Melissa Brizuela (she/her) is known to draw endless Venn diagrams between places, foods, and friends, then colour in the spaces with her poems & stories. She is a writer and poet living in Toronto (Tkaronto) and calls anywhere in the world where loved ones carry a piece of her in their hearts home. In life and on the page, Melissa mines the minutiae of the everyday in search of buried treasure, for gifts hidden within grief and lessons within pain. Earlier this year, her untitled haiku was selected as the recipient of the February Award of Awesomeness by Arc Poetry Magazine.
Melissa is at work on her first full-length work of non-fiction: part cooking methodology and part travel memoir. The memoir sutures the wounds of childhood and subsequent loss of her adulthood best friend with lessons about love and friendship learned through the art of cooking, with artists and friends in three cities around world: Toronto (Canada), Tallinn (Estonia) and New York City (USA). Outside of her writerly activities she serves as an Advisor to Reset (thisisreset.org), a nonprofit social enterprise that creates playful cultures and communities as a solution to individual and collective wellbeing. Melissa is proud to return to Hillside after making her festival debut in 2022.