Authors, Moderators, Writing Week Facilitator, Workshops

The Writing Week Facilitator  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)

Workshop presenter Dante Ambriel is a polymath whose work includes most aspects of theatre and film and ranges through all fine arts and music composition into architecture.  Dante is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, a full member of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada and has been a member of the L.A. Screen Actors Guild, the Actors Studio L.A., the Beverley Hills Playhouse, and the Rachel Rosenthal Company.  Her fine art work has been shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Film Board of Canada, the G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, and many other places, and has been included in many books and collections around the world.  She has designed and built many houses and has owned and designed several professional recording studios.  She plays an array of musical instruments and composes her own music in her recording studio.

Dante has worked in theatre as a playwright, as a director, as an actor and singer, and as a stage and set designer as well as a costume designer.  She is creator and artistic director of the annual Stardust Theater Festival on Denman Island. Her plays include Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear, Broken Angel, On The Bridge, and Abracadabra.


David Chariandy grew up in Toronto and lives and teaches in Vancouver. His debut novel, Soucouyant, was nominated for eleven literary awards, including shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.  Brother, his second novel, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Toronto Book Prize, and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.  Brother was also a finalist for Canada Reads, and named a Book of the Year by several periodicals including the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, the Montreal GazetteKirkus Reviews, Esquire Magazine and the Guardian.  David’s most recent book is a memoir entitled I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You:  A Letter to My Daughter.  He has recently won the Yale University Windham-Campbell prize for fiction.

(photo credit Joy van Tiedemann)


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 six years.  Active in the local writers group, he has read three times at the Festival’s Denman Writers sessions.  This is his fifth year as a Moderator and he relishes the chance to meet and learn from Festival authors. 


Moderator Des Kennedy is a novelist, essayist and seasoned 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 (Ronsdale Press) that BC Bookworld praised as “a delightfully wise and mirthful read”.  

A resident of Denman Island for 48 years, Des has been involved with the Readers & Writers Festival since its inception, putting in stints as author, moderator and organizer.  In recent years, his In Conversation segments have featured in-depth discussions with authors and activists including Bev Sellars, Bruce Cockburn, Alexandra Morton, Maude Barlow, Ronald Wright, Miriam Toews and Andrew Nikiforuk.

Des and his partner Sandy live a conserver lifestyle in their hand-built house surrounded by gardens and woodland.

Jack Knox is a columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper.  As a journalist he has debated policy with prime ministers, sat down with a succession of premiers and interviewed a murderer in his cell.  He liked the murderer.  Career highlights include being blasted with blowhole spray by Luna the whale (it tasted like fish), interviewing a porn movie star in the nude (her, not him) and getting a phone call from Barack Obama four days before he (Obama, not Jack) was elected president.  He is the author of three books that grew out of his journalism.  Hard Knox:  Musings from the Edge of Canada and Opportunity Knox: Twenty Years of Award-Losing Humour Writing, were both longlisted for the Leacock Medal for Humour.  His newest book, 2018’s On The Rocks With Jack Knoxis a collection of stories about Vancouver Islanders whose tales are as fascinating as they are unknown.  

Andrew MacLeod is the author of All Together Healthy:  A Canadian Wellness Revolution (Douglas & McIntyre, 2018) about improving public health.  His first book  A Better Place on Earth:  The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2015) won the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.  He is The Tyee’s B.C. legislative bureau chief.

He has won an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for news writing and been a finalist for a Western Magazine Award for best article in BC and the Yukon.  His reporting has appeared in Monday Magazine, The Georgia Straight, BCBusiness Magazine, 24 Hours, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Detroit’s MetroTimes, Portland’s Willamette Week and elsewhere.  Andrew lives in Victoria, BC.

(photo credit Annie MacLeod)




Beverley McLachlin is the former Chief Justice of Canada, the first woman to hold that position.  Her first novel, Full Disclosure, was an instant national bestseller.  She is currently working on her memoir.  Visit her at

(photo credit Jean-Marc Carisse)





Darrel J. McLeod is Cree from treaty eight territory in Northern Alberta.  Before pursuing writing in his retirement he was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations.  He holds degrees in French Literature and Education from UBC.  His memoir Mamaskatch:  A Cree Coming of Agewas the winner of the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award in the English Non-Fiction category.  Darrel is working on a second memoir, Peyakow, following the events in Mamaskatch.  Darrel lives, writes, sings and plays jazz guitar in Sooke B.C. and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  

(photo credit Ilja Herb)


Billeh Nickerson is a writer, editor, educator, and arts advocate who is the author of five books including, the 2014 City of Vancouver Book Award nominated Artificial Cherry.  He is also a former editor of PRISM international and Event, two of Canada’s most respected literary journals, and a previous writer-in-residence at both Queen’s University and at the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon.  He has performed at hundreds of festivals and readings around the country.  He lives in Vancouver, where he is permanent faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.




