Come out this year to meet and listen to authors, illustrators, and performers from across Canada! Our 2018 participants will be updated later this spring. For now, check out who joined us last year...
Kelsey Attard is the managing editor of Freehand Books, a literary publisher in Calgary. She has a Master of Publishing degree and is on the board of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.
S.M. Beiko has been writing and drawing strange, fantastical things since before she can remember. She currently works as a freelance editor, graphic designer, and consultant and is the co-publisher of ChiZine Publications and ChiGraphic. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book as well as the 2014 Aurora Award. Scion of the Fox is the first book of the Realms of Ancient trilogy. Samantha lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Scion of the Fox
Beyond Crimson consists of singers Anna Theoret and Chayce Mihalicz, drummer Kris Roga, guitarist Alex Resler, pianist Ashley Na, and bassist Brandon Van Doorn. Heavily driven by hard rock, Beyond Crimson was brought together by the song “Civil War” by Guns N’ Roses in 2016. It all began when Alex asked Kris, “Hey wanna start a band?” Through thick and thin, the members of Beyond Crimson have always been great friends. Sure, they have their downs, but like family, they always find a way through.
The Bryant and Watson Duo are a live acoustic music act from Lethbridge Alberta. With over 7 years playing together, and over 250 shows under their belt, the duo has amassed over 50 songs spanning multiple genres, as well as, original music. With a focus on rich vocal harmonies, the Bryant and Watson Duo deliver a diverse, high energy acoustic show at every live appearance. www.bryantandwatsonduo.com
Sharon Butala is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her classic book The Perfection of the Morning was a #1 bestseller and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Fever, a short story collection, won the 1992 Authors’ Award for Paperback Fiction and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best book (Canada and Caribbean region). Her latest novel, Wild Rose, was published in 2015 and has been shortlisted for the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. Her most recent memoir, Where I Live Now, was an instant national bestseller. Butala is a recipient of the Marian Engel Award, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and the 2012 Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence. In 2002 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Where I Live Now
Paul Butler is the author of nine novels, the most recent of which is The Widow’s Fire (2017). His work has appeared on the judges’ lists of Canada Reads, the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards shortlists, and he was on the Relit Longlist for three consecutive years. Between 2003 and 2008, he won the annual Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards four times and was subsequently invited to be first literary representative and then chair on the Arts and Letters committee. He currently lives and works in Lethbridge, Alberta.
The Widow's Fire
Svetlana Chmakova is an internationally published, award-winning graphic novelist, with over 10 published books and her work translated into over 13 languages. Born and raised in Russia, she moved to Canada, Ontario, at 16 years old to finish high school and then study Classical Animation at Sheridan College for 3 years. Becoming a full-time artist and writer after that, Svetlana has drawn and written for animation, how-to-draw books, toy designs, and most of all, comics and manga. Her full-length manga series include the fan-favorite romantic comedy “Dramacon”, the award-winning urban fantasy “Nightschool: The Weirn Books”, as well as the manga adaptation of the NYT bestselling “Witch & Wizard” by James Patterson. Svetlana’s current work is the critically-acclaimed and award-winning middle grade graphic novel “Awkward”, as well as its follow-up “Brave”, published by Yen Press.
Lauralyn Chow was born, raised, and educated in Edmonton, Alberta. Her first summer job was at a radio station, and she later worked as the first in-house lawyer for the Calgary Board of Education. She has a B.A. in Psychology, minoring in Sociology, and an LL.B. from the University of Alberta. When she visits Hawaii, which she does frequently, she is often mistaken for a local and once won an air ukulele contest during the Aloha Festivals. She currently resides in Calgary, Alberta.
Paper Teeth, her first story collection, was released September 2016. Paper Teeth is the winner of the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, is shortlisted for the 2017 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award and for Trade Fiction Book of the Year at the 2017 Alberta Book Publishing Awards, and was a finalist for the 2017 Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction at the 2017 Alberta Literary Awards Shortlist.
Kelaine Devine is a techno-crafty artist, designer and writer. She merges fibre, drawing, video and media arts into hybrid forms with a long history of working with emerging technologies and social media, from BBS, DDials, early HTML websites, blogs and vlogs. Devine is also a contributor to Sequential Tart, a webzine about the comics industry and a regular guest panellist/critic at fandom conventions including the Calgary Entertainment Expo, Edmonton Entertainment Expo and Geek Girl Con in Seattle. She is an active member of the Alberta media arts community, the Lethbridge arts community and is the Communications Coordinator for the Allied Arts Council. Devine is currently creating a book about lady robots.
