Frances Backhouse writes creative nonfiction that ranges in length from flash essay to full-length book and in focus from literary journalism to memoir. She is the author of six books (the most recent being Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver) and her short-form CNF has appeared in dozens of Canadian and American publications, including Brevity, New Territory and The Bellingham Review. Frances has been a finalist for the VanCity Book Prize, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction, the Lane Anderson Award for science books, and twice for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize, which she won in 2010 for her fifth book, Children of the Klondike.
John Barton, the editor of The Malahat Review from 2004 to 2018, has published eleven books of poetry, seven chapbooks, two anthologies, and one monograph, including Hypothesis, For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin: Selected Poems, Balletomane, Polari, Reframing Paul Cadmus, and The Malahat Review at Fifty: Canada’s Iconic Literary Journal. In 2019, Palimpsest will publish his first book of essays, We Are Not Avatars: Thoughts, Memoirs, Manifestos. Born and raised in Alberta, he has lived across Canada, and makes his home in Victoria.
Yvonne Blomer is Victoria’s Poet Laureate. In 2017 she released a travel memoir: Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur (Palimpsest Press) and most recently she edited the book of poems Refugium: Poems for the Pacific (Caitlin Press) a collection that she hopes will draw awareness to the plight of the Pacific. As if a Raven (Palimpsest Press, 2014) is her third poetry collection. Yvonne teaches creative writing at Camosun College and edits for Caitlin Press. www.yvonneblomer.com
Marilyn Bowering is a writer who lives in Victoria. Her most recent works are Threshold: an encounter with the seventeenth- century Hebridean bard Màiri nighean Alasdair Ruaidh (poetry); What It Takes To Be Human (novel), and the libretto for Marilyn Forever (Gavin Bryars), to have its European premiere in Vienna in April. She has been short-listed for the world-wide Orange Prize, long-listed for the Dublin Impac Award, twice short-listed for the Governor-General’s Prize, and received the Dorothy Livesay, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Ethel Wilson and Pat Lowther Prizes as well as several National Magazine Awards. In 2017, she was a keynote speaker at the Conference on Literature and the Environment at the University of Graz, Austria. A new book of poetry, What is Long Past Occurs in Full Light, will be published next year (MotherTongue). She has been enisled for most of her life.
Carl Cavanagh has been a librarian for 30 years, in Montreal, Toronto, and Victoria. He is a Public Services Librarian for the Greater Victoria Public Library specializing in outreach to the homeless (Our Place, Choices, My Place) and the incarcerated (Wilkinson Jail). He is also a partner in GVPL’s Adult, Seniors, and All-Ages portfolio in which (among other things) he helps organize author visits and GVPL’s legendary Booksmack events.
Morgan Cross is a short fiction writer and student born and raised on Vancouver Island. She studied English at North Island College before joining the University of Victoria’s Writing program in 2016. In Victoria, she contributes to several newspapers as a freelance journalist. Her first published short story, “Folding,” appeared in The Malahat Review’s issue 200. Morgan writes about relationships between people from a range of backgrounds and the expectations imposed by their respective societies. Her stories explore family dynamics, a sense of home, and what it means to continuously evolve throughout life.
Karen Enns’s most recent collection of poetry, Cloud Physics, was published in 2017 by University of Regina Press as part of the Oskana Poetry and Poetics Series. She is the author of two previous collections: Ordinary Hours, and That Other Beauty, nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Her poetry has appeared in many literary journals including The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, Grain, and The Antigonish Review. A native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, she studied music intensively and worked as a classical pianist for two decades before publishing her first writing. She lives in Victoria, BC.
Candace Fertile has a Ph.D. In English literature from the University of Alberta and teaches English and creative writing at Camosun College in Victoria, which she thinks is the best job possible. She has published hundreds of reviews in a variety of Canadian publications, has co-edited an anthology of literature widely used in post-secondary institutions, is a member of the editorial board of Room, Canada’s oldest feminist literary journal, and has served on juries for Saskatchewan and Manitoba book awards. Apart from reading and writing, her passion is travel.
Born and raised in Vanderhoof, BC, Carla Funk lives and writes in Victoria, where she taught for 15 years in the Department of Writing at UVic. She served as Victoria’s inaugural poet laureate (2006-2008), and helped to promote the literary arts in the city. Gloryland (Turnstone Press, 2016) is her fifth book of poems. Currently, she’s wrapping up a creative nonfiction collection about childhood, God, loggers, and small-town imagination. When she’s not working as a private writing mentor and running writing classes in her home, she’s probably out walking her dog and scouting the green world for literary fuel. You can follow her literary adventures at www.carlafunk.com.
