Sonja Boon is Professor of Gender Studies at Memorial University. Passionate about stories and storytelling, she has published on a variety of topics, from considerations of gender, embodied identity, and citizenship in eighteenth-century medical letters, to breastfeeding selfies and virtual activism, and craftivism in the feminist classroom. Her literary work appears in ROOM magazine, The Ethnic Aisle, and Geist, as well as in edited collections. Sonja was principal flutist with the Portland Baroque Orchestra (Oregon, USA) for six years, and has also appeared as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician with the Toronto Symphony, Hallé Orchestra, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, and the Holland Festival of Early Music, among others. What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home (WLU Press, 2019) is her fourth book. https://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/Books/W/What-the-Oceans-Remember
Anne Budgell worked for CBC for 35 years in Newfoundland and Labrador. She was the first woman to host "The Fisherman's Broadcast." On television, she anchored "Here and Now" and "On Camera". She produced and hosted "Radio Noon" for twelve years. Her book, "Dear Everybody", came out in 2013. Her latest book, "We All Expected To Die, Spanish Influenza in Labrador, 1918-1919", won the 2019 Peter Cashin Prize from MUN's Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities.
Mark Callanan is the author of two previous poetry collections, Scarecrow (Killick Press, 2003) and Gift Horse (Véhicule Press, 2011), as well as two chapbooks, Sea Legend (Frog Hollow Press, 2010) and Skylarking (Anstruther Press, 2020). He co-edited The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry (Breakwater Books, 2013), and was a founding editor of the St. John’s, Newfoundland-based journal Riddle Fence. He lives in St. John’s with his wife, poet and critic Andreae Callanan, and their four children.
Though he was born and raised on the tropical island of Jamaica, Xaiver has considered Newfoundland and Labrador home for over a decade. Though both islands are quite different, Xaiver feels that living in Jamaica, very much prepared him for life on the Rock, minus the snow, sleet and lack of sun – the people are equally warm and friendly. Xaiver reflects this love of his past and present life in his writing.
Educated as a statistician and Political Scientist, Xaiver is most passionate about baking and childcare and is often found in a kitchen or in the company of an infant. In his past life as a performer, Xaiver had roles in theatre and film productions both in Jamaica and Newfoundland and Labrador, including: Anne of Green Gables, Our Divas Do Broadway, Blues Clues, Republic of Doyle, Antigone, and Hudson and Rex.
When not writing, acting, singing or baking, Xaiver loves the outdoors and can be seen swimming in all the ponds in summer, camping in the woods and hiking the east coast trail. While Xaiver is new to writing, a short story of his, “Unda di Naseberry Tree,” was published in the summer 2020 issue of The Malahat Review and, another story, “Prayer,” will be published in an upcoming anthology, title pending. Xaiver also wrote a play, 76 Centimeters, that was workshopped by TODOS productions for the 2020 St. John's Short Play Festival. He is currently enjoying writing stories and looks forward to where his stories will take him.
Megan Gail Coles is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, National Theatre School of Canada and University of British Columbia. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Poverty Cove Theatre Company. She has written numerous award-winning plays including Our Eliza, Bound, The Battery, Squawk, Grace and Falling Trees. Her first short fiction collection, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, won the BMO Winterset Award, the ReLit Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award and earned her the Writers' Trust of Canada 5×5 prize. Her debut novel, Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club,was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a contender for CBC Canada Reads and recently won the BMO Winterset Award. Originally from Savage Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Megan lives in St. John's where she is the Executive Director of Riddle Fence and a PhD candidate at Concordia University. https://houseofanansi.com/products/small-game-hunting-at-the-local-coward-gun-club
Terry Doyle is a writer from the Goulds, Newfoundland. Winner of the 2017 Percy Janes First Novel Award, and finalist for the 2017 Fresh Fish Award, his first book of short stories, DIG, was a finalist for the 2019 Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the 2019 Alistair MacLeod Short Fiction Award, the 2019 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, and the 2020 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for fiction.
