Karen Autio is an award-winning disability-adjacent author, disability advocate, and sensitivity reader for disability awareness. Her latest book, about inclusion, accessibility, and friendship and inspired by her daughter who was born with disabilities, is I CAN, TOO! Published by Scholastic Canada and illustrated by Laura Watson, it is an OLA Best Bets and one of six books selected for the inaugural CBC Kids Reads. Karen has also written chapter books and novels for young readers, both contemporary and historical. She is a freelance editor of fiction and nonfiction. Karen lives in Kelowna, B.C. Learn more at www.karenautio.com.
Michelle Barker is an award-winning author and editor who lives in Vancouver, BC. Her most recent novel, My Long List of Impossible Things, came out in 2020 with Annick Press. The House of One Thousand Eyes was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year and won numerous awards including the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. She’s the author of the picture book, A Year of Borrowed Men, the fantasy novel, The Beggar King, and a chapbook, Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry have appeared in literary reviews around the world. A collection of poetry, Things We Lose on Purpose, is forthcoming with Shoreline Press. The Seasons of Storytelling: A Novelist’s Journey from Inspiration to Publication, co-authored with David Brown, will also come out this year. Michelle holds an MFA in creative writing from UBC and is a senior editor at The Darling Axe.
Karen Barnstable is an educator with a master’s degree in teaching and learning. She has assisted with the development of many post-secondary online courses. Her memoir, Seeking Silver, was published in 2020 by Castle Quay Books after winning the honour of the five best new manuscripts of 2019 by the Word Guild. She published her first children’s book Winston Wonders in 2021. Barnstable believes strongly in the personal insights that memoir writing can bring to writers and thoroughly enjoys coaching writers through this process. She offers her online course “Writing a Memoir – Step by Step” at Okanagan College and University of Victoria.
Pamela Beason lives and writes in Bellingham, Washington. She has worked as a technical writer, a university instructor, a ghostwriter, and an editor of both fiction and nonfiction. She has written more than a dozen instructional books and managed a team creating multimedia products. These days, she’s all about fiction and educating writers about the publishing business. She is the author of fourteen full-length novels and has published with traditional publishers and hybrids, as well as under her own imprint, WildWing Press. Pam writes stories with strong women, quirky sidekicks, animals both domestic and wild, a dash of humor, and a big dose of suspense. She has been accused of always providing a (mostly) happy ending, to which she pleads guilty. As a former private investigator (yeah, she’s done that, too), Pam knows there’s enough tragedy in real life. When she’s not writing another book, she explores the natural world on foot, on cross-country skis or snowshoes, in her kayak, or underwater scuba diving.
David Brown is an award-winning short fiction writer with over twenty years’ experience as an editor. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in magazines and literary journals, and he volunteers for the Malahat Review where he interviews writing judges and screens contest entries. He holds a BA in anthropology (UVic) and an MFA in creative writing (UBC). As an editor, he pays special attention to structure, relationship arcs, and voice. David founded Darling Axe Editing in 2018, and as part of his Book Broker interview series, he has compiled querying advice from over 100 literary agents. David lives in Victoria, Canada, on the traditional territory of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.
Matt Bowes is the General Manager of NeWest Press, an independent literary publisher located in Edmonton, Alberta. In his spare time, he co-hosts Bollywood is for Lovers, a bi-weekly podcast on Hindi cinema. He has also presented two film series at the Metro Cinema Society, the first on comic books and film called Graphic Content, and a retrospective on outlaw filmmaker Seijun Suzuki. His critical writing has appeared at the pulp, Luma Quarterly, Read Alberta, and Sequential Tart.
M. Jane Colette
M. Jane Colette writes tragedy for those who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for people who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken; ditto the constraints of genres. Her novels include Tell Me, Consequences (of Defensive Adultery) Cherry Pie Cure and Text Me, Cupid, She’s currently working on a seven-book series called Fat Yoginis in Love and a rom-com about online dating.
Cari Frame is an Internationally Certified Life Coach, writer and structural editor with 7 years of experience helping people break through inner limits and achieve their goals. Through mindset work and writing exercises, her workshops support new and established writers to get into motivated creative flow and out of procrastination and negative self-talk. Imagine what you could write if you were your own biggest supporter instead of your own worst critic. Voted 1 of Calgary’s Top 20 Coaches.
Tyner Gillies is a Storyteller, Lawman, Cloud Watcher, Scotch Drinker and a bit of a Meathead. He grew up wanting to be Conan the Barbarian, but when his high-school guidance counsellor told him that wasn’t an option, he settled for a career in law enforcement and started writing stories. He lives and works in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia with a girl who is too good for him and three moderately chubby cats.
Norma J. Hill
Norma J Hill is currently a writer, editor, and tutor, as well as a wife, mom of 5, and grandma of 17! With a multi-page resume, she has had a varied and multi-cultural life, perfect for memoir writing. In the past year, she has also experienced the loss, through suicide, of one of her children, and has been working through the grief that comes with that. She has found writing to be a place of reflection and solace, and would like to share that experience with other writers facing loss.
Brian Thomas Isaac
Brian Thomas Isaac was born in 1950 on the Okanagan Indian Reserve near Vernon, BC. After completing grade eight, he found work in the oil fields and in construction, and eventually retired as a bricklayer. At the age of fifty, without any formal training, he began to write and seventeen years later he completed his first novel, All the Quiet Places. His bestselling debut won the 2022 Indigenous Voices Award, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, and was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and CBC’s Canada Reads. Brian and his wife live in West Kelowna where he enjoys time with his three grandchildren and is completing his second novel.
