Writers confirmed for 2017:

Kamal Al-Solaylee

Kamal Al-Solaylee is an associate professor in the School of Journalism at Ryerson University. His memoir, Intolerable, was on the shortlist for a number of non-fiction prizes and won the Toronto Book Award. His second book, Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone), was a finalist for the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction.

Gurjinder Basran

Gurjinder Basran was one of our New Voices in 2010 with Everything Was Good-bye. The book, originally published by Mother Tongue Publishing, was picked up by Penguin Canada and won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her second novel, Someone You Love is Gone, will be published in August 2017.

Pat Carney

Pat Carney is a journalist, author, educator, and politician who was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of her roles as Member of Parliament, cabinet minister, and senator. She was at the Festival in 2001 with Trade Secrets: A Memoir. Pat’s latest book is On Island: Life Among the Coast Dwellers, a collection of stories chronicling the characters and dramas that capture life in small coastal communities. Pat will appear in an event about BC west coast island life with Amber McMillan and host/moderator Kathryn Gretsinger.

Janie Chang

Janie Chang was born in Taiwan and has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, and New Zealand. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and lives in Vancouver. Her first novel, Three Souls, was a finalist for the 2014 Ethel Wilson Prize and was one of nine Canadian books on the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, Dragon Springs Road, published in January, combines historical fact and fantastical elements.

Geoff Dembicki

Geoff Dembicki is a millenial, a member of the generation of 18-34 year olds that has grown up wondering if they will have a safe, stable and prosperous world to grow old in, or one defined by extinction, disaster and ruin. This is the last possible generation capable of making a difference on climate change. Dembicki’s book, Are We Screwed? (May 2017) gives voice to a generation that has been spoken to and spoken about but not always listened to. This is a voice worth listening to.

Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s pre-eminent biographers and historians. Her many honours and awards include the Pierre Berton Award for a body of historical writing, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, the Ottawa Book Award and the Toronto Book Award. She is the author of 10 books and is a member of the Order of Canada. Her latest book is The Promise of Canada: 150 Years — People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country. Charlotte Gray will deliver the 2017 Bruce Hutchison Memorial Lecture.

Kathryn Gretsinger

We are delighted that Kathryn Gretsinger will be joining us to host/moderate three Festival events. Kathryn is a journalist, an adjunct professor in the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and a former (and very popular) CBC Radio Host. Kathryn will be hosting an onstage conversation with Joy Kogawa and will host and moderate the New Voices event with Eva Crocker and Clea Young, and the event with Pat Carney and Amber McMillan.

Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton is the Arthur Ellis award-winning author of a crime fiction series featuring Ava Lee, a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who specializes in recovering massive debts that aren’t likely to be recovered through traditional methods. The ninth Ava Lee novel (the third book in a triad trilogy), The Couturier of Milan, will be published in January 2017.

Steven Heighton

Steven Heighton is the highly acclaimed author of 14 books, both poetry and novels, and won the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Poetry for The Waking Comes Late. From the jury’s citation: “He locates the complexities of the personal in a wide range of social issues, while playing masterfully with language, form and tone.” His new novel, The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep, will be published by Penguin Random House Canada in March 2017.

Anosh Irani

Anosh Irani has published three critically acclaimed novels: The Cripple and His Talismans; The Song of Kahunsha, an international bestseller that was shortlisted for Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; and Dahanu Road, nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize. His latest novel, The Parcel, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction.

Joy Kogawa

Joy Kogawa is one of Canada’s most important literary elders. Her novel Obasan addresses the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II, an injustice she and her family experienced. She is a long-time activist for peace and reconciliation. Gently to Nagasaki is her highly anticipated memoir.

Mark Leiren-Young

Mark Leiren-Young is an award-winning author, journalist, playwright and filmmaker. He won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for Never Shoot a Stampede Queen. His latest book, The Whale that Changed the World is about Moby Doll, the first publicly exhibited captive killer whale. Moby Doll changed the way we see orcas and sparked the movement to save them. The Whale that Changed the World has been nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.

Sandra Martin

Sandra Martin is an award-winning journalist and author of six books. A Good Death: Making the Most of our Final Choices has received wide praise and is on the shortlist for the BC Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. “This cannot have been an easy book to write but we should be grateful to her for taking it on… we have to stop avoiding what we find distressing” — Margaret MacMillan.

Amber McMillan

Sunshine Coast resident Amber McMillan’s work has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, PRISM International, Best Canadian Poetry and the Walrus. She has published one book of poetry, We Can’t Ever Do This Again. Her latest book is The Woods: A Year on Protection Island. Amber will appear in an event about BC west coast island life with Pat Carney and host/moderator Kathryn Gretsinger.

