Surrey Stories Connect: Teens and Seniors Write Surrey Photos

Friday May 12, 2017: evening, up in Room 418, Surrey City Centre public library, writers and friends celebrated the launch of this book: a time-capsule of Surrey, Autumn 2016, through the writings of seniors and youth from the Cloverdale, Strawberry Hill areas of Surrey as well as at Historic Stewart Farm. Co-edited by Meghan Savage and Renee Sarojini Saklikar:

May 25-27: Surrey Children’s Festival and Sanja

In between running Erasure Poetry workshops at the Surrey Children’s Festival, I had the chance to see an incredible show called Sanja:

Sangja takes the audience on a remarkable journey from Korea to Canada, and all of the imaginative places in-between. We follow a boy as he strives to find his unique place in the world and come to terms with the incredible loss of his birth family, language, and culture, while navigating the tensions that occurs when families (and people) don’t fit within our cultural expectations.

Featuring two renowned theatre companies from South Korea and Canada, this play is a dynamic blend of physical theatre, breathtaking puppetry, an extraordinary musical score, and theatrical elements from East and West! Sangja, the Korean word for “box,” explores identity, race, cultural diversity and conformity, non-traditional families, international adoption, and the boxes we put people in.”

The Surrey Children’s Festival runs from May 25-27 at the Surrey Arts Centre and Bear Creek Park. 

Ticket Information and Schedule Here

May 12: Surrey Stories Connect Book Launch

As Surrey Poet Laureate, I’m very excited to be launching the anthology, Surrey Stories Connect: Teens and Seniors Write Surrey, on Friday May 12, 6:30-8:30 pm at City Centre Library. Here’s a bit from the official presser:

The book tells the lived experiences of Surrey residents from the Cloverdale and Strawberry Hill areas as well as from Historic Stewart Farm. ‘It’s a time capsule, a snapshot of Surrey in the fall of 2016, written by seniors and teens, during afternoon writing workshops,’ said Saklikar. ‘I am very proud that this anthology contains a chapter of the oral stories of senior citizens, many of whom are women who worked on berry farms and in sawmills. Their stories are translated from Punjabi and Gujarati into English.’

Surrey Stories Connect also includes responses to the writing prompt, ‘I remember when,’ with reminisces of the Surrey of the past as written by participants. ‘The writing captures moments in time, created in one sitting, at three different locations, with stories that reveal the deep diversity of this complex city,’ explains Co-editor, Meghan Savage.

In the Preface of the book, Mayor Linda Hepner remarks that ‘Surrey Stories Connect: Teens and Seniors Write Surrey arrives at a time when we are celebrating the history of Canada as it officially turns 150… The stories serve as an example of Surrey’s rich cultural diversity and unique heritage in Canada.’

Since starting her role as Surrey’s Poet Laureate in October 2015, Saklikar has been working to create a legacy program of poetry-outreach that is multi-lingual and inter-cultural, in partnership with local organizations in Surrey. Her interest has been in furthering grass-roots connections with youth, seniors, and community groups. She has just recently accepted an extension of her position as Surrey’s Poet Laureate for another year and will be serving into the fall of 2018.

Everyone is welcome to attend the book launch, which is part of the Surrey Poet Laureate legacy project, a collaboration between Surrey Libraries, the City of Surrey, and PICS Senior’s Care Facility. The book will be available free of charge. Light refreshments will be provided. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot! For more information, visit

March 10: Surrey Poet Laureate Writing Consults

I’ll be doing another writing consultation this Friday at the Semiahmoo Arts Centre in South Surrey.

Semiahmoo Arts Centre
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Renée will read your manuscript before your 45-minute meeting. At the meeting, she may provide you with suggestions about editing, how to publish your work, and how to work with editors and publishers. “

Visit the Surrey Library website to schedule a session. I look forward to reading your work!

Feb 17: Surrey Poet Laureate Writing Consults

Once again, I’m delighted as Surrey Poet Laureate to offer free manuscript consultations this Feb 17 at the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre, Visual Arts Studio.

Semiahmoo Arts Centre
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To register, please register at I look forward to reading your work!

Click for more details