Guest Authors – 2019

Dennis Allen

Dennis Allen is an award-winning filmmaker, songwriter, writer and storyteller. Originally from Inuvik, he apprentices as a storyteller under his father, legendary Inuvialuit raconteur Victor Allen. Currently Dennis Allen works for Corrections Canada as an Inuit Liaison officer at the Bowden Institution in Alberta. He continues to write for Tsaayaksat and What’s Up Yukon.

Lana de Bastiani

Author of The Fox and My Boot, Lana de Bastiani was born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Ms. de Bastiani wrote this book as her final project for her Master’s degree in Special Education and it is based on a true story. This is her first children’s book and was developed in response to the need for familiar and relatable literature for children in northern Canada. Ms. de Bastiani still lives in Yellowknife and skates on the pond behind her house – she just keeps a closer eye on her belongings.

Billy-Ray Belcourt

Billy-Ray Belcourt is from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a PhD candidate and 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar at the University of Alberta. THIS WOUND IS A WORLD (Frontenac 2017) is his first book and it won the 2018 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize.

Marilyn Biderman

Before joining Transatlantic Literary Agency, Marilyn worked at her own literary agency and consultancy practice for seven years, where she helped launch the careers of début and prize-winning authors.  She had previously worked at McClelland & Stewart for twelve years, most recently as Vice President, Director, Rights and Contracts. At M&S, she handled the international rights for many renowned authors, including Leonard Cohen, Alistair MacLeod, and Madeleine Thien.

Marilyn is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, and also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in English Literature. She has guest-lectured at the publishing programs at Humber College, Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and taught a course in the publishing program at Centennial College. She has also mentored many publishers under the auspices of the Association of Canadian Publishers and the Canada Council, and has acted as a juror in literary competitions. She has authored several papers on copyright law; served as a founding executive of the recently-formed Professional Association of Canadian Literary Agents; and served for many years on the organizing committee for the International Visitors Program of Toronto’s International Festival of Authors. She is currently active in the preparations for Frankfurt 2020, the year Canada will be the featured country at the Frankfurt Bookfair. She also chairs the board of Canada’s dance magazine, The Dance Current, and is especially proud of her work with the St. John Ambulance Dog Therapy program.

Catherine Lafferty

Catherine Lafferty is an Indigenous woman from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Catherine’s writing has been published in a number of national publications and she is mentored by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Richard Van Camp, two renowned Canadian authors. Catherine has recently released her first book entitled “Northern Wildflower” – a memoir that depicts her life growing up in the north and her family’s struggles with generational trauma and colonialism. Catherine has recently signed an additional contract to publish a fictional novel with Fernwood Publications/Roseway Imprint entitled “Land-WaterSky” which is set to be released in the fall of 2019.

Tanya Talaga

Tanya Talaga is the acclaimed author of Seven Fallen Feathers, which was the winner of the RBC Taylor Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and First Nation Communities Read: Young Adult/Adult. The book was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction, and it was CBC’s Nonfiction Book of the Year, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, and a national bestseller. For more than twenty years she has been a journalist at the Toronto Star, and has been nominated five times for the Michener Award in public service journalism. She was also named the 2017–2018 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy. Talaga is of Polish and Indigenous descent. Her great-grandmother, Liz Gauthier, was a residential school survivor. Her great-grandfather, Russell Bowen, was an Ojibwe trapper and labourer. Her grandmother is a member of Fort William First Nation. Her mother was raised in Raith and Graham, Ontario. She lives in Toronto with her two teenage children.

W. D. Valgardson

W. D. Valgardson is an Icelandic Canadian writer. He taught creative writing at the University of Victoria for thirty years. He has won several awards, including the Books in Canada First Novel Award for Gentle Sinners (Oberon Press), 1980 and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for The Girl With The Botticelli Face (Douglas and McIntyre, 1993). Along with numerous books of short stories (Bloodflowers, God Is Not A Fish Inspector, What Can’t Be Changed Shouldn’t Be Mourned, etc.), he has had five children’s books published (Thor, Sarah and the People of Sand River, The Divorced Kid’s Club, etc.) and has had a dozen plays produced and a number of movies made from his fiction. His fiction has been widely translated. Since he retired from UVic, he has published What The Bear Said, a collection of Lake Winnipeg Folk Tales. His latest book is In Valhalla’s Shadows(D&M), a gothic murder mystery set in the Interlake of Manitoba.

Richard Van Camp

Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Tłı̨chǫ Dene from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. He is the author of two children’s books with the Cree artist George Littlechild: A Man Called Raven and What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a feature film with First Generation Films; his collections of short fiction include Angel Wing Splash Pattern, The Moon of Letting Go and Other Stories, Godless but Loyal to Heaven and Night Moves. He is the author of four baby books: Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns; Nighty Night: A Bedtime Song for Babies and Little You (now translated into Cree, Dene and South Slavey!) and We Sang You Home, and he has two comic books out with the Healthy Aboriginal Network: Kiss Me Deadly and Path of the Warrior. His graphic novel, Three Feathers, is about restorative justice; his new novel, Whistle, is about mental health and asking for forgiveness and his graphic novel, The Blue Raven, is about mental health and the power of culture and friends. His Eisner nominated graphic novel, A Blanket of Butterflies, is about peacemaking where a grandmother is the hero of the story and his latest graphic novel, Spirit, is about suicide prevention. Cinematic adaptations of his work include “Mohawk Midnight Runners”, by Zoe Hopkins based on Richard’s short story, “Dogrib Midnight Runners” from The Moon of Letting Go,  Kelvin Redver’s adaptation of “firebear called them faith healers”,  and Jay Cardinal Villeneuve’s adaptation of “Hickey Gone Wrong”, based on Richard’s comic book with Chris Auchter and “Three Feathers”, which is available for viewing in Bush Cree, Dene and South Slavey as well as English, based on his graphic novel. You can visit Richard on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at