Raoul and a young reader of his own
Raoul Fernandes is an award-winning poet, a brand-new father and a super dedicated tutor. After discovering the Writers’ Room at the Word on the Street festival, Raoul has volunteered almost every week—he even tutored on the day his baby was due to be born! And Raoul has helped the Writers’ Room kids in a wide variety of ways, from creating writing activities to designing volunteer badges to writing a poem just for the kids.

Mark, age 8, wanted to interview Raoul for this addition of Tutor of the Month because, He's a really nice guy. He’s a great friend, and I really like him because he’s kind of mysterious to me sometimes.

Mark: Do you have a pet?
Raoul: Yes! I have a new baby named Leith! He’s eleven weeks and really. . . Wait, that’s my son, not a pet. I have a lovely black cat named Bat. He likes food, birdwatching, food, and sitting in front of the fireplace. He also really likes food.

Where do you live?
I live in the basement of a house near the Nanaimo Skytrain station in East Vancouver. We have a garden with two quince trees and grapevines and all kinds of plants that you can put in salads.

Where are you from?
That’s a good question! I was born in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. But my parents are both from India. Also, I’ve lived more of my life now in Canada. So should I say I’m from Dubai or India or Canada? It would be easier if I met an alien travelling in space and could say “I’m from Earth. Which planet are you from?”

What is your family name?
It’s Fernandes, which has Portuguese origins. This is from the Portuguese coming to India a long time ago. I just checked on the internet and it means “brave space traveller”! Ok, I added the “space” but still. . . that could be what they meant.

Do you like the Writers’ Room?
I do, indeed! My favourite thing is getting to play hangman and hearing the awesome stories and poems that the students write. Monsters and princesses and sharks! Sometimes all at the same time! It seriously makes me want to put more sharks in my poems.

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