2024 Junior Online Finals Judges

Simon Boulerice

Simon Boulerice graduated from Collège Lionel-Groulx in 2007 with a degree in theatre performance. A radio and TV commentator, he also navigates between acting, directing and, above all, writing. He writes theater, poetry and novels, for both adults and children. His titles include the award-winning Simon a toujours aimé danser, Martine à la plage, Javotte, Edgar Paillettes, PIG, Florence et Léon and L'Enfant mascara. His works, translated into nine languages, have been nominated for such awards as the Governor General's Literary Awards, the Prix des libraires and the Prix de la critique.

His poetry collection Les garçons courent plus vite won the Prix littéraire des enseignants de français (2017) and topped the Palmarès des livres préférés des jeunes de Communication-Jeunesse, 12 years and up category. He has also written a TV series, Six degrés, which won him the Gémeaux for best children's texts 2022.

Doyali Islam

Canadian poet DOYALI ISLAM is the author of the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlisted heft (McClelland & Stewart, 2019), a book that was also honoured by the Province of Ontario as a finalist for the 2020 Trillium Book Award for Poetry and by The League of Canadian Poets as a finalist for the 2020 Pat Lowther Memorial Award. 

Doyali has participated in CBC Books' Why I Write video-interview series, during which she said, “My advice would be to read and write poetry not just from mind intelligence, but from body intelligence. You will know that your language is working when you read or recite it back to yourself and you feel it working on you viscerally and emotionally. So render your technique in a rigorous way – but inform it with your heart, your spirit, and empathetic imagination.”

Doyali has discussed the value of silence on CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition; language, form, beauty, and empathy with Anne Michaels in CV2; and the relationship between poetry and the body on CBC Radio's The Next Chapter. Doyali has also been interviewed about heft through Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre Podcast.

Speaking about her poetics in an Adroit Journal conversation with Forrest Gander, Doyali said, “I guess I would consider the necessity to write about longing, pain, and despair a poetics of survival. I want to survive. I want you to survive. I want my readers-listeners to survive. I want certain kinds of language to survive. I want certain versions of history to survive. I want questions to survive.”

Of Bangladeshi and Arab ancestry, Doyali lives in Canada on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.


Sally Ito

Sally Ito is a Japanese Canadian poet and literary translator who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  She has three published books of poetry, Frogs in the Rain Barrel, Season of Mercy, and Alert to Glory and has published the poems of Japanese children's poet Misuzu Kaneko with co-translator Michiko Tsuboi in the illustrated children's picture book, Are You an Echo: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko. Ito has studied poetry and creative writing at the University of British Columbia and at Waseda University in Tokyo.  She currently teaches creative writing at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. Ito's poetic interests are in poetry translation in Japanese and in German where she works collaboratively with co-translators who are either poets themselves or are intimately familiar with the language in translation. The German translation collaboration with poets Sarah Klassen and Joanne Epp has resulted in a book published in 2023 entitled Wonder-Work: Selected Sonnets of Catharina Regina Von Greiffenberg.  Much of Ito's poetry focuses on Christian spirituality and faith from which she draws inspiration and hope as well as from Japanese poets like Misuzu Kaneko and Kenji Miyazawa.

Because Ito grew up bilingual, she is fascinated with how language conveys a culture's sensibility, temperament and disposition.  In her translation work, she aims to discover how and why words mean or represent what they do in their respective language.  Ito is also fond of social platforms for poetry and has used FB to write daily haiku and Instagram to share the poetry of others.     

Jean-Christophe Réhel

Jean-Christophe Réhel is a poet, novelist and screenwriter born in Montreal on April 25, 1989. He is the author of the television series L'air d'aller, broadcast on Télé-Québec. His novel Ce qu'on respire sur Tatouine won the Prix littéraire des collégiens. His most recent work, published by Del Busso éditeur, is entitled La blague du siècle. He has published six books of poetry and was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for his children's collection Le plancher de la Lune. He published the weekly "Poème à Réhel" in Le Devoir from January 2020 to April 2021.

Stephen Kent Roney

Stephen Kent Roney was born long ago in roughly the part of Canada Al Purdy calls “the country of defeat”; transported in youth to Montreal, where he briefly took the same route home from school as Breavman in Cohen’s "The Favourite Game." Since then he’s slept around: Kingston, Syracuse, Toronto, Wuhan, Seoul, Cebu, Athabasca, Kamloops, Al Ain, Doha, Chonan, Jubail. In most of those places, he taught English; having been burned by the fires of the academic inquisition to the third degree. He maintains fiercely that the proper medium of poetry is memory; or at least he thinks he used to think so. This explains everything. Canadian poetry is about the life of everyman. Influences are William Kurelek, Andy Warhol, Blake, Coleridge, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton, Al Purdy, Lewis Carroll, Jack Kirby, and Rene Descartes. In most circumstances, he does not speak of himself in the third person.


Aimée Verret

Born in Montreal, where she still resides, Aimée Verret is a children's author, poet and editor at Cheval d'août. Her first poetry collection, Ce qui a brûlé (Triptyque, 2010), weaves together snapshots of loved ones and lost places. Mourning is also a force in the poems of Écharpe (Triptyque 2014), which are embroidered around the memory of the great dancer Isadora Duncan. In 2019, Aimée had Monstres marins published by Del Busso. As a children’s writer, she is well known for both her picture books as well as her YA work. Her poetry and children's literature are interwoven in her latest collection, Dans mon garde-robe (La courte échelle, 2021), which was a finalist for the Alvine-Bélisle Award and the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award.

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