The latest scoop from Calgary's #1 International Readers Festival

Meet Some of the Hosts at Wordfest 2016

Oct. 7-16, 2016, over 90 writers descend upon Calgary to connect readers with life-changing ideas about the world around us. But it’s our distinguished hosts who take the conversation with our authors to the next level.

Angie Abdou

Angie Abdou teaches creative writing at Athabasca University. She has published four books of fiction, including the Canada Reads’ finalist The Bone Cage. Her most recent novel, Between (Arsenal Pulp Press), was a best of 2014 pick in Prism Magazine, 49th Shelf, and Vancouver Sun. She also writes regular reviews for Quill and Quire.

Jennifer Blair

Jennifer Blair works with the Go Public investigative unit at CBC National News. She investigates stories of bad things happening to people, why they’re happening, and how we sometimes fix the problem. The last book I loved was Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante.

Russell Bowers

Russell has been a broadcast professional for 25 years, having hosted radio shows nationally and regionally from coast to coast. His work as a writer/broadcaster, comedy performer, producer and news reporter has appeared on CBC shows like The Current, Irrelevant Show, Sunday Edition and The 180.

Kenna Burima

Songwriter and musician Kenna Burima’s musical projects include the orchestral-pop of Woodpigeon, the sweaty garage-rock ofBeaver Squadron, the garage pop power of The Pygmies, Doo-wop throwbacks The Pigeonettes and classical avant-garde duo Foon Yap and Kenna Burima. Kenna Burima’s newest works use powerhouse vocals and heavy piano chords to explore the themes of love, faith, and alien abduction.

Russell Cobb

Russell Cobb is Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Alberta. His journalistic work has appeared in Slate, NPR, and The New York Times. He is Contributing Editor and frequent contributor to This Land Press and the author of the eBook Heart in Darkness (2013) and editor of The Paradox of Authenticity in a Globalized World (2014).

Marcello di Cintio

Marcello Di Cintio is the author of three books including Walls: Travels Along the Barricades which won the 2013 Shaugnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. Di Cintio’s magazine writing can be found in publications such as The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, The International New York Times, and Afar. His current book-project, Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, will be published in 2017.

Dymphny Dronyk

Dymphny Dronyk is the Coordinator for the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program, and a mediator for Alberta Justice, and is also a writing and life coach. She is passionate about the magic of story, and has woven words for money and for love for more than 30 years. Her first volume of poetry, Contrary Infatuations, was short-listed for the Pat Lowther Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry in 2008. She is the co-publisher and co-editor at House of Blue Skies whose bestselling anthologies include 2014’s The Calgary Project – A City Map in Verse and Visual. She is also editor of the online Blue Skies Poetry forum. She is currently working on a manuscript of poems about immigration in Dutch, her mother tongue, and in English, her second language, entitled Exiled Transatlantic.

Judith Duthie

Judith Duthie has been a reader from the age of four and a bookseller from the age of twenty-one. She began her career at B. Macabee’s Booksellers in Lethbridge and has also held positions with McNally Robinson Calgary and the Literary Press Group. For the past nine years, she has been manager of Owl’s Nest Books, which is Calgary’s oldest independent bookstore and the official bookseller for Wordfest 2016. She lives in a condo in Mission with a large collection of books and a small cat named Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald.

Catherine Ford

For decades Catherine Ford was one of Calgary’s best-known journalists. Working at the Calgary Herald, Ford was a force to be reckoned with when it came to her national column on politics and social issues. Sometimes acerbic, always funny, she later wrote a book called Against the Grain: An Irreverent view of Alberta. Ford was sometimes referred to as “Alberta’s Wild Rose” — thorns and all — and she had a gift for pissing off the powers that be, like Ralph Klein. Yet she was, and is still, involved in charity fundraising and writes on issues as diverse as city parks and politics. She also still works as a policy pundit.

Rosemary Griebel

Rosemary Griebel’s award-winning poetry has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, on CBC Radio, literary magazines, anthologies, chapbooks and on public buses. Her collection of poetry, Yes, was short-listed for the Gerald Lampert and the Pat Lowther awards, as well as the Stephan G. Stephansson award. When not writing, Rosemary works as the Design Lead for Reader’s Services, at Calgary Public Library. In this role she works with authors and publishers to foster a love of reading.

Lori Hahnel

Lori Hahnel is the author of two novels, Love Minus Zero (Oberon, 2008) and After You’ve Gone (Thistledown, 2014), as well as a story collection, Nothing Sacred (Thistledown, 2009), which shortlisted for an Alberta Literary Award. Her work has been nominated for the Journey Prize three times and published in over forty journals in North America, Australia and the U.K.; her credits include CBC Radio, The Fiddlehead, Joyland and The Saturday Evening Post.

Richard Harrison

Richard Harrison’s previous books include the Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Big Breath of a Wish and Hero of the Play, the first book of poetry launched at the Hockey Hall of Fame. He teaches English and Creative Writing at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, a position he took up after being the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary in 1995. His work has been published, broadcast and displayed around the world, and his poems have been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic.

Stephen Hunt

For 10 years, Stephen Hunt was an entertainment reporter and theatre critic for  the Calgary Herald, where he covered this city’s dynamic arts scene. He’s also taught playwriting as part of the University of British Columbia’s online MFA Creative Writing Program for nine years. He’s happy to be sharing the stage with a couple Montrealers, as one of his bucket list items is to see the Expos come home to Quebec. He lives here with his wife, the actress and playwright Melanee, son Gus and dog, Astro.

