MFA’s Reading Series ‘Locution’ hosts Indigenous Evening with Alicia Elliott and Katherena Vermette

Locution is a monthly reading series hosted by the MFA Creative Writing Program. This month’s event was a special  Indigenous edition and welcomed amazing guest readers such as Katherena Vermette and Alicia Elliott. The host for the night was none other than Carleigh Baker. Other wonderfully talented readers included Molly Cross-Blanchard, Jessica Johns, Kavelina Torres and Samantha Nock. It was by far the best attended and most successful Locution event of the academic year and will take a long time to beat. Many Vancouver based writers came to support our Indigenous readers. Here is what some of our readers had to say about the event:


“I’m so grateful for the Locution Readings last Thursday, because the strength and brilliance of Indigenous women has always been able to pull me through when nothing else could. I’ve been clinging to that the past few days, as the worst of Canada reminds us what we’ve always known – that this country continues to see Indigenous people as a problem which needs solving. The readings I heard, the talent I witnessed, was a direct refutation of that idea. Indigenous people are not a problem. We are medicine. We have so much to offer, and we are generous with those offerings. Every reading I heard was so precise, so funny, so intelligent, so full of life. It reminded me that this is what my ancestors fought for, what they wanted to ensure survived: us. We are their wildest dreams come true. Our art and our lives will continue our ancestors’ fight, ensuring our own descendants will have a place. They’ll be our wildest dreams come true, too.” Alicia Elliott


“A powerful and uplifting evening of words and laughter with established and emerging writers. I’m grateful for everyone who stepped an read, and for the packed house of supporters. Thanks to all!” Carleigh Baker






“On Thursday night, it was my pleasure and privilege to read alongside several genius Indigenous (Indi-genius? Should I patent this?) artists in front of an absolutely overwhelming crowd. It’s been a bit of a heartbreaking week in the world of sociopolitical Indigenous affairs. Many of us are emotionally drained, disappointed, and cried out of ugly frustration-tears, so the show of support from our community at the Cottage Bistro was especially moving. I thank Locution for recognizing the need for an evening of Indigenous voices, for making space for us to gather and create a dialogue, and for allowing me to be part of it. Most importantly, thank you to Katherena, Alicia, Jessica, Kavelina, Samantha and Carleigh for sharing your stories, and for being so damn inspirational!” Molly Cross-Blanchard





“The MFA locution on Thursday night was one of the best I’ve ever been to. I’m saying this as a spectator. The atmosphere was unlike any other reading I’ve been to in recent memory. That’s the thing about the genius of Indigenous writers, though, they create an energy unlike anything else. Carleigh Baker was a fantastic host, and Molly, Kavelina, Sam, Katherena, and Alicia in their readings showed exactly why they are such awe-inspiring writers. It is hard to talk about such a beautiful night when the events of the next day, the acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the murder of Colten Boushie, continues to devastate Indigenous peoples across our nation. I hope to witness more events where Indigenous folks come together, and allies listen and support.” Jessica Johns





“Being invited to read at Locution was a pleasure. It was amazing to read with one of my literary heroes,Katherena Vermette, and alongside other writers I highly respect. Thank you to Carleigh for hosting such an amazing event, and a huge thank you to Alicia, Jessica, Kavelina, and Molly for such a special night. The days that followed the reading were heavy, they are still heavy. I feel like Indigenous folks as a collective community are grappling with a new wound tore open. I am grateful, that before the extra weight was placed on our shoulders, we had a night that centered our joy, vulnerability, and talent. ” Samantha Nock



Katherena Vermette reads poetry










Kavelina Torres introduces her script which is later being read by a number of readers