Eric Dyck is a cartoonist living & working in Lethbridge! His comic strip, Slaughterhouse Slough, explores the history, vegetables, critters, and people of his new Southern Alberta home. Eric’s comic stories are developed from research, interviews and eavesdropping. Eric also teaches cartooning & comics classes for children and youth, and his freelance illustration work can also be found in magazines, coffee shops, farmer’s markets, and city hall. In 2017, Eric adapted a Galt Museum exhibit, curated by Tyler J. Stewart, about music in Southern Alberta into a series of comic strips. The collection of these comic strips, “From Pianos To Power Chords”, is available exclusively at the Galt Museum.
From Pianos To Power Chords: A Mini-Comic About Sounds in Southern Alberta
Francis First Charger is the proud father of two children. Francis and his wife, Judy First Charger has been together since 1977. They have three grandchildren. Francis has many traditional and spiritual children too many to list. Francis First Charger was born and raised on the Kainai First Nation (Blood Indian Reserve). He was raised in the traditional, cultural and spiritual ways of the Blackfoot people. He has six diplomas in agricultural and several letters of recognition and a certificate in management and accounting. In 2003 received an honorary Degree of Blackfoot Eminent Scholar – from Crow Community College – Kainai Ph.D.
Recently, Francis First Charger Ninnaisipistoo “Owl Chief” received the top award as Distinguished Alumnus from the Lethbridge College on April19, 2013. Francis was also the recipient of the 2010 Life Time Achievement Award presented by the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge. These are only a few of the many accomplishments First Charger holds. He is an accomplished traveler, having seen the world from many different angles. His corporate and cultural travels have brought him to Japan, three times on BTAP matters, to such places as Italy to speak as a guest lecturer and Guatemala on an education endeavor.
Presently, Mr. First Charger serves on several committees: Affordable Housing Committee and SHIA Leaders Council for the City of Lethbridge and Cultural Advancement Committee for the University of Lethbridge (U of L). He works for the Faculty of Management at the U of L under its elders’ program. Ninnaisipistoo: Owl Chief now provides advisory services to many different organizations, institutions and individual entrepreneurs on and off the reserve including local, provincial and federal government organization or departments.
Barbara Geiger writes science fiction, fantasy, and gay paranormal romance, and moonlights as a freelance writing coach and editor on the side. Her books include The Tempest trilogy, the Middle Hill series, the Past and Present Tense novellas, and assorted other novellas and short stories. Writing as Angela Fiddler, she has written The Master of the Lines series, the Sex Demon 101 series, and several other standalone novels and novellas. When she’s not following the exploits of selkies, sex demons and vampires, she writes epic fantasy and makes the occasional foray into science fiction and short stories.
Barbara has been involved in the Alberta writers’ community and multiple writers’ and critique groups since 1998. She’s been a high school teacher, taught ESL to all ages in Canada and overseas, and done corporate training. She currently teaches adult ESL to new Canadians. She lives with her wife in Lethbridge, Alberta. Find her online at barbarageiger.me.
Louise Bernice Halfe was born in Two Hills, Alberta, and was raised on the Saddle Lake Reserve. Her Cree name is Sky Dancer.
With the publication of Burning in this Midnight Dream in April 2016, Louise has four book publications to her credit. Bear Bones & Feathers was published in 1994. It received the Canadian People’s Poet Award, and was a finalist for the Spirit of Saskatchewan Award. Blue Marrow was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the Pat Lowther Award, the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award, and the Saskatchewan Poetry Award. The Crooked Good was published in 2007. She was awarded third prize in the League of Canadian Poets’ national poetry contest and was Saskatchewan’s Poet Laureate for 2005-2006.
Louise has a Bachelor of Social Work, and received an Honorary Degree of Letters (Ph. D) from Wilfred Laurier University. She currently works with Elders in an organization called Opikinawasowin (“raising our children”). She lives outside of Saskatoon with her husband.
Burning In This Midnight Dream
IAN HAMILTON is the author of the Ava Lee series. The books have been shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Arthur Ellis Award, the Barry Award, and the Lambda Literary Prize, and are national bestsellers. The Water Rat of Wanchai was the winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel and was named a best book of the year by Amazon.ca, the Toronto Star, and Quill & Quire. BBC Culture named Hamilton one of the ten mystery/crime writers from the last thirty years that should be on your bookshelf. The series is being adapted for television.
