Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award

for excellence and innovation in spoken word poetry.

The Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award is an annual literary prize crafted specifically to highlight the unique strengths and values of spoken word poetry. Spoken word poets at all stages of their artistic development – rising and established – are encouraged to submit a micro-portfolio to be reviewed by a panel of three established spoken word artists for a chance at the grand prize of $2000. The #GoldenBeretAward is open for submissions from members and non-members! 

With this prize, the League is excited to be focusing on spoken word poetry—including dub poetry, sound poetry, and slam poetry, among many other subgenres—and it’s rich and powerful history that has grown to take the international stage by storm. This prize will not be awarded for the best submitted poem, but to the poet whose micro-portfolio has the greatest impact on the panel of jurors. 

The 2019 Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award goes to…
Andrea Thompson!  


Photo credit: Brenda Clews


From the jurors: Andrea Thompson is a Canadian icon of Spoken word and her submissions reflect her long and praiseworthy career. The work is well-written and professionally produced with top notch recordings—as Andrea presents a strong-woman voice filled with spirit and fierce power, intelligence and musicality. Andrea Thompson explores and pushes boundaries—as artist practitioner, activist, educator and historian. The gifts she brings to Spoken Word on all levels is unsurmountable, memorable and extremely valuable! 


Andrea Thompsonis a writer, educator and spoken word artist who has been publishing and performing her work for over twenty-five years. In 1995 she was featured in the documentary Slamnation, as a member of the country’s first national slam team. In 2005, her spoken word CD One was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award. She is the author of the novel Over Our Heads and co-editor of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (both Inanna Publications). Thompson currently teaches at Workman Arts, as well as through the Ontario College of Art and Design University and The University of Toronto’s Continuing Studies departments. She has written several academic essays on spoken word, “Spoken Word: A Gesture Towards Possibility” (Writing Creative Writing: Essays from the Field,2018).  Her most recent CD, Solorations, is available through iTunes, Amazon and most online streaming services. 


Congratulations, Andrea 

Thank you to our 2019 jury: Kevan Anthony Cameron, Dwayne Morgan, and Sheri-D Wilson. 

The Golden Beret Award was founded by Sheri-D Wilson and the Calgary Spoken Word Society. Formerly a lifetime achievement award, past iterations have honoured a Canadian spoken word artist who made substantial contributions to the development of spoken word, through the originality of their writing/performance works and involvement in the expansion of the spoken word community.

Previous Recipients:

2018 – Dwayne Morgan (Toronto, ON)
2017 – d’bi.young anitafrika (Toronto, ON)
– RC Weslowski (Vancouver, BC)
– Penn Kemp (London, ON)
– bill bissett (Toronto, ON)
2013 – Tanya Evanson (Vancouver, BC)
2012 – Kirk Miles (Calgary, AB)
2011 – Ian Ferrier (Montréal, QC)
2010 – Wendy Morton (Victoria,BC)
2009 – Lillian Allen (Toronto, ON)
2008 – Sarah Murphy (Calgary, AB)
2007 – Murdoch Burnett (Comox, BC)