Storma Sire is an award winning African Canadian author/illustrator with West African Akan heritage. She is a 4th year psychology student going into art therapy and worked as a crisis and suicide prevention counsellor for a number of years. Storma Sire has Sickle Cell Anemia, a genetic blood disorder that is common among those with African or tropical decent and is another influence on the themes of overcoming weaknesses and disabilities in her poetry and stories. Storma is currently co-founding the very first Sickle Cell Society in BC. She occasionally stages poetry and spoken word events around Vancouver. She has written and illustrated a children’s novel called Lessons in Magic which was published in 2005. Her children’s novel Lessons in Magic won for Best Emerging Authour/illustrator in Children’s Literature in 2006 from the Canada Council for the Arts. She has also illustrated for the University of Brutish Columbia’s (UBC) Journal of Writing for Children. Her paintings on stone and canvass are exhibited locally. Sire’s vivid and imaginative African artwork focuses on abstract, indigenous and subjective narratives, primal connections, and symbolic and archetypal themes existing inside and all around us – providing the viewer with a colourful and mysterious dream-like experience. Sire has been teaching art, creative writing and creativity classes at Langara College and for the City of Burnaby for nearly a decade. She has worked at the Vancouver Art Gallery for 6 years, and has co-curated a number of independent art shows.
In addition to children’s literature she has co-written two independent feature films, two television pilots and one documentary on the homeless in the Vancouver, downtown east side called Goin’ Home which was shot in 2007. Barbara James, a full-length independent feature film, co-written with Gerry Atwell and Winston Washington Moxam was the first black, full length, independent feature film to come out of Winnipeg. The Film was honoured at the National Film Board of Canada and won for best picture, best actress and was nominated for best screenplay at the Toronto Black Film and Video Network which aired on Much Music and MTV in 2002. Barbara James was honoured at several international film festivals:
- The BFM (Black Filmmaker Magazine) International Film Festival, London, UK (Sept 2003)
- The Pan African Film festival, Atlanta, Georgia (Aug. 2003)
- The Pan African Film festival, Los Angeles, California (Feb. 2003)
- The California Film Institutes Mill Valley Film Festival, Los Angeles, California (Feb. 2003)
- Nominated for best screenplay and won for best picture and best actress – Storma Mcdonald (Sire), at the Black Film and Video Network in Toronto (Oct. 2002)
- Toronto’s Get Reel Film festival (April 2002).
- The National Screen Institute of Canada (March 2002)
- The 30th Annual Festival Internacional De Cinema da Figurira da Foz in Portugal. Won for best cinematography (Sept. 2001)
- The Taormina Film festival in Taormina, Sicily (July 2001), Storma Mcdonald (Sire) was chosen to present the Taormina Art Diamond Award for the film Voices of Sarafina to International African Superstar Miriam Makeba.
Storma Sire is currently writing a book of poetry call Red Cap. She plans to continue writing poetry and exhibiting art across Canada. Her art work can be purchased through the Window Art Shop in Vancouver at www.thewindowartshop.com or contact her on Facebook.