Panellists, Readers and Musicians

David Arnason

David Arnason has been active in the Manitoba writing community for decades—as editor, poet, short story writer, novelist, dramatist, satirist, publisher, and as teacher of creative writing, literary theory, and Canadian literature, which he was central to introducing and popularizing in Manitoba. He has written many books, including The Circus Performers’ Bar and The Happiest Man in the World. His latest title is the novel, Baldur’s Song.




David Bergen

David Bergen writers short stories and novels. The Age of Hope, a novel, will be published in September 2012.






Sandra Birdsell

Sandra Birdsell is a three time nominee for the Governor General Award, and her best selling novel The Russlander was short listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She is a founding member of the Manitoba Writers Guild and Vice Chair of the Sage Hill Writing Experience.




Jared Bland

Jared Bland is the managing editor of House of Anansi press, and was formerly the managing editor of The Walrus. He lives in Toronto.





Glenn Buhr

Glenn Buhr is a composer, music curator and producer, band leader, and improvisational pianist. He became well known in Canada in the mid-80’s when the Toronto and Montreal Symphony Orchestras first championed his work, and in the mid-90’s as front man – with conductor Bramwell Tovey – of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival. Dr. Buhr is Professor of Music Composition and Improvisation in the Contemporary Music Program at Wilfrid Laurier University.


Julie Burtinshaw

Julie Butinshaw is an award winning author of seven books for young adults. Nominated and chosen for many awards across Canada, Julie tackles the tougher issues with hope and optimism. She has presented at Writer’s Festivals from coast to coast and facilitated writer’s workshops in high schools where her highly interactive and lively workshops have helped to foster a love of both reading and writing to young adults and adults everywhere.


Keith Cadieux

Keith Cadieux’s debut novella, Gaze, was shortlisted for a Manitoba Book Award and appeared on the ReLit award for fiction Longlist. He has just finished a term as Writer in Residence at Aqua Books where he was working on a collection of short stories. When not working on creative projects, he contributes to the Winnipeg Free Press and teaches English at the University of Winnipeg.



Warren Cariou

Warren Cariou was born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan into a family of mixed Métis and European heritage. He has published works of fiction, criticism and memoir about Aboriginal cultures in western Canada and has co-directed two films about Aboriginal communities in the oil sands region. He teaches at the University of Manitoba, where he directs the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture.



Lori Cayer

Lori Cayer is the author of two volumes of poetry: Stealing Mercury and Attenuations of Force. She serves as co-editor of English poetry for CV2 and is co-founder of the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry/Prix Lansdowne de poésie. Lori works by day as an editorial assistant for 2 scientific research journals.




Simone Chaput

Simone Chaput has published four novels and a collection of short stories in French and two novels in English. Her books have won the Prix littéraire La Liberté, and have been finalists for the Prix rue D’Eschambault, the Prix Champlain and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. Auteure de quatre romans et d’un recueil de nouvelles de langue française et de deux romans de langue anglaise, Simone Chaput a reçu le Prix littéraire La Liberté pour ses deux premiers romans. Ses œuvres ont été finalistes, aussi, au Prix rue D’Eschambault, au Prix Champlain et au Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction.

GMB Chomichuk

GMB Chomichuk is a writer, teacher, mixed-media artist, graphic novelist and proud Winnipeger. He won the Manitoba Young Writers Award when he was 15 and the Manitoba Book Award for Best Illustrated Book in 2011 for his graphic novel serial The Imagination Manifesto. Zap.




Méira Cook

Méira Cook is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently A Walker in the City (Brick). Poems from A Walker in the City won first prize in the 2006 CBC Literary Awards and The Beautiful Assassin garnered a Manitoba Publishing Award (a “Maggie”). Méira lives, writes, and walks inWinnipeg




Charlene Diehl

Charlene Diehl is a writer, editor, performer, and the director of THIN AIR. Her memoir, Out of Grief, Singing: A Memoir of Motherhood and Loss (Signature Editions, 2010) has been warmly received by both readers and critics, and was shortlisted for the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Non-Fiction Award and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year. Charlene has published one poetry collection, lamentations, along with poems in literary journals and anthologies


David Elias

David Elias’s work has been nominated for a number of awards including The McNally Robinson Book Of The Year. He also spends time as a mentor, editor, and creative writing instructor. His latest work is a novella, Moments Like This, forthcoming in the fall of 2012 from Hagios Press.




