2023 Junior Online Finals Judges


Marie-Andrée Arsenault

Born in 1985, Marie-Andrée Arsenault likes to wear sparkling fairy dresses. She spent a few summers answering to a made-up name at a summer camp where bullfrogs sang at night. She has also told extraordinary stories in parks and played with words in a publishing house, where monsters live in cereal boxes.

She holds a master's degree in creative writing from the Université du Québec à Montréal and a master's degree in education from the Université de Sherbrooke. She has been teaching French at the secondary school level for ten years, and is known among teachers for her column "La classe de Madame A," in the magazine Lurelu. She also loves to offer creative workshops in classrooms, inspiring students to dive into the world of poetry.

In the fall of 2014, Marie-Andrée won first prize in the Appartenance(s) literary competition, organized by the Canada Council for the Arts and Radio-Canada. Since then, she has published eight children's books with Bayard Canada, Isatis, La Morue verte, La Bagnole, Québec Amérique and D'eux. Other titles are forthcoming with Dominique et compagnie, La Morue verte and Leméac jeunesse in 2023 and 2024.

Marie-Andrée is happy to see that her stories stand out and touch people's hearts. Les souvenirs du sable was a finalist for the 2016 Prix Tamarac Express, Des couleurs sur la Grave won the 2020 Prix Harry Black, Un chemin dans la mer was a finalist for the 2022 prix littéraires des enseignants de français, poetry section, and La guerre des pupitres was a finalist for the 2023 Prix Mélèze. 

Isabelle Courteau

Born in Shawinigan in 1960, Isabelle Courteau holds a master's degree in creative writing. Co-founder of the Festival de poésie de Montréal, she has been at its helm for 22 years, coordinating and creating initiatives for elementary schools. This work has been recognized with two awards (Henri-Tranquille and Lèvres urbaines). She has published L'Inaliénable (1998), Mouvances (2001) and Ton silence (2004) with Éditions de l'Hexagone. In the collection "Pli" edited by Daniel Leuwers, she co-created Silences (2004) with the painter François Vincent, as well as À la lisière du monde (2017). Her poetry has been featured in publications from 1995 to 2022, and she enjoys participating in meetings and gatherings here, in Europe and in Africa. She appreciates intergenerational dialogue and a diversity of voices. Her poetry explores relationships with the landscape and family environments.

Ruth Daniell

Ruth Daniell is a speech arts teacher, editor, award-winning writer, and the author of The Brightest Thing (Caitlin Press, 2019). Her work engages with fairy tales, feminism, the lived experience of the body, and the complexities of co-existing on a planet with other living beings. Recent work has appeared in Watch Your Head: Writers and Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis (Coach House Press, 2020), Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #MeToo (University of Regina Press, 2021), Worth More Standing: Poets and Activists Pay Homage to Trees (Caitlin Press, 2022) and on BC’s city buses as part of Poetry in Transit. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in English literature and writing from the University of Victoria and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. She lives with her family in Kelowna, BC, where she is at work on a new collection of poems about birds, climate change, parenthood, fear, and joy.

Lise Gaboury-Diallo

A professor in the French studies department at Université de Saint-Boniface, Lise Gaboury-Diallo has written seven books of poetry and two short story collections since 1999. In 2004, she won Radio-Canada’s Literary Prize for poetry for her book Homestead, poèmes du cœur de l’Ouest (2005). Her book L’endroit et l’envers won the Rue-Deschambeault prize in 2009. Lointaines, nouvelles, shortlisted for Radio-Canada Reads 2011, received honourable mention for the Émile-Ollivier Prize and won the Rue-Deschambeault Prize in 2011. Her short story collection Les enfants de Tantale (2011) was included in a shortlist of six books considered for Radio-Canada Reads 2012. Her most recent books of poetry, Confessions sans pénitence, illustrated by Denis Devigne, and Empreintes (poésie) were published by Éditions du Blé.

Kayla Geitzler

Kayla Geitzler is from Moncton, New Brunswick, which is within Siknikt of the Mi'kma'ki, the unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq People. Named “A Rad Woman of Canadian Poetry”, Kayla was Moncton’s first Anglophone Poet Laureate. With her friend Elizabeth Blanchard, she co-edited Cadence Voix Feminines Female Voices, a multilingual poetry anthology, and co-created the website Poésie Moncton Poetry with Francophone poet Jean-Philippe Raiche. An award-winning writer, her book That Light Feeling Under Your Feet was a finalist for two poetry awards. Her writing has been published internationally and she has performed with accomplished east coast musicians, including the NB Youth Orchestra. She likes to create with artists and has been a featured poet in the Atlantic Vernarcular and AV Fundy projects where she collaborated with visual artist Renata Britez. Kayla hosts Attic Owl Reading Series and works as a writing consultant. In 2021, she received a Top 20 Under 40 Award from the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce for her entrepreneurial success and outstanding dedication to the literary arts.

She holds an MA in English Creative Writing from the University of New Brunswick. She offers free writing advice on kaylagwrites.com

Poets who inspire her are: Forough Farrokhzad, Anne Simpson, Layli long Soldier, Kim Hyseoon, Safia Elhillo, Kathy Jentil-Kijiner, Jake Skeets, Alden Nowlan, Margo Wheaton.

Jamaal Jackson Rogers

Jamaal Jackson Rogers, stage name JustJamaal ThePoet, is an award winning poet, arts educator and served as Ottawa's English Poet Laureate from 2017-2019. He uses his style of free verse, spoken word, mixed with his influences from RnB/Rap/Hiphop, to share his story of moving from tragedy to triumph locally and abroad. His favorite moments are when he makes connections with audiences and participants in his workshops or on stage.

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