Confirmed for the 2023 Festival:
Caroline Adderson is the author of five novels, two collections of short stories, as well as many books for young readers. She is also the editor and co-contributor of a non-fiction book of essays and photographs, Vancouver Vanishes: Narratives of Demolition and Revival. Her work has received numerous award nominations including the YWCA Women of Distinction in Culture and Design, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, two Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. Winner of three BC Book Prizes and three CBC Literary Awards, Caroline is also the recipient of the Marian Engel Award for mid-career achievement. She lives in Vancouver.
For more information see: Caroline Adderson
Kamal Al-Solaylee is the author of the national bestseller Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, which won the 2013 Toronto Book Award and was a finalist for CBC’s Canada Reads, as well as the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. His second book, Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone), was hailed as “brilliant” by the Walrus magazine and “essential reading” by the Globe and Mail. A finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction and the Trillium Book Award, Brown won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. Twice a finalist for the National Magazine Awards, Al-Solaylee won a gold medal for his column in Sharp in 2019. His latest book Return: Why We Go Back to Where We Come From is a chronicle of love and loss, of global reach and personal desires. He holds a PhD in English and is director of the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media at the University of British Columbia.
For more information see: Kamal Al-Solaylee
Yvonne Blomer’s The Last Show on Earth, her fifth book, came out with Caitlin Press in 2022 and Palimpsest Press released Book of Places: 10th Anniversary Edition this fall. Yvonne’s other poetry books include As if a Raven (Palimpsest Press, 2015), and the anthologies Refugium: Poems for the Pacific and Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds (Caitlin Press, 2017 and 2021). Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur (Palimpsest Press, 2017) is her travel memoir exploring body, time, and travel. Yvonne is the past Poet Laureate of Victoria, B.C., and the past Artistic Director of the weekly reading series Planet Earth Poetry. She lives on the traditional territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) people in Victoria, BC, specifically on the lands of the W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples. Yvonne mentors and teaches in poetry and prose and has students zooming in from across North America.
For more information see: Yvonne Blomer
Dede Crane is the author of five books of fiction and is co-editor of Great Expectations, a collection of essays on childbirth. Her work has been short-listed for the CBC Literary Prize, the Western Magazine Award, the CLA Award, the Ontario Library Best Book Award, the Bolen Book Prize and the Victoria Butler Book Prize, among others. Her latest book, One Madder Woman recreates the life of Berthe Morisot, the sole female member of the renowned group of artists known as the Impressionists.
A former professional ballet dancer and choreographer, she is a mother of four with her partner, writer, Bill Gaston, and has taught in the Writing Department at the University of Victoria. Born in Washington D.C., she moved to Canada in her early twenties and now lives on Gabriola Island, British Columbia.
For more information see: Dede Crane
Gregor Craigie is no stranger to Vancouver Island. He covered many stories on the island during his time as CBC TVs Victoria reporter. He studied history at the University of Calgary, and Broadcast Journalism at the B.C. Institute of Technology. His first radio job was reporting for CKWX in Vancouver. In 1999 he moved to the United Kingdom where he joined the BBC World Service in London as a news announcer and producer. While in London, Gregor also reported for the American network CBS radio as well as freelancing for CBC Radio. When it got really busy he would file for all three news organizations, occasionally working twenty hours a day. For rest and relaxation he traveled to Europe, Africa, and Asia to work as a freelancer. Following his BBC/CBC/CBS days, Gregor returned to Canada and to the CBC exclusively. Most recently he has worked as a producer on The Current and a radio reporter in the Kootenays. Gregor and his wife Rebecca and their son Lochlan are happy to be on the island and looking forward to staying in one place for a long time to come.
For more information see: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-48-on-the-island
francesca ekwuyasi is a learner, storyteller and multidisciplinary artist from Lagos, Nigeria. Her work has explored themes of faith, family, queerness, consumption, loneliness and belonging. Her debut novel, Butter Honey Pig Bread, was longlisted for the 2020 Giller Prize, was a finalist for CBC’s 2021 Canada Reads, the 2021 Lambda Literary Award, the 2021 Governor General’s Award, the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award, and the 2021 ReLit Award.