Patrick Friesen

A former resident of Winnipeg, Patrick Friesen now lives on Vancouver Island. He has performed frequently with Marilyn Lerner, and they have recorded two CDs of spoken word and improv music. Friesen’s most recent books are jumping in the asylum (Quattro, 2011) and a dark boat (Anvil, 2012).




Hildi Froese Tiessen

Hildi Froese Tiessen (PhD, Alberta) has published numerous essays and edited several volumes of work by and about writers and artists of Mennonite heritage; she has been organizer of five international conferences on Mennonite/s Writing. She teaches at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo.




Lise Gaboury-Diallo

Lise Gaboury-Diallo teaches in the Département d’études françaises, de langues et de littératures at the Université de Saint-Boniface. She has published 6 books of poetry and 2 collections of short stories in French.





Tomson Highway

Tomson Highway is a playwright, musician and novelist, and one of the country’s foremost voices in aboriginal theatre. Born in 1951 in northern Manitoba, Highway has received numerous awards, including six honorary doctorates, and has been writer-in-residence at the Universities of Toronto, Concordia, British Columbia, and Simon Fraser (Kamloops campus). He divides his time between a cottage on a lake in the heart of Ojibway country near Sudbury, Ontario, and an apartment in the south of France.


Steve Kirby

Since 2003, when Steve Kirby accepted the position as the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Manitoba, he has overseen a full-fledged rejuvenation of the jazz scene in Winnipeg. Steve Kirby’s career as a jazz musician spans over 25 years of performance collaboration with many of the finest artists in the field, both in North America and abroad. Throughout these years, his role as an educator has been a fundamental and vital part of his commitment to music.



Sarah Klassen

Sarah Klassen‘s poetry has received a CAA Award and the National Magazine Gold Award. Her latest collection, Monstrance,will be /was launched in April. She has also published short fiction and is working on a novel




Myrna Kostash

Myrna Kostash is a fulltime writer in Edmonton. Her latest books are The Frog Lake Reader and Prodigal Daughter: A Journey to Byzantium. She is the founding and current president of the Creative Nonfiction Collective.




Emma LaRocque

Cree-speaking Metis originally from northeastern Alberta, Dr. Emma LaRocque is a scholar, author, poet and professor in the Dept of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. She is author of two books: When the Other Is Me (2010), which won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction in 2011, and Defeathering The Indian (1975). Her poems are widely anthologized in national and international collections and journals. She is the recipient of the prestigious Aboriginal Achievement Awards (2005)..


Charles Leblanc

Translator by trade to earn a living, poet and theatre actor to make sense of the world. Has published 7 poetry books and co-authored a book of short stories. Last publication : des briques pour un vitrail (poetry anthology) in 2008. Traducteur de métier pour gagner sa vie, poète et comédien de théâtre pour donner un sens au monde. A publié 7 recueils de poésie et coécrit un livre de récits épistolaires. Dernière publication : des briques pour un vitrail (anthologie de poèmes) en 2008.


Marilyn Lerner

Montreal born improvising jazz pianist /composer Marilyn Lerner records and performs internationally. Her musical career has been marked by a deep exploration of traditional and free jazz, new music tinged improvisation, Ashkenazic folk music and audio art. Current projects include the European based Ig Henneman sextet, her free jazz trio with drummer Lou Grassi and Ken Filiano, and the Ugly Beauties Trio with Nick Fraser and Matt Brubeck.



J.R. Léveillé

J.R. Léveillé has published 30 works across Canada and in France : novels, poetry, literary essays and various hybrid forms. His work has garnered various literary prizes, most recently the Winnipeg Public Library’s On the Same Page public competition.





Jake MacDonald

Jake MacDonald has written many books on Canada’s north country and lives on a houseboat at Minaki for as much of the year as he can.





Duncan Mercredi

Duncan Mercredi is a Cree/Metis Poet/writer/storyteller, originally from Misipawistik (Grand Rapids, MB), with four books of poetry published and has also had his work featured in three anthologies of Native writings and in other periodicals such as PrairieFire and CV2. After receiving the Ross Charles Award, he attended the Banff Centre screenwriting workshop, where his work oomsikakispanik was chosen for further development. Most of this work is comprised of writing he has done has a member of Manitoba’s Aboriginal Writers Collective.


