Meet Victoria's New Youth Poet Laureate - Ann-Bernice Thomas

At last night's City Council meeting, Ann-Bernice Thomas was announced as Victoria’s newest Youth Poet Laureate. Serving as a champion for youth and the literary arts, Victoria’s Youth Poet Laureate seeks to inspire and engage local youth to share their stories and artistic voice through both the written and spoken word.

A spoken word artist and screenplay writer, Thomas is in her second year of study at the University of Victoria, double majoring in Creative Writing and Theatre Production. A competitor in the first Ontario High School Slam Competition in 2013, she fell in love with the art form and hasn't stopped since.

Thomas aims to use her voice to rally change, social awareness, and share stories (personal or otherwise) that are waiting to be told. She has performed at the Ferguson Rally in 2014, the Scotiabank Aids Walk for Life in 2015, and stage-managed and performed in the applied theatre show Waste Management in 2015, which toured to different high schools discussing dumpster diving, capitalism and the world of waste we have created for ourselves. Thomas is currently working on her photo-poetry project An Exploration of the Human Body.

Mentored by Victoria’s Poet Laureate Yvonne Blomer, the Youth Poet Laureate will create and present new works to Victoria City Council and Youth Council, conduct poetry readings at City and Greater Victoria Public Library events, and organize a community youth poetry event.

The Youth Poet Laureate is an honorary one-year term position from January 1 to December 31, 2016. In addition to the year-long mentorship, the position receives a $1,750 honorarium and $1,000 of project funding. Previously sponsored by the private sector, the Youth Poet Laureate position is now funded by the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Public Library.

Victoria was the first municipality in Canada to have a Youth Poet Laureate. Learn more.