Authors, Moderators and Workshop Facilitators – 2018

2019 information available January/February


The Writing Week Facilitator and Moderator Caroline Adderson is the author of four novels (A History of

Forgetting, Sitting Practice, The Sky is Falling, Ellen in Pieces), two collections of short stories (Bad Imaginings, Pleased to Meet You) as well as fifteen 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 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, 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 was also the recipient of the 2006 Marian Engel Award for mid-career achievement.  She lives in Vancouver.

(photo credit Rafal Gerszak)




Geoff Dembicki is a freelance climate change journalist based in Vancouver, BC.  He is author of Are We Screwed? How a New Generation is Fighting to Survive Climate Change, which was published internationally by Bloomsbury in 2017.  Dembicki’s work has appeared in outlets like the New York Times,VICE, Foreign Policy, Penthouse, Walrus, the Toronto Star and The Tyee, where the idea for his book originally began as a series of articles entitled Are We Screwed?





Sarah Dunant studied history at Newnham College, Cambridge from where she went on to become a writer, broadcaster, teacher and critic.  She has written twelve novels, four of which have been short listed for awards, and edited two books of essays.  She worked for many years for the BBC in radio and television including presenting BBC2 TV’s art programme, The Late Show.

She has taught renaissance studies at Washington University, St Louis, and creative writing at University of Oxford Brookes where last year she was awarded an honorary doctorate for her services to higher education and literature.

Her most recent novels, set within the Italian renaissance, weave cutting edge historical scholarship into fast moving popular fiction and have become international best sellers, translated into thirty languages.

In the Name of the Family (2017), Blood and Beauty (2013), Sacred Hearts (2010), In the Company of the Courtesan (2007), and The Birth of Venus (2004)

She is currently presenting a new monthly history show for Radio 4 “When Greeks Flew Kites”.



Marina Endicott is a novelist and short story writer who was born in Golden BC and grew up in Nova Scotia and Toronto.  She began her career as an actor and director in Ontario, later moving to England where she began writing fiction.  She has since lived in Saskatchewan and currently lives in Alberta.  She is the author of a screenplay for a powerful documentary about the Arctic, Navarana, and several highly regarded novels, including Open Arms (2001), Good to a Fault (2008), The Little Shadows (2011), and most recently Close to Hugh (2015).  Good to a Fault was a CBC Canada Reads book and won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, Canada/Caribbean.  Little Shadows was longlisted for the Giller Prize and shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction.  Close to Hugh was longlisted for the Giller Prize and named one of CBC’s Best Books of 2015.






Moderator Stewart Goodings – A former federal and provincial senior civil servant and international development consultant, Stewart has been helping to organize the Denman Festival for the last five years.   Active in the local writers group, he’s read three times at the Festival’s Denman Writers sessions.  This is his fourth year as a Moderator and he relishes the chance to meet and learn from Festival authors.





James Hoggan is a best-selling author and president of an award winning public relations firm.

Jim writes and speaks widely on public relations, communications and incivility in the public sphere, keying especially on lessons from his most recent book I’m Right and You’re an Idiot:  The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up.

Hoggan has spent more than a decade studying today’s warlike approach to public discourse, looking at how unyielding one-sidedness defeats our efforts to resolve global problems, and how self-awareness, empathy and pluralistic advocacy could help us cut through this toxic barrier to change.

He is seen as one of the gurus in his field, whether defending the reputations of civil society organizations, public institutions or prominent corporations, and the leaders who run them.

A tireless advocate for ethics in public discourse, he founded the influential online news site DeSmogBlog that reports on public relations trickery and that Time Magazine included in its 2011 list of the internet’s best blogs.

Hoggan is former Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation and Al Gore’s Climate Project Canada.  He has served on numerous national and international boards and advisory committees including Shell Global’s External Review Committee in The Hague, the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, and The Four Great Rivers Society.

He is author of two other books, Do the Right Thing:  PR Tips for a Skeptical Public and Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming.



Des Kennedy is a novelist, essayist and veteran back-to-the-lander.  The author of ten books, in both fiction and non-fiction, he has been three times nominated for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.  His latest book is a novel titled Beautiful Communions released in March 2018 by Ronsdale Press.  Des has contributed many articles on environmental issues, gardening and rural living to a wide variety of publications in Canada and the United States, and been featured on numerous regional and national television and radio programs.  A celebrated speaker, known for his passion and irreverent wit, he’s performed at conferences, schools, festivals, botanical gardens, art galleries, garden shows and wilderness gatherings.  Active for many years in environmental and social justice issues, he was an organizer of the successful civil disobedience campaign in Strathcona Provincial Park in 1988 and was recognized as a key supporter in the struggle to save Clayoquot Sound.  In the 70s and early 80s he lived and worked with two First Nations bands attempting to defend their traditional territories in north-central B.C. against industrial clear-cutting.  In the 90s he was a founding director of a successful community land trust on Denman (Inner) Island.  Des and his partner Sandy live a conserver lifestyle in their hand-built house surrounded by gardens and woodlands.



