presenters 2011



Angie Abdou

Abdou, Angie

Angie Abdou was born and raised in Moose Jaw, and currently lives in Fernie, BC. She has a Ph.D in Creative Writing and teaches full-time at the College of the Rockies. Her first novel, The Bone Cage, was a finalist in CBC's Canada Reads 2011 championed by NHL defenceman George Laroque. Her new novel, The Canterbury Trail, is a black comedy about mountain culture.

Birdsell, Sandra
Birdsell, Sandra

Sandra Birdsell was born and raised in Morris Manitoba, just south of Winnipeg and near the Red River. The annual flooding of the river was the inspiration for much of her early work. She went on to write The Russlander, a bestseller which was a finalist for the Scotia Giller Prize. She's been a finalist for the Governor General Award 3 times and in 2010 she became a Member of the Order of Canada.
Sandra will read from her current novel, Waiting for Joe, and she'll discuss her book with readers in a Great Big Book Club event on Thursday at the Festival. Call the office and register to attend. 
Harvey, Kenneth J.
Harvey, Kenneth J.

Kenneth J. Harvey is an international bestselling author whose books are published around the world. He's won numerous prizes and been nominated for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and twice for both the Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. His editorials have appeared on CBC Radio, in The Times of London and in most major Canadian newspapers. Harvey sits on the board of directors of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. He'll read from Reinventing the Rose.
Humphreys, Helen
Humphreys, Helen

Helen Humphreys was born in London, England and now lives in Kingston, Ontario. She is the author of four books of poetry, five novels, and one work of creative non-fiction. Her books have been translated into many languages and Wild Dogs is being adapted for film.. Her recent novel, Coventry, was short-listed for the Trillium Award. Helen may read from her new novel, The Reinvention of Love which is due out in the fall of 2011.
Susan Juby
Juby, Susan

Susan Juby's novels have been published all over the world and nominated for many awards, including the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Stephen Leacock Award, and an Edgar. She is the author of the bestselling Alice MacLeod Trilogy, which was adapted into a television series. Her memoir, Nice Recovery, was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book. Her latest novel is The Woefield Poultry Collective. Susan lives with her husband in Nanaimo, B.C.
Brenda Niskala
Niskala, Brenda

Poet Brenda Niskala's novella Of All the Ways to Die and the linked short stories, For the Love of Strangers, are her first forays into fiction. She has read to audiences across Canada, in Finland, and in England. Brenda was the first instructor for the Festival of Words Teen Experience, in 1997, and this year she returns to guide the teen program.
Adam Lewis Schroeder
Schroeder, Adam Lewis

Adam Lewis Schroeder is the author of the story collection Kingdom of Monkeys, the novel Empress of Asia, and the 2010 novel In the Fabled East. He received a Creative Writing MFA from the University of British Columbia before travelling extensively. Adam lives in Penticton BC with his wife and sons, writes for CBC radio, and teaches at UBC Okanagan.

Johanna Skibsrud
Skibsrud, Johanna

Johanna Skibsrud was born in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1980. Her first book of poetry, Late Nights With Wild Cowboys, was published in 2008 and shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award. A second book of poetry, I Do Not Think That I Could Love a Human Being, followed in April, 2010. When her debut novel, The Sentimentalists, was awarded the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize, she was the youngest writer to win it ever. Johanna Skibsrud lives in Montreal.
Joan Thomas
Thomas, Joan

Joan Thomas will be reading from Curiosity, a novel based on the life of Pre-Darwin fossil-hunter Mary Anning. Curiosity was nominated for the 2010 Scotia Bank Giller Prize. Joan is also the author of the prize-winning novel Reading by Lightning, a story about a girl during the dust-bowl years on the prairies. Joan was a contributing reviewer for the Globe and Mail for many years, and lives in Winnipeg.


Barney’s Version
Barney's Version

This year the film we present is Barney's Version ...based on Mordacai Richler's novel. It stars Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giavanni, Minnie Driver and Rosamund Pike.
Barney takes us through the many highs, and lows, of his long and colorful life. Not only does Barney turn out to be a true romantic, he is also capable of all kinds of sneaky acts of gallantry, generosity, and goodness when we—and he—least expect it. His is a gloriously full life, played out on a grand scale. And, at its center stands an unlikely hero—the unforgettable Barney Panofsky.

graphic novel

David Alexander Robertson
Robertson, David Alexander

David Alexander Robertson- wrote his first book, "The Bestest Poems I Ever Sawed", in grade 3. He received his BA in English from the University of Winnipeg. His realization that education could combat racism inspired him to write the graphic novels 'The Life of Helen Betty Osborne', its sequel, 'Sugar Falls', and the graphic novel series '7 Generations'. David lives in Winnipeg with his wife and four children, and works in the field of Aboriginal employment.