Her writing has been published in Winter Tangerine Review, Brittle Paper, Transition Magazine, the Malahat Review, Visual Art News, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, GUTS magazine, the Puritan, Canadian Art, and elsewhere. Her story Ọrun is Heaven was longlisted for the 2019 Journey Prize.
francesca has created several experimental short films, with screenings at the Black Film Festival in Montreal, Halifax, and Toronto; Durham Region International Film Festival; Nocturne Halifax; and the Khyber Centre for the Arts.
For more information see: francesca ekwuyasi
Danielle Geller’s first book, Dog Flowers (One World/Random House 2021) was a finalist for the BC and Yukon Book Prizes’s Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes. Her essays have appeared in Guernica, The Paris Review Daily, The New Yorker, and Brevity. She teaches creative writing at the University of Victoria and is a faculty mentor for the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is a citizen of the Navajo Nation: born to the Tsi’naajinii, born for the bilagaana. She currently lives on the unceded territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ people.
For more information see: Danielle Geller
Michael Harris is the bestselling author of three books of nonfiction: The End of Absence, Solitude, and All We Want. He was the recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award for The End of Absence and his work has been shortlisted for numerous other prizes. His latest book All We Want has received high praise. The Georgia Straight called it “visceral, evocative, disturbing, and enlightening”. He is a faculty member in the Literary Journalism program at the Banff Centre. His essays have appeared in dozens of publications, including Esquire, The Washington Post, and Wired. He also wrote the award-winning podcast Command Line Heroes. Harris lives with his husband in Vancouver.
For more information see: Michael Harris
Brian Thomas Isaac was born in 1950 on the Okanagan Indian Reserve. As a teenager he had a short career riding bulls in local rodeos until common sense steered him away. He then went on to work in the Northern Alberta oil fields and retired as a bricklayer. His debut novel, All the Quiet Places features a Indigenous boy grappling with the effects of intergenerational trauma and colonialism. It won the Indigenous Voices Award for Published Fiction, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and CBC Canada Reads. He lives with his wife in the Salmon River Valley near Falkland, BC.
For more information see: Brian Thomas Isaac
Bruce Kirkby is an adventurer, photographer and writer. His journeys span more than eighty countries and thirty years and accomplishments include the first modern crossing of Arabia’s Empty Quarter by camel, a descent of Ethiopia’s Blue Nile Gorge by raft, a sea kayak traverse of Borneo’s northern coast and a coast-to-coast Icelandic trek. Kirkby, whose work appears in the New York Times, Outside and Canadian Geographic, is a former columnist for the Globe and Mail and author of three bestselling books of non-fiction. His latest book, Blue Sky Kingdom details his family’s expedition to a remote area of Tibet. Kirkby makes his home in Kimberley, BC.
For more information see: Bruce Kirkby
Jack Knox is the author of the newly released Fortune Knox Once: More Musings from the Edge of Canada. He also wrote the bestselling books Hard Knox: Musings from the Edge of Canada and Opportunity Knox: Twenty Years of Award-Losing Humour Writing (both long-listed for the Leacock Medal for Humour), and On the Rocks with Jack Knox: Islanders I Will Never Forget. All of his books are based on his popular column in the Victoria Times Colonist. Women adore him. Men want to be him. His hobbies include cycling, playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band, being awesome, and self-delusion.
Novelist and short story writer Annabel Lyon published her first book, Oxygen, a collection of stories, in 2000. The Best Thing for You, a collection of three novellas, followed in 2004. She has written two books for children, All Season Edie and Encore Edie.
Her first novel, The Golden Mean, was nominated in 2009 for all three of Canada’s major fiction prizes, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction and the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The Sweet Girl, a companion to The Golden Mean, was published in fall 2012 and longlisted for the Giller Prize. Imagining Ancient Women, the text of her Henry Kreisel Memorial Lecture, was published the same year. She won the Engel-Findley award for a body of work in 2015. Her latest novel, Consent, an exploration of the complexities of familial duty, was longlisted for the 2022 Giller Prize.
For more information see: Annabel Lyon
Bob McDonald has been the host of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks since 1992. He is a regular science commentator on CBC News Network and science correspondent for CBC TV’s The National. He is the author of multiple books, including An Earthling’s Guide to Outer Space (2019). His latest book is The Future is Now: Solving the Climate Crisis with Today’s Technologies.
