Meet the 2020 Writers

Ticket sales open Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 8 a.m. Please note: the website content for the 2020 Festival will be updated in April.

Writers confirmed to date

Wayne Arthurson

Wayne Arthurson is of Cree and French Canadian descent and the author of five novels including the Leo Desroches crime series. His latest book, The Red Chesterfield, is “part crime novel, part fable, part family drama … Arthurson spins a tale with dry wit and a keen descriptive eye. The Red Chesterfield is a major achievement by an important voice.” (Crime fiction writer Sam Wiebe)

Jillian Christmas, Amber Dawn and Lucia Misch

Jillian Christmas is the curator, host and one of three presenters in our annual poetry event. She is well known among Sunshine Coast youth through her work in schools and libraries and with LGBTQ+ youth. She is an award-winning spoken word artist whose first collection of poetry, The Gospel of Breaking, confirms what her followers have long known: there is magic in her words.

Amber Dawn has written eloquently on queer femme sexuality, individual and systemic trauma, and sex work justice, themes drawn from her own lived experience, in her novels, poetry and prose.  Her memoir, How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir won the Vancouver Book Award. Her new collection of poetry is Poetry is Killing Me and Other Poems.

Lucia Misch has performed at poetry slams, festivals, and in schools where she regularly teaches and mentors youth. She is committed to helping her students step into their creative, personal, and political power through writing. Her first book of poetry, The Problem With Solitaire (Is That It Can Be Hard To Tell If You’re Playing Yourself) will be published this spring.

Maria Campbell and Gregory Scofield

First published in 1973, Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed is a memoir of her experience as a Métis woman in Canada. This groundbreaking book explores the poverty, oppression, addiction and tragedy she endured throughout her childhood and early adult life. Halfbreed was re-issued in 2019 and includes pages that were left out of the first edition.

Gregory Scofield’s memoir, Thunder Through My Veins, was also re-issued in 2019. A Métis scholar, teacher and poet, he is the author of eight volumes of poetry. He is the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Latner Poetry Prize, awarded to a mid-career poet in recognition of a remarkable body of work.

Maria Campbell and Gregory Scofield will share their work and insights and will explore Métis specific memoirs and generational stories in a moderated conversation (moderator TBA).

Michael Christie

Michael Christie is the author of three books: The Beggar’s Garden; If I Fall, If I Die; and Greenwood (published in the fall of 2019). All were longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. “This book is why we read books. Why we need books. Wildly inventive, structurally elegant, deeply felt, and so very wise.” (Author Alexander McLeod – about Greenwood)

Christa Couture

Christa Couture is an award-winning performing and recording artist, nonfiction writer, and broadcaster. She is also proudly Indigenous (mixed Cree and Scandinavian), queer, disabled, and a mom. Her debut nonfiction book, How to Lose Everything, will be published in the fall of 2020.

Ivan Coyote

Ivan Coyote is an internationally-celebrated award-winning storyteller and author of 12 books.  Their latest book “Rebent Sinner is the work of an accomplished artist whose plain truths about their experience will astound readers with their utter, breathtaking humanity”. (Arsenal Pulp Press) Ivan Coyote will open the Festival on Thursday evening, August 13.

Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline, a member of the Georgian Bay Metis Community, is the author of five books. The Marrow Thieves won the Governor General’s Award and has been on the national bestseller list for over two years. Her latest novel, Empire of the Wild,  is another bestseller and was named Indigo’s Best Book of 2019.

Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor is an activist, social worker, psychotherapist, and author of three novels. Her fourth, Seven, will be published in August, just in time for the 2020 Festival. CBC Books recently  included Farzana Doctor in their list of “100 Writers in Canada You Need to Know Now.”

Aislinn Hunter

Aislinn Hunter is an award-winning author of seven highly acclaimed books (three novels, three collections of poetry and a book of essays) including the novel The World Before Us – a New York Times Editor’s Choice book, a Guardian and NPR Book the Year, and winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her latest novel, The Certainties, will be published in May.

