Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award

sheridThis annual award was created by Sheri-D Wilson—a pioneer of spoken word poetry in Canada—to honour a Canadian spoken word artist who has made a substantial contribution to the development of spoken word, through the originality and excellence of his or her own writing/performance works, and through involvement in—and contributions to—the expansion of the spoken word community. The Golden Beret Award was first presented at the Calgary Spoken Word Festival in 2007 and is now presented by the League of Canadian Poets and Calgary Spoken Word Sociey.


d’bi.young anitafrika



This award is accepting nominations until December 31, 2017. Submit a one-page Nomination Letter by email to with subject “Golden Beret Award.” The selection committee will evaluate candidates based on the following qualities:

  1. Originality of the creative process
  2. Contributions to the community
  3. Excellence and longevity of opus
  4. Innovation in writing and performance
  5. Use of new technologies
  6. Openness and inclusiveness of diverse voices

The recipient will be notified at the end of February, and a shortlist announced in April as part of National Poetry Month. The award will be presented at the awards gala during LCP Annual Poetry Festival and Conference. Recipient will receive a $1,000 cash prize.


The Calgary Spoken Word Society is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to showcase local, national & international artists; to present culturally diverse works; to offer innovative and progressive approaches to literacy; and to give voice to under-represented communities.

Sheri-D Wilson, Spoken Word Poet
La Directrice Artistique
The School of Thought: Languages Lost & Found (2016)
Founder & Director | Calgary Spoken Word Festival (2003-2014)
Spoken Word Program | The Banff Centre (2005-2012)

 2017 WINNER

d’bi.young anitafrika


d'bi.young anitafrika; photo by Wade Hudson
d’bi.young anitafrika; photo by Wade Hudson

The 2017 winner of the award was d’bi.young anitafrika, whom Sheri-D first encountered in a mentorship program during which she was assigned as d’bi’s mentor. In the years that followed, anitafrika grew as a poet, playwright, performer, and teacher, facilitating her own workshops in Africa and North America.

d’bi.young anitafrika is a queer Black feminist artist, United Nations speaker, Canadian Poet of HonorInkTalks/TED speaker and YWCA Woman of Distinction. The internationally celebrated African-Jamaican dubpoet, dramatist, educator, director and dramaturge is also a 3 time Dora Award winning writer-performer for her epic triptych of plays The Sankofa Trilogy and The Orisha Trilogy.  anitafrika’s groundbreaking creative praxis – the Anitafrika Method – uses the Sorplusi Principles as an intersectional anti-oppression human development framework, which is studied and practiced globally by artists, instigators and policy-makers. d’bi is the founding Artistic Director of Watah; Canada’s only professional theatre company that offers year-long tuition-free artist residencies to Black and diverse artist-instigators. She is also the founder and CEO of The Sorplusi Institute and Sorplusi Publishing, a research-based social enterprise with a micro press extension producing and publishing works by Black and diverse creators. Author of 7 plays, 6 dub albums and 5 books, d’bi has toured nationally and internationally. She is currently creating the first ever Dub Opera, tackling global environmental issues through a large-scale political musical entitled Lukumi (previously titled Bleeders), scored by her Afro-fusion-Reggae band The 333.

2017 Jurors: RC Weslowski, Tanya Evanson, Sheri-D Wilson

Previous Recipients:

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)