2017 Festival Hosts, Oct. 9-15

More than 85 writers descend upon Calgary to connect readers with life-changing ideas in over 60 events from October 9 to 15. But it’s our distinguished hosts who take the conversation with the authors to the next level.

Mojo Anderson

Mojo Anderson is currently host of the Writer’s Range Podcast produced by The Banff Centre. In the podcast, Anderson meets and chats up authors from around Canada and the globe, exploring the creative process behind the minds we love to read.

Wayne Arthurson

Wayne Arthurson is an Edmonton indigenous writer/musician. He is the author of five novels and five books of non-fiction including the bestselling Leo Desroches crime series (Fall From Grace, A Killing Winter, and Blood Red Summer), and the Camp 133 series. Arthurson won the 2012 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award for Fall From Grace.

Aditya Badami

Aditya Badami joined the Board of Wordfest in January 2017. A lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright and a lecturer at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, he loves reading and discussing ideas.

Peter Balkwill

Actor, musician and puppeteer Peter Balkwill is the producing director of Iinisikimm and co-artistic director at the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, a motley gang of artists churning out ideas for a whole heap of unlikely things: puppet shows for adults and children, sculptures, films, music, books, plays, paintings, and pedagogy.

Mike Bell

Mike Bell is a music writer and entertainment columnist who has covered the city’s music scene for over 25 years, working for both daily newspapers and previously as the founding arts and music writer for Fast Forward Weekly. He contributes to, and runs, the popular arts & culture events website, YYScene.

Russell Bowers

Russell Bowers is the host of Daybreak, heard across Alberta each weekend morning on CBC Radio One. His work has appeared on other CBC shows like The Current, the Irrelevant Show, Sunday Edition and The 180.

Kenna Burima

Kenna Burima is a Calgary-based musician and songwriter. Her second solo album Hymn is available now.

Denise Clarke

Denise Clarke is the Associate Artist of One Yellow Rabbit Theatre and a permanent member of the OYR Creation Ensemble, choreographing, acting, and directing with various companies across Canada. She is also the director of the One Yellow Rabbit Summer Lab Intensive, and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Russell Cobb

Russell Cobb is Associate Professor in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. His scholarly and journalistic work revolves around shifting notions of American identity. His writing has appeared in SlateNPRThe New York Times, and The Guardian. His book, The Great Oklahoma Swindle: Race, Religion, and Lies in America’s Most Reactionary State, will be published next year by University of Nebraska Press.

Cobra Collins

Cobra Collins is a Calgary-based Metis poet of significant height. She is the current captain of Calgary’s 2016 Slam team, representing our city on a national level at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and is a member of Calgary’s Inkspot Spoken Word Collective. She is the co-host of Expressions, a poetry open mic night at Cafe Koi, an evening which focuses on creating a space to showcase new artists while building a connected spoken word community.

Kris Demeanor

Kris Demeanor is an award-winning songwriter, poet, theatre and film artist. He has released seven recordings of original songs, most recently 2006’s “Entirely New Beasts,” featuring Rae Spoon. Kris was the inaugural Poet Laureate of Calgary (2012-14) and co-edited as his legacy project the book The Calgary Project, a compilation of poetry by Calgary writers. Recent work includes Making Treaty 7, a multi-disciplinary show featuring First Nations and non-aboriginal artists illuminating Alberta’s history; writing songs for CBC’s The Irrelevant Show; collaborating with Ian Tyson for his latest record; and Shelter From the Storm — a song writing project with clients of Calgary’s Drop in Centre. In 2017, Kris was awarded the Lieutenant Governor General’s Established Artist Award at the Mayor’s Lunch, and released his first print publication, How to be an Asshole of Calgary.

Marcello Di Cintio

Marcello Di Cintio is the author of three books including Walls: Travels Along the Barricadeswhich won the 2013 Shaugnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. Di Cintio’s magazine writing can be found in publications such as The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, The International New York Times, and Swerve. His current book-project, Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, will be published in 2018. Di Cintio is a former writer-in-residence with the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program and the Palestine Writing Workshop.

Dymphny Dronyk

Dymphny Dronyk is a Calgary-based poet. 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.

Marina Endicott

Marina Endicott is an Edmonton-based novelist. Her first novel, Open Arms, was short-listed for the Amazon First Novel award. Her second, Good to a Fault, was a finalist for the 2008 Giller Prize and a CBC Canada Reads book, and won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, Canada/Caribbean. The Little Shadows, longlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. Close to Hugh was on the longlist for the 2015 Giller Prize, and was one of CBC’s Best Books of 2015.

