Meet our new Managing Editor

Hi Word and Colour readers,

I’m Caitrin Pilkington, and I’m Word and Colour’s new Managing Editor. That means I’ll be working on staffing, administration and marketing. I’m very much looking forward to getting started.

I’m a writer and editor working in Toronto — you can find my work in VICE, THIS
Magazine, the National Post and Halifax Magazine. I’ve previously worked with the
Ecology Action Centre in Nova Scotia and Banff Heritage Tourism to tackle things like marketing and membership.

I’m so excited to be working with such talented people — Editor in Chief Nailah King and former Managing Editor and founder Liam Lachance have been so welcoming and have so many good ideas for the future of this publication.

I was first drawn to this position by the core values of this publication, and I care deeply about upholding them. I’m passionate about promoting writers whose voices are so often not included in the literary world, especially IBPOC, LGBTQQIP2SAA, disabled and non-binary writers.

Over the next few months, we’ll be working on developing a new quarterly format for the magazine and other exciting developments. We look forward to receiving your work and sharing more written talent and artwork in the very near future.

You can always get in touch with me at


“Madonna” – Tristen Sutherland


My Madonna stands ten feet tall. She has a certain swing in her hips, wry smile on her lips.

I can tell she knows something. But I don’t let on. I prefer to watch her go about her day, arranging flowers on the table, setting the vase this or that way.

My Madonna is no prude, she makes risqué jokes and sunbathes in the nude.

I want to tell her something, but I can’t find the words to speak,

So, I let her go on talking, maybe I’ll let her know – maybe I’m too weak.

My Madonna loves dancing, she takes me to wild soirees, we dance with many people,

We always end up parting ways. People like to watch her dancing, there is power in her sway.

I bite my tongue and avert my eyes, I’ll see her the next day.

My Madonna sometimes cries, she conceals red eyes with misplaced humour and a weak smile, I comfort her holding her in my arms, she holds me close, disappearing into sobs.

She whispers secrets in my ears, about her lovers and her sadness, I suppose I’m her mere–

My Madonna looks at me with stern eyes when I tell her. She is upset, curses, this is always happening to her.

I try to take it back, but she says she always knew it, she calls me “twisted and sick.”

I don’t see her after that.

My Madonna is not my Madonna, she isn’t anyone’s to keep. She’s a person, not a deity. This, I am embarrassed to say, I didn’t see.

I regret my confession. All she wanted was a friend in me.

I sometimes think of not-Madonna when I sit by the water, where we used to bathe in the sun.

I think of what I words I would say to her now.

I look off into the cotton candy water and ponder.

Still, I think of none.

these words by Tristen Sutherland were inspired by the work of Lisa Vanin

“Fondness” – Samantha Lapierre

blue ghost

I am trying my best.
When I need to, I hide in the depths of blankets and in deep thoughts of living in a forest with you in a small wood house.
You are doing your best too, I see it.
Making coffee in the early hours, feeding the cat her food, huddling with me in the cold as we wait for a parade.
We’ve remained soft around our edges, we’ve let light and colour in our home. I feel found, I’ve found more comfort in that forest. We’ve grown older and fonder.
Remember when we said hello?

these words by Samantha Lapierre were inspired by the work of Sophia Moore

The views expressed in the texts do not necessarily represent the views of the artist.

“Red Night, Black Night” – Martha Batiz

the red coat_szente-szabo akos

The last thing I saw — Mother, torch in hand, racing back home at the skirts of the volcano.

The sky was dark and grey—an impenetrable shade of grey, darker than night yet cruel enough to let you see as if through a veil, fight for breath, scampering for your life.

I watched her leave me. Begged her to stop, to run away with me. The gods had made the earth tremble. Made the volcano spit out its burning-hot entrails. We’d been trained to read the signals in the sky and below our feet; we’d been taught to fear the gods’ wrath—to be ready.

Nothing prepared us for what happened.

It had all started many moons before, I was a child, yet I remember. When they arrived—foreigners with tall, four-legged beasts, wearing clothes stronger than obsidian knives and bones—we took them in. We admired their skin, rosy as a seashell, their hair like threads of gold, and the weapons they called “swords,” which we had never seen before.

You cannot carve anything that long out of stone.

We thought they’d been sent by the Feathered Snake, Quetzalcóatl, our long-lost god who promised to return bringing blessings.

We were wrong.

They brought sickness and pain; the urge to take away, to dispossess. Forced us to give up our land, our freedom, and our beliefs.

It was too late when we discovered they were not gods, because our gods had appreciated the gift of fresh beating hearts. Our gods had given us rain and sunshine; crops grew and we were satisfied. But, those creatures had skin that blistered up and turned red and vulnerable under our sun; they pushed us to the ground, took our bodies, and then despised us; they were thieves who dug holes in our land and took everything precious, offering nothing in return.

So, it was time for war. Our men fought while we danced. And we prayed for forgiveness, for we had been forced to betray everything we had been, everything we had believed in. Then, our rivers turned red, and so did the sky.

We were not absolved.

Smoke opened an endless night as the earth trembled. As I saw her leave me, torch in hand. Me and my red dress—made in advance to mark our victory—were left alone. Alone, and drowning in the dust of loss.

these words by Martha Batiz were inspired by the work of Akos Szente-Szabó

Meet our new editor!



Dear Word and Colour readers,

My name is Nailah King and I’m Word and Colour’s new Editor in Chief.

