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There are many inspiring voices in the arena of Canadian spoken word but few that have been able to reach as many people as Shane Koyczan.


A powerful performer who commands the attention of listeners, he captivates audiences, tapping into their basic humanity with his vulnerability, humour and insight. Koyczan weaves experiences of cruelty and compassion together with a message of hope for the underdog in all of us.


Born in Yellowknife, NWT, Koyczan moved to Penticton, BC, where he grew up and started writing. Concerned with the lack of culture and things to do in their small town, he and some friends organized an open mic poetry reading series at a place called The Hogs’ Breath. They wanted to create an ongoing event where people could share their stories, find their voices, develop as writers and performers or just watch a show and connect with their community.


Since spoken word is somewhat of a fringe art form, it is quite remarkable now to see how far Koyczan has come and the magnitude of his success both on and off the stage. His resumè is extensive.


An Evening with 48 CENTRESTAGE


SHANE KOYCZAN


After moving to Vancouver, he began competing in poetry slams and would eventually team up with other accomplished Canadian poets, Mighty Mike McGee and C.R. Avery, to form a “talk-rock” trio known as Tons Of Fun University (T.O.F.U for short). In 2000, he became the first Canadian to win the Individual Championship at America’s National Poetry Slam. He has hit the stage at TED talks and even performed as part of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremonies. On top of all that, his poetry has been receiving major attention since 2013 after his animated anti-bullying video, “To This Day” went viral and is now currently sitting just shy of 18 million views on YouTube.


He has published four books and is sometimes joined by a band, The Short Story Long, producing


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