Harold R. Johnson

Harold R. Johnson is the author of five works of fiction and four works of nonfiction, including his latest book Peace and Good Order: The Case for Indigenous Justice in Canada. Johnson is a Harvard-educated former Crown Prosecutor who lives on his family’s trapline in northern Saskatchewan.

Bruce Kirkby

Bruce Kirkby is the author of two bestselling books, a wilderness writer and adventure photographer  whose work has appeared in many publications including The Globe and Mail and  The New York Times. His book, Blue Sky Kingdom: From Distraction to Stillness, A Family Journey in the Forgotten Himalaya, will be published in August.

Sarah Leavitt

Sarah Leavitt has earned international acclaim as a writer and cartoonist. Tangles: A story about Alzheimer’s, my mother, and me, was the first work of graphic literature to be a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize. Agnes, Murderess was inspired by the legend of Agnes McVee, a serial killer in the Cariboo region of BC in the late nineteenth century.

New Voices: Michael Melgaard and Bindu Suresh

The annual New Voices event features authors of first books. This year’s New Voices event will be hosted by Bill Richardson.

Michael Melgaard’s first collection of short fiction, Pallbearing, has just been published by House of Anansi Press. His fiction, reviews and articles have appeared in the National Post and a variety of literary journals and periodicals.

Bindu Suresh is a pediatrician and former journalist. She studied Literature at Columbia University and Medicine at McGill University. Her book, 26 Knotsis “a crackling debut novel that starts with a fire and never stops smouldering” (CBC Books) B

Alix Ohlin

Alix Ohlin is the author of novels and short stories. Her sixth and most recent book, Dual Citizens, was shortlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her work has also been published in The New YorkerTin House, and Best American Short Stories.  Ohlin is the Chair of the Creative Writing Program at UBC.

Michelle Parise

Michelle Parise is an author, performer and CBC journalist. Her podcast series, Alone: A Love Story, ran for three seasons, topped the podcast charts, won numerous awards and was downloaded worldwide 9,000,000 times! The memoir upon which the podcast series is based will be published in May.

Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson is an author and radio broadcaster who splits his time between rural Manitoba and Vancouver’s West End, the setting for his latest book. “Sometimes twisted, sometimes tender, I Saw Three Ships will speak to all who have ever been stuck spinning their wheels at the corner of Heathen and Holy.” (Talonbooks)

Paul Seesequasis

Paul Seesequasis is a nîpisîhkopâwiyiniw (Willow Cree) writer, journalist, and cultural advocate who curates the Indigenous Archival Photo Project. His book, Blanket Toss Under the Midnight Sun, is “a wonderful collection of found photographs and recovered histories that link us to a past as old as the land and as precious as breath.” (Thomas King)

Laura Trethewey

Laura Trethewey is an ocean journalist whose writing has appeared in Smithsonian MagazineThe Walrus, The Globe and MailCanadian Geographic and on, the multimedia storytelling site of the Vancouver Aquarium. Her book, Imperilled Ocean: Human Stories from a Changing Sea, was published in February.

Jack Wang

Jack Wang is a writer, professor and Chair of the Writing Department at Ithaca University. His first collection of short stories, We Two Alone, traces the arc and evolution of the Chinese diaspora across the globe. Stories from We Two Alone have appeared in a wide range of literary journals and have been nominated for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Journey Prize.

Iona Whishaw

Iona Whishaw is a former teacher and principal whose Lane Winslow mystery series was inspired by her mother who served as a spy during WWII. The seventh book in the series, A Match Made for Murder, will be published in the spring of 2020.

The Fugitives

The Fugitives, led by Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod, are a folk ensemble that has toured the world and “earned a reputation for unforgettable live shows, brimming with complex harmonies, infectious storytelling and top-notch musicianship.” We are thrilled that The Fugitives will close the Festival on Sunday evening, August 16.