top of page



Keith Barker.jpg

Workshop: An Introduction to Playwriting
Event: This is How We Got Here

Keith Barker is a Métis artist from Northwestern Ontario and the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. He is a recipient of the Mavor Moore Dora Award for Best New Play, the SAT Award for Excellence in Playwriting, and a Yukon Arts Audience Award for Best Art for Social Change. His play This is How We Got Here was a 2018 Finalist for the Governor General Award for Drama.


IMG2.2 - Cicely Blain.jpg

Event: What We Learn From Each Other

Cicely Belle is a Black, queer writer, activist and dinosaur fanatic from London, UK currently living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people, also known as Vancouver. They are noted for founding Black Lives Matter Vancouver and subsequently being listed as one Vancouver’s 50 most powerful people, BC Business’s 30 under 30 and one of 150 Black women and non-binary people making change across Canada. Cicely Belle is an instructor in Executive Leadership at Simon Fraser University and the author of Burning Sugar (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020). They are the CEO of a social justice-informed diversity and inclusion consulting company with over 100 clients across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.



Workshop: A Truth Universally Acknowledged: The First Page Matters

Randy Boyagoda is the author of three novels. His fiction has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize (2006) and IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize (2012), and named a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Selection (2012 and 2019). His latest novel, Original Prin, was published in 2018 and named a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year. His new novel, Dante’s Indiana, will be published in 2021.



Workshop: Sticking with It: Persevering With Your Story and Your Practice

Carol Bruneau is the Halifax-based author of three short fiction collections and six novels, including Brighten the Corner Where You Are, published this fall by Nimbus/Vagrant Press. Her last novel, A Circle on the Surface, won the 2019 Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, and her last collection, A Bird on Every Tree, was shortlisted for the 2018 Dartmouth Book Award and the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Her first novel, Purple for Sky, won both awards in 2001.


8537324028_666427ea9f_o - Cory Doctorow.

Event: Writing Into An Uncertain Future

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, and journalist. He is the author of RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults, a YA graphic novel called IN REAL LIFE, the nonfiction business book INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, and young adult novels like HOMELAND, PIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER. His next book is POESY THE MONSTER SLAYER, a picture book for young readers. He maintains a daily blog at He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of North Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles.



Event: Reading Deeply

Francesca Ekwuyasi is a writer and multidisciplinary artist from Lagos, Nigeria. Her work explores themes of faith, family, queerness, consumption, loneliness, and belonging. Her writing has been published in Winter Tangerine Review, Brittle Paper, Transition Magazine, the Malahat Review, Visual Art News, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and GUTS magazine. Her story "Ọrun is Heaven" was longlisted for the 2019 Journey Prize


roxanne gay.png

Event: Keynote Conversation

Roxane Gay is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She is a fierce presence on Twitter, cooks up beautiful meals on Instagram, and is one of our favourite thinkers and writers anywhere. We can’t wait to hear her take on our theme: Writing Into An Uncertain Future.



Event: Reading Deeply

Michelle Good is a writer of Cree ancestry and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. She obtained her law degree after three decades of working with indigenous communities and organizations. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, while still practising law, and won the HarperCollins/UBC Prize in 2018. Her poems, short stories and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies across Canada. Michelle Good lives and writes in south central British Columbia.


Sue Goyette 2018 - sue goyette.jpg

Advanced Workshop: Writing into the Unknown: Fortifying a Curious and Imaginative Practice
Event: Poetically Speaking

Sue Goyette lives in K'jipuktuk (Halifax). She has published seven books of poems and a novel. Her latest collection is Anthesis: a memoir (Gaspereau Press, 2020). She's been nominated for several awards including the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Award and has won the CBC Literary Prize for Poetry, the Earle Birney, the Bliss Carman, the Pat Lowther, the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award, the Relit Award, and the 2015 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award for her collection, Ocean. She edited the 2014 Best of Canadian Poetry Anthology, the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology, and Resistance, forthcoming from University of Regina Press. Sue teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Dalhousie University and is the current Poet Laureate of HRM.



