2019 Speakers

Rebecca Thomas

Opening Keynote Topic: Thick Skin and a Soft Heart

Rebecca Thomas is a Mi’kmaw poet and activist who does not want to be a poet or activist. She just happens to be good enough at poetry and persuasion to get people to listen but her ultimate goal is to make Canada a better place for her Indigenous community because so many people tend to forget they were here first.

She has captained the Halifax Slam Poetry team three years in a row, taking HaliSlam to the semi finals in 2016.  She has accidentally found herself as the former Poet Laureate of Halifax. She has performed with a Tribe Called Red and has spoken and lectured at conferences and coffee houses from coast to coast. She writes kids’ books about growing up the child of a residential school survivor. She has written for the CBC and Washington Post but has yet to make a chapbook. She pays her bills by working as the Indigenous Supports Advisor for the Nova Scotia Community College.

She’ll be doing some cool symphony stuff with Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia but does not play a musical instrument, so we’ll see how it goes! She also feels real uncomfortable writing bios about herself. She’s done some other things here and there but has reached her tolerance for hearing all her accomplishments listed off.

Deborah Kimmett

Closing Keynote Topic: That Which Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Funnier

Toronto-based comedian, speaker, author, instructor, and director. She is a 35-year veteran of the legendary Second City theatre company, and has made memorable appearances at The Winnipeg Comedy Festival, as well as CBC’s The Debaters and Definitely Not The Opera.

Deborah is the author of two books of comedic essays (Reality is Over-Rated and That Which Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Funnier), as well as one novel (Outrunning Crazy). Tarragon Theatre, Vancouver Arts Club have produced her plays, Last Respects and Miracle Mother, (Shortlisted for a Governor General Award).

She has logged hundreds of hours on the road performing her solo shows (Comedy From A Broad, Looking Good for My Age).  And her new solo show The Year of The Suddenly is currently being used as a fundraiser for health care organizations in Ontario.

She has written hundreds of hours for magazines, radio, and TV. On her new web series, Kimmett on the Couch, she waxes poetic about aging, Fitbits and how not to get into a fight at Aquafit.

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