Rhonda Ganz’s first book of poetry, Frequent, small loads of laundry, was published by Mother Tongue in 2017. She has studied with Patrick Lane, Lorna Crozier, George Bowering and Susan Musgrave, among others. A graphic designer and editor in her life outside poetry, she considers a poem to be the ultimate edited version of any narrative; the truth (or lie) distilled to its essence. The power possible in a mere handful of carefully selected words is what draws her to poetry. Ganz’s poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, Rattle, Room, Harvard Design Magazine, on city buses as part of Poetry in Transit, and in the anthologies Rocksalt, Poems from Planet Earth, Poet to Poet, and Force Field: 77 Women Poets of BC.
Victoria writer Bill Gaston’s short fiction has been nominated for a Giller Prize and twice for the Governor General’s award. His last novel, The World, won the Ethel Wilson Prize. A new memoir, Just Let Me Look at You, will be out in spring 2018 (Penguin). He has been a frequent contributor to The Malahat Review.
Jason Jobin’s stories of have appeared in The Malahat Review and The Northern Review, though his long game involves novels. He did a BA and MFA in writing at the University of Victoria, and taught in the Writing Program there on matters of Fiction, Screenwriting, and Hip Hop. He’s interested in music, meditation, style, and mentorship, sometimes all at once. Born in the Yukon, he now lives and writes in Victoria.
Michael Kenyon was on The Malahat Review editorial board during the eighties and nineties; he has been writing for forty-nine years, editing for thirty-three, and has had a private therapeutic practice for the past fifteen years. He has published fourteen books of fiction and poetry.
A writer, editor, and teacher, Cynthia Woodman Kerkham has published her poems in many of Canada’s literary journals, The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, Room, The Fiddlehead, and Grain. She has won both the Federation of BC Writers Literary Writes Award and The Malahat Review’s Open Season Award for poetry and has been shortlisted for the CBC poetry prize, Canada Writes. She is currently working on two manuscripts, one in poetry and the other in creative nonfiction. She lives in Victoria, where she accosts French speakers with the patience to let her practice.
Judy LeBlanc is a writer from Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island. Her short stories have been published in numerous literary journals including Filling Station, the Malahat Review, Prism, Antigonish Review and Grain. She has been longlisted for the Prism Short Fiction contest, and in 2015, she won the Islands Fiction contest. In 2012, she won The Antigonish Review’s Sheldon Currie Fiction contest and was longlisted for the CBC short story prize. She has written reviews for The Coastal Spectator and The Malahat Review. Oolichan Press published her collection of short stories, The Promise of Water, in 2017. She teaches English and Creative Writing at North Island College and she is the founder and former artistic director of the Fat Oyster Reading Series.
Dan MacIsaac’s Cries from the Ark, his debut collection of poetry, was published by Brick Books in September 2017. An outdoorsman and trial lawyer, he served for ten years as a director on the board of UVIC’s Environmental Law Centre. His poetry, fiction and verse translations have been published in a wide variety of literary magazines, including The Malahat Review, Arc and Stand. In 2014, one of his poems received the Foley Prize from America Magazine. In 2015, his poem, “Sloth,” was short-listed for The Walrus Poetry Prize. Dan MacIsaaac was the Open Book writer in residence in December 2017. His writer website is www.danmacisaac.com.
Joan MacLeod’s plays include “Jewel,” “Toronto, Mississippi,” “Amigo’s Blue Guitar,” “The Hope Slide,””Little Sister,” “2000,” “The Shape of a Girl,” “Homechild,” “Another Home Invasion,” “The Valley,” and “Gracie.” Her work has been translated into eight languages. She is the recipient of numerous awards including two Chalmers Canadian Play Awards, the Governor General’s Award, the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre, and a Betty Mitchell Award for Best New Play for “Gracie.” ”Gracie” was commissioned by the Belfry, and premiered there last season. It is opening at Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa this April and at the Globe Theatre in Regina next season. Since 2004, Joan has worked at the University of Victoria as a Professor in the Department of Writing.
Originally from Toronto, Micaela Maftei studied at the University of Toronto before moving to Scotland for postgraduate work. Five years later, she left with an M. Litt in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Glasgow. In 2012 – 2013 she spent a year teaching at Erciyes University in central Turkey. Since arriving in Victoria in 2013, Micaela has taught at UVic and Camosun College. She is the author of The Fiction of Autobiography (Bloomsbury, 2013) and co-editor of Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Determining the Form (Gylphi, 2015). She also writes fiction—at the moment her focus is on co-written short stories, with a collection that is slowly coming together. Her short fiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Gutter, and various anthologies in the UK. Micaela has also recently resurrected a novel project that was begun in 2012.
