Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is the Artistic Director of b current performing arts and the award-winning author of Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press). Scarborough won the 2015 Jim Wong-Chu Award, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award, the Evergreen Forest of Reading Award, Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, the Trillium Book Award; and longlisted for Canada Reads 2018. It made the “Best of 2017” list for The Globe and Mail, National Post, Quill and Quire, and CBC Books. It is now being adapted into a full-length film by Compy Films, Telefilm and Reel Asian Film Festival. www.catherinehernandezcreates.com.

SPEAKING TOPICS

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND OUTREACH
Catherine’s novel, Scarborough, is required reading for a number of universities from Brock to Queen’s to University of Toronto. Part literary reading, part discussion, students of social work, nursing, early childhood education, teacher’s education, law and more learn to engage and outreach with communities in ways that are responsible, sustainable and mutually beneficial.

Catherine has been a youth educator since she was 15 dealing with groups ranging from ex-child soldiers in Colombia to pre-med students in Duke University. She has, through trial and error, developed strategies to engage with a wide range of communities that are sincere and genuine.

The elements of these types of workshops or discussions usually include:
–Readings from the novel that depict these themes
–Writing exercises to envision possible positive outcomes
–Writing exercises and discussion to acknowledge systems of privilege and oppression that impact a community, to acknowledge how participants benefit or are marginalized by those systems
–Writing exercises to encourage participants to voice frustrations with current institutions and envision better management practices
–Discussions on self-care for frontline workers, concluding with further readings from the novel which depict this theme

DECOLONIZING ARTISTIC PRACTICE
Catherine allows artists of all backgrounds and skill levels to decolonize their practice by doing several exercises that distract the colonized voice within and allow their true voice to emerge.

This workshop for artists in the literary, theatre and dance industries has been done for various organizations such as Sherbourne Health Centre, the Inspirit Foundation and Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. The focus can be movement or writing depending on the organization’s requests.

The elements of these types of workshops or discussions usually include:
–Writing/movement exercises that distract the colonized part of our psyche
–Writing/movement exercises that challenge us to align with our ancestors
–Sharing of writing/movement messages from our ancestors
–Break-out sessions to work in groups on a collective piece

PUBLIC READING WORKSHOPS FOR AUTHORS
There are a wealth of incredibly talented writers who do not feel confident reading their own work.

Catherine, whose recording of Scarborough earned her a Top 10 Audiobook for Audible in 2018, pries shy authors out of their shells by teaching them how to deliver an entertaining and riveting reading.

This workshop includes practicing reading out loud, being looked at, breaking down a script and troubleshooting technical issues.

SELF CARE AND BODY PRIDE
Since being featured in NOW Magazine’s 2017 Love Your Body Issue, Catherine has had numerous requests to speak to folks about her journey of healing from rape and abuse to renowned LGBTQ2S author. In this workshop, Catherine shares her journey from being a survivor, former single mom and home daycare owner while writing in the evenings and weekends.

The elements of these discussions usually include:
–Literary readings surrounding these themes
–Writing exercises to express body shame and pride
–Sharing of writing and affirmation of participants

Other subjects include:
— Queer parenting
–Writing prose using theatre development techniques
–Queer Femininity
–Embodying allyship and anti-oppression