DAVID ANDREWS is originally from St. Phillip's, NL. He holds an MA in English literature from Memorial University and, in 2009, was the recipient of the Literary Arts Foundation and Writers Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Fresh Fish award for emerging writers for the short story collection "West Orange." He currently lives and works in St. John’s.
SHARON BALA is a member of the Port Authority, a St. John's writing group. Her short fiction has won three NL Arts & Letters Awards and been published, or is forthcoming, in: Grain, PRISM international, The New Quarterly, Room, Riddle Fence, and in Racket: New Writing Made in Newfoundland. Her manuscript, The Boat People, won the Percy Janes First Novel Award (May 2015) and was short-listed for the Fresh Fish Award (October 2015).
ROBERT CHAFE'S plays have been seen across Canada, the UK, Australia and in the United States. He is the author of 18 stage works and co-author of another eight. He was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Drama in 2004, and won the award in 2010. He has been writer-in-residence at Artistic Fraud, Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (Sackville, NB), Playwrights Workshop Montreal, Forest Forge Theatre (Hampshire, UK), and Memorial University, and a guest instructor at Grenfell Campus, and The National Theatre School of Canada. Robert is playwright and artistic director for Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland.
JOAN CLARK is the author of The Birthday Lunch, The Dream Carvers, Latitudes of Melt, The Victory of Geraldine Gull and Eiriksdottir, as well as several award-winning novels for young adults. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, she has lived in various places across Canada with her geotechnical engineer husband Jack. While living in Calgary she became a founding member of the Alberta Writers Guild and co-founded the acclaimed literary journal Dandelion. She now lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
MEGAN GAIL COLES is a graduate of Memorial University and the National Theatre School of Canada. She is co-founder and artistic director of Poverty Cove Theatre Company. Megan is currently working on The Driftwood Trilogy: Falling Trees, Building Houses and Wasting Paper. Her completed plays include Our Eliza, The Battery, Bound, and Squawk and her first fiction collection, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, won the BMO Winterset Award and the Margaret & John Savage First Book Award and earned her the one time Writers Trust 5x5 prize. She is originally from Savage Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula. She currently resides in St. John's where she works at Breakwater Books, is artist-in-residence at the Arts and Culture Centre, and a fiction editor for Riddle Fence.
LIBBY CREELMAN is the author of Walking in Paradise (Porcupine's Quill, 2000), a short fiction collection shortlisted for the first annual Winterset Award for excellence in Newfoundland writing, and the novel The Darren Affect (Goose Lane Editions, 2008). Her stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Best Canadian Stories and two editions of the Journey Prize Anthology. Her most recent book is the novel Split (Goose Lane Editions, 2015).
MARY DALTON is professor of English at Memorial. She is the author of five books of poetry, including the Canadian classic, Merrybegot; Red Ledger; and her most recent, Hooking: A Book of Centos (2013). A prose collection, Edge: Essays, Interviews, Reviews, was released in the fall of 2015 by Palimpsest Press. A letterpress chapbook, Waste Ground, is forthcoming from Running the Goat Press in 2016.
Considered the greatest living poet in the Irish language, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill has won every major prize in the field and has been translated into English by Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon, among others. Her poems appear in the dual-language editions Rogha Dánta/Selected Poems, The Astrakhan Cloak, Pharoah's Daughter, The Water Horse, and The Fifty Minute Mermaid. Her Selected Essays came out in 2005. She lives in Dublin and is a member of Aosdána.
ROBERT FINLEY is the author of The Accidental Indies, a book of lyrical essays, and, with Patrick Friesen, Aislinn Hunter, Anne Simpson, and Jan Zwicky, of A Ragged Pen: Essays on Poetry and Memory; he is co-translator, with Marta Mar'n-Dòmine, of Catalan writer Joaquim Amat-Piniella's testimonial novel, L. Reich. He lives in St. John's, where he teaches literature and creative writing at Memorial University.
JACQUELINE HYNES is a writer and filmmaker from Bell Island, NL. Her film, The Passenger, was the recipient of the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award and her film Cardboard Junction, won the Nickel Independent Film Festival Emerging Filmmaker Award. Hynes, with filmmaking partner Andrea Dunne, was recently selected for the NIFCO/Telefilm Picture Start program to produce the film, Malignant. In 2015, Hynes was awarded a Newfoundland Arts and Letters Award for her poem, Some Functions of the Wind.
ELISABETH DE MARIAFFI is the Giller Prize-nominated author of one book of short stories, How To Get Along With Women (Invisible Publishing, 2012) and the new novel, The Devil You Know (HarperCollins, Canada; Simon & Schuster, USA 2015). Her poetry and short fiction have been widely published in magazines across Canada. Elisabeth now makes her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she lives with the poet George Murray.
GEORGE MURRAY is the author of eight books, including the bestselling book of aphorisms, Glimpse, and the book for children, Wow Wow and Haw Haw. His latest book of poems is Diversion, published by ECW Press in 2015. He is the current poet laureate of St. John's.
HEATHER O’NEILL is the author of the novels Lullabies for Little Criminals and The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and the short story collection Daydreams of Angels. She has won CBC’s Canada Reads Competition and the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. She has also been a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, The Governor General Award, and the Orange Prize. She was born in Montreal, where she currently lives.
ANDEW PEACOCK was born in Toronto. After finishing studies in veterinary medicine at the University of Guelph he moved to the village of Freshwater in Newfoundland. He worked there as a veterinarian seeing everything from cats to whales until 2010. His book Creatures of the Rock was published by Doubleday Canada in 2014. It was long listed for the 2015 Leacock Medal for humour and won the 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador Books award for non-fiction.
SARA TILLEY’S work bridges writing, theatre, and Pochinko Clown Through Mask. She’s written, co-written or co-created 11 plays, often for She Said Yes!, the theatre company she founded in 2002. Her two novels, Skin Room and Duke, were both published by Pedlar Press, and are soon to be translated into French with Quebec publisher Marchand des feuilles. She was the recipient of the Lawrence Jackson Writer’s Award and the Rhonda Payne Theatre Award from the NLAC.
PATRICK WARNER was born in Claremorris, Co. Mayo, Ireland in 1963. He has published four collections of poetry: All Manner of Misunderstanding (Killick Press, 2001), There, there (Signal Editions, 2005), Mole (House of Anansi Press, 2009), and Perfection (Goose Lane/Ice House, 2012). He has also published two novels: Double Talk (Breakwater, 2011) and One Hit Wonders (Breakwater, 2015). He is the rare books and special collections librarian for Memorial University Libraries.
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.