2019 Literary Festival Authors

Alix Hawley

Alix Hawley

Alix 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.


Andrea Warner

Andrea Warner

Andrea Warner writes about music, feminism, and pop culture and is the author of We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the ’90s and Changed Canadian Music. She contributes to CBC Music, Pitchfork, the Georgia StraighBuffy Sainte-Mariet, and Exclaim! and co-hosts the podcast Pop This! Her latest book, Buffy Sainte-Marie The Authorized Biography, is a powerful, intimate look at the life and music of a beloved folk icon and activist. Andrea lives in Vancouver, BC.


Anna Porter

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

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 Stenson

Bill Stenson

Bill 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.


Charles DemersCharles Demers is a comedian, writer, and playwright, and the author of the novels Property Values (Arsenal Pulp Press) and The Prescription Errors (Insomniac Press), and the non-fiction books The Horrors (Douglas & McIntyre), Vancouver Special (Arsenal Pulp Press, now out of print), and (with George Bowering) The Dad Dialogues (Arsenal Pulp Press). He’s a regular on CBC’s The Debaters and is the voice of Walter the Slug on the Emmy-winning Netflix cartoon Beat Bugs. He is also the editor of Robin’s Egg Books, a humour imprint of Arsenal Pulp Press. Property Values has also been optioned for development as a feature film by Pioneer Pictures in Los Angeles.  A longtime political activist, he lives in East Vancouver with his wife and daughter.


Darrel J. McLeod

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

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.


Don Calame

Don Calame

Don Calame is a screenwriter and award winning Young Adult author. His novels Swim the Fly, Beat the Band, Call the Shots, and Dan Versus Nature have garnered praise from The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Reviews), Kirkus Reviews, People Magazine, and Quill & Quire (Starred Reviews). As a screenwriter, Don Calame has worked with Marvel Studios, Lionsgate, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios, and Paramount Pictures. His films include Employee of the Month (Lionsgate, 2006) and Hounded (Disney, 2001). Don is currently at work on fifth YA novel due out next year. He lives in British Columbia with his wife and their dog. His current book is Dan Versus Nature published by Candlewick Press and just released in soft cover.


Erin Frances Fisher

Erin Frances Fisher

That Tiny Life by Erin Frances Fisher is a wide-ranging and utterly original collection of short fiction and a novella that examines the idea of progress — humanity’s never-ending cycle of creation and destruction. A highly accomplished, evocative, and wholly impressive work of short fiction, That Tiny Life introduces readers to a writer with limitless range and imagination. Erin holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Victoria and teaches piano at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and won the 2015 RBC Writer’s Trust of Canada Bronwen Wallace Emerging Writers Award. She is working on her first novel. She lives in Victoria, B.C.


George Bowering

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 (Photo Credit: Ayelet Tsabari)

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 (Photo by Darren Stone/ Victoria Times Colonist)

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.


Kathy Page

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.

Dear Evelyn

Her recent novel is a historical fiction novel inspired by her own parents’ long marriage and love letters. The novel, Dear Evelyn, has just won the prestigious  Writer’s Trust Award for 2018. Kathy lives in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.


M.A.C. Farrant

M.A.C. Farrant

M.A.C. Farrant is the author of seventeen books: thirteen collections of satirical and philosophical short fiction; one novel, The Strange Truth About Us; a novel-length memoir, My Turquoise Years; a book of humorous essays, The Secret Lives of Litterbugs; and the stage adaptation of My Turquoise Years, which premiered at Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre in 2013. Farrant’s new book, The Great Happiness: Stories and Comics, is forthcoming April 15, 2019. It is the third book in the ‘Miniatures’ series. The first book in the series, The World Afloat, was the winner of the 2014 City of Victoria Butler book prize and the second book in the series, The Days, was a finalist for the 2017 Butler book prize. Farrant is currently a full-time author living in North Saanich, British Columbia.

Marilyn Norry

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.


Meg Tilly

Meg Tilly

Meg Tilly is an Oscar-nominated actress and award-winning novelist. She may be best known for her acclaimed Golden Globe-winning lead performance in the movie Agnes of God. Other screen credits include, The Big Chill, Valmont, and more recently, acclaimed Canadian series “Bomb Girls” (2012-2014).  The series ran won the Gracie Award for Best TV Drama. Tilly also was nominated twice for the Monte Carlo Golden Nymph, and winning two Best Actress TV Drama Leo Awards, and two nominations and one win for Best Actress TV Drama Canadian Screen Award. In 2017 she appeared in Netflix’s movie War Machine, starring Brad Pitt.