He has been honoured with the 2001 Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the 2002 Sandford Fleming Medal from The Royal Canadian Institute, and the 2005 McNeil Medal for the Public Awareness of Science from the Royal Society of Canada. In November 2011, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2014, an asteroid designated 2006XN67 was officially named BOBMCDONALD in his honour. Bob lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Visit him on Twitter @CBCQuirks.
For more information see: Bob McDonald
Frances Peck was always a writer, and at the age of nine began typing up her stories and poems to make them look official. She gave up writing when the realities of adulthood set in and built a career as an editor, ghostwriter and educator. Returning to her first love, writing fiction, Frances produced The Broken Places (NeWest Press), about a devastating earthquake hitting Vancouver. It was named a best book of 2022 by the Globe and Mail. The Vancouver Sun praises her aptitude for complex plotting and sure-footedness about character interaction. Her second novel, Uncontrolled Flight, comes out with NeWest in September 2023.
For more information see: Frances Peck
Barbara Pelman is a retired high school English teacher, and author of three books of poetry and a chapbook: One Stone (Ekstasis Editions 2005), Borrowed Rooms (Ronsdale Press 2008), Aubade, Amalfi (Rubicon Press 2016) and Narrow Bridge (Ronsdale Press 2017). Her fourth book will be published by Caitlin Press in Fall 2023. Many of her poems have been published in literary journals, including Arc Poetry Journal, where she won the People’s Choice contest in 2009, Event, Dalhousie Review, Fiddlehead, and CV2 as well as on the website, Poet’s Caravan. She was the winner of the Literary Writes Contests in 2003 and 2014. Her glossa, Nevertheless, won the Malahat Open Season Poetry Contest in 2018. A veteran of many Glenairley and Honeymoon Bay retreats, she is also an assistant at Planet Earth Poetry Reading series, organizing workshops and retreats. She is often on the ferry run to visit her family in Vancouver, which includes a 106-year-old mother and a 9-year-old (how did he get this old?) grandson.
Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker and advocate for LGBTQ+ refugees who has raised over $300,000 for Syrian LGBTQ+ identifying refugees. His debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, was shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award, longlisted for Canada Reads, and named a Best Book of the Year by the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. His children’s book, Salma the Syrian Chef, won the Nautilus Book Award, The Middle East Book Award, and was named a Best Book by both Kirkus and School Library Journal. Ramadan’s latest novel, The Foghorn Echoes was released to critical praise by The Guardian, Vanity Fair and other media outlets across Canada, the UK and the US.
He is currently working on Crooked Teeth: A Queer Syrian Refugee Memoir, as well as The Adventures of Salma, a series of early readers books following his beloved children’s character. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and lives in Vancouver with his husband, Matthew, and his dog, Freddie.
For more information see: Danny Ramadan
Author Rachel Rose is a poet, and writer of non-fiction and fiction. Her fiction debut The Octopus Has Three Hearts was longlisted for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She is the author of four collections of poetry, including Marry & Burn, which received a 2016 Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for a Governor General’s Award. Her memoir, The Dog Lover Unit: Lessons in Courage from the World’s K9 Cops, was shortlisted for the 2018 Arthur Ellis award for best non-fiction crime book. A former fellow at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, she was Poet Laureate of Vancouver from 2014 to 2017. She is also co-director of Vancouver Manuscript Intensive, a one to one mentorship program that pairs writers with a professional author to develop their manuscripts to full potential.
For more information see: Rachel Rose
Joan Thomas is the author of four highly acclaimed novels, all of which are intimate depictions of characters in times of rapid social change. The Opening Sky was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 2014. That year, Thomas was awarded the Writers Trust of Canada Engel Findley Prize for mid-career achievement. The jurors commented that “Thomas’s prose is limpid and sensual, and has a lightning-bright intensity”. Her 2019 novel, Five Wives, won the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Fiction and was described by the Globe and Mail as “brilliant, eloquent, curious, far-seeing.” Joan Thomas lives in Winnipeg.
For more information see: Joan Thomas