The Couturier of Milan
Trevor Herriot is an award-winning author and a naturalist. Married with four children, Trevor and his wife, Karen, have a home in Regina, Saskatchewan, and a small cabin in the Aspen Parkland prairie south of Indian Head.
Towards a Prairie Atonement
Sam Hester writes autobiographical comics. Her monthly strip about life her neighbourhood, “Sam Hester’s Ramsay,” has appeared in her community newsletter since 2012. Sam works as a graphic recorder, taking live illustrated notes for organizations all over Alberta. She captures their stories by drawing upon deep listening skills, a unique graphic style, a passion for community-building… and a lot of markers. Sam lives with her family in a really old house in Calgary.
A six-piece band from Lethbridge, Alberta, Junkman’s Quire boasts a unique blend of influences. Equally comfortable with driving twin-fiddle and cello Celtic traditional tunes, sax-powered jazz and rocking originals, the Quire has a sound you won’t hear anywhere else. Check out our new self-titled EP “Junkman’s Quire”.
We write carefully crafted songs that have received recognition at the South Country Fair songwriting competition (winner in 2013, second in 2017) and the Ship and Anchor songwriting contest (shortlisted in 2016). The Quire also puts the bling into bilingual and can perform in both official languages. Junkman’s Quire parle français aussi et est capable de faire des prestations dans les deux langues officielles!
As musicians, we bring eclectic tastes to the party. Our members have performed in classical orchestras, jazz combos, world percussion ensembles, fiddle groups, metal, rock, Afro-Celtic and country bands and even a Russian balalaika orchestra!
D’Arcy Kavanagh and Ian Hepher have been playing Irish, Scottish and Maritime music in and around Southern Alberta for more than 15 years. Initially as 2/3 of Glencoulee, and more recently as a duo. Their fans have come to expect great vocal harmonies and a variety of instruments including guitars, bodhran, bouzouki, penny whistle and dulcimer. Be prepared to sing along and maybe even dance!
Joy Kogawa, one of North America’s most celebrated writers, is the award-winning author of three novels, seven collections of poetry and two books for children. Obasan, which the New York Times called “a tour de force…brilliantly poetic in its sensibility,” continues to be taught across North America, and the opera based on her children’s book Naomi’s Road has toured in Canada and the United States. Kogawa has worked to educate Canadians about the history of Japanese Canadians and is a long-time activist in the areas of peace and reconciliation. In 2010, the Japanese government honoured her with the Order of the Rising Sun. Her latest book is Gently to Nagasaki
Gently to Nagasaki
Halli Lilburn is a local author, artist and librarian. She teaches art journaling at creative writing at CASA. Her books are available at Kapow, Chapters and her Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/LunaCreationsCanada. You can visit her blog at http://hallililburn.blogspot.com.
Clem Martini is an award-winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter who has written for both adults and young people. A professor of drama at the University of Calgary, he has over thirty plays and ten books of fiction and non-fiction to his credit. His YA trilogy, The Crow Chronicles, has been translated into six languages. His texts on playwriting, The Blunt Playwright and The Greek Playwright, are used at universities across Canada.
Olivier Martini’s sketches, paintings, and prints have been displayed at the Marion McGrath Gallery and Studio Three Gallery, published in Alberta Views magazine, and were included as part of the Canadian Mental Health’s Copernicus project. Olivier’s previous collaboration with his brother Clem, Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness, was awarded the 2010 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize.
Monia Mazigh was born and raised in Tunisia and immigrated to Canada in 1991. She was catapulted onto the public stage in 2002 when her husband, Maher Arar, was deported to Syria where he was tortured and held without charge. She campaigned tirelessly for his release. Mazigh holds a Ph.D. in finance from McGill University. She is the National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. She has published a memoir, Hope and Despair, and her novel Mirrors and Mirages was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award in the original French.
Hope Has Two Daughters
Erin Millar is one half of the sibling creative team behind Where She Walks, which is the story of a goddess who doesn’t know she’s a goddess, being called to save a world she doesn’t know she created. Erin is the writer, and her brother, Nathan Millar, is the artist. The story is available online at www.whereshewalks.ca and in some comic stores in their hometown of Calgary. Erin has a background in theatre and dance and is currently working on, among other things, her second degree; a Bachelor of Arts, with an English major. Erin is also the founder of Panel One and the President of the Panel One Comics Society.
