Don Austin is the author of two books of short fiction, The Portable City, and The Lost Tribe, both from Arsenal Pulp Press in Vancouver. His hypertext fiction, ned after snowslides, is in the Special Collections of MUN Library and is viewable on their website. His latest publication is notes (toward a poem about play), created in collaboration with local artist Tara Bryan and published by Running the Goat Books & Broadsides. Austin lives in St. John's.
Melissa Barbeau is the instrumental music teacher (and resident band geek) at St. Peter`s Junior High in Mount Pearl. Her work has been published in Paragon I and III, the Cuffer Anthology, the online literary journal Salty Ink (and was shortlisted for their inaugural short fiction contest). Barbeau has won Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards for fiction and non-fiction. Currently pursuing an M.A. in English at Memorial, she lives in Torbay, Newfoundland.
Michael Crummey has published four books of poetry, a book of stories, and three novels. His novel Galore won the Canadian Authors’ Association Fiction Award, the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book (Canada & Caribbean Region), and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Award and the Governor-General’s Award. River Thieves won the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize, the Winterset Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. Crummey's latest book is the novel Sweetland (Doubleday, 2014).
Stan Dragland is originally from Alberta. He is Professor Emeritus, the University of Western Ontario. He is a founder of Brick magazine and Brick Books. Apocrypha: Further Journeys won the Rogers Cable Award for non-fiction. Stormy Weather: Foursomes was shortlisted for the E.J. Pratt Poetry Award. His most recent book is The Bricoleur & His Sentences (2014, Pedlar Press), a book about reading, writing and thinking.
Jenny Higgins is a writer and researcher living in St. John’s. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines and on Memorial University’s Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website; it has also been broadcast on CBC Radio and CBC Television. Her first book, Perished: The 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster, was released in 2014.
Ed Kavanagh is a writer and musician from Kilbride, currently living in Mount Pearl. He has published the Amanda Greenleaf series of children’s books, as well as an adult novel, The Confessions of Nipper Mooney, which won the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Fiction, was a finalist for the Winterset Award, and was also nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His most recent book, the short-story collection Strays, was short-listed for the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Fiction.
One of Canada's major poets, Don McKay has published over fourteen books of poetry and essays. He has received numerous literary awards for his poetry, including the Governor General's Award (twice) and the Griffin Award. He has served as editor and co-publisher of Brick Books since 1975. His most recent book is An Angular Unconformity: The Collected Poems 1970-2014, from Goose Lane.
Born in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, in 1954, Thomas McCarthy was educated at University College Cork. A multi-award-winning writer, he has received the Kavanagh Award (1977), the Hunt Bartlett Prize (1980) and the O’Shaughnessy Prize (1991). A member of the Irish artists’ association Aosdana, he is the author of eight collections of poetry, two novels and a memoir. His latest book, Pandemonium, was published by Anvil Press Poetry in 2014.
Janet McNaughton was born in Toronto and moved to Newfoundland in 1979. She has Masters and Doctorate degrees, both in folklore from Memorial University. A full time professional writer since 1991, Janet writes young adult novels, books for younger children, magazine articles and she also edits other writers’ books. Her nine books have won twelve awards and have been translated into French, German, Dutch, Danish and Portuguese.
Linden MacIntyre is a Canadian journalist, broadcaster and novelist. Well known for his stories on CBC's The Fifth Estate, he has received eight Gemini Awards, an international Emmy and various other awards for writing and journalistic excellence, including the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel The Bishop's Man. His latest (fourth) work of fiction is the suspense-filled Punishment (Random House, 2014).
Lisa Moore is the author of two collections of short stories, Degrees of Nakedness and Open, and three novels---Alligator, February and Caught. Open received the Canadian Authors' Association Jubilee Prize for Short Fiction; Alligator won the Commonwealth Prize for the Canadian Caribbean Region as well as the ReLit Award. Long-listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, February won the 2013 Canada Reads Competition. Both novels were nominated for the Giller Prize. Moore's latest book, Caught, also short-listed for the Giller, is currently in production as a television series. One of the country's most acclaimed fiction writers, Moore has recently joined the creative writing faculty in the Department of English at Memorial University.
Beth Ryan’s collection of short fiction, What is Invisible, won the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award and was a finalist for the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Fiction. Her stories have been published in TickleAce, The New Quarterly, Hearts Larry Broke, The Cuffer Anthology and Weather’s Edge; these stories have won awards in various competitions, among them the Government of Newfoundland Arts and Letters Competition, the Atlantic Writing Competition, the Victoria School of Writing and the Cuffer Short Fiction Competition. Ryan lives in St. John’s where she works at Memorial University.
Leslie Vryenhoek is the author of Scrabble Lessons (fiction) and Gulf (poetry). A novel, Ledger of the Open Hand, is forthcoming from Breakwater Books in 2015. For two decades Vryenhoek has worked as a communications professional in education, international development, emergency response, and the arts. Based in St. John’s, she is also the founding director of Piper’s Frith: Writing at Kilmory.
Tracey Waddleton is an emerging writer based in St. John’s. In 2013, her short story collection manuscript, Send More Tourists, the Last Ones Were Delicious, was shortlisted for the NL Credit Union Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers. In 2014, stories of hers won both second and third places in The Cuffer Prize competition. She has published stories in Riddle Fence and The Cuffer Anthology VI. Waddleton is currently completing a collection of stories and writing a novel titled Norman.
Russell Wangersky is an award-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction. Based in St. John’s, he is the author of several books and the Atlantic region columnist for newspapers in the Transcontinental chain. Wangersky’s latest novel, Walt (House of Anansi, 2014) is a psychological thriller about a grocery store cleaner who uses found shopping lists, and the personal details they contain, for his own dark purposes.
Shoshanna Wingate is a poet, fiction writer, and a founding editor of the arts and culture journal Riddle Fence. Her poetry and fiction have been published in The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Arc Poetry Magazine, Hunger Mountain Review online, and Room Magazine. She published a poetry chapbook, Homing Instinct, with Frog Hollow Press; her first book, Radio Weather, was published by Véhicule Press in 2014. She now lives in Sackville, New Brunswick.
The SPARKS Literary Festival was founded in 2009 by poet and professor Mary Dalton, who served as the festival's director for the first 6 years. Now organized by Memorial's Department of English with ongoing support from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, SPARKS continues to celebrate the literary creations of Newfoundland and Labrador and showcase writers at various stages of their creative lives. It is what Dalton has called a "word spree." The festival also makes available displays of books and journals published in Newfoundland and Labrador and a mini-bookstore featuring works by the authors reading at the festival.
SPARKS Literary Festival is active on Facebook. Visit our page for the social side of SPARKS!