Ottawa, March 19, 2019 – We are proud to announce that Deanna Young and Margaret Michèle Cook will be named City of Ottawa Poet Laureates for a two-year term. At the end of adjudication managed by VERSe Ottawa, a panel of judges chose these two writers because of their noteworthy community activity and the recognized high quality of their poetry. The City of Ottawa will be able to count on these two renowned poets to become Ottawa’s cultural ambassadors to promote the literary arts and to advance Ottawa’s unique voice in the world.

In 2017, City Council approved funding for the renewal of a Poet Laureate Program for the City of Ottawa. Before this renewal of the Poet Laureate program, Ottawa had an unilingual Poet Laureate program between 1982 and 1990. After an almost 30-year hiatus, City Council in consultation with VERSe Ottawa resurrected and augmented the Poet Laureate program to be fully bilingual, providing funding for both Anglophone and Francophone poet laureates. Each Poet Laureate will receive an annual honorarium of $5,000, as well as another $5,000 to fund various poetry-related programs and events.

7:00 pm. Saturday March 23, 2019, at Jean Pigott Place, City Hall, there will be an official Poet Laureate Event open to the public and press. His honour, Mayor Jim Watson will extend congratulations on behalf of the City of Ottawa and present the poet laureates with their awards. After the official inauguration, the two poet laureates will perform short readings from their work. 

Deanna Young is the author of four books of poetry, including Reunion, published by Brick Books in 2018. Her previous book, House Dreams (2014), was nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, the Ottawa Book Award, the Archibald Lampman Award, and the ReLit Award. Originally from southwestern Ontario (Canada), she lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where she works as an editor and teaches poetry privately.

Margaret Michèle Cook has published five collections of poetry with Éditions du Nordir, and three collections at Éditions L’Interligne. She was born in Toronto, lived in New Haven, Aix-en-Provence and Paris before settling in Ottawa in 1987. The life journey, the inner world, the dimensions of the human dream, as well as the ongoing connection with language has enriched her creative process. Margaret Michèle Cook won the 2009 Ottawa Book Prize for her work, Chronos à sa table de travail.

Margaret Michèle Cook (left) and Deanna Young (right)