Elizabeth Duncan
 Duncan, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Duncan's first book, The Cold Light of Mourning, won an award for best traditional mystery. It was nominated for an Agatha Award and an Arthur Ellis Award. Her second novel, A Brush with Death, continues the Penny Brannigan Mystery Series. Elizabeth lives in Toronto with her dog, Dolly, and spends several weeks each year in North Wales where her books are set.

D.J. McIntosh
McIntosh, D.J.

D.J. McIntosh is the author of The Witch of Babylon, a debut antiquities thriller set against the backdrop of the 2003 Iraq war, Book One of the Mesopotamian Trilogy. She divides her time between her cottage on First Nation's land on the shores of Lake Huron, and Toronto, where she can indulge in two loves: live music and museums. Dorothy is a strong supporter of Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.


David Carpenter
Carpenter, David

David Carpenter first began writing as a translator in Edmonton. His first novel, Banjo Lessons, won the City of Edmonton Book Prize in 1998. His favourite form, however, is the novella. His collection Welcome to Canada won a gold medal for Western Canadian Fiction and his memoire, A Hunter's Confession, won Saskatchewan's Book of the Year Award in 2010. Carpenter will read from these two recent books.

Allan Casey
Casey, Allan

Allan Casey was born and raised in Saskatchewan, has traveled widely, and has been a freelance journalist, photographer, and editor. His writing appears in well-known magazines and newspapers. Lakeland, his first book, is a blend of memoir, travel and ecology that won this year's Governor General's Award for non-fiction. He is a boat builder and lake sailor and he lives in Saskatoon.
Amy Jo Ehman
Ehman, Amy Jo

Amy Jo Ehman is author of Prairie Feast: A Writer's Journey Home for Dinner. She grew up on a farm at Craik and studied journalism at the University of Regina before working for CBC Radio & TV. For the past ten years, she has earned a living as a freelance writer and broadcaster based in Saskatoon, which afforded her time to pursue a passion for locally-produced foods. Prairie Feast won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Best First Book this year. Watch for her appearance at a community picnic on Saturday at the Festival.
Charlotte Gray
Gray, Charlotte

Charlotte Gray, is an historian and biographer whose most recent book is Gold Diggers, Striking It Rich in the Klondike. She is the author of seven previous non-fiction bestsellers, including biographies of Alexander Graham Bell, Susanna Moodie and Pauline Johnson. In 2004 Charlotte was the advocate for Sir John A. Macdonald in CBC TV's The Greatest Canadian. Born in England, Charlotte lives in Ottawa and is a member of the Order of Canada.
Charlotte will present a workshop at this year's festival titled, Bringing Life to History and History to Life. Please contact the office to register.
Ryan Knighton
Knighton, Ryan

Ryan Knighton is most recently the author of C'mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark. When you strap a baby to her blind father and send them strolling into traffic, the only good to come of it is a funny and moving book about family, fatherhood and survival.

  Knighton is also the author of Cockeyed, his internationally acclaimed memoir about going blind, growing up, and getting both wrong. A tragic tale? Enough to have been short listed for the Stephen Leacock medal for Humour, and to have been called one of the year's hottest reads by People magazine! A movie is in the works. Knighton was awarded a fellowship to the highly competitive Sundance Screenwriter's Lab. There he developed the screenplay of his memoir. Yes, a blind man writing movies. The medium's end is near. His adaptation of Cockeyed is currently in development as a motion picture with Jodie Foster directing.
Alexandra Popoff
Popoff, Alexandra

Alexandra Popoff was born and educated in Moscow. A journalist and writer, she published her work in Russian national newspapers and magazines. Popoff's biography of Sophia Tolstoy won the Saskatoon book award and non-fiction award at the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards. In her readings at the Festival, Popoff will discuss challenges of writing biography.