The Nikkei Cultural Society of Lethbridge and Area – Minyo Dancers have been dancing since 2011. Minyo Dancing is folk dancing, a more casual and fun dance for all ages. Anyone interested in learning folk dancing is most welcome to join the group.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our cultural dances and to celebrate Canada’s birthday with you.
Their first number is WONDERFUL CANADA, honouring her 150th birthday. The dance movements portray the maple leaf and the grandeur of the mountains in the wide expanse of Canada, as well as the cherry blossoms flowering in Japan.
Their second number is HANABI, meaning fireworks.
Their third number is SAWAYAKA ONDO, which describes the gentle breeze.
HEATHER O’NEILL is a novelist, short story writer and essayist. Her work, which includes Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, and Daydreams of Angels, has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize in two consecutive years, and has won CBC Canada Reads, the Paragraph Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and the Danuta Gleed Award. Born and raised in Montreal, O’Neill lives there today with her daughter.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Caroline Pignat is the award-winning author of seven YA novels. She is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award (The Gospel Truth in 2015 and Greener Grass in 2009). Unspeakable, a Red Maple Honour book, was also shortlisted for the 2015 CLA Young Adult Book Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. A high school teacher, she lives in Ottawa with her family. Her most recent book, Shooter, is on the 2018 shortlist for the Alberta-based children’s reader’s choice Rocky Mountain Book Awards.
David A. Poulsen has been a broadcaster, teacher, football coach, and actor, who spends eighty to one hundred days each year as a visiting author in schools across Canada. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Old Man, which was shortlisted for the Forest of Reading White Pine award, and Numbers which won the Sakura Medal in Japan. He lives in the foothills west of Claresholm, Alberta.
And Then The Sky Exploded
Barbara Reid is a critically acclaimed Canadian author and illustrator, well known to children, parents, and teachers alike for her timeless stories and vibrant Plasticine illustrations. Barb has received every major Canadian children’s book award, including the Governor General’s Award. She was also appointed to the Order of Canada in 2013. Barbara lives in Toronto, Ontario. Visit her at www.barbarareid.ca.
Picture The Sky
David Alexander Robertson is an award-winning writer who has long been an advocate for educating youth on Indigenous history and contemporary issues. He has written several graphic novels, including the bestselling 7 Generations series and Sugar Falls. His first novel, The Evolution of Alice, was winner of On the Same Page (2016). His bestselling children’s book, When We Were Alone, received honourable mention for the Alcuin Society Children’s Award and appears on CCBC Choices 2017 picture books for school-age children best-of-the-year list. David lives in Winnipeg with his wife and five children, where he works in the field of Indigenous education.
Will I See?
Born and raised in small town central Alberta, Karen Romanchuk has spent the majority of her adult life in the windy southern Alberta city of Lethbridge. Karen has been honing her skills as a songwriter for over 20 years and always been in the music industry since her parents bought her that first guitar when she was six. Her first love being country music, she was exposed to the rock side, when she married a rock drummer. After that she leaned toward the alt country music scene. If you ask her to describe her music she’ll reply with “I’m a little Lucinda (Williams) mixed with Loretta Lynn and Steve Earle. That’s certainly not all there is …she has tons of experience mixed with a voice that will send shivers up your spine and put some stomp in your boots.
Career highlights include 3 CD’s and a diverse line up of Juno award winners who have had her open shows for them including The Good Lovelies, Jill Barber, Wendall Ferguson and Willie P Bennett (RIP). Other opening spots include The Fates, Katherine Wheatley, Lynn Miles, Rob Szabo, Dave Gunning, Colin James, Alannah Myles and Gaye Delorme. Karen is sometimes joined on stage by other accomplished musicians to form The Karen Romanchuk Band. She looks forward to sharing her songs and time. www.reverbnation.com/karenromanchuk
Robert Runté, PhD, is Senior Editor with Essential Edits (EssentialEdits.ca). He has edited over 35 novels and books for Five Rivers Publishing and various independent authors. Two of the novels by first-time authors he edited were nominated for the Aurora Award, and he contributed the final edit to C.P. Hoff’s A Town Called Forget, which was long-listed for the 2017 Leacock Medal. He has himself authored 15 book chapters, 6 encyclopedia entries, 13 academic journal articles, 12 open source guides, six short stories (two of which were reprinted in “Best of” collections) and countless reviews. He has three Aurora Awards for his speculative fiction criticism and is currently nominated for a fourth Aurora for “Age of Miracles” from the Strangers Among Us anthology. Two of the theses he supervised became published books, and a third won the the Gold Medal of the Governor General of Canada.
