Festival (November 1-3) will see some exciting new developments. We're not just presenting the finest in performance poetry – this year's lineup includes three-time world champion spoken word artist Buddy Wakefield, the multi-talented Charlie Petch, celebrated poet and essayist Lorri Neilsen Glenn, as well as Alicia Elliott, Greg Santos, PruFrock Shadowrunner, Ruth Daniell, yes - the poet, and special guest Sabrina Benaim – we’ve organized our performers around the theme of inspiring conversations about where society is and where it’s headed.

What's more, Words Aloud is going green! In partnership with Owen Sound Waste Watchers, the festival is striving to produce less waste. What does this mean for attendees? You will not be able to purchase water bottles, or disposable plates & cutlery. Instead Words Aloud will provide reusable, and environmentally friendly options, (at no extra cost to our beloved audience!)

In addition, we'll be stressing community and access this year: we have decided to spread out geographically, with performances in Owen Sound, Durham, and at Coffin Ridge in Meaford; to that end, we’re offering a new transportation option in the form of a bus between our events in Durham and Owen Sound. And it's not just any bus—it's a workshop bus! Passengers will have the opportunity to participate, in workshops as they travel. Participation on the workshop bus is optional and observers are welcome! Free tickets will be available on Eventbrite; we suggest that riders bring $5 for the workshop leaders. Details on departure and arrival times to follow.

All in all, we're shaping up for an exceptionally dynamic, diverse, and thought-provoking festival – and one that provides, as always, the most electrifying poetry around.

This Year's Team:

2019 WORDS ALOUD SPONSOR ORGANIZATION: Words Aloud 16 is grateful to have The Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library as a sponsor for purposes of funding applications and financial donations. We are also thrilled to still call the Durham Art Gallery our home, where we have had the pleasure of partaking in many special moments. Words Aloud would not have succeeded into our 16th year without the Gallery’s support and we are thankful, especially this year, for the relationship we have been so fortunate to share.

Artistic Director: Kaitlyn Neath

Coordinator: Ann Hagedorn

Festival Coordinator: Laura Blaney

Secretary/Treasurer: Yvonne Pelletier

Publicity Coordinator: Kiri MacIntyre-Newell

Advistory Committee:
Hazel Smith, Terry Burns, Liz Zetlin, Richard Sitoski,
Mary Little, Lauren Best

Past Artistic Director & Committee Advisors:
Dawna Proudman, Diane Ferguson

For more information about our team, visit here: Team Page


Learn more about the history of our fascinating festival.


Check out this brilliant classroom learning resource featuring video performances by 14 of Canada’s best poets and storytellers.

Imagine a Scholarship

If you're in secondary or post-secondary school, you could spend the festival weekend meeting, working and socializing with festival volunteers and festival stars. Find out how.

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