Yvette Nolan
Nolan, Yvette

Yvette Nolan is a vital force in Canada's Aboriginal theatre community. She is committed to staging productions that illustrate true life and reflect stories that go beneath the surface of the issue at hand – moving the audience past a purely emotional reaction to a critical understanding of the issues. She's currently the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. Her work has found its way into all corners of this country- from Whitehorse to Halifax, as well as outside our borders. Yvette will direct local actors in a one act play, Two Old Women, which will be staged during the festival on Saturday and Sunday.

science fiction

Robert Sawyer
Sawyer, Robert

Robert Sawyer is author of the trilogy: Wake, Watch, and Wonder and the only Canadian to win all three of the world's top awards for best Science Fiction novel. Quill & Quire named him one of "the 30 most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful people in Canadian publishing." His twenty science-fiction novels are often set in Canada in the present day, or near future. At the festival on Thursday, Sawyer will present a one hour session on a thematic approach to writing science fiction. Call the festival office for details.
Robert Charles Wilson
Wilson, Robert Charles

Robert Charles Wilson was born in California, but has lived most of his life in Canada. His publications include more than a dozen novels in the science fiction genre. His most recent work is Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America.
He recently became a Canadian citizen, and lives in Concord, Ontario.  


Joseph Naytowhow
Naytowhow, Joseph

Joseph Naytowhow is a gifted Plains/Woodland Cree singer/songwriter, storyteller and actor from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation Band in Saskatchewan. He is renowned for his use of traditional First Nations drum, flute and rattle songs. Joseph also received a Gemini Award for Best Individual or Ensemble Performance in an Animated Program or Series for his role in the animated Wapos Bay Series. He was also awarded Best Emerging Male Actor and won Best Traditional Male Dancer at John Arcand's Fiddlefest. Joseph's generosity and compassion for sharing cultural knowledge makes him a much sought after speaker around the world, and he has performed for the Prince of Wales, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan and many other dignitaries. He holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan.


Elizabeth Bachinsky
Bachinsky, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of three collections of poetry, the most recent being God of Missed Connections, a book about Ukrainian-Canadians from the first wave of immigrants to their progeny four generations later. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Governor General's Award. Conceived in Moose Jaw, born in Regina, and raised in BC, she now lives in Vancouver.
George Elliott Clarke  
Clarke, George Elliott

George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Clarke won the Governor General Literary Award for poetry in 2001 for Execution Poems, published by Gaspereau Press. In 1998, Clarke won the prestigious Portia White Prize. He is presently lecturing at the University of Toronto, and will read from his most recent book, Red.
Don Kerr
Kerr, Don

Don Kerr is Saskatchewan's new Poet Laureate. He was born in Saskatoon where he taught English at the University of Saskatchewan for forty years, specializing in classes of drama and film. Don Kerr began publishing poetry in journals, and has had eight books of poetry published, most recently, The Dust of Just Beginning in 2010. He has had five plays produced and has also written plays for the Fringe and for CBC Radio. Don has three non-fiction books and wrote a history of the Saskatchewan Public Libraries. For 30 years he's served on many organizations dedicated to culture, arts and heritage, and was awarded a Public Service and Extension Award and a Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2007. Don Kerr will be the speaker at this year's Friday Luncheon and he'll talk about the role of the Poet Laureate and read from his poetry.
David Margoshes Margoshes, David

David Margoshes is a Saskatchewan poet and fiction writer whose work has been widely published in magazines, anthologies and in over a dozen books, including two volumes of poetry in the last two years: The Horse Knows the Way in 2009, and 2010's Dimensions of an Orchard. Both were nominated for the poetry award at the Saskatchewan Book Awards. Dimensions of an Orchard won that prize and was nominated for 2010 Book of the Year.
Dr. Shane Neilson
Neilson, Dr. Shane

Dr. Shane Neilson was born in New Brunswick. He practices medicine in Erin, Ontario and edits for Frog Hollow Press, a publisher of limited editions. He writes reviews for periodicals across Canada, belying a life spent thinking about poetry. His poetry is concerned with the two great subjects: love and death. Dr. Neilson will read from Gunmetal Blue.


Ruhksana Khan
Khan, Ruhksana

Ruhksana Khan is an award-winning Muslim author and storyteller with eleven books published who regularly appears on television and radio. The tales she tells come from India, Persia, and the Middle East, as well as her own stories. She was born in Pakistan and immigrated to Canada at the age of three. She lives in Toronto and has four grown children and four grandchildren. She'll discuss storytelling and read many of here books and from Big Red Lollipop at our annual Storytime for Little Ones.
Storytime for Little Ones
On Thursday July 14th at 3pm afternoon, Ruhksana Khan will read to a younger group,
age 4 and over, here in the Moose Jaw Art Museum Theatre. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are invited to bring the little ones down for afternoon story time based on Ruhksana's children's picture books. This is a free event.
Ashley Spires
Spires, Ashley

Ashley Spires was born and raised on the coast of British Columbia with eight cats and a dog. As a result, she excels at drawing with one hand and patting a cat with the other. When she's not drawing she runs, walks and rides her bike. She now lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with three cats, one dog, and one man. She has illustrated eleven books, four of those she wrote as well. She is the winner of the Chocolate Lily award and is still shocked that she gets paid to sit around and draw all day.
Our Kids Ink Program this year will be guided by Ashley Spires and it will focus on illustration as a means of telling stories. The workshop will help kids learn to be patient with themselves while they make their very own comic! This program, sponsored by Rotary Club of Moose Jaw Wakamow, is designed for the 10-13 year old age group, and takes place from 9-noon on Thursday morning at festival in the library. Cost is $10. Please contact the office to register.

young adults

Arthur Slade
Slade, Arthur

Arthur Slade was raised in the Cypress Hills of southwest Saskatchewan and began writing at an early age. He received an English Honours degree from the University of Saskatchewan, spent several years writing advertising and now writes fiction full time. He is the author of the "Canadian Chills" series of books, "Dust" (which won the Governor General's award), "Tribes," and "Monsterology." He will be talking about his new steampunk series, The Hunchback Assignments. He currently lives in Saskatoon.


Please note that once again, this year's Readception, with its short samplings of readings from 7 authors, will take place at the Heritage Inn. This event is included in the full pass, or $10 at the door. It's the ideal way to hear short readings and determine who you'd like to include in your schedule of readings starting the next morning. Watch the Times Herald for details about this years' writers as we continue to feature individual presenters through the weeks leading up to the festival.
Book Launch

And, ....we always have a BOOK LAUNCH at the festival.....
This year, Thistledown Press will launch Anne McDonald's book, To the Edge of the Sea. McDonald has been writing for sixteen years and her book was first alternate for the John V. Hicks manuscript award. The book launch will take place Saturday, in the upper lobby of the Cultural Centre, following the major Saturday session in the Mae Wilson Theatre.
Teen Writing Experience
Teen Writing Experience

This is an intensive five-day program for teen writers aged 14 to 18 can work with a professional writer to develop their skills. Activities consist of writing exercises, talks, critiques and readings. Brenda Niskala will return as this year's instructor and guest speaker to appear at this year's Experience will be Art Slade. Application forms for the experience are available tonight in the lobby. The deadline for applications is May 13th.


We continue the fascination with performance poetry with one of the world’s premier spoken word performers…..
Shane Koyczan & his group The Short Story Long
Shane Koyczan & his group The Short Story Long

Shane Koyczan & his group The Short Story Long. His last performance, at the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, brought the 55,000-seat house to their feet with his tear-jerking homage to Canada "We Are More". Now the multi award winning spoken word performer breathes life into the new genre of talk rock with his band the Short Story Long - whose musical range stretches from folk to funk, from ambient to rock, showcasing all manner of music in-between. This group with Koyczan gives a show that is always accessible but by turns hilarious, moving and deeply profound...often all in the same song. Playing to sold-out theaters and receiving standing ovations, this critically acclaimed group is swiftly moving to the forefront of the Canadian indie music scene. Shane Koyzcan and Short Story Long have been proudly named New Artist of the Year at the 2009 BC Interior Music Awards. Their appearance at our Saturday Night Live event this year is sponsored by Casino Moose Jaw.
Sunday Farewell Lunch
Sunday Farewell Lunch

And, on Sunday at the Farewell Lunch we'll hear musical entertainment from Prairie songstress, Melanie Hankewich, also known as Belle Plaine. A true prairie girl from Fosston, Sask, Melanie's voice is as beautiful as her stage name. Trained as a vocalist since the age of five, she studied jazz at Grant MacEwan College, then worked at a Calgary recording studio. Her voice silences noisy taverns and combines the sultry styles of 1940's jazz with the warmth of AM country radio.
Belle Plaine at the Sunday Lunch this year. Her appearance is sponsored by Temple Gardens Mineral Spa.