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Surrey Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate

Surrey’s Poet Laureate acts as an ambassador for the City of Surrey and the people of Surrey, advocating for literacy and the literary arts and helping to raise the status of poetry, language, and the arts in the everyday consciousness of Surrey residents. As part of this, the Poet Laureate also offers writing consultations on poetry or prose.

Surrey's Poet Laureate is a two-year honorary position. The first Poet Laureate, Renée Sarojini Saklikar, began her role in 2015.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar is Surrey’s inaugural Poet Laureate

Renée Sarojini Saklikar is the author of children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, which won the Canadian Authors Award for best book of Canadian poetry to be published in English and was a finalist for the BC Book prize Dorothy Livesay award. She is also the co-editor of the anthology The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them. This anthology includes poetry performed during Lunch Poems at SFU, a poetry reading series that Renée helped to establish.

“A strong foundation of arts and culture is the hallmark of a thriving City,” said Mayor Linda Hepner. “As Surrey’s first Poet Laureate, Renée Sarojini Saklikar will creatively engage and connect with our community and will be a strong advocate for literacy and the literary arts.”

Renée is one of three National Advocates for The Writer’s Union of Canada and a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Her poetry investigates, celebrates, and memorializes the poetry of place, particularly those stories integral to arrival, departure, settlement, and diaspora.

Since starting her role as Surrey’s Poet Laureate in October 2015, Renée has been working to create a legacy program of poetry-outreach that is multi-lingual and inter-cultural, in partnership with local organizations in Surrey. She is interested in furthering grass-roots connections with youth, senior, and community groups.

As Poet Laureate, Renée has participated in a number of events including

  • Surrey International Writers Conference (SiWC);
  • Surrey Art Gallery Sound Thinking Symposium;
  • InFlux at Surrey Art Gallery; KPU Creative Writing class;
  • Cedar Bark Poets meeting in Newton;
  • Honey, Hives, & Poetry event at City Centre Library; and
  • teen writing workshops at Surrey Libraries, Surrey high schools, and the Surrey Art Gallery.

She is also participating in

  • Semiahmoo Arts Double Exposure;
  • Surrey Muse;
  • Surrey International Children’s Festival;
  • the City Centre Library Five-Year Anniversary;
  • the Creative City Summit, the 2016 SiWC;
  • and Surrey Remembers at the Surrey Museum.

Writing Consultations

Renée is hosting writing consultations on the second Friday of the month. She is offering a free consultation on your poetry or prose. You are welcome to submit a maximum of 10 double-spaced pages to Renée. Registration is required at least one week prior to the consult date.

Renée will read your manuscript before your 45-minute meeting. At the meeting, she may provide you with suggestions about editing, how to publish your work, and how to work with editors and publishers.

Register for a consult: poetlaureate@surrey.ca

Consultation dates

City Centre Library dates (room 306 or 418)

Second Friday of the month
May 13, June 10, July 8, and Aug 12, 2016
Slots available at 4pm, 5pm, or 6:15pm

Newton Library, Meeting Room

Second Friday of the month
Sept 9 and Oct 14
Slots available at 2pm, 3pm, or 4:15pm

City Centre Library, Room 306 or 418

Nov 4 and Dec 9
Slots available at 2pm, 3pm, or 4:15pm

Thanks to the City of Surrey, Surrey Libraries, Cultural Development Advisory Committee, Surrey Arts Services, Surrey International Writers’ Conference, Arts Council of Surrey, Creative Writing at Simon Fraser University, Semiahmoo Arts, Surrey Muse, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University helped to establish the Poet Laureate project and to select the new Poet Laureate, which is a two year honorary position.

Photo of Renée Sarojini Saklikar is provided courtesy of Greg Ehlers, Senior Photographer Creative Studio SFU.

See the Surrey Libraries' complete Schedule of Events.