Tilly’s had seven novels published to date.  Singing Songs (Penguin/Dutton, A Barnes & Noble Great New Writers Selection 1994) was her first novel, followed by another adult novel Gemma (St. Martin’s Press).  Her first YA novel, Porcupine (Tundra Books), was shortlisted for a BC Book Prize, The Canadian Libraries Association Best Children’s Book 2008, Foreword Magazine Book of the Year, Ontario Library Best Bets 2008 and a finalist for the Sheila A Egoff Children’s Literature Prize.  Next came First Time (Orca), a 2009 Golden Eagle Award Nominee, a 2009 YALSA Quick Picks and 2010 CCBC Best Books. Her fifth novel A Taste of Heaven (Puffin Books) was shortlisted for the 2014 Libris Young Reader Book of the Year, a 2014 Diamond Willow Award and won the 2014/15 Chocolate Lilly Award. Behind the Scenes (Puffin) was published in 2014. Her latest novel, Solace Island (Berkley/Jove) was published Nov. 2018 and received a starred review from Library Journal. Cliff’s Edge (Berkley/Jove) will be released in May 2019.Solace Island

Tilly has three grown children and resides with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.


Pauline Le Bel

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


Randall Maggs

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

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 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.


Rebecca Wigod

Rebecca Wigod

Writer Rebecca Wigod was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and came to Vancouver, British Columbia, as a child. Her father, Jacob, began teaching in the University of British Columbia’s English department. Warren Tallman, who ignited a love of poetry in George Bowering, was one of his colleagues.

Wigod has a bachelor’s degree in German and a master’s in Linguistics. Her thirty-three-year career in print journalism began in 1977. She worked briefly at the New Zealand Herald, the Sydney Morning Herald, and Vogue Australia. She wrote features at Victoria’s Times Colonist and then spent twenty-two years at the Vancouver Sun. Best of all was editing its books pages from 2000 to 2010. She had the pleasure of interviewing such writers as Julian Barnes, Oliver Sacks, Helen Dunmore, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Rebecca Wigod first started talking with two-time Governor General’s Award winner, Order of Canada recipient and former Poet Laureate George Bowering about his life and work back in 2011. Now, after seven years and many interviews with the 83-year-old Bowering, Wigod has delivered the first biography of the widely acclaimed B.C. author (he has 100 books across genres to his credit). Recently, published by Talonbooks, He Speaks Volumes: A Biography of George Bowering has 20 chapters, which according to Wigod, is Bowering’s preferred length for a book.

She is married, lives in Victoria, B.C., and has two grown children.


Rosemary Sullivan

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.


Sara Cassidy

Sara Cassidy

Sara Cassidy’s books for children, from babies to young teens, include finalists for the Chocolate Lily Award, the Ruth and Rita Schwartz Children’s Book Award and the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize. Her most recent novel, The Great Googlini, is a Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Book of 2018. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction for adults have also been widely published. Her students at Camosun College find her an inspiring and encouraging teacher. For more information, visit saracassidywriter.com.


Sarah Cox

Sarah Cox

Sarah Cox is the author of the 2018 book Breaching the Peace: The Site C Dam and a Valley’s Stand Against Big Hydro. Published by On Point Press, an imprint of UBC Press, the book chronicles the on-going fight by farmers and First Nations to protect the Peace River Valley from a large hydro dam. The Georgia Straight magazine named Breaching the Peace one of B.C.’s top non-fiction books for 2018.

Sarah is an award-winning journalist who writes about energy and environmental issues. Her articles and opinion pieces have appeared in a variety of B.C., national and international news outlets. A member of the B.C. Press Gallery, Sarah writes for the on-line magazine The Narwhal. Sarah lives in Victoria, B.C.

 


Sheena Kamal

Sheena Kamal

Sheena Kamal holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness.

Her bestselling debut novel The Lost Ones won her a 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, a Strand Magazine Critics Award and Macavity Award for Best First Novel. The sequel It All Falls Down is now available and has been called “a stunning, emotionally resonant thriller” in its Kirkus starred review.

Her next thriller in the Nora Watts crime series is expected out fall 2019, and her first YA novel Fight Like A Girl will drop in 2020.

Her writing has been featured in The Guardian, Bustle, The Irish Times, Writer’s Digest and Entertainment Weekly.


Sonny Assu

Sonny Assu

Sonny Assu (Liǥwildaʼx̱w of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations) was raised in North Delta, BC over 250 km away from his home ancestral home on Vancouver Island. Having been raised as your everyday average suburbanite, it wasn’t until he was eight years old that he discovered his Liǥwildax̱w/Kwakwaka’wakw heritage. Later in life, this discovery would be the conceptual focal point that helped launch his unique art practice.

Assu is an interdisciplinary artist whose work includes painting, sculpture, photography, digital art and printmaking. Sonny negotiates Western and Kwakwaka’wakw principles of art making as a means of exploring his family history and the experiences of being an Indigenous person in the colonial state of Canada.

Assu received his BFA from the Emily Carr University and was the recipient of their distinguished alumni award. He received the BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations Art and was thrice long-listed for the Sobey Art Award. He received his MFA from Concordia University in 2017 and was one of the Laureates for the 2017 REVEAL – Indigenous Art Awards. His work has been accepted into the National Gallery of Canada, Seattle Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and in various other public and private collections across Canada, the United States and the UK.


Susan Gillis

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 Crane

Susan spends a lot of time in rural Ontario, near Perth, where she does most of her writing.