2024 Senior National Finals Hosts & Judges

At 8PM ET on April 24 at the NAC in Ottawa , the top 9 finalists competed for $18,000 in prizes. Book your ticket today!

Finals Hosts


Johanne Blais

Johanne Blais has hosted many Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie National Finals since 2013 and also serves on our board. She is a trained translator and a retired professor of grammar and writing skills. Perfectly bilingual and a passionate admirer of the languages of both Shakespeare and Molière, Johanne Blais spent 17 years sharing her passion with thousands of Canadians as CBC Radio C’est la vie’s “Word Lady,” through her language segment “Word of the Week.”


Evan Solomon

Evan Solomon

Evan Solomon is the publisher of GZERO Media and a member of Eurasia Group’s Management Committee. Prior to joining GZERO, he was the host of CTV’s nightly political program "Power Play" and of Canada’s most-watched political TV show, the Sunday morning "Question Period." He also hosted "The Evan Solomon Show," a daily iHeartRadio/Bell Media radio program. He has also hosted the PBS series "Masters of Technology" and CBC shows such as "Power and Politics," "CBC News: Sunday," "The House," and "FutureWorld."  Evan’s best-selling books include "Fueling the Future" and "Feeding the Future” He has also been a columnist for Macleans and The Globe and Mail.




Marie-Célie Agnant

Haitian-born poet, short story writer, novelist and translator Marie-Célie Agnant is the author of a remarkable body of work, including Le Livre d'Emma, which evokes the ordeals endured by enslaved women in the West Indies and the difficulty of addressing and legitimising this part of history even today. She also publishes books for young people.

Her writing contains both the poetry and the violence of post-colonial societies that navigate between blatant poverty and indecent opulence. Her texts, some of which have been translated into several languages, tackle themes such as exclusion, solitude, racism and exile. The status of women and the relationship with the past and memory are also part of her field of exploration.

She has published several novels and collections of short stories, as well as three collections of poems, including Femmes des terres brûlées, for which she received the 2017 Prix Alain-Grandbois from the Académie des Lettres du Québec.

Explore further: http://ile-en-ile.org/agnaant


Michael Crummey

Michael Crummey's latest poetry collection, Passengers, appeared with House of Anansi Press in August, 2022. Little Dogs: New and Selected Poems was published by Anansi in the spring of 2016. His recent novels include The Adversary (2023), and The Innocents (2019). His work has won or been short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize, the ScotiaBank Giller Prize, the Governor-General's Award, and the Dublin IMPAC Award. He lives in St. John's.


Natasha Kanapé…

Natasha Kanapé Fontaine is an Innu author, poet and interdisciplinary artist from the community of Pessamit, on the Nitassinan (North Shore, Quebec, Canada). Her poetic works and essays are recognized and acclaimed by critics, have traveled the world, been translated into several languages, and are studied at various levels in schools in Quebec and elsewhere. In 2017, she received the Prix Droits et Libertés for her poetry. At just 29 years of age, she is already one of the public figures who have contributed to the recognition of Quebec's aboriginal peoples, both here and around the world. In 2021, she published her first novel Nauetakuan : un silence pour un bruit (Éditions XYZ), with themes that are dear to her heart, such as the return to oneself, the journey to meet other Indigenous peoples, territories, dreams and art. In the same year, she was promoted to the rank of Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et des lettres de la République française. She also works as a translator, scriptwriter, Native literature consultant and sensitive reader of First Peoples content. She lives in Tio'tia:ke - known as Montreal. In 2023, she published her first collection of literary short stories, based on Innu legends, entitled Kanatuut - La Chasseresse, with Éditions Chez Stanké.


Susan Musgrave

Susan lives on Haida Gwaii, islands in the North Pacific that lie equidistant from Luxor, Machu Picchu, Ninevah and Timbuktu. She has published over 30 books —poetry, novels, non-fiction, books for children. The high point of her literary career was finding her name in the index of Montreal‘s Irish Mafia. Her new book of poetry, Exculpatory Lilies, was published by M&S in 2022. Susan Musgrave likes to quote Hunter S. Thompson, who said, “I don’t advocate sex, drugs, violence or insanity, but they’ve always worked for me.” Given that this is a high school anthology she has to add, “Just kidding,” so she doesn't get sent to the principal's office.



Armand Garnet Ruffo

Poet, writer and scholar Armand Garnet Ruffo was born in Chapleau, Northern Ontario and is a band member of the Chapleau Fox Lake Cree First Nation with roots to the Sagamok Ojibway First Nation. Drawing on his Indigenous heritage, Ruffo focuses on Indigenous-settler relations as well as Indigenous ways of knowing, including spirituality and the environment. His books include Grey Owl: the Mystery of Archie Belaney (1996/ 2020); At Geronimo's Grave (2001) winner of the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry; The Thunderbird Poems (2015); Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird (2014), and Treaty# (2019), the latter two both finalists for Governor General’s Literary Awards.  He teaches in the English Department at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.


Chloé Savoie-Bernard

Author, editor, columnist and translator, Chloé Savoie-Bernard is Professor of Literature at Queen's University. Her books include Des femmes savantes (Triptyque, 2016) and Sainte Chloé de l'amour (Hexagone, 2021). Savoie-Bernard’s poetic journey is marked by a search for identity, both for herself and for others. Her poems are at once hard, lucid and vulnerable, and dance to the rhythm of a lyricism that is made and unmade, where meaning is created in the empty spaces.  Her images fly in the face of her readers: they reveal a rigorous look at the notion of being feminine today and in our era. Savoie-Bernard writes from her own perspective, and particularly through her own experiences, although she stresses that writing from experience is not the same as writing about oneself.

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