Shauntay Grant will be the featured performer for African Heritage Month celebrations in New Glasgow.
Grant, a noted writer, author, educator, spoken word performer, musician, and journalist from Halifax, will perform at Glasgow Square Theatre on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
She holds bachelor's degrees in both music and journalism and she is currently pursuing graduate studies in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia as well as working on her soon-to-be-released spoken word/music recording Say Sumthin.
A descendant of Black Loyalists, Jamaican Maroons, and Black Refugees who came to Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries, her love of language stretches back to her storytelling roots in Nova Scotia's historic black communities.
Grant noted that from an early age, her family and community gatherings illustrated the power of oral traditions.
âSome of my fondest memories place me in the home of my great-aunt and uncle with stories past and present whizzing around my head, well into the night,â she said. âFamily members would be on their feet telling tales, each person vying for centre stage, and engaging everyone with dynamic language and hand gestures."
Her homegrown artistic practice embraces African Nova Scotian folk tradition as well as contemporary approaches to literature and performance.
Grant is an award-winning author who has written and published in several literary genres. As one of Canada's leading practitioners of spoken word performance, she was awarded a Poet of Honour prize by Spoken Word Canada at the 2010 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. She hosted CBC Radio's National Poetry Face-Off broadcasts in 2008 and 2009. She was the literary arts mentor for the 2011 Canada Games National Artist Mentoring Program and she regularly instructs youth and adults of all ages in the art of creative writing and spoken word performance. âšâš
A dynamic writer and storyteller, Grantâs work has earned her invitations to present at local and international events, including Canada's national Word On The Street festivals (Toronto, Halifax and Kitchener), Ottawa's Versefest, the Vancouver Writers Fest, Moncton's Frye Festival, Toronto's Luminato Festival, Cape Breton's Cabot Trail Writers Festival, Australia's National Young Writersâ Festival, Jamaica's International Maroon Convention, and the 10th Anniversary Launch of the Freedom Schooner Amistad in Havana, Cuba. âšâš
Grant has a deep-rooted and longstanding passion for creatively exploring the world, and encouraging others to embrace their creativity. She curates Halifax's CommUNITY Spoken Word Series, an event she founded in 2011, that features an international roster of spoken word performers, creates performance opportunities for local artists, and raises thousands of dollars in charitable donations through a regular charitable poetry slam.
âWe are honoured to host Shauntay Grant as a key component of the Town of New Glasgowâs African Heritage Month activities,â said Mayor Barrie MacMillan. âShauntayâs work is recognized both nationally and internationally and she is an inspiring talent.â
As Halifax's third Poet Laureate she organized Canada's first national gathering of Canadian Poets Laureate in 2011.
âShauntayâs spoken word presentation and music will appeal to a broad age demographic, said Carlton Munroe, New Glasgowâs program and events manager. âWe are looking forward to the attendance of many youth as well as adults and seniors. Her storytelling is renowned and she is sure to engage and captivate the audience with her lyrical poetry, engaging music and deep understanding and celebration of her roots.â
African Nova Scotian North Central Network representative Crystal States said sheâs delighted that Grant will be performing in New Glasgow.
âI look forward to her presentation of spoken word, which fits in very nicely with this yearâs theme, Rising Stars-Celebrating Our Youth,â she said. âHer refreshing and uplifting performances captivate audiences and she is an inspiring artist and performer of which Nova Scotia can be very proud.â
Her performance is sponsored by the Town of New Glasgow in partnership with the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, the African Nova Scotian North-Central Network, Travel Lodge and the New Glasgow Black Education Committee.
The official launch of African Heritage Month in New Glasgow will take place on Feb. 3, at 11:45 a.m. in the Council Chambers of the New Glasgow Town Hall.