Heather O’Neill is a Canadian novelist, short-story writer and essayist.  Her work, which includes Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, Daydreams of Angels, The Lonely Hearts Hotel, and Wisdom in Nonsense, has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize in two consecutive years, and has won CBC Canada Reads, the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and the Danuta Gleed Award.  Born and raised in Montreal, O’Neill lives there today with her daughter.


Kathy Page’s fiction ranges widely in terms of subject matter and form, but always features complex, complicated and compelling characters.  Her two most recent short story collections, Paradise & Elsewhere and The Two of Us were nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.  She is also the author of eight novels, including The Story of My Face, nominated for the (Orange) Women’s Prize, The Find, a ReLit finalist, and Alphabet, a Governor General’s Award finalist.  Her latest novel, Dear Evelyn, winner of the 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Award for Fiction, is about a seventy year marriage between two in many ways incompatible partners.  The UK Guardian describes it as “a love story, a coming-of-age story, and a brilliantly evocative sketch of Britain in the 20th century.” According to the Times Literary Supplement, “Page has laid bare the lives of her characters, making no claims as to their significance to anyone but each other, and in doing so has demonstrated that the ordinary is infinitely precious.”

Kathy Page has lived on Salt Spring Island since 2001 and teaches part-time at Vancouver Island University.




Moderator Stephanie Slater is a former broadcast journalist who turned in her tape recorder (that’s what they used then!) to embark on a career in communications with the B.C. government (Ministry of Health and Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture) and Royal Roads University – with other stops before and after.  She is a Denman Island resident who now divides her time between her island home and Vancouver, where she is a Senior Communications Officer with the First Nations Health Authority.



Jeanette Taylor has an infectious passion for the stories of the people and places of the BC coast, collected during her years with the BC Archives, the Museum at Campbell River, and latterly as the executive director of the Campbell River Art Gallery.  Jeanette now coordinates The Scribes Comprehensive Writing Services collective, writes a blog, and mentors aspiring writers through workshops, one-on-one tutoring, and manuscript reviews.  She also gives presentations about writing and BC history, and multi-session writing courses.  She has four books in print, three of them with Harbour Publishing of Madeira Park, B.C.  Her current projects are a biography of a British settler who became an Indian Agent on north Vancouver Island, and a history of Twin Islands, once owned by German royalty.  She also has a first draft of a novel for young adults waiting in the queue.  

Jeanette writes from the office of her 1893 log home on Quadra Island, overlooking gardens, orchards and the sea.  When not writing or digging for details about intriguing stores, her favourite place to be is kayaking among the Discovery Islands, or playing with her grandchildren.


Paula Wild is an award-winning author of seven books including her newest release, Return of the Wolf:  Conflict and Coexistence.  Her previous book, The Cougar:  Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous was shortlisted for the Bill Duthie’s Booksellers’ Choice Award in Canada and was the Gold winner for Foreword Review’s Nature Book of the Year in the USA.

Five of Wild’s books, including The Cougar and Return of the Wolf, have been BC bestsellers.  Sointula Island Utopia also received an award from the BC Historical Federation citing the book as “a significant contribution to history”.   Known for her conversational and engaging style, Wild’s work has been published in British Columbia Magazine, Canada’s History Magazine, the Vancouver Sun and many other publications.  She has written more than 1,000 articles on topics as diverse as ladybugs, health, teen suicide and con artists.  Many have been cover stories, several have been nominated for the National Magazine Awards and “On a Mission for Life” received the John Alexander Award.

As an author, Wild is intrigued by the relationships between people, places and the natural world.  She has feasted on fresh ooligan grease in the Bella Coola Valley, paddled the piranha-infested waters of the Amazon River, and lived off the grid in a squatter’s cabin in the rainforest of northern Vancouver Island.


Lindsay Wong holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and a MFA in Literary Nonfiction from Columbia University in New York City.

Wong has been awarded fellowships and residencies at The Kimmel-Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, Caldera Arts in Oregon, and The Studios of Key West, among others.

The Woo-Woo:  How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug-Raids, Demons, And My Crazy Chinese Family is her debut memoir.  It was a finalist for the Writers Trust 2018 Hilary Weston Prize in Nonfiction.

Her debut Young Adult novel, The Summer I Learned Chinese, is forthcoming from Simon Pulse in 2020.