Poet, novelist and educator Andrea Thompson (MFA) has been a celebrated performer on the Canadian spoken word scene for over twenty years. In 2005, Thompson’s CD One was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award, and in 2009 she was awarded Poet of Honour by the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. In 2008, Thompson toured her one-woman show, Mating Rituals of the Urban Cougar across the country, and in 2011, was host of the nationally broadcast television series, Heart of a Poet. Thompson’s writing has been featured in a variety of journals and anthologies, and she is the author of the collection, Eating the Seed (Ekstasis Editions, 2000), the co-editor of the anthology Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out (Inanna Publications, 2005) and author of the novel, Over Our Heads (Inanna, 2014). Thompson currently teaches Spoken Word through the Ontario College of Art and Design University’s continuing studies department and Workman Arts in Toronto.
Rimshah Ahmed is a mother of two vibrant little boys. Her passion for all art forms comes as a genetic gift from her father and mother. It is only in the recent years that she began to seriously explore this very important facet of her character. She aspires to connect and educate the society through her art work which includes, drawing, painting, photography, writing and spoken-word poetry. In 2014 she was chosen with 7 others from over 80 applicants to speak at TEDxOntarioPublicService. In a well received event of over 100 in person audience and thousands watching at satellite locations; she spoke about her challenges when she began wearing a head scarf as a part of her religious identity. Just this year, she took the step to formally start her own Facebook and Instagram pages to share her art work. In less than 5 months, her Instagram account, @olivetreearts has over 1300 followers. She hopes to continually create and engage in meaningful art that brings awareness and positive social change.