City of Nanaimo announces call for Youth Poet Laureate

The City of Nanaimo seeks new Youth Poet Laureate


The City of Nanaimo is seeking applications for the position of Youth Poet Laureate.

Nanaimo’s next Youth Poet Laureate will be appointed by City Council for a two-year-term, and will serve as literary ambassador for the City. The Youth Poet Laureate is an advocate for poetry, language, and the arts, and is expected to create opportunities for the community to appreciate strong youth voice, reach a variety of audiences, encouraging peer to peer education and inspiration,and pave the way for future youth to engage on a civic level using their artistic voice.

Mentored by the Poet Laureate, the Youth Poet Laureate will present original work to City Council and the community through a variety of civic events. They will also be responsible for organizing community-based youth poetry projects, including collaboration with local organizations such as the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library and Literacy Central Vancouver Island.

Past Youth Poet Laureates include Kailey Defehr who served from 2017 to 2018, and Valina Zanetti who served from 2019 to 2021. Both Youth Poets made meaningful and memorable contributions during their terms, bringing unique perspectives and voice to the role.

The successful applicant is expected to have a talent for inspiring the community, have clear and innovative ideas regarding the vision for the position of Youth Poet Laureate, be comfortable presenting and performing in public settings, and have a gift for capturing their audiences through live readings. They will have a track record of engagement with the literary community and will bring their own artistic projects, experiences and networks to this dynamic civic role.

Applicants are invited to review the complete guidelines including eligibility requirements and details on how to apply on the City’s website at

The deadline to submit applications is 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 30.

Link to Strategic Plan: The Poet Laureate program aligns with the goals of the City of Nanaimo by recognizing culture as a significant contributor to quality of life, recognizing and promoting the role that culture and the creative sector play in the community with respect to community identity and quality of life, as well as fostering equitable opportunities for all community members to create, engage, experience, and contribute to arts and culture. The program also supports collaboration with arts and culture organizations, businesses, and other agencies to increase opportunities for working together.

Key Points

  • The position of Youth Poet Laureate is open to Nanaimo residents aged 13 to 24 years. The term is two years, beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
  • Poets are invited to review the complete guidelines including eligibility requirements and detail on how to apply on the Youth Poet Laureate page on the City’s website.
  • The deadline to submit applications is 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2023.


"It’s truly exciting to see the return of Nanaimo’s Youth Poet Laureate program. Our community’s youth voices help shape our City’s cultural identity, and this is a wonderful opportunity to step into the role of literary ambassador. I encourage youth in our community to apply!"

City of Nanaimo

"We’re thrilled to bring the Youth Poet Laureate program back to the City of Nanaimo and celebrate youth voices in our community. Our city is home to incredible literary talent, and we look forward to receiving applications from young poets with creative and ambitious visions for the role."

Cultural Services Coordinator
City of Nanaimo


For media enquiries, please contact:
City of Nanaimo

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