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Bertrand Bickersteth

Born in Sierra Leone, Bertrand Bickersteth grew up in Edmonton, Calgary, and Olds, Alberta. Identified instantly as an athlete by innumerable school and community coaches, Bertrand only reluctantly began to use his brain in his twenties and soon after turned to writing. After an English degree at UBC, Bertrand committed himself to academia, continuing his studies and then teaching in the U.K. and later the U.S. A return to Alberta provided him with new insights on black identity and most of his writing has been committed to these perspectives ever since. Although he writes in several genres, anticlimactically, the topic is always the same: what does it mean to be black and from the prairies? He has presented variations on this topic at several academic conferences and in academic writings as well. He has also given many talks for the general public and, in 2015, delivered a TED Talk for BowValleyCollegeTEDx called The Weight of Words. In addition to his academic work, he has written a number of plays, one of which was excerpted during Black History Month, 2010 (produced by Centre Stage Theatre). His poetry has appeared in several publications, including most recently, The Antigonish Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Fieldstone Review. His poetry has also been published in The Great Black North and is forthcoming (2019) in The Black Prairie Archives. In 2018, he was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. He lives in Calgary, teaches at Olds College, and no longer plays a single sport. The Response of Weeds is his debut collection and is a part of the Crow Said Poetry series.