Event: Reading Deeply

Catherine Hernandez is a proud queer brown femme author and artistic director of b current performing arts. She is of Filipino, Spanish, Chinese, and Indian heritage, and she is married into the Navajo Nation. Hernandez is the author of the novel Scarborough, which is soon to be a motion picture; won the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript; was a finalist for the Toronto Book Awards, the Evergreen Forest of Reading Award, the Edmund White Award, and the Trillium Book Award; and was longlisted for Canada Reads. Crosshairs is her second novel.


Luke Hathaway, Sept 2020.jpg

Moderator: Poetically Speaking

Luke Hathaway is a poet, editor, essayist, librettist, and play-maker, who teaches creative writing and English literature at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax; under the name Amanda Jernigan, he published three books of poems—Groundwork, All the Daylight Hours, and Years, Months, and Days, the last of these named a best book of the year in The New York Times—as well as the chapbook The Temple. His latest book is the long poem New Year Letter, just published by Baseline Press.



Event: Roxane Gay
Event: Poetically Speaking

El Jones is a poet, educator, journalist and advocate. She was the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax, and the 15th Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. El is a 2016 recipient of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Burnley “Rocky” Jones award. El is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a radio show developed collectively with prisoners. Her advocacy and work fights anti-Black racism in Canada, walking in the path of our great-grandmothers who resisted relentlessly. Her book of poetry and essays on state violence, Canada is So Polite will be released in the winter from Gaspereau Press.


DanFroese-Shalan-7905 - shalan

Event: Poetically Speaking

Shalan is a poet, playwright, podcast producer, oral storyteller and actor, as well as a cultural interpreter. Her two books of poetry were published by Gaspereau Press and her play, Elapultiek, was published by Pottersfield Press last year. Shalan has shared her poetry, oral storytelling and drum singing with numerous stages, events, schools and organizations for the past decade. She lives in her home territory of Kespukwitk with her family in their community of L’sitkuk.


TheaLim-Door (3) - Thea Lim.png

Event: Writing into an Uncertain Future

Thea Lim is the author of An Ocean of Minutes, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the ALA Reading List for Science Fiction, and longlisted for Canada Reads and a Sunburst Award. Her writing has been published by Granta, the Paris Review, the Guardian, Guernica, the Globe and Mail, Best Canadian Stories, and others. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and previously served as nonfiction editor at Gulf Coast. She grew up in Singapore and now lives with her family in Toronto, where she is a professor of creative writing.


Photo of Shani For Polar Vortex-1016763

Event: Reading Deeply

Shani Mootoo is the author of several highly acclaimed novels, including Cereus Bloom at Night and Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab. Mootoo is also a visual artist and poet. She is a recent recipient of the James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. Her most recent novel is Polar Vortex.


Colleen Murphy - headshot.jpeg

Moderator: The Hours That Remain

Born in Quebec and raised in Northern Ontario, Colleen Murphy won the 2016 and 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for English Language Drama for her plays Pig Girl and The December Man / L’homme de décembre respectively. Both plays were also awarded a Carol Bolt Award. Other plays included The Society For The Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius, The Breathing Hole, Armstrong’s War, The Goodnight Bird, The Piper and Beating Heart Cadaver (nominated for a Governor General’s Award). She is also a librettist and an award-winning filmmaker. She has been Writer-in-Residence in six Canadian universities and Playwright-in-Residence at two Canadian theatres as well as at Finborough Theatre in the UK.


vivekshraya_the-subtweet_press1_300dpi -

Event: What We Learn From Each Other

Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. Her best-selling book I’m Afraid of Men was her­ald­ed by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel,” and her album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part‑Time Woman, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books. A six-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, was featured on The Globe and Mail’s Best Dressed list, and has received honours from The Writers’ Trust of Canada and The Publishing Triangle. She is a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.


Heather Portra 400 Oct 2019061 - JJ Stee

Workshop: Memoirs of the Mundane

JJ Steeves is an illustrator and arts facilitator who was raised on a farm in Nova Scotia, and though she has tried many times, she cannot seem to live away from the province for very long. Currently residing in the city of Dartmouth, JJ makes comics and creates programming that enables people of all ages express themselves and their own realities through art.



Moderator: Reading Deeply

Widely published in Canada and the U.S. Halifax writer Evelyn C. White is the author of Alice Walker: A Life and Every Goodbye Ain't Gone: A Photo narrative of Black Heritage on Salt Spring Island, B.C.

bottom of page