2019 Literary Festival Authors

Alix HawleyAlix Hawley‘s first book, The Old Familiar, was longlisted for the ReLit award. All True Not a Lie In It won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the BC Book Prize for Fiction, and was longlisted for the Giller Prize. Her short story “Witching” won the 2017 CBC Short Story Prize, and her latest book is My Name is a Knife.



Anna Porter

Anna Porter was born in Budapest, Hungary, during the Second World War and escaped with her mother at the end of the 1956 revolution to New Zealand. She graduated with an MA from Christchurch University and, like so many young Kiwis, travelled to London, England, where she had her first taste of publishing. In 1968, she arrived in Canada, and was soon swept up in the cultural explosion of the 1970s where she quickly found herself at the heart of Canadian publishing. In 1982, she founded Key Porter Books and published such national figures as Farley Mowat, Jean Chrétien, Conrad Black, and Allan Fotheringham. In Other WordsShe went on to write both fiction and nonfiction works, including Kasztner’s Train (which won the Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the Jewish Book Award), The Ghosts of Europe (which won the Shaughnessey Cohen Prize for Political Writing), and has published four mystery novels. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of Ontario. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Julian Porter. Visit her at AnnaPorter.ca.

Audrey Thomas

Audrey Thomas has published 17 previous novels and short story collections. Her novels Intertidal Life and Coming Down from Wa were nominated for Governor General’s Literary Awards and won B.C.’s Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. In 2003 she won the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. Audrey lives right here on Galiano Island!



Bill StensonBill Stenson was born in Nelson, B.C. and went to a one-room schoolhouse on Thetis Island and grew up on a small farm in Duncan. He became a teacher because he loved literature and taught English and Creative Writing at various high schools, the Victoria School of Writing and the University of Victoria.  He and Terence Young founded the well-known Claremont Review, an international literary magazine for young adult writers that is still going today. As Editor of the magazine, he also wrote a short story collection, Translating Women, and two novels, Svoboda and Hanne and Her Brother. He has also published stories in many magazines, including; Grain, The Antigonish Review,  Blood and Aphorisms, Wascana Review, Toronto Star, The New Quarterly, and Prism International to name a few. Stenson was a finalist for the 2nd Great BC Novel Contest (2013) and a winner of the 4th Great BC Novel Contest (2017). He lives with his wife, poet Susan Stenson, in the Cowichan Valley and writes every day.

Darrel J. McLeod

Darrel J. McLeod is Cree from treaty eight territory in Northern Alberta. Before pursuing writing in his retirement he was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. He holds degrees in French Literature and Education from UBC. Darrel is working on a second memoir following the events in Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age (Douglas & McIntyre), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2018 and is nominated for the RBC Taylor Prize. Darrel lives, writes, sings and plays jazz guitar in Sooke, B.C. and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Des Kennedy

Des Kennedy is a novelist, essayist and veteran back-to-the-lander. He’s the author of ten books, including four novels, a memoir and five works of creative non-fiction about gardening and rural living. Three of his titles were short-listed for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. His latest book is a novel titled Beautiful Communions (Ronsdale Press, 2018) and he is currently at work on a new novel. Des and his partner Sandy live a conserver lifestyle in their hand-built house surrounded by gardens and woodlands on Denman Island.

George Bowering

George Bowering, Canada’s first Poet Laureate, was born in the Okanagan Valley. A distinguished novelist, poet, editor, professor, historian, and tireless supporter of fellow writers, Bowering has authored more than eighty books, including works of poetry, fiction, autobiography, biography and youth fiction. His writing has also been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese, and Romanian. Bowering has twice won the Governor General’s Award, Canada’s top literary prize.

Helen Humphreys

Helen Humphreys ’ most recent acclaimed work of non-fiction is The Ghost Orchard. Her previous novel, The Evening Chorus, was nominated for a Governor General’s Award and was a national bestseller. Her memoir, Nocturne, was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award. Other previous novels include Coventry, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and a finalist for the Trillium Book Award; Afterimage, which won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; Leaving Earth, which won the Toronto Book Award; and The Lost Garden, which was a Canada Reads selection. The recipient of the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence, Humphreys lives in Kingston, Ontario.

