SPARKS Literary Festival


Kelly Bastow

Kelly Bastow is an illustrator and comic creator living in CBS. Her work frequently features landscapes, monsters and women, as well as themes of belonging and self-acceptance.

Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant webcomic grew an international following, and its two printed collections, Hark! A Vagrant and Step Aside Pops, each topped the New York Times graphic novel bestseller list, and won Eisner, Ignatz, Harvey, and Wright awards. She’s written two children’s books King Baby and The Princess and the Pony, with the latter becoming a TV series on AppleTV+. Her much-anticipated graphic memoir, Ducks, details time she spent working in the Oil Sands to pay off her student loans.

Maggie Burton

Originally from Brigus, Maggie Burton currently lives in St. John’s with her blended family, including four young children, a plethora of small animals, and her partner, Michael. Trained as a classical violinist, Maggie is a multi-disciplinary performer with a background in arts administration and music education. Currently, she dedicates her time to community-oriented work and writing.

Diane Carley

Diane Carley is a writer based in St. John's, NL. She has worked as an office manager in a fish plant, a bank teller, behavioural classroom aide, mental health worker, project manager, and librarian. Her writing has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Riddle Fence, The Fiddlehead, and The Globe and Mail, among other publications. Her debut collection of short stories, Bodies in Trouble, was published by Radiant Press in May 2022.

Sally Cunningham

Sally Cunningham is a graduate student at Memorial University. She is achieving her MA in English literature with a creative thesis under Lisa Moore’s supervision. Originally from Vancouver, B.C., Sally received her BA in English from Bishop's University. She is a member of the Poverty Cove Playwrights Unit. Sally’s short fiction has been published in Riddle Fence, and she was a finalist in the 2022 Accenti Poetry Contest.

Meghan Greeley

Meghan Greeley is a writer, editor, performer, and director originally from Corner Brook, NL. Her poetry, prose, and scripts have been published in The Stockholm Review of Literature, Ephemera, Metatron's ÖMËGÄ project, Riddle Fence, The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Drama (Vol. 1), and the Playwrights Canada Press anthology Long Story Short. Her Winterset-shortlisted play Hunger was published by Breakwater Books in 2022, and her novella Jawbone is forthcoming from Radiant Press in Fall 2023. She is currently Writer in Residence at Memorial University.

Chief Mi'sel Joe

Misel Joe was born in Miawpukek on June 4, 1947. He was born into a strong Mi’kmaq family, both his grandfather and uncle have held the office of hereditary Saqamaw. Misel has been educated in all the Mi’kmaq ways and traditions. Morris Lewis, the first appointed Chief in Newfoundland by the Grand Chief in Mi’kmaq territory, was Misel’s great, great uncle.

Misel Joe since 1973, has been involved in First Nation Politics, first as a Councilor and after the death of his uncle, Chief William Joe in 1982, he became Traditional Saqamaw and the Newfoundland District Chief for the Mi’kmaq Grand Council.

Misel is currently serving his 15th consecutive two year term as Administrative Chief.

Misel Joe is also the spiritual leader of his people. In this capacity he has gained recognition provincially, nationally, and internationally, particularly in the area of spiritual healing.

He is a recognized author and has published 3 literary works.

In May 2004, Misel was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador.

In 2012, the Queen’s Jubilee medal was awarded to Chief Misel. The recipients of this medal are recognized individual contribution to making Canada better for our communities and collectively by helping to create a smarter, more caring nation.

On January 24, 2018 in a ceremony in Ottawa, Chief Misel Joe was awarded Order of Canada. The Order of Canada's mandate is to recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

Since 2019 Misel has been appointed to Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 5 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group.

Julia Laite

Julia Laite is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London. Her critically acclaimed book, The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey (Profile, 2021) won the Crime Writer’s Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. She has contributed to the London Review of Books and The Guardian, and has been a historical consultant for film, television, and podcasts. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Julia now lives in Cambridge, UK with her partner and children.

Leah Lewis

Leah Lewis is an artist and scholar. She has worked as an actor and writer within the provincial arts industry for years, with credits that include Artistic Fraud’s adaptation of Michael Crummey’s work Salvage: The Story of a House, Pope Productions’ adaptation of Ed Riche’s Rare Birds, and others. Leah’s research at MUN merges performance methods with patients’ role and voice in health outcomes. The Dialysis Project is the second in a series of Leah’s arts-based work on patient voice and health agency.

