Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award

for lifetime achievement in Canadian 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. The Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award honours an established Canadian poet with a history of achievement and performance in spoken word.

The Grand Prize for the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award is $2000.

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.


The 2020 Winner of the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award is Charlie C Petch

Nominations for the 2020 Golden Beret Award were open between March 6 and April 1, 2020. 
  • Spoken word poets must be nominated for this award and are not allowed to self-nominate.
  • Nominations are open to members of the League of Canadian Poets as well non-members.
  • Nominators must provide the poet’s biography, literary CV, and/or additional materials (i.e. videos, audio recordings, informal publications).
  • Eligible nominations will be reviewed by panel of three established spoken word artists for a chance to win the grand prize of $2000.
  • If you would like to nominate a poet but do not have access to the poet’s bio, literary CV, or other materials, please email for help – we are eager and able to get the information needed.



Last year’s 2019 Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award winner is 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 

Our 2019 jury: Kevan Anthony Cameron, Dwayne Morgan, and Sheri-D Wilson. 

The Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award was founded by Sheri-D Wilson and the Calgary Spoken Word Society. Past iterations of this award have honoured Canadian spoken word artists 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)