Jill Margo has been long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-fiction Prize and a finalist for both a Western Magazine Award and The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize. She has been published in literary magazines such as Geist and The Walrus. Her in-depth interview with Sheila Heti can be found online at Numero Cinq. She’s also one of the contributors for the New York Times bestseller, Women In Clothes. She has over ten years of experience in literary admin, including as curator and host of two popular reading series, and as the executive director of The Victoria School of Writing. In 2016, she returned to Victoria after eight years living in Vancouver and Toronto. She focuses on creative nonfiction now and is the co-founder of GOOD (along with partner Andrew Templeton), a workshop studio for writers and other independent workers who want to do good work + live good lives.
Carol Matthews has worked as a social worker, as Executive Director of Nanaimo Family Life, as instructor and Dean of Human Services and Community Education at Malaspina University-College (now VIU), and was awarded the Order of BC for her community service. She has published a collection of short stories (Incidental Music, Oolichan Books), a cancer memoir (Reflections on the C-Word: At the Centre of the Cancer Labyrinth, Hedgerow Press). Minerva’s Owl: The Bereavement Phase of My Marriage, Oolichan, 2017) and two other works of memoir. Her short stories and reviews have appeared in literary journals such as Room, The New Quarterly, Grain, Prism, Malahat and Event. She is the winner of Prism’s 2017 Jacob Zilber Prize for short Fiction.
Isa Milman is a writer and visual artist who has called Victoria home for the last twenty-one years. She’s the author of three books, each of which has won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry, and two poetry chapbooks. She is currently completing a memoir based on her family’s life in Poland and the Ukraine.
Sheila Munro grew up in Victoria, and returned after spending many years in Powell River. She is the author of the memoir Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing up with Alice Munro, published in Canada in 2001 and in the U.S. in 2008. Over the years, she has published book reviews and articles in a range of publications including Saturday Night and BC Bookworld, and has taught memoir-writing workshops. She is currently working on a collection of essays.
Victoria writer Julie Paul is the author of three books: two collections of short fiction, The Jealousy Bone (Emdash, 2008), The Pull of the Moon (Brindle & Glass, 2014) and a poetry collection, The Rules of the Kingdom (MQUP, 2017). The Pull of the Moon was awarded both an IPPY award and the 2015 Victoria Book Prize, and was named a Top 100 Book in the Globe and Mail. Her essay “It Not Only Rises, It Shines,” won the 2016 Edna Staebler Personal Essay Award from The New Quarterly, and her story “The Expansion” won The Rusty Toque’s 2016 Chapbook Award. When she’s not at work on her next book—a novel—Julie works as a Registered Massage Therapist.
In May 2016, Susan Sanford Blades completed an MFA in fiction at the University of Victoria. Her short stories have recently been published in The Puritan, Numero Cinq, Grain, The New Quarterly, and Prairie Fire and anthologized in Coming Attractions 16. Her first novel is currently in the market for a publisher.
Madeline Sonik is an award-winning writer, anthologist, and teacher, who lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Her books include a novel, Arms; short fiction, Drying the Bones; a children’s novel, Belinda and the Dustbunnys; two poetry collections, Stone Sightings and The Book of Changes. She has also published a volume of personal essays, Afflictions & Departures, which was nominated for the BC National Award for Canadian Nonfiction, a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize, and won the 2012 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.
Robin Stevenson is the author of 21 books for kids and teens, ranging from early chapter books, to middle-grade fiction and non-fiction, to young adult novels. Her nonfiction book Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community, was a 2017 Stonewall Honor book, and a finalist for the 2017 Canadian Information Book of the Year Award, as well as the BC Book Prizes, Bolen Book Prize, and the Red Maple Award. It is shortlisted for the Hackmatack Award, the Red Cedar Award, and the Rocky Mountain Book Award, and selected for the USSBY Outstanding International Books list, the OLA Best Bets list, and the ALA Rainbow list. Robin’s novels include the Silver Birch-winning Record Breaker, and the Governor General’s-finalist, A Thousand Shades of Blue. She is a four-time BC Book Prize-finalist and lives in Victoria.
Joanna Streetly is an author and illustrator, living in Tofino, BC. She is past editor of The Sound Magazine, and has published books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and her work is included Best Canadian Essays 2017. Her newest book, Wild Fierce Life: dangerous moments on the outer coast, is being released in April 2018, by Caitlyn Press. A passion for small boats and wild places has guided her into, and out of, many wilderness adventures. Joanna’s home, a floathouse she shares with her husband and daughter, has been moored at various locations around Clayoquot Sound for the last twenty years at least.