Jim McEwen

Jim McEwen grew up in Dunrobin, ON. He is a graduate of the English and Creative Writing Master’s Program at Memorial University of Newfoundland and winner of the Cuffer Prize (2015) and the Leaside Fiction Contest (2019). Fearnoch is his first novel.

Bernice Morgan

Bernice Morgan is best known for her first two novels: Random Passage and Waiting For Time. Waiting For Time won both The Canadian Author’s Award for Fiction and the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. An eight-part television series based on these books was produced in 2001. The Topography of Love, a collection of short stories revolving around life in wartime St. John’s, was published in 2000. In 2007, she published Cloud of Bone. It won the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award as well as the Heritage and History Book Award, and was shortlisted for the 2008 Atlantic Fiction Award. She is also the author of The Dragon’s Song and her latest book, Seasons Before the War, was shortlisted for the Indy Nonfiction Award in 2021. Bernice has been named Artist of the Year by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and was awarded a honorary degree by Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Morgan has also been inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (ArtsNL) Hall of Honour.

Delores Mullings

Dr. Mullings was born and raised on the beautiful island of Jamaica in a small rural community surrounded by love, water, sun and all things natural. She immigrated to Canada as a youth and is blessed with a large family including two living children - Black queens. She is a multi-talented, no holds bar, unapologetic free-spirited proud woman of African descent residing in the Black diaspora. Her love of water and moonlight motivates her quest to live in small urban centres and rural areas. She has been writing poetry for more than 30 years and became embolden to share her work in her academic publications, newsletters, and public presentations. Her work is an act of resistance in the face of racial injustice, anti-Black racism, and white supremacist patriarchal discourse while simultaneously showcasing love, resilience, courage, rage and boldness in a loveable infectious Jamaican Yahdie style.

Morgan Murray

MUN alum Morgan Murray’s first novel Dirty Birds was one of 2021’s most award losing books. Losing Canada Reads, the Leacock Medal, the Atlantic Fiction Prize, the Atlantic First Book Award, the Forewards Indies Award for Humour, the ReLit Fiction Prize, and three Eric Hoffer Awards. It did manage to win the Best Atlantic Published Book Award, the 2022 IPPY Independent Voice Award, and an Earphones Audiobook Award—these have gone straight to his head.

Sheila O'Neill

Sheila O’Neill, B.A., B.Ed (MUNL) is from Kippens, NL and is a member of Qalipu First Nation. Sheila has worked as a Communications Instructor with College of the North Atlantic campuses in NL and in Qatar. She was employed as Coordinator of Aboriginal Student Success with MUNL from 2017-2019 and is currently employed as Coordinator of Indigenous Research and Training with an Indigenous-owned consulting company in St. John’s. Sheila is a mother and a grandmother.

Kristina Anne Stocks

Kristina Stocks (she/her) is a writer and graduate student at Memorial University under the supervision of Lisa Moore. Originally from the prairies of Treaty 6 Territory, she now calls the island of Ktaqmuk home. This summer, Kristina attended the Sage Hill Fiction Writers Retreat. Her latest work can be found in Miracle Monocle, Cobalt Review, and Roanoke Review.

Dave Sullivan

Dave Sullivan is a writer, humourist, and actor from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. He is one of the founding members of the sketch comedy group The Dance Party of Newfoundland. In 2015, Sullivan won the New York Festivals award for his CBC Radio series Downsizing. Most recently, Sullivan teamed up with Mary Walsh to create The Missus Downstairs, a comedy series for Bell FibeTV — the show is now in development for its third season.

Paul Tucker

Paul Tucker is a St. John’s-based comic creator. First published in 2004, his notable works have included: the critically acclaimed TET for IDW Publishing, the award-winning HOLLOW HEART from Vault Comics and the cult hit NOBODY IS IN CONTROL from Black Mask Studios. 2023 will see the release of his tennis crime thriller graphic novel, STRINGER from Image Comics. He is the co-founder of the decade-long running Breakdown Comic Jam which takes place monthly in St. John’s.

Georgia Webber

Georgia Webber (she/her) is a comics artist, editor, and facilitator living in Newfoundland. She is entirely occupied by the intersection of health and art, making music, comics, and teaching from this point of fascination. Discover her art and unique teaching method at


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.


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