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PRESS RELEASE: NorthWords Writers Festival happening June 2-5, 2016



May 10, 2016



Tracey Bryant, Executive Director

NorthWords NWT

867 445 8302


2016 NorthWords Festival Announces Award-Winning Author Line-Up


The 11th annual NorthWords Writers Festival features the theme: Breaking the Mold- Identity in Stories.


(Yellowknife, NT April 22, 2016) – The 11th annual NorthWords Writers Festival will take place in Yellowknife from June 2 -5, 2016. This year's festival continues the tradition of great workshops and readings by national award-winning authors and homegrown talent that is sure to delight and inspire writers and readers of all ages.


This year’s prestigious lineup includes Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize winner Lawrence Hill, Scotiabank Giller Prize nominee Craig Davidson (also writing as Nick Cutter), Shane Turgeon, Miranda Hill, Annelies Pool, Carol Daniels, and Teva Harrison. “NorthWords is excited to be able to bring such an impressive program of authors and storytellers to the north. We are gearing up for what we hope will be our best festival yet,” says NorthWords’ Executive Director, Tracey Bryant.


Each of these talented storytellers provides a unique perspective on the theme of this year’s festival: Breaking the Mold: Identity in Stories. The various workshops and events promise to offer in-depth explorations of a wide range of storytelling formats, from the novel, to pop culture art, comics and tattoo art, to non-fiction, and short stories to broadcasting. NWT authors Nick Sibbeston and Richard Van Camp, along with many others, will join the festival and contribute their unique stories and voices to the theme of identity from the northern perspective.


NorthWords is also honored to welcome to the festival award-winning CBC broadcaster Shelagh Rogers, currently the host and a producer of the CBC Radio program The Next Chapter, devoted to Canadian writers and songwriters. Shelagh will be hosting the June 3 Friday night gala at the Explorer Hotel. This year’s gala will feature an evening with the authors, readings, local artwork, awards and much more.

“I have heard rave reviews about NorthWords Writers Festival for years, from festival goers and from the writers who participate. I am thrilled to be able to experience the magic for the first time this year. Grateful for the invitation.”


Shelagh Rogers


Other events not to be missed include the ever popular Open Mic Night Event “Blush: An Evening of Erotica and Sensuality,” and the Books and Brunch on Sunday June 5 with Lawrence Hill. As always mentorships will be offered by the visiting authors, giving local writers one-on-one time with literary giants.


NorthWords NWT Writers Festival

  • Thursday June 2, 2016 to Sunday June 5, 2016.
  • The full festival schedule, workshop information and mentorship sign-up schedule will be available on the NorthWords website: by May 15.
  • All festival events are open to the public.
  • Admission is by donation unless otherwise indicated.
  • Registration for workshops and event tickets are available the Yellowknife Book Cellar starting May 16, 2016.
  • For more information contact or call 867 445 8302.


About NorthWords NWT Festival

The NorthWords Festival started in 2006. Each year this three-day event brings award-winning, inspiring, and innovative writers from all across Canada to host workshops, panel discussions, readings and one to one mentoring sessions. NorthWords is dedicated to facilitating the development of a northern literacy culture by encouraging Northern and Indigenous storytelling. We know northerners have stories to tell and it is our mission to get those stories read, written, and heard in the north, throughout Canada, and beyond.


This year’s guest writers


Lawrence Hill: Host of Books and Brunch on Sunday June 5, 2016

Lawrence Hill was greatly influenced by his parents’ work in the human rights movement. Much of Hill’s writing touches on issues of identity and belonging. The Illegal, the fourth novel and tenth book by Lawrence Hill, won recently won the CBC Canada Reads 2016.


The Illegal:

 “Keita Ali is on the run. 

Like every boy on the mountainous island of Zantoroland, running is all Keita's ever wanted to do. In one of the poorest nations in the world, running means respect. Running means riches—until Keita is targeted for his father's outspoken political views and discovers he must run for his family's survival.


