Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Shauntay Grant: Stitched Stories and celebrating Black History

Shauntay Grant is an author, poet, playwright, and multimedia artist whose art is inspired by her roots in Nova Scotia's historic Black communities. Her honours include a Joseph S. Stauffer Prize in Writing and Publishing from the Canada Council for the Arts, a Poet of Honour prize from the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, a Robert Merritt Award for her stage play The Bridge, and a Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award for her picture book Africville with illustrator Eva Campbell. Africville was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards.

Shauntay's Stitched Stories: The Family Quilts installation was recently featured in Visual Arts News with her beautifully written article that celebrating her grandmother's life and art. Shauntay talks about the impact her grandmother Alfreda Smith had on her life, and in the Arts community: "A lesser-known trailblazer in the local arts community, she ushered the movement of African Nova Scotian quilts from community homes to gallery walls. She was a poet, storyteller, songwriter and—as I discovered going through her writings when she passed—a playwright! Ever grateful for her inspiration and encouragement over the years, and for the opportunity to share her work now." Click here to read the full article.

Pictured: Shauntay and her grandmother Alfreda in front of Winter Quilt which was created by Grant’s great-grandmother (Smith’s mother) Annie Simmonds.

Shauntay has published several books, including poetry collections and children's books. Her work often explores themes of identity, heritage, and the experiences of Black Canadians. In 2009, she won the Atlantic Book Award for Best Atlantic Published Book for Children for her book "Up Home," which is a collection of stories and poems about life in a rural Black community in Nova Scotia.  Shauntay has released 7 children's books to date, and will be releasing 4 books in her "Let's Play Outside" series.  The first two books in the series, "Sandy Toes" and "Snowy Mittens" are now available for pre-order.

Shauntay Grant is an associate professor of creative writing at Dalhousie University, and a member of The Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists. She shares her blend of words and music internationally at festivals and events, and collaborates with visual artists and art galleries to create poetry-themed artworks, installations, and exhibitions. A former poet laureate for the City of Halifax, her poetry for children and adults has been published in educational resources, anthologies and literary journals.

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