Maurice Mierau

Maurice Mierau’s last book, Fear Not, won the ReLit award for poetry in 2009. His poems have appeared recently in Arc magazine and in the spring issue of the Malahat. He edits fiction for Enfield & Wizenty and on-line for The Winnipeg Review.




Anne Molgat

Originally from Manitoba, Anne Molgat worked for many years as a freelance writer and editor for non-profit organizations in Ontario before returning to Saint-Boniface. She has been the director of Les Éditions du Blé since 2005.


Bertrand Nayet

Bertrand Nayet : 09/08/1962, France : 47o 48’ N, 3o 32’ E; 28/08/1975, Canada : 45o 30’ N, 73o 34’ O/W; résidence : 49o 50’ N, 97o 5’ O/W; 1,73 m; 65 kg; publications : 4; illustrations : 4; collections : 16; fractures : 2 ; amputation : 1; amour vital : 1.




Marc Prescott

Marc Prescott’s plays have been produced in French and in English in Canada and abroad. He is a playwright, actor, director, translator, designer, humour columnist and screenwriter. His plays, Poissons and L’Année du Big-Mac won the Masque for “Best Canadian Play” in 2002 and 2007 respectively. In 2006, Marc received the Prize of Excellence for his contribution to French-language theatre in Canada. He is currently the artistic director of Theatre Vice Versa Theatre.


Heather Robertson

Heather Robertson has been a professional writer since 1964. She has published more than a dozen books and numerous magazine articles. Her principal interests are biography and social history.





Susan Rocan

Susan Rocan is a Winnipeg YA author with two novels, Withershins and Spirit Quest, published by Great Plains Publications. When Withershins was released in 2008, it was nominated for several awards; the McNally Robinson Award for Young People – Older Category, the Margaret McWilliams Award for Popular History, and the MYRCA (Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award). She has been a member of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild for seventeen years.


Barbara Schott

Barbara Schott is a fashion stylist whose work frequently takes her to the Orient. She is also one of the poetry editors for Prairie Fire Magazine. She is the authour of The Waterlily Pickers, (chapbook, Turnstone, 1989) and Memoirs of an Almost Expedition (Brick, 1999). In 2010 she won Descant’s Winston Collins “Canadian Poem of the Year” contest for Thin Ice.



Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair’s critical and creative work has been translated into several languages and can be found in periodicals such as Prairie Fire, Canadian Literature, The Guardian, Canadian Dimension, and The Winnipeg Free Press. He is the co-editor of Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (Highwater Press, 2012) and the upcoming Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Michigan State University Press, 2013). Originally from St. Peter’s (Little Peguis) Indian Settlement in Manitoba, he now lives in Winnipeg, where he is completing his PhD in Anishinaabeg literature (University of British Columbia).

Struan Sinclair

Struan Sinclair is the author of Strange Comforts (Gutter), Everything Breathed (Granta) and Automatic World (Doubleday, reprinted by Anchor Books). He was born in Toronto and educated in Canada and the UK.





Melissa Steele

Melissa Steele’s short fiction collection, Beautiful Girl Thumb (Turnstone Press, 2007) won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. Melissa teaches Creative Writing at the University of Manitoba.





Margaret Sweatman

Margaret Sweatman’s libretti and songs (music by Glenn Buhr) are recorded with her own Broken Songs Band (Phenomenological Love Songs), and also by Anne Marie Donovan and Sarah Slean. Her novels are Fox, Sam and Angie, When Alice Lay Down with Peter, and The Players. She teaches at the University of Winnipeg.




Joan Thomas

Joan Thomas was for many years a contributing reviewer to the Globe and Mail. She is the author of two novels, Curiosity, which was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and Reading by Lightning, which won a Commonwealth Prize and the Amazon First Novel Award. She lives in Winnipeg.




John Toone

John Toone‘s first book, From Out of Nowhere (Turnstone Press), was a finalist for two Manitoba Book Awards in 2009. His poems appear in the graphic novel Sixgun Quixote (Alchemical Press), and his third children’s book will be published in 2012. John is co-editor of Call * Response: Past, Present & Beyond, a book about youth and Winnipeg’s punk music scene. Please visit



Katherena Vermette

Katherena Vermette is a Metis writer of poetry and fiction. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines and compilations, most recently Manitoapow: Stories from the Land of Water (Debwe Series). Vermette is a member of the Aboriginal Writers’ Collective of Manitoba, and currently completing her Master of Fine Arts (UBC). Her first collection of poetry is set for release in the fall of 2012 (The Muses’ Company).