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Surrey Muse celebrates 10th year with arts awards honouring 5 Canadian ‘miracle makers’

The art/lit group’s Nov. 26 gathering will be its 20th in a virtual setting
“The Future is Female” art by Samya Arif was featured during the March 2021 virtual gathering of Surrey Muse, an interdisciplinary art and literature presentation group launched 10 years ago, in November 2011. (YouTube screenshot)

This month Surrey Muse turns 10, an anniversary celebrated with the introduction of awards honouring five Canadian trailblazers.

The arts society’s new art and literature awards are named for Vera Manuel (poetry), Joy Kogawa (fiction), Susan Crean (nonfiction), Faith Nolan (music) and Norval Morrisseau (visual arts).

Prizes will be $1,000 each, and the judged competition will be open to Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, permanent residents, refugees and international students. With a $10 fee per entry, submissions will be welcomed in June 2022.

The awards will be a special focus of the 110th Surrey Muse event, a virtual gathering Friday, Nov. 26, starting at 5:30 p.m. Details are posted on, or watch on YouTube.

• FROM THE ARCHIVES (March 2016): Surrey Muse group unites poets, writers, performers; Five years in, gatherings at City Centre Library give voice to local artists.

“In naming these awards,” SMAS says, “we pay tribute to Vera Manuel, Joy Kogawa, Susan Crean, Faith Nolan and Norval Morrisseau for their talents, skills, understandings and struggles.

“Each one, through their art, has pointed to historic injustices and inequalities in our society, and in that, they are miracle makers creating art, at once, of resistance and healing. As well, for us, naming Surrey Muse Awards in honour of such unique artists brings forth the diversity and scope of Canadian art and literature, giving us a wonderful opportunity to fulfill our mandate of nurturing art and literature by encouraging an inclusive, fair and equal cultural environment.”

(Story continues below video of Surrey Muse’s open-mic segment from October 2021)

Funding for the new awards comes from Surrey Muse featured artists and entry fees. The organization has also applied to the City of Surrey Cultural Grants program for 2022.

The interdisciplinary art and literature presentation group was founded by four artists of colour in Surrey in November 2011. The salon-style monthly gatherings expanded in 2016 with two additional programs, Surrey Muse At Large and Surrey Muse Writers. The group was registered as Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS) in 2019.

• RELATED STORY, from May 2020: Surrey Muse still ‘a beautiful experience’ as virtual gatherings continue.

In “normal” times, a room at City Centre library is where Surrey Muse members meet on the fourth Friday of each month, save for December. Gone online during the pandemic, each gathering features an author, a poet and an artist/performer at varying levels of artistic development, followed by an open-mic session. English is the language of presentations, but writers/performers are welcome to read/present in other languages of their expression.

Surrey Muse’s Nov. 26 event, its 20th in a virtual setting, will feature author Darcie Friesen Hossack, poet Steffi Tad-y, performer Missy D, open-mic opener Catherine Lewis, Kagan Goh, art by Adrian Arleo and host Mariam Zohra D.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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