Yaya Yao is a writer and educator born and raised in Tkaronto, traditional territory of the Wendat, Anishnaabeg, Haudenosanee, Métis, and Misissaugas of the Credit nations. For 20 years, she has worked as an arts-based language and social justice educator in school, university, and NGO settings in Tkaronto, Montréal, Hong Kong, Sapporo, Chiang Mai, and Fukuoka. She is currently based in Fukuoka, where she is pursuing a PhD at Kyushu University and teaching high school.
Yaya’s first collection of poetry, Flesh, Tongue, was published by Mawenzi House in 2015. Her poetry has appeared in journals including CV2, Fireweed, the Toronto Review of Books, and TOK 7.
Yaya also writes accessible, plain language reference and curricular resources with a focus on equity and health; she was the lead writer of the Equity Educators Companion Guide, a primer for Ontario teachers.
As a multidisciplinary performer, Yaya uses poetry, music, movement, martial arts, and theatre. She has performed at venues in Toronto, Montreal, Hong Kong, Sapporo, Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines.