Surrey Libraries has officially put out a call to find the city’s new Poet Laureate, following the end of Renée Sarojini Saklikar’s three-year term in the position.
The selected candidate “will act as an ambassador for the City of Surrey and its people, advocating for literacy, promoting literary arts, and helping to raise the status of poetry, language, and the arts in the everyday consciousness of Surrey residents,” according to a post at surreylibraries.ca/poetlaureate.
During a two-year term, the Poet Laureate will engage with the people of Surrey through readings, civic events and community projects. The position includes an honorarium of $5,000 annually, plus $1,000 to cover travel costs.
The deadline for submissions is July 2. A selection committee will review submissions over the summer and invite shortlisted candidates for interviews in early September, according to Mariya Tokhtarova, the new Poet Laureate program co-ordinator for Surrey Libraries.
Public and prospective candidates can ask questions in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 604-598-7370. More program details, including eligibility criteria, are posted at surreylibraries.ca, under the News banner.
The Surrey Poet Laureate program was established in 2015, with Saklikar chosen as the inaugural lead.
The program, deemed “a great success” in a recent corporate report to council, will again receive city funding – with a twist. On April 1, council voted to amend a staff recommendation of another $30,000 over three years, and instead approved $10,000 from the council initiatives fund this year, then directed staff to put the remaining two years into the city’s grants budget for the next cycle.
Surrey’s incoming Poet Laureate will start work this fall, and Saklikar will be involved in the selection process.
On April 2, Saklikar marked her first day as writer-in-residence for Surrey English Teachers Association, a role that involves doing poetry workshops across the school district.