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Poet and Musician Knowmadic
Born28 November 1984
Mogadishu, Banaadir, Somalia
OccupationPoet, Actor, Musician, Youth Activist, Politician, Community Activist
Known forPoet Laureate of Edmonton

Ahmed Ali, better known by the pseudonym Knowmadic, is an internationally recognized award-winning Somali-Canadian poet, writer, actor, musician, and youth activist.[1]


Knowmadic was born November 28, 1984, in Mogadishu, to a nomadic father and a mother whose family were farmers. His name is a portmanteau of knowledge and nomadic.[2] His family immigrated first to Italy in 1989, then to Canada. While in Italy, Knowmadic and his 3 older brothers stayed in boarding schools. Upon graduating, he attended Humber College in Toronto, Ontario for Comedy writing and performance.[3] He was introduced to spoken word in 2009 by Titilope Sonuga who curated a regular poetry night called Rouge Poetry where she invited Knowmadic and others to help her found the Breath in Poetry Collective.[4] He is serving a two-year term as Edmonton's Poet Laureate, from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2019, as its seventh Poet Laureate.[5][6]

Knowmadic is married and has two daughters.[7]


In 2011, Knowmadic and team Edmonton won the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word championship.[8] In 2013, Knowmadic received an opportunity to be Artist in residence at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center in Seattle, Washington, initiating his career as a full-time artist. In 2017, he was runner up for public school board trustee in Ward A in Edmonton.[9] In January 2018, he hosted the APAP Annual Awards Ceremony, honoring Martin Luther King.[1]

Knowmadic sits on community boards like the Edmonton Arts Council where he chairs the equity committee.[10] Amongst youth, he promotes Empathy healthy lifestyles and actively supports the community through collaborative efforts. He has participated in vigils against violence and has also worked in attempting to integrate refugee children.[11] Knowmadic works with the provincial government to make Alberta a more inclusive province.[12]

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Art Residencies[edit]


  1. ^ a b "APAP 2018 Comes To New York January 12th. - Times Square Chronicles".
  2. ^ a b "Spoken Word Poet, Ahmed Ali is Africa! - Afrospora".
  3. ^ "Knowmadic's Immigrant Experience Informs his art and community contributions". Vue Weekly. February 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "Empowering Edmonton Through Spoken Word: A Conversation with @Knowmadic".
  5. ^ "Ahmed (Knowmadic) Ali is Edmonton's newest poet laureate". 27 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Knowmadic- Somali Born Canadian Poet Ahmed Ali".
  7. ^ "Edmonton poet laureate ahmed "Knowmadic ali on poetry and life in edmonton over coffee interview".
  8. ^ a b "Breath in Poetry Pits Berse Against Verse".
  9. ^ Edmonton, City of (28 May 2018). "Official Election Results (Text View)".
  10. ^ "Building a Bridge of Understanding".
  11. ^ "Free webinars aim to help Edmonton schools integrate refugee children". 28 March 2017.
  12. ^ "'There is racism here': Alberta report shares new plan to tackle discrimination".
  13. ^ "Thirty Youth from Alberta and the Global South who are Making a Difference in the World" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Cultural Diversity in the Arts Awards".
  15. ^ "Meet this year's Top 40 Under 40 as chosen by Edmonton's Avenue Magazine".
  16. ^ "Edmontonians recognized as human rights heroes".
  17. ^ "The Young Arts Entrepenuer".
  18. ^ "Three African Canadian Youth Selected To Receive Michaëlle Jean Foundation Young Arts Entrepreneur Funding".
  19. ^ "Mennonite Centre names first Poet-in-residence" (PDF).

External links[edit]