Jennifer Keene

Jennifer Keene has worked for the CBC for 15 years – starting in her hometown of Edmonton. She studied English literature and drama at Universities in Alberta and Toronto, before joining CBC Radio as a theatre critic. That turned into a career as an arts reporter and now, the Senior Producer of the Calgary Eyeopener. She’s impressed by the enthusiastic community spirit of Calgary, owns a cowboy hat, but still harbours a secret love for the Oilers.

Richard Kelly Kemick

Richard Kelly Kemick’s poetry, prose, and criticism have been published in magazines and journals across Canada and the United States, including the Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly and Tin House (Open Bar). He has won the poetry prizes of both Grain Magazine and Echolocation. He lives in Calgary.

Naomi Lewis

Naomi K. Lewis is a writer, editor, and teacher based in Calgary. Her novel Cricket in a Fist was published in 2008, and her 2012 story collection, I Know Who You Remind Me Of, won Enfield & Wizenty’s Colophon Prize and was shortlisted for two Alberta book awards. She co-edited the 2012 anthology Shy, with Rona Altrows, which was published by the University of Alberta Press. Her non-fiction has been shortlisted for provincial and national magazine awards. Naomi was a magazine editor for a decade, and was writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick in the winter of 2016.

Tracey Lindberg

Tracey Lindberg is a citizen of As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation Rocky Mountain Cree and hails from the Kelly Lake Cree Nation community. She is an award-winning academic writer and teaches Indigenous studies and Indigenous law at two universities in Canada. Her first book, Bridie, was a Canada Reads Finalist, Kobo First Book Award Finalist, and Alberta Public Library Reader’s Choice Finalist. She sings the blues loudly, talks quietly and is next in a long line of argumentative Cree women.

Anne Logan

Anne Logan has held various positions in the development and creative nonprofit industry. Most recently, she worked in Donor Relations at the University of Calgary, and prior to that she was the Programming Manager at Calgary’s Wordfest. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, and her Postgraduate Certificate through the Humber Creative Book Publishing Program in Toronto. Before moving to Calgary, she worked as a publicist for Cormorant Books. She currently reviews books online at and on-air for CBC Calgary’s Homestretch.  She is also the President of the Board of Directors for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

Kerry Longpre

Micheline Maylor

Dr. Micheline Maylor’s is Poet Laureate of Calgary. Her collection Little Wildheart was short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch award for experimental poetry and is slated for publication in spring of 2017 with University of Alberta Press. She teaches at Mount Royal University. She is the Calgary Public Library Author in Residence in the fall of 2016. She serves as poetry editor at Frontenac House Press. She serves as the Past-president and co-founder of Freefall Literary Society, and remains a consulting editor.

Holger Petersen

Holger Petersen is a record producer, label owner, broadcaster, author, educator, festival producer, album collector – and serious music fan.

Michelle Robinson

Michelle Robinson is Yellowknife Dene, born and living in Calgary, Treaty 7. Michelle is an advocate for Indigenous human rights with a focus on prevention of violence against Indigenous women and is honoured to be part of the Calgary Sister’s in Spirit Committee. As the Aboriginal liaison for 12 Community Safety Initiative, an organization in the twelve communities of the greater Forest Lawn area, Michelle has organized the last three years of multiple Aboriginal Awareness events in the month of June, Aboriginal Awareness Month. 2016 is the 20th Anniversary of June 21 being recognized as Aboriginal Awareness Day and in the spirit of reconciliation, Michelle launched a book club to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous together with knowledge from literature published.

Emily Ursuliak

Emily Ursuliak writes both fiction and poetry. She holds an MA in English from the University of Calgary where she worked on her first novel and collection of poetry. As a passionate member of the Calgary literary community she has volunteered in a number of ways. Currently, she is the host and producer of CJSW’s literary radio show Writer’s Block. In the past she held a number of roles with  filling Station magazine: she was a member of the board, the fiction editor and also the facilitator of Hot Dates with Blank Pages, a monthly community writing event. She was awarded the 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association for her work with filling Station. In addition to this she has taught creative writing courses through organizations such as the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, the WordsWorth Summer Writing Residency and Loft 112.

Kevin Van Tighem

Kevin Van Tighem was born and raised in Calgary.  His family roots in what is now Alberta go back to 1875.  After graduating with a degree in Plant Biology from the University of Calgary in 1977, he went on to work as a conservation biologist, park warden, interpreter and Park Superintendent in various western Canadian national parks over a career spanning more than three decades.

A naturalist, hunter, angler and hiker, Kevin has devoted most of his life to promoting nature conservation and ecological literacy. He is the author of thirteen books on wildlife and the environment (including Bears Without Fear (2013),  The Homeward Wolf (2013) and, most recently, Heart Waters/Sources of the Bow River (2015), all published by Rocky Mountain Books) as well as numerous magazine and journal articles.  He writes a regular column (This Land) for Alberta Views magazine.

Eric Volmers

Eric Volmers was born in Cambridge, Ont. And has been an entertainment writer for the Calgary Herald for the past 10 years. His beats include film, television and books. He has written profiles on John Irving, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Martin Amis.

Samantha Warwick

Samantha Warwick is the author of Sage Island and her nonfiction and poetry have been broadcast on CBC Radio and have appeared in literary and commercial publications such as Geist, Event, The Globe and Mail and FASHION.

Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis’ first book of short fiction, Vanishing and Other Stories, was nominated for a Governor General’s Award for fiction, named one of the Globe and Mail’s Best Books of 2009, and translated into Italian and Hebrew. Her new work has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Virginia Quarterly, The Walrus and Zoetrope. Her next book, The Dark and Other Love Stories, will be published on Valentine’s Day 2017 by Norton in the U.S. and Penguin in Canada.

Alissa York