Quebec Writers’ Federation Announces the 2023 Spoken Word Prize Finalists

Posted on: 10 October, 2023

Category: QWF Awards, QWF News

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 (Montreal, QC) – Eight exceptional spoken word artists have been named as finalists for the 2023 QWF Spoken Word Prize.

The eight finalists were chosen by a panel of three jurors: Jillian Christmas, Kym Dominique-Ferguson, and Sheri-D Wilson.

The prize carries a total purse of $3,000, to be distributed to up to three winners as the jury deems fit.

The winners of the QWF Spoken Word Prize will be announced at at the 2023 QWF Literary Awards Gala on Monday, November 13 at Cabaret Lion d’Or (1676 Ontarior Street E.). The awards ceremony begins at 8:00 pm, preceded by a cocktail reception from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.

All finalists will perform at the Read Quebec Book Fair on Friday, November 3.

The 2023 QWF Spoken Word Finalists


for “Survival Mechanisms”

Michael “BeWyrd” Clarke is a slam poet based in Tio’tia:ke. He is the president of the Throw! Poetry Collective, which showcases competitive yet friendly bilingual poetry slams every 1st Saturday at Le Basement. He has a Master’s degree in Educational Technology and is also a musician, livestreamer, and martial artist.

Photo: Michael Clarke

Lucia De Luca

for “Stalling”

Lucia De Luca was a recipient of the 2022 QWF Spoken Word Prize and is a two-time Canadian Individual Poetry Slam finalist and member of the 2023 Throw Poetry Collective slam team. Her poems cradle stories of her past self, family, Italian heritage, chronic illness, and love.

Photo: Samuel Raphael

nic lachance

for “when the shame smokes”

nic lachance is a white, queer, trans settler currently living in Tiohtià:ke, colonially known as Montréal. Their poetry has been published by A Queer Anthology of Healing, GUTS magazine, ROOM Magazine, F, M and the Other, Metatron Press, Art/iculation Magazine, GRIFFEL, Sand Lit & Art, and Damaged Goods Press, among others. Their writing follows queer and trans inquiries of the felt, intersecting sense of land, wound and body.  

Photo: nic lachance

Caitlin Murphy

for “All the Screams”

Caitlin Murphy is a writer, director and dramaturg.  She has performed in one-woman shows, stand-up and sketch comedy, and a web-series she created called Mothers Try.  Caitlin has also written and directed plays and short films.  She was a finalist for the 2022 QWF Spoken Word Prize.

Photo: Leslie Schachter

Alexis O’Hara

for “Ouff – The Land”

Alexis O’Hara has co-created large-scale performance works with queer artists from Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Nicaragua, and presented her work in Slovenia, Serbia, Germany, Spain, the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, and Canada. She has released four albums and a book of poetry. In 2016, she was awarded the Powerhouse Prize by feminist art gallery La Centrale.

Photo: Andi State

Raïssa Simone

for “Buying History”

Raïssa Simone is a multi-disciplinary artist and writer based in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal). She has competed at numerous national poetry slams and been invited to perform at multiple spoken word shows including the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, Toronto International Poetry Slam, Hillside Festival, and When Sisters Speak. She was a finalist for the 2022 QWF Spoken Word Prize.

Photo: Raïssa Simone

Svens Telemaque

for “Out of Space”

Svens Telemaque has a unique perspective on life and challenges the average perception of circumstances, faith, and emotion. After relocating to Montreal in 2007, he co-founded L’art Selah, a poetry collective, and released his first book, Pen of a Ready Writer Vol.1, in 2014. 

Photo: Serious Pictures

Deb Vanslet

for “Laughter in the Rain”

Deb Vanslet is a media artist, storyteller and writer. Her videos explore storytelling and performance. Deb hosted Dykes on Mykes, CKUT-FM for 16 years. She is a co-producer of Confabulation, live storytelling. She won the 2015 carte blanche QWF prize (Self-Serve), and Ghost Station was published in The Malahat Review.

Photo: Liz Miller

About the QWF Spoken Word Prize

Now in its second year, the QWF Spoken Word Prize celebrates excellence in spoken word as a literary art. The prize is open to Quebec-based spoken word artists, storytelling artists, and literary performance artists working primarily in English in any form of performative writing, including poetry, story, monologue, hip hop, dub, sound poetry, experimental or interdisciplinary work.

The winners of the QWF Spoken Word Prize will be announced at the QWF Awards Gala alongside the winners of the following six QWF book prizes:

Also announced will be the winners of the 2023 College Writers Award, the 2023 carte blanche Prize, and the 2023 Judy Mappin Community Award.

The finalists of the QWF book prizes will be announced on October 17.


Media Inquiries:

John Wickham, Communications Officer
Quebec Writers’ Federation
[email protected]
T: (514) 933-0878