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Reading Event / Unbound: Affirmations with Junie Désil, Karmella Benedito De Barros, Chelene Knight, Siobhan Barker, D Fretter, and Brandon Wint

October 21 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

On Friday, October 21 at 6pm, join Massy ArtsMassy Books, and Unbound Reading Series’ creators, Hope Lauterbach and Alisha Davidson + guest authors, for a reading event to explore and celebrate the works of emerging and established authors, and to engage in discussions about community, creativity and Black futures.

“Unbound: Affirmations” is hosted by poet and storyteller Fanny Kearse and will highlight works of poetry and prose from six writers – Junie Désil, Karmella Benedito De Barros, Chelene Knight, Siobhan Barker, D Fretter, and Brandon Wint, followed by a panel discussion on the theme “Affirmations”.

Alisha says, “an affirmation can be an internal or external force, the turning point when clouds part and the sun bursts unexpectedly. Affirmation is a source of hope”.


Registration is open to all and mandatory for entrance.

Purchase eat salt | gaze at the ocean by Junie Desil, Junie by Chelene Knight and Joy & Misery by D Fretter at Massy Books.


Ticketing & Streaming

The event will also be livestreamed, and viewers planning to watch from home can submit questions via the live chat function on Zoom, or submit questions ahead of time to unboundreadingseries@gmail.com.

Tickets for the event are $15 (with student rate for livestream available), but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. We are collecting donations for Battered Women’s Support Services. If you have the means, please consider adding an extra $5-10 on top of the regular ticket price.

For the in-person audience, time has been reserved at the end of the night for refreshments and mingling.


Venue & Covid Protocols

The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.

Registration is open to all and mandatory for entrance. Masks are required. The gallery is wheelchair accessible and a gender-neutral washroom is on-site.

Covid Protocols: Attendees must wear a mask (N95 masks are encouraged and recommended as they offer the best protection). We ask if you are showing symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.


The Readers

Junie Désil is a poet. Born of immigrant (Haitian) parents on the Traditional Territories of the Kanien’kehá:ka in the island known as Tiohtià:ke (Montréal), raised in Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg). Junie’s debut poetry collection Eat Salt|Gaze at the Ocean (TalonBooks, 2020) was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

Karmella Benedito De Barros is an inner-city Indigiqueer with Treaty 6 Mistawasis Nêhiyaw and Afro-Brazilian ancestry. They are a plant loving, community oriented support worker, artist and organizer born and raised in diaspora, as a guest on stolen & unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories. Karmella currently works as the Indigenous Brilliance Community Engagement leader with Room Magazine and the Art Ecosystem. They also work as the CRUW Garden Coordinator at xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, and support the Lucid Arts’ Earthseed Youth Book Club. Karmella’s most recent work is featured in Activations Of Solidarity with the Indigenous Curatorial Collective 2021, and Room Magazine issue 44.1 Growing Room.

Chelene Knight is the author of three books. She is currently working on a commissioned book on Black self-love and joy forthcoming with HarperCollins Canada in 2023. Chelene is the founder of Breathing Space Creative Literary Studio and represents a boutique list of clients as a literary agent with Transatlantic agency.

Siobhan Barker (Sio/they/she) is a published, Nationally recognized bilingual equity, disability justice, and food sovereignty change maker & consultant sought as a Facilitator, Writer, Public Speaker, Storyteller, and Community Organiser. Siobhan is an Unlearning Dramaturgy, S.E.A.R.A., Start the Wave, and Bankability Awards recipient. As a non-binary person of mixed ancestry living with disability, they recognize and value the intersection of identities that inform disability justice, artistic practice, change-making and honouring ancestral teachings.

D Fretter is a poet, spoken word artist, songwriter, and mental health advocate. He began his creative journey at a very young age freestyling over old reggae records with his friend Trey. At age 17, D stole his older sister’s guitar and began putting his raps to chords. After pursuing music for 10 years, he put down his instruments and held on to his pen. D discovered that some truths sound more beautiful without a melody. Now, as a poet D has made a name for himself spreading his message of selflove and grounded optimism. Often referred to as a hip-hop Andrea Gibson or a philosophical Shel Silverstein, D Fretter shares his work to entertain, encourage, and empower his audience.

Brandon Wint is an Ontario born poet, spoken word artist and multi-disciplinary collaborator. For more than a decade, Brandon has been a sought-after, touring performer, and has presented his work in the United States, Australia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Jamaica. His poems and essays have been published in national anthologies, including The Great Black North: Contemporary African-Canadian Poetry (Frontenac House, 2013) and Black Writers Matter (University of Regina Press, 2019). Divine Animal is his debut book of poetry.


The Host

In an act of courageous rebellion, Fanny Kearse walked away from nearly a decade as a social worker and headed west to pursue lifelong dreams of being a poet and disrupting the system to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable. Fanny fuses her experience as a social worker and lived experiences as a justice seeking human to express her artivism through means of poetry and storytelling. More creating, more healing, more JOY!



October 21
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT