StoryFest Authors 2021

PERDITA FELICIEN is an author, television host, sports broadcaster; two-time Olympian, ten-time National Champion and the first Canadian woman to win a World Championship gold medal in track and field. During her career as a 100-metre hurdler, she earned numerous honours, including Canada's Athlete of the Year and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Felicien retired from professional sports in 2013 and is now a broadcast journalist. She is a member of CBC's broadcast team and has covered multiple international sporting events including the 2016 Summer and 2018 Winter Olympic Games, and was inducted into Athletics Canada's Hall of Fame. My Mother's Daughter is her first book. Photo Credit: Martin Brown

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AMANDA LEDUC's essays and stories have appeared in publications across Canada, the US and the UK. She is the author of the non-fiction book Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space (Coach House Books, 2020) and the novel The Miracles of Ordinary Men (2013, ECW Press). She has cerebral palsy and lives in Hamilton, Ontario, where she works as the Communications Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), Canada's first festival for diverse authors and stories. Photo Credit: Trevor Cole

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MARY LAWSON was born and brought up in a small farming community in Ontario. She is the author of Crow Lake, and The Other Side of the Bridge, both international bestsellers. Crow Lake was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen as a Book of the Year by The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. The Other Side of the Bridge was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her latest novel, Road Ends, was a national bestseller and finalist for the Folio Prize. Her new novel, the Canadian bestseller, A TOWN CALLED SOLACE was just longlisted for the Booker Prize! Lawson lives in England but returns to Canada frequently.

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KATHERENA VERMETTE (she/her) is a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis nation—Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her first book, North End Love Songs, won the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her first novel, The Break, was a national bestseller and won several 2017 awards, including the Amazon First Novel Award, Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Prize, and McNally Robinson Book of the Year. She lives with her family in a cranky old house within skipping distance of the temperamental Red River. The Strangers is her second novel. Photo Credit: Vanda Fleury 2021

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JOSH FREED s a frequently syndicated long time Montreal Gazette columnist  who has won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and two National Newspaper Awards, as  Canada's best columnist. He is the author of seven previous books, including “Press 1 and Pray” and “He who Laughs, Lasts”, as well as co-editor of the best-selling “Anglo Guide To Survival”, “Vivre le Québec Freed!”  and Moonwebs, which became the United Artists Classics film “Ticket To Heaven.”

Josh is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker  who has made over 25 films for the CBC, that have been broadcast in over 50 countries. His new film, Unmasking the Human Face will be broadcast  on CBC’s “The Nature of Things” in December 2021. His latest comic play “The Four Anglos of the Covidapocalypse” premieres in late 2021, also starring legendary Canadian cartoonist Terry Mosher and popular singer-songwriters Bowser and Blue. In 2019, Josh won Quebec’s Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award - largely for making people laugh.

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TESSA MCWATT is the author of seven novels and two books for young people. Her fiction and non-fiction have been nominated for the Governor General's Award, the City of Toronto Book Awards, and the OCM Bocas Prize. She is the co-editor, along with Dionne Brand and Rabindranath Maharaj, of Luminous Ink: Writers on Writing in Canada. Her first picture book for children, Where Are You Agnes?, is based on the life of abstract expressionist painter Agnes Martin. She is one of the winners of the Eccles British Library Award 2018, for her memoir: Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging, which also won the Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction 2020 and was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. She is also a librettist, most recently working with British composer Hannah Kendall. Their chamber opera, The Knife of Dawn, premiered at the Roundhouse, London, in 2016, and they are working on a new full-length opera. McWatt is also in the process of bringing John Berger's novel To the Wedding, to the screen, with award-winning film director Andrea Pallaoro. Tessa McWatt is the Course Director for the Master's in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia and is on the Board of Trustees at Wasafiri. Born in Guyana, and raised in Canada, she lives in London.

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RUSSELL BANKS, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize is one of America’s most prestigious fiction writers, a past president of the International Parliament of Writers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Common Wealth Award for Literature. He lives in upstate New York and Miami, Florida. Photo Credit: Nancie Battaglia

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Kent Nagano is considered one of the outstanding conductors for both operatic and orchestral repertoire. He has been General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Chief Conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra since September 2015. From 2006 to 2020, he was Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and was appointed Conductor Emeritus in February 2021. In 2006 he was appointed Honorary Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and in 2019 of Concerto Köln, the Baroque orchestra which he is working together with in the project Wagner Readings.

In September 2021, Kent Nagano will publish his second book in German with Berlin Verlag. In "10 Lessons of my Life", he recalls ten very personal encounters in his life from which he learned important lessons, not only for his career. Among them are the Icelandic pop artist Björk, Frank Zappa, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, and the Nobel Prize winner in physics Donald Glaser.

In 2015 Kent Nagano published "Erwarten Sie Wunder!" in Berlin Verlag, a passionate appeal for the relevance of classical music in today's world. In 2019 the book was published in English by the Canadian McGill-Queen's University Press under the title ″Classical Music - Expect the Unexpected" and in 2015 under "Sonnez, merveilles!" in French by Éditions du Boréal.

Photo Credit: Sergio Veranas Studio

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Join us at HVT to watch the Zoom webinar

Greenwood’s StoryFest is delighted to welcome Sara O’Leary as the instructor for the Writers’ Workshop that will focus this year on writing books for children. Sara will spend the first half of the two-hour online workshop (via Zoom) sharing her extensive knowledge and experience of writing books for children. The second hour will be devoted to critiquing submitted picture book pitches (with every participant eligible to submit one picture book pitch and instructions on how to do so provided ahead of time) as well as responding to questions.

 Sara O’Leary has written a number of critically acclaimed books for children, including This is Sadie, A Kid is a Kid is a Kid, and Gemma and the Giant Girl. She has an MFA in screenwriting from the University of British Columbia and teaches at Concordia University in Montreal.  

 The Writers’ Workshop takes place Saturday, October 16, from 10 am to 12:15 pm. The cost is $70 per person. 

Register for Sara O'Leary workshop

MARIE-LOUISE GAY has written and/or illustrated over sixty books for children: the Stella and Sam series (1999 to 2013), Any Questions?(2014), Short Stories for Little Monsters (2016), Mustafa (2018), Fern and Horn and her most recent book, The Three Brothers. Her books have been published in twenty languages. She has also co-written the Travels with My Family series with her partner David Homel. Travels in Cuba is the fifth book in the series.

Marie-Louise has also written puppet plays, illustrated posters and has been creative consultant on the Stella and Sam show an award-winning animated TV series. She has won awards for her work, such as: two Governor General’s Award, Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the Vicky Metcalfe Award and the E.B.White Award. She has been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.     

DAVID HOMEL was born and raised in Chicago and has been living in Montreal since the early 1980s. He has written eight novels for grown-ups and five for younger readers, along with the "Travels" series with Marie-Louise Gay. After all that fiction, he recently wrote a memoir about aging, which he calls the battle between Eros and Melancholy. He is hoping the first one will win.

SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA is the author of four poetry books and the short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife, winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her stories have won an O. Henry Award and appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, and Granta. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto.

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