Margriet Ruurs is the author of many award-winning books for children. She enjoys speaking about reading and writing to students at schools around the world. Her adventures have taken her to such countries as Myanmar, Pakistan, Laos, Tanzania and many others. Margriet was born in The Netherlands but has been a Canadian for most of her life. She lives with her family on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Tom Ryan was born and raised in Inverness, on Cape Breton Island. He has been nominated for the White Pine Award, the Stellar Award and the Hackmatack Award, and two of his novels were Junior Library Guild selections. He currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with his husband and their dog, Wheeler. In the future, he would like to write more books, travel the world and direct a feature film. For more information, visit www.tomryanauthor.com.
Since escaping from university with a pair of degrees in theoretical physics, Kevin Sands has worked as a researcher, a business consultant, and a teacher. He lives in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of the award-winning and bestselling Blackthorn Key series.
The Assassin's Curse
RUBY (FARRELL) SLIPPERJACK was born in Whitewater Lake, Ontario. She learned traditional stories and crafts from her family. In the 1960s she attended a Residential School in northern Ontario for most of a year, and later, high school in Thunder Bay. She has written 5 novels for middle grade and teen readers: Dog Tracks, Little Voice, Silent Words, Weesquachak, and Honour the Sun, and indigenous story contributions to the Dear Canada anthologies Hoping for Home: Stories of Arrival and A Time for Giving. Ruby lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Dear Canada: These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens
Ryan Smith is the former Editor-in-Chief, and a current Submissions Editor for Whetstone Magazine. As Editor-in-Chief Ryan revived the magazine and established the visual format and submission review process that are currently in use. Ryan also writes conceptual poetry that experiment with visual form and subliminal messages.
Richard Stevenson was born in Victoria, B.C., in 1952 and has lived in western Canada and Nigeria. A college English teacher by profession, he taught English, Canadian and African literature, Business Communication, Creative and Technical Writing, E.S.L., and humanities courses in high schools and colleges. A former Editor-in-Chief of Prism international, he served in various editorial, jury, and writing/arts group executive capacities. His own reviews and poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, anthologies, e-zines, and journals published in Canada, the United States, and overseas. He performed with the jazz/ poetry group Naked Ear and rock music/YA verse troupe Sasquatch, and occasionally puts other ensembles together for book launches and performances and reviews books.
Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens and adults: The Dark Divide (Stonehouse, 2018), Edge Of Wild (Stonehouse, 2016), Sip Sip Bang Bang (Macmillan, 2018), Internet Famous (Macmillan, 2017) and All The Feels (Macmillan, 2016).
Edge of Wild
Dana hails from Sarnia, Ontario and moved to British Columbia in 2009 as the result of a previous cross-Canada road trip. She holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from St. Stephen’s University, has spent time studying in South East Asia and Europe, and is working towards a Certificate in Food Security from Ryerson University. Prior to the launch of the blog FEAST: An Edible Road Trip, she was a program administrator at an English school for immigrants and refugees and authored the recipe blog, Spoon! While working on the book, FEAST: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip, she worked at a vegetarian Mexican brunch place on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive, and is now the Communications Manager for the restaurant. In between book tours and events, she’s a freelance writer and communications consultant.
A full-time artist and storyteller living in Red Deer, Alberta, Ryan was born and raised in Southern Alberta. Although he was brought up in a non-native community, he has since reconnected with his Blackfoot roots (Siksika Nation). Ryan learned the art of black ink drawing from his father Richard (Dicky) Stimson, another well-known Siksika Nation artist. Among the many exhibitions where he has presented his work are the City of Calgary and Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. Ryan has done readings of his stories in front of large audiences including the Calgary’s Aboriginal Awareness Week at Mount Royal College in 2008. Along with his artwork initiatives, he is sought out as an important role model in the community, especially for youth outreach and inspiration.
SG Wong is the creator of the Lola Starke series of novels and of the Crescent City short stories, written in the tradition of the hard-boiled detective genre, with two-fingers’ worth of noir and a liberal sprinkling of magic and ghosts thrown in for good measure.
SG Wong has been a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Awards, in the Best First Novel and Best Short Story categories, as well as a nominee for the Whistler Independent Book Awards. Based in Edmonton, she is a member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and Crime Writers of Canada, and currently serves as President of the Canada West chapter of Sisters in Crime. sgwong.com
Devil Take the Hindmost