Fast moving and compelling, The Illegal casts a satirical eye on people who have turned their backs on undocumented refugees struggling to survive in a nation that does not want them. Hill's depiction of life on the borderlands of society urges us to consider the plight of the unseen and the forgotten who live among us.” – HarperCollins Canada


Hill’s 2007 novel The Book of Negroes (also published as Someone Knows My Name andAminata) won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, and both CBC Radio’s Canada Reads and Radio-Canada’s Combat des livres. Along with director Clement Virgo, Hill co-wrote a six-part television miniseries based on The Book of Negroes, which appeared on CBC TV in Canada and on BET in the USA in early 2015. In 2016, The Book of Negroes miniseries won eleven Canadian Screen Awards, included best TV movie/miniseries, best writer (an award that Clement Virgo and Lawrence Hill shared), and best director, actor, actress, and supporting actress.


Craig Davidson, author of short stories and novels, has published work under both his own name and the pen-names Patrick Lestewka and Nick Cutter. Davidson’s short story collection, Rust and Bone (2005) was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name in 2012. Davidson’s other fiction titles include The Fighter, Sarah Court, and Cataract City (a finalist for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize). Davidson sums up his novels “…they are about boxing and dog fights and zombies and werewolves and lunatic prison inmates and repo men and more boxing and vampires and sex addicts and grisly dismemberment via crazed killer whale attack.” His most recent work, Precious Cargo (April 2016), is a memoir about a year he spent driving a school bus in Calgary.


Nick Cutter’s novels include The Troop (2014) winner of The James Herbert Award For Horror Writing; The Deep (2015), and most recently The Acolyte. Cutter’s classic horror novels have won praise from the best: Stephen King said about The Troop, “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down…old-school horror at its best”. Clive Barker said of The Deep “Utterly terrifying.”


Davidson is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his articles and journalism have been published in the National Post, Esquire, GQ, The Walrus, and The Washington Post, among other places. He lives in Toronto with his partner and their child.


Shane Turgeon is based in Edmonton. He is a writer, business owner, event coordinator, appraiser and avid collector of pop culture memorabilia and original artwork.

In 2005 Turgeon co-wrote The Official Price Guide to Star Wars Memorabilia with Jeremy Beckett and in 2007 he self-published and released the first volume of The Force in the Flesh, a series of art books showcasing the wide world of Star Wars tattoos. Volume II of The Force in the Flesh was released in 2015 and in the same year, Turgeon also released an exhibition catalogue for Portraits from a Galaxy Far, Far Away - an art show he curated and showcased in four different countries throughout 2015 and 2016. 


Turgeon is currently working on a self-growth book entitled 77 Things and also enjoys writing short, short stories and flash fiction. When not writing, Turgeon can be found at Shades of Grey; a tattoo, toy and comic book store he opened in 2010 where he’s often planning the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo, an event he co-founded in 2012.


Teva Harrison is a Toronto based artist, writer and cartoonist. Her works are a freeform exploration of evolving ideas. Teva’s comics explore everything from her magic-filled hippie childhood to what it means to live with metastatic breast cancer. 


Her most recent work is the critically acclaimed graphic memoir, In-Between Days (2016), which is based on her graphic series about living with cancer published in The Walrus. It was named one of the most anticipated books of 2016 by the Globe and Mail. “Teva Harrison was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 37. In this brilliant and inspiring graphic memoir, she documents through comic illustration and short personal essays what it means to live with the disease. Ultimately, In-Between Days is redemptive and uplifting, reminding each one of us of how beautiful life is, and what a gift.” – House of Anansi


"Heartbreaking. Profound. Sly and brutal and funny and crushing. Teva Harrison’s In-Between Days is one of the most stunning memoirs I've ever read. Teva’s taught me it’s not about the number of days left to us. It’s about living them completely." Joseph Boyden

"With insight and honesty, Teva Harrison invites us to join her on this deeply personal, beautifully expressed journey with cancer. Through this remarkable book, we encounter awkward ironies, the quietly harrowing reality of our mortal human condition, and moments of distilled life and beauty. Wryly unflinching in her examination of her condition, its treatment, and herself, Teva shares with us the gift that emerges from her in-between days." Vincent Lam

Annelies Pool is a long-time northerner who recently self-published her first novel Free Love (2015).  This story “takes us into the heart of the recovery community in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, as the main character Marissa, struggles to find hope in a town that loves to party, where temptation and the beauty and danger of the northern wilderness are never far away.”