Firstly, I want to say how honoured I am to take on this position and be a part of this team. To be able to work with such a talented team is exciting and invigorating. I want to thank Liam (Managing Editor) and Leah (Outgoing Editor in Chief) for allowing me be to be a part of the beautiful community that’s been built here.

For those who don’t know me, I’m a Toronto-based writer and my work focuses on social justice and explores racism, discrimination, identity and my Caribbean heritage. I have been a member of Room’s growing collective since 2011 and in 2016 I served as Co-editor for the first Women of Colour issue.

Having been a past contributor to this magazine, what I love about it is its commitment to centring stories about anti-oppression. I’ll be working together with the existing team to make the content on the website more accessible and help continue to grow our readership.

I want to hear your stories whether they’re poetry or fiction. To continue to make the conversations around anti-oppression inclusive and intersectional, I encourage underrepresented writers (including IBPOC, LGBTQQIP2SAA, disabled, women and non binary writers), to get in touch and submit your work to us. Email me at

I look forward to working with all of you in the future.


Read Nailah’s past prose at the journal

Opening: Reading Coordinator

The Reading Coordinator organizes literary readings with Word and Colour authors and similar writers in the Montreal community. They share the work with the Managing Editor and Community Outreach coordinator, organizing readings at least once per season.

Because Word and Colour is a collective of volunteers working under the mission to confront oppression with words inspired by colour, an ideal candidate would benefit from the position for their professional experience, as it is a volunteer role with the rest of our team. Readings

In general, the Reading Coordinator:

  • finds an appropriate venue;
  • arranges audio equipment;
  • works with the graphic design team for posters;
  • works with the social media team for marketing,
  • and works with the Managing Editor to establish a roster of readers.

To apply, contact by September 15th with a resume and an answer to the question: why do readings matter?

“And I Inhale Again” – Nahomi Amberber


I lay myself down in between you
And us
And inhale.
You do not smell like home
Like they said you would.
You smell like old pine trees and the mud they root themselves in,
And I inhale again.
I begin to weep and you ask me why;
“You smell like land unconquered,” I say.
“You smell like a dream.”

these words by Nahomi Amberber were inspired by the work of Selina Vesely

New poetry from Oumy Dembele, “MEIOSIS”

evelyn bencicova_druhe3

“Home is not where you live but where they understand you.”

-Christian Morgenstern

in Europe I’m too African
in Africa I’m too European
and in Canada I’m too French
I’m done.

How many years
have I lost
in a camouflage?
Trying to eclipse one side of myself
just to be told
that the other one is wrong?

I’m so stupid.
Self-love? Ruined.
Self-esteem? I’d like to see that.
You. Words. Irony. Jokes. Silences. Looks. Because.I.don’t.belong

It’s like seeking affection and never finding open arms, reaching out to your mum’s hand and
never grabbing it, wandering around the world, homeless, rejected by your own kind

With multiplying comes the division. It’s nature. Maybe that’s how things are supposed to be.
Maybe my home doesn’t exist.
Maybe my will is unrealistic.
Maybe my hope is a camouflage too.
To hide the ugly truth.

these words by Oumy Dembele were paired with the colour of Evelyn Bencicova

“City” – Samantha Lapierre


City, please be gentle with me. Be kind when I close my eyes and the pitch black becomes starry neon lights. Be sympathetic when I ride the streetcar alone, when I fall on the sidewalk and bust my knee open, when I descend wobbly stairs into basement bars illuminated with glowing red lights.

There are streets lined with Internet cafés, shadowy music halls and hole-in-the-walls that all house anonymity. I feel like a very small anonymous blip on your ever-growing radar.

Our necks twist and turn as we leer to recognize a familiar face. We pick fresh fruit from the market stands; cars whiz by and I hear a bicycle bell in the distance. Dead fish rest in storefront windows and people shuffle by. Everybody is hastily going about their own business.

I’ve given you a year of my life, and I’m not sure how much more I have left to give. City, please be gentle with me.


these words by Samantha Lapierre were inspired by the work of Olaf Hajek


click here for the live audio of our Cagibi reading!

Audio of the first leg of Word and Colour’s Summer Reading Series at Cagibi on June 24th, MC’d by Dena Coffman!

Readers, in order of appearance:

Nailah King, a member of the Room editorial collective. She is also a writer, avid reader, and blogger. A UBC alumnae, she is currently working on completing a thus far untitled manuscript in prose fiction. Read King’s recent word and colour prose, “Diaspora Blues,” inspired by the art of Shanna Strauss

Taisha Cayard, a Social Services student at Dawson College who has recently found interest in writing poetry. She loves to sing and to socialize. Read Cayard’s recent wandc collaboration, “But What Can I Learn From You,” in dialogue with the poetry of Audre Lorde

Lily Chang, who writes, edits, and pays rent and hydro in Montreal. She is a recent graduate of Concordia University’s MA program in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Headlight Anthology, Word and Colour, Voices Visible, and Frog Hollow Press’s City Series. Read Chang’s poetry, “White is Not My Colour,” inspired by the art of Tran Nguyen
Oumy Dembele, a Professional Theater student from France. A scriptwriting graduate, her writing is mostly focused on fiction and scenes. She recently challenged herself to write prose in English. Her work, “Meiosis,” is forthcoming at Word and Colour.
Tristen Sutherland, who studies English Literature and Political Science at McGill. When she’s not writing, she’s performing improv comedy or debating whether it’s safe to eat raw cookie dough. Read her recent Word and Colour piece, “Mango,” inspired by the art of Angela Pilgrim.


See more photos of the reading via @wordandcolour