Cheryl Foggo

Cheryl Foggo is an award-winning writer of fiction, non-fiction and plays and has also written for TV and written and directed for film. Her most recent play, John Ware Reimagined, won the 2015 Writers Guild of Alberta Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama and will be seen next at Edmonton’s Workshop West Theatre Company November 9th-19th, 2017. In 2014/15 she co-produced Alberta’s first Black Canadian Theatre Series with Ellipsis Tree Collective Theatre Company. Cheryl is continuing her exploration of the life and roots of legendary Black cowboy John Ware in a new documentary with the National Film Board of Canada, scheduled for release in the fall of 2018.

Jen Gerson

Jen Gerson is a journalist at the National Post.

Rosemary Griebel

Rosemary Griebel’s award-winning poetry has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, on CBC Radio, literary magazines, anthologies, and on public buses. Her collection of poetry, Yes., was published in 2011. 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.

Richard Harrison

Richard Harrison’s On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood, recently shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award, won the 2017 Stephan G. Stephansson Book Prize for Poetry, and an Alcuin Society Prize for Book Design. It was also shortlisted for the City of Calgary Book Prize and is currently a finalist for Montana’s High Plains Poetry Prize. His previous books include the Governor General’s Award finalist Big Breath of a Wish, and Hero of the Play, the first book of poetry launched at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Richard teaches English and Creative Writing at Mount Royal University.

Michael Hingston

Michael Hingston is an author and journalist whose writing has appeared in Wired, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, the Guardian, the Daily Beast, Hazlitt, Salon, The Walrus, and the Globe and Mail. He is the author of the campus novel The Dilettantes, and his book about Calvin and Hobbes will be published by ECW Press in 2018.

Paul Karchut

Paul has been with CBC since 2005. He’s the director of the Calgary Eyeopener and CBC Calgary’s ski and outdoor lifestyle reporter.

Jennifer Keene

Jennifer 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 Kemick

Richard Kelly Kemick’s poetry and prose have been published in literary magazines and journals across Canada and the United States, most recently in The Walrus and The Fiddlehead. His debut collection of poetry, CaribouRun, was published March 2016 by Goose Lane Editions and selected by CBC as one of the season’s Must Read Collections. Most recently, Kemick won the gold medal for Fiction at the 2017 National Magazine Award for his story, “The Unitarian Church’s Annual Young Writer’s Short Story Competition.”

Jeremy Klaszus

Jeremy Klaszus is a Calgary-based freelance journalist, and the recipient of two National Magazine Awards and numerous regional awards for his work. He has contributed to the Globe and Mail, Swerve, The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, Reader’s Digest and National Geographic Traveler. Klaszus is also the creator of THE SPRAWL: Calgary Pop-Up Journalism, with the first edition featuring online coverage of Calgary’s 2017 municipal elections from September 18 to October 20.

Angela Knight

Angela Knight is the heart of the city’s number one morning show, The Calgary Eyeopener, on CBC Radio One.

Lee Kvern

Lee Kvern is an award-winning author of short stories and novels. Her short stories in 7 Ways To Sunday have garnered the national CBC Literary Award, Western Magazine Award, Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize, and the Howard ‘O’ Hagan Award. Afterall was selected for Canada Reads (Regional), and also nominated for Alberta Books Awards. The Matter of Sylvie was nominated for Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award.

Taylor Lambert

Taylor Lambert is a Calgary-based author and journalist. His work has been published by the National Post, the Calgary Herald, Alberta Views, Swerve, VICE News, CBC, Alberta Oil, and many other publications. He has also written several books, including Rising, a bestselling narrative look at the 2013 Alberta floods; and Darwin’s Moving, an exploration of class divides in Calgary, just published by NeWest Press.

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.

Donna Livingstone

Donna joined the Board of Wordfest in 2016. She has been actively involved in publishing as former Director of the University of Calgary Press and President of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. She is an avid reader and is pursuing a personal goal of reading two thousand more books in her lifetime. She is the President and CEO of the Glenbow in Calgary.

Anne Logan

Anne Logan worked in the Canadian publishing industry for 7 years, and loved every minute of it. Now she reviews books online at iverreadthis.com, and on-air for CBC Calgary. She is the Past President of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Board of Directors and hosts various literary events around the city, including a monthly book club in the Wordfest Engagement Lab at Memorial Park Library.

Rod Moody-Corbett

Rod Moody-Corbett holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Calgary. His work has been shortlisted for a CBC Canada Writes Short Story Prize, and The Paris Review’s “Windows on the World Contest.” His work recently appeared in Coming Attractions 16 (ed. Mark Anthony Jarman).

Jacquie Moore

Jacquie Moore is a Senior Writer for the University of Calgary’s Development Office. Formerly the Senior Editor at Swerve magazine, her freelance writing has also appeared in periodicals across Canada, including Avenue, Chatelaine, and Western Living.

Logan Peters

Logan Peters Logan is a student of journalism at Mount Royal University and a lucky employee of Wordfest. When she’s not making podcasts she’s either sketching in her notebook or reading a book. She is a fan of murder mysteries, short stories and strong female leads.

