RYAN TURNER | CO-FOUNDER & CO-DIRECTOR
Ryan Turner‘s stories have been published in The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, filling Station and other Canadian journals and magazines. His latest collection, Half-Sisters & Other Stories, was shortlisted for the 2020 ReLit Award. He is the co-founder and co-director of the AfterWords Literary Festival in Halifax.
STEPHANIE DOMET | CO-FOUNDER & CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Stephanie Domet is the author of two novels, and is at work on a third. She lives in Halifax where she is a freelance writer and editor who teaches creative writing in her dining room to little kids, sews her own clothes, and absolutely wants to make you supper when you’re in town.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MONICA NJOKU | PRESIDENT
Monica Njoku is an inclusion, marketing, and project management professional with a zest for life. She helps organizations and groups tell their stories through digital marketing, community projects, and storytelling. After ten years of working across Canada on Olympic fundraisers, provincial health initiatives, and youth conferences, Monica moved to California to work for the University of San Francisco and pursue her dream of working internationally. Respected for her expertise as an engagement professional, Monica is a trusted leader and expert relationship builder skilled in working with marginalized communities. In her spare time, you can find her eating, thrift shopping, or cycling around the city.
LIESL MULHOLLAND | VICE PRESIDENT
Liesl Mulholland is a love refugee. She moved to Halifax for work in 2013, met a handsome, young-ish man and the rest is….still unfolding. Originally from the Caribbean —born in Guyana (only English-speaking country in South America) and grew up in Barbados (best friends with Rihanna, if only in her head)—Liesl has been trying to embrace Nova Scotia. After running away back to the Caribbean every winter, she’s grudgingly accepted that she enjoys learning to ski and skate….however, nothing beats curling up with a good book, any season.
PAUL BLACK | TREASURER
As an immigrant from “the troubles” of Northern Ireland, Paul Black has lived a life of great good fortune in Canada. Given his druthers, he’d generally choose to be cycling or getting out to explore the diverse nature of this world. A craft beer and a good conversation/laugh makes him happy, as do his kids. More fiction than non on his bookshelf; and the Hip or Snow Patrol and some current affairs podcasts on his playlist. He serves as Chair of the Board of LOVE NS, teaches politics at Acadia, and juggles an eclectic consulting practice.
ROBYN SCHLEIHAUF | SECRETARY
Robyn is a lawyer who runs her own practice in Halifax. She writes creative non-fiction pieces for her blog, But that's not fair. Her work is informed by having grown up in an industrial town, having waitressed for a decade and then having gone to law school, as well as by her sobriety. She lives with a tailless cat named Bobby and a corgi named Chips. She is an avid reader, a fairweather runner and a decent dominoes player.
Sara is an experienced high school teacher of French immersion language and sciences, Yoga and Dance, among other courses. She is passionate about helping people and life-long learning. In addition to teaching high school, Sara also freelances as a copywriter and content creator. Sara enjoys advocating dance for all ages, backgrounds and abilities, particularly in schools. Her board experience is related to her passion for dance, as she has served many years as President of the Board of Directors for Dance Nova Scotia (DANS). Sara resides in Dartmouth, NS with her husband and two children.
Ray Fernandes is a children’s & youth librarian who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He’s an avid music geek and book nerd, who loves to travel, hike, bike, host dinner parties and embark on random adventures with his family. He sits on the Board of Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Awards, and the Halifax Community Learning Network. In his spare time he writes book reviews for CM: Canadian Review of Materials, participates on a number of selection committees with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, and acts as judge for a number of children’s and young adult literature awards.
Sue Goyette lives in Halifax and has published six books of poems and a novel. Her latest collection is Penelope (Gaspereau Press, 2017). She has been nominated for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Award and has won several awards including the 2015 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award for her collection, Ocean. Sue teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Dalhousie University.
Desiree Gregory grew up in the land of Green Gables and has been nurturing a love of stories ever since. The focus of her career is building healthy communities, and she believes that spaces where people connect over storytelling are instrumental to creating liveable cities. She lives by the ancient proverb that having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.
Michelle MacMullin is an experienced and passionate fundraiser. Having worked for the past ten years supporting not for profits and health charities, she is currently the Manager, Annual Giving for Saint Mary’s University. She lives in Halifax and enjoys curling up with a good book, spending time with her family, hiking and enjoying our beautiful province.
Trina Roache is a proud member of the Glooscap First Nation and an award-winning Mi'kmaw video journalist with APTN Investigates. Over the last two decades, she has dedicated herself to telling Indigenous stories in Canada, with a main focus on Mi'kma'ki, the unceded traditional territory of the Mi'kmaq. From politics to land protection, treaty rights to reconciliation, Trina is honoured when the people living the story trust her tell it.
Rebecca Thomas is an award-winning Mi’kmaw poet. She is Halifax’s former Poet Laureate (2016-2018) and has been published in multiple journals and magazines. She coordinated the Halifax Slam Poetry team from 2014-2017, leading them to three national competitions with the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Her children's book, I'm Finding my Talk, was published by Nimbus in 2019.