Tyrell Johnson is a bestselling author and editor. His debut novel, The Wolves of Winter, was an Indie Next Pick, an Entertainment Weekly Must Have novel, a Vogue winter reading selection, and an instant national bestseller. His second novel, The Lost Kings, was selected as a New York Times Editors’ pick and was chosen as a New York Times best crime novel of the year. He received his MFA from the University of California, Riverside, where he studied fiction and poetry.
Spoken word poet meets eternal optimist, Miranda’s poetry gives life’s obstacles a feel-good finish. A member of the 2016 national wild card team, member of the 2013 Spoken Word Program at the Banff Centre, Calgary Arts Development grant recipient, and a 2-time Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient, she now runs YYSpeak: a communal and supportive space for local spoken word artists. Krogstad has shared her works in dozens of cities and literary magazines across Canada, including venues like TEDx, the Jack Singer, and more. Her book Glass Half Full of Poetry will be published this year.
Cathalynn Cindy Labonte-Smith
Cathalynn Cindy Labonté-Smith has a BFA Creative Writing (UBC), and has worked as a freelance journalist for over forty years. She became a technical writer in high-tech, earned a Certificate in Tech Writing from SFU. She returned to UBC to complete a B.ED. (Secondary) and taught English, journalism, and other subjects at Vancouver high schools. She currently lives in Gibsons and North Vancouver, BC. She’s a member of Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, Boundary Bay Airport. Her third nonfiction book, Rescue Me: Behind the Scenes of Search and Rescue, became a BC bestseller.
In addition to her work as a writer, editor, artist, and publisher, JM Landels teaches swordplay and riding – sometimes both at the same time – in Langley, BC. She drew on this experience, as well as her time as a rock musician and childbirth educator, to inform her fantasy trilogy, Allaigna’s Song. She is currently working on a new series, La Bergère, featuring a shepherdess-turned-spy in seventeenth-century France.
Josephine LoRe has shared her poetry live and in international zoom-rooms. Her words have been put to music, danced, and integrated into visual art. She has poetry collections, Unity and the Calgary Herald Bestseller The Cowichan Series. Her words have been published in 15 countries and 4 languages from Canada to Zimbabwe, and she featured in New York, San Francisco and New Mexico. “Enough” was chosen for a global Feed the Children campaign. Josephine participates in a panoply of poetry societies. She serves as editor, instructor, panelist and judge, and mentors emerging writers.
Jennifer Manuel has received acclaim for her short fiction and her novel, The Heaviness of Things That Float, won the 2017 Ethel Wilson Prize and has been optioned for a television series. She has been a Western Magazine Finalist and CBC named her a Writer to Watch. She has also published children’s and Young Adult literature. Her children’s novel Head to Head was nominated for a Red Cedar Award. Her next literary novel, The Morning Bell Brings the Brokenhearted, is coming out with Douglas & McIntyre in April 2023.
Lorna Schultz Nicholson
Lorna Schultz Nicholson is an award-winning author who has traditionally published children’s picture books, middle-grade fiction, YA fiction, and sports non-fiction books. Her work has been nominated for many awards, and she’s often on Canada’s Best Books for Kids and Teens list. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Lorna was a television reporter and co-host, radio talk show host, fitness coordinator, mystery theatre actor, and rowing coach. Every job she has had to date has helped with her writing. She loves presenting at conferences and at the many school author visits she does during the year. Lorna divides her time between Edmonton, Alberta, and Penticton, British Columbia. She lives with her husband and quirky dog she brought home from Mexico.
Suzy Vadori is Calgary’s bestselling author of The Fountain Series (The Fountain, The West Woods, Wall of Wishes). This fantastical series has received three Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel. She is represented by Naomi Davis of Bookends Literary Agency. Suzy is the founder of the Inspired Writing Community, a Resident Writing Coach for Writers Helping Writers, a touring member of the Young Alberta Book Society (YABS) and a Program Manager for When Words Collide (WWC), a festival for readers and writers. Suzy specializes in breaking down complex writing concepts for newer writers into manageable steps, to get the book idea exploding in their minds onto the page in a way that will make readers take notice. She works with both fiction and nonfiction writers, in Memoir, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Middle Grade, and of course, Young Adult. Suzy is an Advanced Certified Book Coach from Jennie Nash’s Author Accelerator. Suzy speaks to youth and adult audiences across Western Canada about how writing can unlock doors and help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
Luke Whittall has worked in cellars, vineyards, and wine shops since 2005 and is currently a wine instructor at Okanagan College. He has written 4 books on wine, most recently The Sipster’s Pocket Guide to 50 Must-Try BC Wines, Volume 2 and a similarly-titled book for Ontario wines scheduled for release fall 2023. Previous books include The Sipster’s Pocket Guide to 50 Must-Try BC Wines Volume. 1, Valleys of Wine: A Taste of British Columbia’s Wine History, and The Okanagan Wine Tour Guide, which was co-authored with John Schreiner. He lives in Okanagan Falls, BC. Instagram.
Genevieve Wynand is an editor for Pulp Literature, and an award-winning writer with work in print, online, and included in public-art displays. Her work appears with PRISM international, Grain, Tricycle, Frogpond, First Frost, Kingfisher, Modern Haiku, Presence, The Heron’s Nest, and Introvert, Dear, among others. Genevieve’s adventures as a haiku poet have taught her to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. She lives tucked up against a rainforest in British Columbia, and has been known to emerge from her writer’s cave when tempted with coffee, books, or the occasional drum lesson. Visit her at genevievewynand.com.