Billy Ray Belcourt
... is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta. He is an Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, earning his PhD in English at the University of Alberta.
In the First Nations Youth category, Belcourt was awarded a 2019 Indspire Award, the highest honour bestowed by the Indigenous community on its own leaders.
Billy-Ray's debut book of poems, This Wound is a World won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize as well as being a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry.
His second book, NDN Coping Mechanisms, Notes from the Field, was a national bestseller, was long listed for Canada Reads 2020, and shortlisted for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. It won the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry.
A History of my Brief Body, essays and vignettes on grief, colonial violence, joy, love and queerness, was a #1 National Bestseller, a Globe & Mail Best Book, and a finalist for the 2020 Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction, a 2021 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography, and two BC and Yukon Book Prizes.
Billy-Ray's fourth book, A Minor Chorus, was a national bestseller, winning the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and being long listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
His fifth book, Coexistence: Stories, will be published in May 2025.
Kevin was born in Hong Kong in 1975, and moved to Canada in 1977. He studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia and Columbia University, where he got his MFA.
Kevin has written seven books, including the forthcoming novel, THE DOUBLE LIFE OF BENSON YU. Though he used to work full time as a freelance writer, his main focus now is teaching at UBCO in Kelowna, and previously at UBC Creative Writing and The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University.
He lives in Vancouver with his wife and kids.
Kevin is not a show-dog handler, jazz musician, or Tae-Bo enthusiast.
Karolyn Smardz Frost
An award-winning author, Karolyn Smardz Frost is the only archaeologist in Canada holding a PhD in Race, Slavery and Imperialism. She is an adjunct professor at both Acadia and Dalhousie Universities in Nova Scotia, where she and her husband now live.
In January 2018, Ms. Smardz Frost was honoured with the Mathieu Da Costa Award for her lifetime contributions to researching, teaching, and publishing in the field of African Canadian History. Her landmark biography, I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad (2007), was the first book on African Canadian history to win the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.
Karolyn is a winner of the Michigan Book Prize, the Speakers Award, a finalist for the Atlantic Book Award and a nominated for the Heritage Toronto Award, just to name a few!
Her most recent co-written book is The Underground Railroad: Next Stop Freedom! Published first in 2002, a new edition was released by Dundurn Press in 2022.
Karolyn is the 2023/24 Haig-Brown House Writer in Residence.
Tsering Yangzom Lama
... is a Tibetan writer who was born in Nepal and has lived in the United States and Canada. Tsering's debut novel, WE MEASURE THE EARTH WITH OUR BODIES, won the GLCA New Writers Award as well as the Banff Mountain
Book Award for Fiction & Poetry. It has been nominated for The Giller Prize, The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, The Carol Shields Prize, The Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writers Prize, The Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and The Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes, The VCU Cabell First Novel Prize, and The Toronto Book Awards.
Tsering holds an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and a BA in Creative Writing and International Relations from the University of British Columbia.
She is also a co-founder of Lhakar Diaries, a leading English-language blog among Tibetan youth in exile.
International bestselling author Yann Martel uses the power of fiction to explore the larger truths of the universe.
Yann Martel was born in Spain, of Canadian parents who were doing graduate studies, travelling widely both in his childhood years, and as an adult. He obtained a degree in Philosophy from Trent University, then worked at a variety of odd jobs before taking up writing full-time from the age of 27.
In 2002 Yann Martel came to public attention when he won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his second novel, Life of Pi (2002), an epic survival story with an overarching religious theme. Life of Pi has been published in over forty countries and territories, representing well over thirty languages, and a film of the book, adapted by Ang Lee, was released in 2012.
Yann Martel approaches his themes in unusual, imaginative, and provocative ways. He has received numerous award over the years, including the Boeke Prize (South Africa) 2002, Commonwealth Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book) 2002, Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction (Canada)2001, Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction (Canada), to name a few.
In Yann's words: “I write to understand issues that are important to me, to express my creative energies and to pass the time in a meaningful way.”
Yann Martel lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with writer Alice Kuipers and their four children.
Harrison Mooney is a best-selling memoirist and award-winning journalist from British Columbia, Canada. His debut memoir, Invisible Boy, has been shortlisted for two BC and Yukon Book Prizes, the prestigious Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was the winner of the 2023 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for nonfiction. Harrison’s work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Vancouver Sun, the Guardian, Yahoo and Maclean’s. He lives in East Vancouver with his family and family dog, Bootsy.
Zarqa is a Canadian producer for film and television, a published author, public speaker, journalist, and former broadcaster.
In 2007, Ms. Nawaz created the internationally renowned CBC comedy series, Little Mosque on the Prairie, the world’s first sitcom about a Muslim community living in the west. Little Mosque on the Prairie went on to win a Gemini as well as being nominated for Best Television Series .
Zarqa went on to successfully sell comedy pilots to ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox Studios. and made her mark in the publishing world. Her 2014 comedic memoir Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, appeared on the bestseller list of The Globe And Mail, and was shortlisted for several awards.
Zarqa's debut fiction novel, Jameela Green Ruins Everything (2022), further illustrates her comedic genius and brilliant use of satire.
A frequent public speaker on Islam and comedy, Zarqa received a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Saskatchewan for her interfaith work in the community. In recognition for her contribution to the world of arts, she received The Brampton Walk of Fame in 2019.
Zarqa lives in Regina with her loving but long-suffering family and is the proud mother of four children.
Lenore Newman holds a Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Environment at the University of the Fraser Valley, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment. She also serves as Director of the Food and Agriculture Institute at UFV. Lenore’s academic career as a culinary geographer has included fieldwork around the globe in the study of public markets, regional cuisines, farmland preservation, global food security, and the ecology of the world’s food system.
Lenore’s first book, Speaking in Cod Tongues: A Canadian Culinary Journey, was published by University of Regina Press in 2017 and won a Saskatchewan book prize. Lenore has also authored over forty academic papers and reports in her areas of research. She is particularly proud of her work on foraged foods and on the impact of climate change on cuisine.
In 2014 she was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. She has published op-eds in Georgia Straight, the Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, Alternatives Magazine, and Modern Agriculture Magazine, and she has been interviewed for a diverse and growing range of media outlets on topics such as farmland protection, Canadian cuisine, and the future of food.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.