Guest Authors – 2020

CÉCILE ANTOINE-MEYZONNADE – Born and raised in France, she studied french literature and cinema in Paris, before entering in a journalism school in Toulouse, south of France. During 3 years, she worked in different national or local newspapers (web and print). After a while, at 26 years old, she decided to change her life radically to experience journalism differently, in a very exceptional place like the Great North. So, she moved to Yellowknife in January to work for the french newspaper “L’Aquilon” and “Radio Taïga”. 

JAY BULCKAERT, creator of the Dead North Film Festival (and 1/2 of Artless Collective) has spent the last 8 years reviewing nearly 30 scripts a year for a festival that has seen the successful completion of over 220 short films. These films have gone on to screen all around the world at major festivals like Cannes and Fantasia with Jay’s own films screening at BFI and Clermont Ferrand. Jay was also recently published in Taaqtumi-An Anthology of Arctic Horror stories and he is also putting the final touches on his first graphic novel, King Warrior, that has been 5 years in the making.

SIDNEY COHEN is a journalist and settler in Yellowknife currently working for CBC North. Originally from Toronto, Sidney applied to work at NNSL several times before finally landing a reporting job there in the summer of 2017, after poking into the newsroom, dusty and dishevelled, during the Folk on the Rocks weekend. Before moving to Yellowknife, Sidney was the legislative reporter for the Whitehorse Star, and a radio room reporter at the Toronto Star.

JAMESIE FOURNIER – An Inuk raised in the NWT, Jamesie works in alternative education in Fort Smith. He enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and walking the dog. His first publication, ‘Children of the Strike’, was with NorthWords in 2012. His work has since appeared in Inuit Art Quarterly, Red Rising Magazine, Uphere.ca, and Northern Public Affairs. He is very excited and honoured to attend his second NorthWords festival. Qujannamik!

LEIF GREGERSEN, who claims to have wanted to write before he could read, is the Edmonton based author of 13 books, 11 of which are currently in print. Leif’s books include short stories, poetry, novels and three memoirs that chronicle his ongoing battle with mental illness. Aside from writing each day, Leif works for The Schizophrenia Society, teaching courses, facilitating support groups, doing peer support work and presenting mental health information to various groups. He also teaches creative writing for two other organizations which deliver services to adults with mental health and addiction problems.

FRAN HURCOMB is a Yellowknife based writer and photographer. She has published many books, including “Going Places” (Orca Books 2008) and “Old Town” (Old Town Press 2013). She is currently working on a short story collection due for release in the autumn of 2020. Fran is also the past-President of the Northwords NWT.

Photo by Arthur Boutillier

CATHERINE LAFFERTY, Katłįà (Kat-lee-ah) grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories where she was primarily raised by her grandmother who taught her to be respectful of the land and water and to practice and acknowledge her Dene culture and traditions. Katłįà’s writing career started off at a young age when she was hired to write for the local newspaper “News North” and “Yellowknifer” in which she still contributes to today. Katłįà has received recognition for her writing in recent years placing third in line for the Sally Manning Award for her poem “Full Circle” in 2018 and being longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize, she has also had the opportunity to write and record with Juno Award winner Leela Gilday. She has also worked alongside many influential Indigenous literary icons including Tracey Lindberg, Leanne Simpson and Richard Van Camp who have provided their guidance and mentorship. Katłįà’s highly anticipated full-length composite novel to be released in the fall of 2020 entitled “Land-Water-Sky” gives readers a unique perspective into what the world might look like today if Indigenous legends walked amongst us, disguised as humans, and ensures that the spiritual significance and teachings behind the stories of Indigenous legends are respected and honored. She is also currently in the final stages of completing a fictional novel based on true events that expose the corruption behind the housing crisis within First Nations communities in the North. Katłįà’s first novel, a memoir called “Northern Wildflower” was published in the fall of 2018 with Fernwood/Roseway Publishing and was soon ranked one of the top selling books across the north. In addition to her many artistic endeavors, Katłįà is in her second year of the world renowned Indigenous Juris Doctor/Common Law program at the University of Victoria.

ALLICE LEGAT’s immersion in storytelling traditions started with her listening daily to her Grandfather Campbell playing his fiddle and telling stories of Scotland. As an adult, hearing Dene, Inuit and Tlingit stories about whose land she lives on pushed her to experience her own ancestral place. She shares this relationship in her short story, ‘Travelling Back Through Stories’ published in the Edinburgh Review: More Borealis (1998). Her book Walking the Land; Feeding the Fire (2012) tells of Tłı̨chǫ’s sophisticated epistemology encompassing storytelling and experience. Allice is currently using the short story as a medium to share her thoughts on occurrences impacting our lives. ‘Crone and Ogre’ is part of the Fables of the 21st Century collection published by Banff Centre Press (2018). Allice, who claims her stories grow from dreams just as often as from daily life, is an anthropologist and creative writer from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Photo by Cornelia Theimer Gardella

ALISON MCCREESH is a graphic novelist, illustrator and fibre artist who has lived in Yellowknife since 2009. Over the past decade, she has extensively travelled around the Arctic and subArctic and contemporary day-to-day life in the north is a theme that carries through her creative work. As a graphic artist, writer and illustrator, Alison is the author of two books. Her debut full length graphic novel is titled ‘Ramshackle, A Yellowknife Story’ (2015) and explores the reality of living off grid in what is otherwise a modern government town. Her second book, ‘Norths, Two suitcases and a Stroller around the Circumpolar World’ (2018) is based on six months of travel North of 60 with her partner and small child. Both books are published by Conundrum Press. In her spare time, Alison enjoys reading, biking and drawing short comics about her two little kids. 

Photo by Cornelia Theimer Gardella

LINDSEY MCNEILL is screenwriter and story midwife who specializes in character archetype, symbolism and building an audience. Her first feature film Truckstop Bloodsuckers received 6 AMPIA nominations and was awarded “Best Foreign Film” at the Bare Bones International Film Festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Her concept for a psychological horror titled Gillian’s Just Right placed in the Top 15 of Canada’s CineCoup Film Accelerator and won the national From Our Dark Side genre contest from the Women in Film & Television Vancouver. She is a recipient of the $10K Production Grant from Telus Optik’s STORYHIVE and her writing has earned her invitations to the Producer’s Network at Cannes and the Frontieres Market at the Fantasia Film Festival. She is currently writing her memoir with support from the Alberta Foundation of the Arts and is creating her own tarot deck.

JOHN MUTFORD is the manager of Yellowknife Public Library. Since moving to Yellowknife 12 years ago, he’s been involved in Northwords many times and with Judy McLinton selected the stories that appeared in the anthology Coming Home: Stories from the Northwest Territories

MORRIS NEYELLE lived all his life in Deline. He was born in 1951. He went to residential school in Aklavik and finished grade 9 in Fort Franklin (Deline). He’s always been involved with Deline First Nation and was with the self govt negotiating team for 18 years. He wrote a book on his dad Johnny Neyelle called ‘The man who lived with a giant’ in 2019. He makes traditional drums with caribou hide and collect stories of the past. Mahsi

BRIE O’KEEFE is a singer-songwriter born and raised in Yellowknife, NT. She is the lead singer and songwriter for local group Flora and the Fireweeds. Her first published piece of writing was a piece of poetry in her local MP Ethel Blondin-Andrew’s official Christmas card in 1989. More recently her work has been published in several magazines including: Up Here, Above & Beyond, Fire & Knives and Glamour magazine’s UK website. Brie is currently in the process of recording her debut album of original music with Flora and the Fireweeds. Formed in 2018, as a band they have played her original songs at Folk on the Rocks and the Snow King’s Winter Festival amongst other venues.

JAKE OOTES moved to Yellowknife in 1967. He served as the Executive Assistant to the first resident Commissioner, Stuart Hodgson, and later became the Director of Information for the Government of the Northwest Territories. In 1995, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and was later appointed Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, a position he held until his retirement in 2004. His book Umingmak: Stuart Hodgson and the Birth of the Modern Arctic, a first-hand account of his experiences, was recently published by Tidewater Press.

TUNCHAI REDVERS [she/they] is a Dene/Métis two-spirit social justice warrior, writer, and wanderer from Treaty 8 territory, Northwest Territories and currently living in Toronto. By the age of 25 she has been named one of MTV and WE Day’s Top 10 Drivers of Change in Canada, is a published author and performer, is the recipient of the Lawson Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Award, and is the Co-Founder of We Matter, a national organization dedicated to Indigenous youth hope and life promotion. Carrying a Master of Indigenous Social Work and wearing many hats, she has received national and international recognition for her art, writing and advocacy which focuses on intergenerational trauma, 2SLGBTQ+ rights, youth and women’s empowerment, and the decolonization and indigenization of identity, mental health and healing. Having spent considerable time living, travelling, speaking, and working with Indigenous communities internationally and across Canada, she considers herself a nomad just like her ancestors.  

DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award and was nominated for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Strangers, the first book in his Reckoner trilogy, a young adult supernatural mystery, won the 2018 Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction (Manitoba Book Awards). A sought-after speaker and educator, Dave is a member of the Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg.

LAURIE SARKADI is a Yellowknife writer, editor and award-winning broadcaster. Her memoir “Voice in the Wild” is about connections with the natural world while living off-grid in the Subarctic. After moving north as the Edmonton Journal’s northern correspondent, she worked many years as a producer for CBC radio, television and independent film. A frequent contributor to Canadian Geographic, she’s currently working with Lawrence Hill on her Masters in English at University of Guelph and recently released an album “Middle World” as a companion to her memoir. https://lauriesarkadi.com/ 

NIIGAANWEWIDAM JAMES SINCLAIR is Anishinaabe and originally from St. Peter’s (Little Peguis) Indian Settlement near Selkirk, Manitoba. He is an award-winning writer, editor and activist who was named one of Monocle Magazine‘s “Canada’s Top 20 Most Influential People” and he won the 2018 Canadian columnist of the year at the National Newspaper Awards for his bi-weekly columns in The Winnipeg Free Press. His creative work can be found in books such as The Exile Edition of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama, newspapers like The Guardian, and online with CBC Books: Canada Writes. He is also the co-editor of the award-winning Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (Highwater Press, 2011), Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Michigan State University Press, 2013) and The Winter We Danced: the Past, the Future and the Idle No More Movement (Arbeiter Ring Press, 2014). Currently at the University of Manitoba, Niigaan teaches courses in Indigenous literatures, cultures, histories, and politics and is a proud Treaty One member.

JESSE THISTLE is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He is an assistant professor in Métis Studies at York University in Toronto. He won a Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2016, and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar. Visit him on Twitter @MichifMan

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. His latest collection of short stories–his fifth collection–is “Moccasin Square Gardens”. You can visit Richard on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at www.richardvancamp.com

JEN WALDEN is a Yellowknife filmmaker and one of northern Canada’s most noted painters. Her unique eye for aesthetic detail and captivating storylines has resulted in four award-winning short films since her move into film media in 2015. She now creates visually stunning full-length features with substance, character and heart. Walden’s first feature film, Elijah and the Rock Creature was shot entirely on location in the Northwest Territories with a northern cast and crew. The film premiered at the Yellowknife International Film Festival in September 2018. The film went on to play major festivals across Canada and the United States including Whistler Film Festival, Regina International Film Festival, The Julien Dubuque Festival and more. She is currently writing her 2nd feature length film based on her short film Mother which was nominated for best script at the 2020 Dead North Film Festival. “Writing has become a passion for me, a place to dive into the fantastical worlds that permeate my brain at all times!”

CALVIN WHARTON taught for 25 years in the Creative Writing department at Douglas College in New Westminster, BC. From 2008 to 2016 he served as department Chair, and is a former editor of the literary journal, Event. His writing has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, and broadcast on CBC radio. He co-edited the poetry anthology, East of Main with Tom Wayman, and wrote the non-fiction book, Rowing, with Silken Laumann. His other works include a poetry chapbook, Visualized Chemistry; a collection of short stories, Three Songs by Hank Williams; a collection of poetry, The Song Collides; and most recently, another poetry chapbook, The Invention of Birds. He has been writer in residence at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and a participant in the Coracle Europe Literary Residency in Sweden.

MEAGAN WOHLBERG is a communications professional with a background in journalism, editing, research and strategic planning. She previously served as editor of the former Northern Journal and online editor for Northern Public Affairs magazine, was a regular contributor to the online news publication Edge North, and has freelanced for a number of online and print publications. Meagan has also provided communications support to a variety of northern and Indigenous conservation initiatives, land-based education programs, and non-profit organizations. Originally from rural Saskatchewan, Meagan received an honours BA in English and Philosophy from the University of Saskatchewan before pursuing graduate studies in Journalism at Concordia University in Montreal in 2010. She currently works for the Government of the Northwest Territories and sits on boards for the Dead North Film Festival and Northern Youth Leadership.

KAREN WRIGHT-FRASER is a member of the Gwich’in Nation. Originally from Inuvik, she’s been living in Yellowknife since 1985. A proud mother of 6 and Jijjuu to two adorable grandsons. Karen is an artist, a self taught seamstress and a storyteller. She is a member of Storytellers of Canada and she’s taken part in workshops with Around Town storytellers from Nanaimo, BC, and has completed three weeks at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Indigenous storytelling and spoken word residency. She loves to share about her rich and beautiful culture any chance she gets.


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