Bill Ptacek

Bill joined the Calgary Public Library as its CEO in early 2014. Previously, Bill was the Director of the King County Library System in western Washington state, where he led King County to become the Library Journal’s “Library of the Year” in 2011. In his time at the Calgary Public Library, Bill has been busy. He is working hard on developing relationships for the Library with government and community groups and partnerships with the school boards. Among his other initiatives are a full rebranding, a new catalogue and website, a focus on safety at the Central Library, free library cards for all, the growth of the Library’s Foundation, and a refresh in the design and collections at all libraries in the system.

Bernadette Raedler

Bernadette Raedler is a Doctoral Student in German Studies at the University of Calgary. She has taught German language, literature, and linguistics classes for universities in Germany and Canada.

Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson, winner of Canada’s Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and former CBC Radio host, has written several highly acclaimed books for children.

Rita Sirignano

Rita Sirignano is the Programming Associate at Wordfest, a regular contributor to Swerve magazine, and an artist and writer.

Fred Stenson

Fred Stenson is an award-winning novelist, non-fiction writer and film writer. His most recent novel, Who By Fire, is the story of a southern Alberta farm family with a dangerous sour gas plant on their doorstep. Stenson’s third novel, The Trade (2000), a richly imagined recreation of the fur trade in western North America, was a finalist for the prestigious Giller Prize and was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Award. He has been on the council of The Writers’ Union of Canada three times. Since 2001 he was director of the Wired Writing Studio at the Banff Centre for fifteen years. He has been Alberta Views Magazine’s humour columnist for twenty years.

Rae Taryvdas

Rea Tarvydas lives and writes in Calgary, Alberta. Her stories can be found in The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Grain and Menopause Anthology (forthcoming in 2017). Tarvydas is the winner of the 2012 Brenda Strathern “Late Bloomers” Writing Prize, curated by the Calgary Foundation and presented at Wordfest. In addition, her writing has been nominated for a National Magazine Award.

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 the novel Sage Island (Brindle & Glass), and her essays and poetry have been broadcast on CBC Radio and appeared in various literary and commercial publications including Geist, Event, The Globe & Mail and FASHION. She blogs for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, where she has also directed a lecture and reading series in Calgary since 2005.

Andrew Wedderburn

Andrew Wedderburn is a Calgary-based writer and musician. His debut novel, The Milk Chicken Bomb, was published by Coach House Books in 2007, named a finalist for the Amazon / Books in Canada First Novel Award, and long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. As a musician (guitar, shouting) he has written, recorded and toured extensively as a member of the groups Hot Little Rocket and Night Committee.

Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree, Two-Spirit storyteller and academic from Peguis First Nation on Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Indigenous literatures and cultures at the University of Calgary on Treaty 7 territory. In 2016, his poem “mihkokwaniy” won Canada’s History Award for Aboriginal Arts and Stories (for writers aged 19–29), which included a residency at the Banff Centre. He has been published widely in Canadian literary magazines such as Prairie FireEVENTArc Poetry MagazineCV2Red Rising Magazine, and Geez Magazine’s Decolonization issue.

Elizabeth Withey

Elizabeth is a Canadian journalist, memoirist, and children’s author. Her first picture book, The One with the Black Beard (Orca Books, forthcoming 2019/2020), is a story about homelessness inspired by family experiences.

Shelley Youngblut

Shelley Youngblut connects smart, funny people with life-changing ideas as the CEO & Creative Ringleader of Wordfest. In partnership with the Calgary Public Library, she is transforming Alberta’s oldest library into a vibrant arts and culture hub.

Shelley created her first magazine, VOX, while studying English at the University of Calgary, and her 20-year-career culminated in a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 from the Western Magazine Awards. She was the founding editor of the award-winning Swervemagazine and has created magazines for ESPN, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Nickelodeon and The Globe & Mail. She is also the author of three sports books, published by Hyperion in New York.

A former pop culture correspondent for ABC World News Now and Canada AM, she is unconventionally opinionated on CBC Calgary’s Eyeopener and also part of a weekly urban advice column. The mother of identical twins and a perfect dog, she wishes she could sing, win more at Texas Hold ’Em and bring Patti Smith to Calgary.

Adrian Todd Zuniga

Adrian Todd Zuniga is the host/creator/CCO of Literary Death Match (now featured in over 60 cities worldwide) and host of LDM Book Report on YouTube. He’s the co-writer of Madden NFL 18’s interactive movie LONGSHOT, and his debut novel, Collision Theory (Rare Bird Books) will release Spring, 2018. The founder of Opium Magazine, and an award-winning journalist, he now focuses on screenwriting and fiction, and his work has been featured in Gopher Illustrated and Stymie, and online at Lost Magazine and McSweeney’s. He lives in London.

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