Pool has been writing about the North ever since she can remember, which is a long time. She has published numerous articles, columns and editorials in more than thirty periodicals and anthologies, worked extensively as a magazine and newspaper editor and is a former Executive Director of NorthWords NWT. In 2010, she published her first book iceberg tea (2010), a collection of personal stories about life in the North.


Carol Daniels is a professional writer, singer/drummer, artist and storyteller in Regina Saskatchewan and a member of the Cree First Nation. Her visual art has most recently been featured at the First Nations University of Canada and the Elsie Scherle Art Galleries. She has also has been inspiring students as a touring artist with Sask-culture and the Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society. 


Daniels is also a Canadian television journalist, musician and writer. She was formerly an anchor on CBC Newsworld, becoming the first aboriginal woman to anchor a national news broadcast in Canada, and later became original host of In-Vision News on APTN.  Carol was also the anchor of CBC News Northbeat on CBC North.


Bearskin Diary (2015) is her first novel. This is the story of a young girl who was taken from her family by the Canadian government, and placed in foster care during the 1960’s. To Daniels, the “60’s Scoop” was one of the last great efforts at the assimilation of Aboriginal Canadians, but the effect of that historic act left a devastating mark. “Raw and honest, Bearskin Diary gives voice to a generation of First Nations women who have always been silenced. Inspired by the author’s own experiences, this novel is relevant to many of the most pressing issues facing Canadians today.”  Bearkskin Diary has been translated into 10 languages and released worldwide. It has also been shortlisted for Rasmussen, Rasmussen & Charowsky Aboriginal Peoples’ Writing Award (2016) and the Saskatchewan Book Awards - Fiction Award (2016)


Her work has garnered many awards including: 2009 National Aboriginal Achievement Award; Best Newscast by the RTNDA in 2005 and 2006; Best Television News Anchor, Manitoba Film and Television Industry; and Best Producer, Best Feature Story, Best Live Coverage and General Excellence, by Native American Journalists Association. She has been inducted into the Northwest Territories Hall of Fame, and has been nominated for A Prairie Music Award for her CD of Aboriginal women’s drum songs.


Miranda Hill won The Writers’ Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize in 2011 for her story, “Petitions to Saint Chronic.” Her collection of short fiction, Sleeping Funny (2012) won the City of Hamilton Book Award. She is currently at work on a novel, a multi-generational story that weaves between Pittsburgh's fine houses and steel mills and Muskoka's cottage country.

Hill is also the founder and executive director of Project Bookmark Canada, an initiative that is building Canada's literary trail by installing passages from stories and poems in the exact Canadian locations where literary scenes are set.


Hill was raised in Alliston, Ontario—home of a potato festival, a car plant and Frederick Banting. She received a degree in Drama from Queen's University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Today, she writes and reads in Hamilton, Ontario and in Woody Point, Newfoundland and Labrador.


Shelagh Rogers

Over the years as a journalist on flagship programs such as Morningside, Sounds Like Canada and This Morning, Shelagh has traveled the length and breadth of this country, interviewing thousands of Canadians and collecting their stories. That's her passion and she believes sharing our stories enlarges our understanding of each other. She is currently the host and a producer of the CBC Radio program The Next Chapter, devoted to Canadian writers and songwriters.


In September 2011, Shelagh was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour, for promoting Canada's rich culture, for her volunteer work in adult literacy, for fighting against the stigma of mental illness, and for pushing for reconciliation. She is the first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough and sees the canoe as a beautiful symbol of a new relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.


In the last few years, she has committed herself to working toward that reconciliation from coast to coast to coast. She plans to devote herself to reconciliation for the rest of her life. Native Counseling Services of Alberta has given her their Achievement in the Aboriginal Community award. She is also proud to be chosen an "Honourary Witness" to the brave and essential work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.


As Shelley Ambrose, publisher of The Walrus Magazine, says: Think of her as Canada's ear. Then add a brain, a heart...and a very recognizable voice. That's Shelagh Rogers.