The Meter's Running

Our poetry event will feature Steven Heighton (see above) and two other nominees for the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Joseph Denham is the author of one novel and three collections of poetry. Regeneration Machine was on the GG shortlist and also won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. He will release his first album of songs, Lost at Sea, in the summer of 2017. Rachel Rose is the Poet Laureate for the City of Vancouver. Her latest collection of poetry, for which she was nominated for the GG, is Marry & Burn. Her previous collection, Song & Spectacle, won the Audre Lorde Poetry Award in the US and the Pat Lowther Award in Canada. She was the librettist for When the Sun Comes Out, Canada’s first lesbian opera.

Robert Moor

Halfmoon Bay resident Robert Moor has won numerous awards for his non-fiction writing and has been published in a wide range of periodicals. His book, On Trails: An Exploration was on the shortlist for the 2017 BC Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. In On Trails, “Moor combines vivid reportage told in supple prose with lucid explorations of science and history in an absorbing account of how travelers shape and are shaped by the land they pass through” — Publishers Weekly.

Donna Morrissey

We are delighted to welcome Donna Morrissey back to open the 35th Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. Morrissey is a beloved author and storyteller whose latest book, The Fortunate Brother, is her sixth novel and the third about the Now family. This book, however, is a departure from earlier work in that it is a “straight up whodunit” (The Globe and Mail). As in all of her work, Morrissey mines the culture, landscape and storytelling tradition of her Newfoundland birthplace. “(Writing fiction) continues to help me define who I am and my family and the mythology of our lives together.”

New Voices

The annual New Voices event is the Festival’s annual celebration of writers of first books. This year’s New Voices are writers of short story collections. Clea Young and Eva Crocker grew up in coastal communities on opposite sides of the country and both, incidentally, were raised by writers.

Eva Crocker’s stories have been published in Riddle Fence, The Overcast, and The Telegram’s Cuffer Anthology. Her short story High Kick was shortlisted for the 2015 RBC Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers. Crocker recently completed a Master’s Degree in English Literature at Memorial University and lives in St. John’s, NL. Her debut collection of short stories is Barrelling Forward. “Honest, funny, smart and so, so well-crafted.” — (Alexander MacLeod)

Clea Young's stories have been published in a number of literary journals including Event, Grain, Room and The Malahat Review as well as in The Journey Prize Stories three times. Clea's first collection of short stories, Teardown, "reflects the skill and assuredness of a seasoned pro" — (Vancouver Sun). She completed an MFA at the University of British Columbia and works as the Artistic Associate at the Vancouver Writers Fest.

Iain Reid

Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of non-fiction, One Bird's Choice and The Truth About Luck, which was one of the The Globe and Mail's best books of 2013. His work has appeared in a variety of publications throughout North America, including The New Yorker, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post. He received the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award in 2015. His first novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, was published in the fall of 2016.

David A. Robertson

David Robertson is a graphic novelist, writer and an advocate for educating youth about indigenous history and contemporary issues including residential schools, missing and murdered indigenous women and reconciliation. He uses a variety of literary platforms including non-fiction and literary, and graphic novels for adults and young adults. His latest book for children, When We Were Alone, is garnering high praise for the sensitive way in which it addresses the residential school experience. He won the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer in 2015.

Bev Sellars

Bev Sellars is a former chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, BC. She has a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from UBC and served as an advisor to the BC Treaty Commission. They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School is a memoir about three generations of women who attended St. Joseph’s Mission. Her second book, Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival provides a candid and thorough analysis of Aboriginal rights in Canada and Canadian history from a First Nations perspective.

Shari Ulrich with Julia Graff and Kirby Barber

We are thrilled to welcome award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Shari Ulrich back to the Sunshine Coast to close our 35th anniversary Festival. Shari will be joined by her daughter Julia Graff, also a talented multi-instrumentalist and singer, and Kirby Barber, an award-winning bass and guitar player who, with Shari, is a member of the bluegrass band, The High Bar Gang. Be prepared for soaring three-part harmonies and dazzling instrumentals.

Zoe Whittall

Zoe Whittall was at the Festival in 2008 with her debut novel Bottle Rocket Hearts that made The Globe and Mail’s Best Books of the Year list. She is the author of three books of poetry and three novels. The latest, The Best Kind of People, was shortlisted for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. From the jury citation: “This gripping story challenges how we hear women and girls, and dissects the self-hypnosis and fear that prevent us from speaking disruptive truth.”