Jack Knox

Jack Knox is a columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper. As a journalist he has debated policy with Prime Ministers, sat down with a succession of Rremiers and interviewed a murderer in his cell. He liked the murderer. Career highlights include being blasted with blowhole spray by Luna the whale (it tasted like fish), interviewing a porn movie star in the nude (her, not him) and getting a phone call from Barack Obama four days before he (Obama, not Jack) was elected president. He is the author of three books that grew out of his journalism. Hard Knox: Musings From the Edge of Canada and Opportunity Knox: Twenty Years of Award-Losing Humour Writing, were both long-listed for the Leacock Medal for Humour. His newest book, On The Rocks With Jack Knox, was published in 2018. In 2015, he was named B.C.’s Commentator of the Year at the Jack Webster journalism awards.

Marilyn Norry

Marilyn Norry is an award winning actor who has honed her craft on stage and screen for over 30 years. From this perspective Marilyn is able to see the extraordinary story potential in the lives of ordinary women as well as see how these stories could be told. Those insights started My Mother’s Story and since 2004 Marilyn has used the stories gained in this project to stage readings, edit and publish books and lead workshops. Visit www.mymothersstory.org to find out more.  She lives in Vancouver and continues to find ways to gather and tell women’s history… one mother at a time.

Pauline Le Bel

Pauline Le Bel is an award-winning novelist, Emmy-nominated screenwriter, a singer/songwriter with 5 CDs, and the author of two non-fiction books, Becoming Intimate with the Earth and Whale in the Door. In an earlier life, she was called “a musical instrument linked to a soul” for her passionate portrayal of chanteuse, Edith Piaf, in a play she co-wrote. Today she is the founder and Creative Director of Knowing Our Place, a reconciliation initiative. She lives on Bowen Island. www.paulinelebel.com.


Kathy Page

Kathy Page is the author of eight novels, including Alphabet (an Indie Next Great Read of 2014 and Kirkus Best Book of 2014), Frankie Styne & the Silver Man, and The Story of My Face, as well as many short stories. She lives in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.


Randall Maggs

Randall Maggs is the author of the poetry collection Timely Departures (Breakwater Books, 1994), and co-editor of two anthologies pairing Newfoundland and Canadian poems with those of Ireland. He is one of the organizers and the former artistic director of Newfoundland’s March Hare, the largest literary festival in Atlantic Canada. He is a former professor of literature at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University. Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, his second poetry collection (Brick Books, 2008), was the winner of the 2008 Winterset Award, the 2009 E.J. Pratt Poetry Prize, and the

Night Work

2010 Kobzar Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the 2009 Heritage and History Book Award, longlisted for the Relit Award and named a Globe 100 book in 2008. Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems – 10th Anniversary Edition is now available in 2018. He lives in Steady Brook, near Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Rosemary Sullivan

Rosemary Sullivan is the author of fourteen books in the multiple genres of biography, memoir, poetry, travelogue, and short fiction. Her books include Shadow Maker which won a Governor General’s Award, The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out, Labyrinth of Desire: Women Passion and Romantic Obsession, and Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape and a House in Marseille. Her latest book, Stalin’s Daughter, published in 23 countries, won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize, the BC National Non-Fiction Award, the RBC Charles Taylor Prize, the International Plutarch Award, and was a finalist for American PEN /Bograd Weld Prize and the U.S. National Books Critics Circle Award. It was the London Daily Mail’s Best Book of the Year. She is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. In 2012 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Susan Gillis

Susan Gillis is a Montreal-based poet, teacher, and editor who has also lived on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada. A member of the collective Yoko’s Dogs, she is the author of Swimming Among the Ruins (Signature Editions, 2000), Volta (Signature Editions, 2002), which won the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry, The Rapids (Brick Books, 2012), Whisk (with Yoko’s Dogs, Pedlar Press, 2013), and several chapbooks with Gaspereau Press. Yellow CraneSusan spends a lot of time in rural Ontario, near Perth, where she does most of her writing.