Poet K.B. Thors named CBC/QWF's writer-in-residence for 2020

Kara Billey Thordarson, who writes under K. B. Thors, will be the 2020 CBC/ Quebec Writers' Federation writer-in-residence. Thordarson is the first poet to win the award in its five year history.

Kara Billey Thordarson looks to languages, landscape for writing inspiration

Originally from the Prairies, Kara Billey Thordarson moved to Montreal after working as a translator in Iceland and studying writing at Columbia University in New York City. (Submitted by K. B. Thors)

Kara Billey Thordarson, who writes under the name K. B. Thors, will be the 2020 CBC/ Quebec Writers' Federation writer-in-residence.

Thordarson is the first poet to win the award in its five year history.

Originally from Alberta, she arrived in Montreal after spending years in New York City, Toronto and Reykjavík, Iceland — where she was a translator in residence at the Icelandic Literature Centre.

"I moved to Montreal because after years abroad, it felt like a place where I could really put down roots and build community," she said.

"As a poet and translator, I love living between languages in a place that appreciates art, where experimentation is not only encouraged, but made more possible."

Her essays on language, gender, queer identity and the body have appeared in publication such as Salon and The Rumpus.

She recently published the book of poems Vulgar Mechanics with Coach House Books.

With her passion for languages, Thordarson is looking to explore Montreal's linguistic landscape — beyond English and French — through the multitude of minority languages spoken.

She is also looking to expand on how living on an island shapes a population — from Iceland, to Manhattan to Montreal.

Her first piece will be published on CBC Montreal's website in January. 

The finalists

Kasia van Schaik and Joey Bongiorno were this year's other finalists. (Photos by Danielle Riome and Anne Guay)

Kasia van Schaik is a local writer and literary critic. She is the fiction editor of the QWF's Carte Blanche magazine. She's also an instructor at McGill University, and has lectured at universities in Toronto and Berlin. Readers may recognize her by her pen name, Kasia Juno.

Joey Bongiorno is a writer, English teacher and Montrealer through-and-through. He maintains a blog about the city and regularly participates in reading nights in Montreal.

Award in its 5th year

This is the fifth CBC/QWF writer-in-residence award, which is open to emerging and established writers in the greater Montreal region.

The selected writer produces a series of nonfiction posts that are published on the CBC Montreal website and they makes guest appearances on both CBC Radio and CBC TV. 



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