Commissioner Angelique Bernard, centre, shakes hands with a visitor during a speaking engagement in Whitehorse in 2019. The Yukon Commissioner’s Office is looking for applicants for its Story Laureate of Yukon Program to serve as the ambassador of literary arts, oral history and literacy of the territory’s past, present and future. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Commissioner’s officer looking to select a Story Laureate

Winner will have to serve two-year term

The Yukon Commissioner’s Office is looking for applicants for its Story Laureate of Yukon Program.

Commissioner Angelique Bernard spoke with the News on June 18 about the program.

The individual selected will serve as the ambassador of literary arts, oral history and literacy of the territory’s past, present and future.

“Basically we will have that person document the life and events of Yukon,” Bernard said.

The successful candidate will have to produce four original works. These are written or artistic works that should reflect Yukon places or identities. The commissioner and the laureate would sit down to discuss the direction they want to take for this project.

Bernard added that the laureate will present their work at two public events supported by the Office of the Commissioner.

The medium of the four works will depend on who is chosen.

“The laureate program is broad on purpose, so the person we are looking for would be in the field of writing,” Bernard said. “So poetry, shorts stories, haikus even, and we’ve also added the oral part of it.”

This means, she explained, people who do slam, singers, storytellers could be good candidates for the position.

The laureate would serve a two-year term.

“We have limited the time because we really want to highlight the wonderful artists that we have in the Yukon,” Bernard said.

After the two years expire, there will be a new application process.

This is the first time the Commissioner’s Office is putting forward such a program, thus she is unsure of just what artistic works can be done. For that reason, it was decided to make the program broader.

The ideal candidate will be someone who has already published work. Applicants will have to write and submit a cover letter as well as a signed application form, resume, letter of references, examples of published work and a five to 10 minute video going over the examples.

“We’re looking for someone that has a bit of experience in the field,” Bernard said.

An independent panel will review applicants. Bernard will not be a part of this panel. Applicants will be rated on experience, their work and their presentation. There will also be an interview.

Application forms are available online at www.commissionerofyukon.ca.

Bernard suggested calling her office at 867-667-5121 to set up a meeting to drop off applications.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

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