Benjamin C. Dugdale is an experimental filmmaker and poet currently living in Atlantic Canada. Their award-winning short story 'Pekoe' is free to read on GEIST.com. Their chapbook 'Saint Rat O'Sphere's Formica Canticle Poems' is available from Anstruther Press. More information on their writing and film-making practices can be found at https://benjamindugdale.ca/
Gemma Hickey was born with a fire in their belly. This multi award-winning international author and celebrated human rights activist from Newfoundland and Labrador has made headlines worldwide as an advocate for the LBGTQ2+ community and survivors of religious institutional abuse. Gemma's highly acclaimed memoir, Almost Feral (Breakwater 2019) chronicles their 908-kilometre walk across the island of Newfoundland and the uncharted emotional terrain travelled within.
Monica Kidd writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her fourth collection of poetry, Chance Encounters with Wild Animals (Gaspereau Press, 2019), was short-listed for the Steffanson Poetry Prize. Formerly a reporter for CBC Radio and a biologist, she currently works as a family physician, freelance broadcaster, and editor. Her research and creative work has appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies. http://www.gaspereau.com/bookInfo.php?AID=0&AISBN=9781554471973
Alexander MacLeod lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and teaches at Saint Mary's University in Halifax. His first collection of short stories, Light Lifting, won an Atlantic Book Award and was named a finalist for The Scotiabank Giller Prize, The Frank O'Connor International Story Prize, The Commonwealth Book Prize and the American Library Association's Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. His most recent story, "Lagomorph," won the 2019 O. Henry Prize, and his new collection, Lagomorph and Other Stories, will be published by McClelland and Stewart in 2021.
Trudy Morgan-Cole is a writer and teacher living in St. John's. She is fascinated by stories about strong women, resilience, and grace. Her historical fiction includes By the Rivers of Brooklyn and the 2019 NL Reads winner Most Anything You Please. Her latest novel, A Roll of the Bones, is the first in a trilogy inspired by the founding of the Cupids colony. The sequel, Such Miracles and Mischiefs, is scheduled to be released by Breakwater Books in Fall 2021.
Chris Newell is an author, film critic, and screenwriter currently working on a PhD specialising in Queer Gothic. He penned a short film titled New Woman that has played festivals around the world since 2018. His most recent short story appeared in Terror Nova: An Anthology of Newfoundland Inspired Horror. https://fathersonholygore.com/
Billy O'Callaghan from Cork, Ireland, is the author of four short story collections and three novels, including My Coney Island Baby, which was translated into nine languages and shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature's Encore Award; and The Boatman and Other Stories. A new novel, Life Sentences, will be published by Jonathan Cape early in 2021. Winner of the Irish Book Award and shortlisted for the COSTA Award and the Royal Society of Literature's Encore Award, among numerous other honours, his books have been translated into a dozen languages. His short stories have also appeared widely, in journals such as Agni, the Fiddlehead, the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares and the Saturday Evening Post. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/617714/the-boatman-and-other-stories-by-billy-ocallaghan/9781787330900
Andrea Procter is an anthropologist with nearly twenty years of experience working with Indigenous communities in Labrador. In 2017, she joined the Newfoundland and Labrador Healing and Commemoration project with James Igloliorte to document the stories of Labrador’s boarding schools. She has a Ph.D. from Memorial University. Find A Long Journey at select booksellers or from the publisher at www.hss.mun.ca/iserbooks, email@example.com www.hss.mun.ca/iserbooks
Leslie Vryenhoek’s writing explores the landscape of intimate relationships, the uneven hand of fortune, and what it means to belong to a place and time. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published across Canada and around the world, and have garnered critical acclaim and awards. She is also a communications professional whose diverse career has focused on humanitarian efforts and the arts. We All Will Be Received is Leslie’s second novel.
She lives in St. John's.
Michael Winter has published short fiction, novels, and non-fiction. He has won the Winterset Prize, the CBC short story contest and the Writers' Trust Engel/Findley award. His most recent book, Into the Blizzard, sets out to retrace the steps of the Newfoundland regiment during the first world war. It was nominated for the Charles Taylor Prize. Winter grew up in Newfoundland and now teaches creative writing in the Guelph MFA program. He lives in Toronto.
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.