5 Not-to-Be-Missed Speakers at The Growing Room Festival 2019

Hannah McGregor, creator of podcasts: Secret Feminist Agenda and Witch Please | Image by Christopher M Turbulence

By Rachel Rosenberg

The Growing Room Festival was founded in 2017 by Room Magazine and every March since it has brought Canadian authors and artists together to converse, educate and collaborate as they discuss feminism in all its intersectional glory. Most panels and readings are pay-what-you-can to ensure accessibility, and writing workshops and one-on-one manuscript consultations are offered.

The festival, running March 8 – 17, has a wonderfully indie-yet-professional vibe and the panel discussions bring up many complex topics. Here is a small sampling of the incredible artists who will be featured at this year’s festival:

Ivan Coyote

Long-time Vancouver resident, Coyote, is an author, filmmaker and musician. Well-respected for Tomboy Survival Guide, Gender Failure and nine other published works, Coyote tackles important issues such as gender identity, class, and social justice. A regular performer at folk and spoken word festivals, Coyote should be a lively and insightful part of the Funny Feminists and Transcendent: Writing & Surviving in a Cissexist Society panels.

Eden Robinson

Haisla/Heiltsuk novelist Eden Robinson knows how to write a fun bio. The sorts of things you can learn from the average Robinson-penned biography: she jars salmon, gets grumpy when her writing is interrupted, and enjoys shopping for the future apocalypse. The author of Monkey Beach, the Trickster trilogy and more, she is a voice you won’t want to miss. She’ll be part of the Funny Feminists and Dream Me a Dream: Literary Futurisms panels.

Hannah McGregor

Hannah McGregor is the creator of two very excellent podcasts: Secret Feminist Agenda and Witch Please (a feminist Harry Potter podcast!). She has the wit and creativity benefiting of a feminist pop culture guru and will be featured in Behind Every Microphone, There Is a Great Woman: Podcasting and Feminism.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is an author, activist, performance artist and educator. Featured in numerous publications and anthologies, her books include Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River, Bodymap, Love Cake, and Consensual Genocide along with two more to be published this year. She is an artist with Sins Invalid, a collective that creates performance projects on disability and sexuality. That isn’t even half of what she’s accomplished in her incredible career, so if you want to learn more I’d suggest In Conversation with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, or the panel Whatever Gets You Through.

Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin is the keynote speaker of the festival this year. Voodoo Hypothesis made many “best of” lists in 2017, and her writing has appeared in The Puritan, The Rusty Toque, Arc Poetry Magazine, Globe & Mail, The Capilano Review, and more. She is a community advocate that works to bring more arts into education, currently bringing poetry into schools in the Greater Toronto Area through a Poets Network program. Lubrin will be moderating The Might of the Pen: Writing as a Political Act.

The Growing Room Festival is March 8 – 17, 2019. For more information and tickets, visit festival.roommagazine.com

Rachel Rosenberg is a writer and library technician who is a proud member of the LGBTQ2+ community. She writes for Book Riot and can be found on Instagram @penandmitten 

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