Elee Kraljii Gardiner
Elee Kraljii Gardiner founded and directs Thursdays Writing Collective, a program of free, drop-in creative writing classes in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, an area challenged by poverty-related issues of systematic marginalization and beloved by residents [AU1] for its optimism, activism and creativity. Since the Collective’s inception in 2008, 150 writers ranging in age from 18-87 have participated in writing sessions, events, and festivals, including the Heart of the City, Spirit Rising, Candahar Art Bar at the Cultural Olympiad, Word on the Street, V125 Poetry Conference, the Memory Festival, and numerous artistic collaborations with diverse literary communities, including UBC Law students. Participants have gone on to publish in literary journals, win literary awards and slam contests, present on conference panels, record their work, and manufacture personal chapbooks.
Thursdays Writing Collective has brought out five chapbooks, of which Gardiner is editor and publisher, including Thursdays 2: Writings from the Carnegie Centre (with John Asfour), and The Writers Caravan Anthology (with Michael Turner) with the support of Canada Council, City of Vancouver, Simon Fraser University, and Carnegie Community Centre. In spring 2012, Gardiner and coeditor John Asfour published V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, an anthology from Arsenal Pulp Press.
A frequent collaborator with writers and multidisciplinary artists, Gardiner leads workshops on creativity and social writing. She holds an MA in Hispanic Studies from University of British Columbia and is affiliated with Simon Fraser University, sitting on the Advisory Council of The Writer’s Studio. Her writing, which earned the 2011 Lina Chartrand Poetry Award, has appeared in North American anthologies and publications and has been set to several new music compositions. Originally from Boston, Gardiner is a dual citizen and lives in Vancouver with her family. Visit her organization’s website at www.thursdayswritingcollective.ca.