Christine Lowther lives in a floating shack surrounded by ancient rainforest on Vancouver Island.  She’s the author of three poetry collections and a memoir, Born Out of This, which was shortlisted for a BC Book Prize.  She won the creative non-fiction category of the Federation of British Columbia Writers 2016 contest, Literary Writes, and the inaugural Rainy Coast Arts Award for Significant Accomplishment in 2014.  Co-editor of two nonfiction anthologies, she happily contributes to other editors’ projects now!






Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award.  She lives in New York City with her family.  

Bibliography (novels):  Station Eleven (2014), The Lola Quartet (2012), The Singer’s Gun (2010), Last Night in Montreal (2009)

(photo credit Sarah Shatz)





Bev Sellars is a former councillor and chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia.  First elected chief of Xat’sull in 1987, she held this position from 1987-1993 and then from 2009-2015.  She also worked as a community advisor for the BC Treaty Commission.  Bev served as the representative for the Secwepemc communities on the Cariboo Chilcotin Justice Inquiry in the early 1990s and has spoken out on racism and residential schools and on the environmental and social threats of mineral resources exploitation in her region.

She is the author of They Called Me Number One, a memoir of her childhood experience in the Indian residential school system and its effects on three generations of women in her family, published in 2013 by Talonbooks.  The book won the 2014 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness, was shortlisted for the 2013 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2013 Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature.  Her book, Price Paid:  The Fight for First Nations Survival, published in 2016 by Talonbooks, looks at the history of Indigenous rights in Canada from an Indigenous perspective.  Sellars has a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia.  She is currently Chair of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM).



Wedlidi Speck, Director of Indigenous Recruitment & Cultural Safety with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, is a member of the Namgis First Nation of Alert Bay.

He is a hereditary Head chief of the G’ixsam Clan of the Kwakiutl proper.  Self-described as a bi-cultural First Nations man caught in the web of contemporary times, Wedlidi is committed to helping the aboriginal and non-aboriginal community build relationships, safe communities and cross cultural tolerance.  He applies this vision to his work, friendships, family and community life.

Wedlidi worked for the John Howard Society of North Island for over 18 years working with youth, family and community as an aboriginal therapist, alcohol and drug group leader and counsellor. Wedlidi has been the Executive Director of the Wachiay Friendship Centre, and on the Board of Directors at the John Howard Society.  When there is time permitting, Wedlidi provides cross cultural awareness training.  He is a visual artist, storyteller and traditional dancer.



Yasuko Thanh photographed in her Victoria home. © Don Denton photograph



Yasuko Thanh is the author of the novel Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, which won the 2016 Roger’s Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Victoria Butler Book Prize, and was nominated for the Amazon First Novel Award.  Her collection Floating Like the Dead won the Journey Prize, and in 2013 the CBC hailed her as a Writer to Watch.  Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines across Canada, and her work has been translated into three languages.  She lives in Victoria with her two children and plays in a punk band in her spare time.






 Sheri-D Wilson is the award-winning author of eleven books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums which combine music and poetry.  She is known for her electric performance style, making her a favourite of festivals around the world.  She has read, performed and taught in festivals across Canada, USA, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Mexico and South Africa.

In her poems, Wilson uses personal narrative to address themes of personal story, social justice, lost languages, bullying, violence against women and the earth.

In 2017, she received her Doctor of Letters – Honoris Causa from Kwantlen University, after launching her new collection of poetry entitled The Book of Sensations (U of C Press), and a full-length CD with poetry and music called Dragon Rouge.  

Her tenth collection of poetry, Open Letter:  Woman against Violence against Women was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award and CanLit.  Her collection Re:Zoom (2005) won the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry.  She was editor of the celebrated The Spoken Word Workbook: Inspiration from Poets who Teach.

Her work has received national and international acclaim with such honours as a 2013 feature interview with Canadian icon ShelaghRogers, a 2012 article in Chatelaine magazine, a 2012 TED Talk, and the subject of a half-hour documentary called Heart of a Poet.  In 2009 she was named one of the top ten poets in Canada by CBC.