Chelene Knight is the author of the poetry collection Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant, winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award, and long-listed for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. Her essays have appeared in multiple Canadian and American literary journals, plus the Globe and Mail, the Walrus, and the Toronto Star. Her work is anthologized in Making Room, Love Me True, Sustenance, The Summer Book, and Black Writers Matter.

The Toronto Star called Knight, “one of the storytellers we need most right now.” Knight was the previous managing editor at Room (2016- June 2019), and programming director for the Growing Room Festival (2018, 2019), and now CEO of #LearnWritingEssentials and Breathing Space Creative. She often gives talks about home, belonging and belief, inclusivity, and community building through authentic storytelling.

Knight is currently working on Junie, a novel set in Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley, forthcoming in 2020. She was selected as a 2019 Writers’ Trust Rising Star by David Chariandy.

Speaker’s website’s: &

Speaking topic: On Home and Belonging: Demanding Space

Whether it’s seeking belonging in your town, city committee, board, city, or work place,  the need to demand and hold space is priority number one for people of colour, especially women. This talk focuses on what it means to create space, tools, and resources when looking at inclusivity and equity in workplaces where there are marginalized people occupying space. What does it look like when personal narrative is mashed up against the political? How can organizations better themselves and create safer spaces for visible minorities? If you are an organization or group looking to inspire your colleagues to “do better” in a meaningful way and with intention, this talk is for you.

Other Speaking Topics

  • Author Care
  • Diversity in Publishing
  • Women of Colour as Leaders and Mentors
  • Equity & Inclusion: Women of Colour in executive positions

Previous Keynotes and talks

  • Live Interview with New York Times best-selling author, Angie Thomas
  • Home & Belonging, Keynote, Camosun Fundraiser
  • Home & Belonging, Human Rights and Equity Conference, BC Nurses Union
  • Literary change-makers IIndian Summer Festival
  • Live Interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Natasha Trethewey
  • Diversity in Publishing MagNet Magazine Conference
  • Where are you really from? On Being Black In Vancouver, Vancouver Public Library
  • Black History Symposium

relevant media coverage:

Toronto Star, Chelene On Belonging and Race

Toronto Star, Chelene Knight: One of the Storytellers We Need Most Right Now

Toronto Star, Chelene Knight Writer’s Trust Rising Star

To book Chelene Knight, contact Rob Firing at