Guest Authors and Performers – 2022

LILLIAN ALLEN A leading Canadian poet and an international exponent of dub poetry, Lillian Allen was acclaimed a foremother of Canadian poetry by the League of Canadian Poets. She is a two-time Canadian Juno award winner for her albums of dub poetry, Revolutionary Tea Party and Conditions Critical. She is an arts activist and a cultural strategist who initiated and developed several key equity impacting arts programs. A mentor to the mentors and ‘Godmother of Everything’, Lillian is the recipient of many awards and citations including The Toronto Cultural Champions Award, The Margo Bindhardt Award for significantly impacting the arts in Toronto through both creative work and activism, the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations, and an Honourary Doctorate from Wilfred Laurier University for her contribution and impact on Canadian Letters. A long-time Professor of Creative Writing at OCAD University, Ms Allen spearheaded the establishment of an interdisciplinary, multi-media Creative Writing BFA program.Lillian Allen’s newest publication Make the World New – The Poetry of Lillian Allen -selected by Ronald Cummings, Published by WLU Press 2021 has received enthusiastic critical acclaim. Her other publications include; Women Do this Every Day and Psychic Unrest, plus several books and recordings for children and young people. Allen continues to perform to large audiences worldwide.

RYAN NORTH is the New York Times-bestselling and Eisner-winning writer whose recent work includes the non-fiction books How To Take Over The World and How To Invent Everything, the semi-fictional graphic novel adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, and the so-far-fictional Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series for Marvel. He’s also twice collaborated with William Shakespeare on choose-your-own-path versions of his plays. He lives in Toronto, where he writes for video games, television, and his long-running webcomic Dinosaur Comics, and he once messed up walking his dog so badly it made the news.

LOUISE FLAHERTY grew up in Clyde River, in the Canadian Arctic. Early on, Louise was fortunate to be surrounded by great storytellers. Her grandparents instilled in her a passion for Inuktitut, and an understanding that speaking Inuktitut is a fundamental part of Inuit identity. Seeing Inuit who were far more literate in English than in Inuktitut sparked Louise’s passion for the promotion and preservation of Inuktitut literacy. She graduated with a Bachelor of Education in 1993 and a Master of Education in 2013, and since then has been working hard to promote Inuktitut literacy. She was a teacher for eight years before joining the Nunavut Teacher Education Program as program manager training future generations of Inuit teachers, and eventually served as director of Inuit Language and Culture for Nunavut Arctic College. Louise was Deputy Minister for Culture and Heritage, and the Deputy Minister for Education within the Government of Nunavut from 2018-2019. Louise co-founded Inhabit Media, an independent publishing house dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Inuit knowledge and values and the Inuktitut language. Inhabit Media was incorporated in 2006 and has since published hundreds of books and Inuktitut resources that are used in classrooms throughout Nunavut.

JOSEPH A. DANDURAND is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about 20 minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his 3 children Danessa, Marlysse, and Jace. Joseph is the Director of the Kwantlen Cultural Center. Joseph received a Diploma in Performing Arts from Algonquin College and studied Theatre and Direction at the University of Ottawa. He has just completed his residency as the Storyteller in Residence at the Vancouver Public Library. He sits on a committee for the Canadian Museum of History and is tasked with consulting on the redesign of the new Children’s Museum. He has published 13 books of poetry and the latest are: I WANT by Leaf Press (2015) and HEAR AND FORETELL by BookLand Press (2015) The Rumour (2018) by BookLand Press in (2018) SH:LAM (the doctor) Mawenzi Press (2019) The Corrupted by Guernica Press (2020) his children’s play: Th’owixiya: the hungry Feast dish by Playwrights Press Canada (2019) his book of short stories and short plays for children: The Sasquatch, the fire, and the cedar basket will be published by Nightwood Press along with his poetry manuscript: Here we come (2020-21) He also is very busy Storytelling at many events and Schools.

NIIGAAN SINCLAIR is Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis) and an award-winning writer, editor and activist who was recently named to the “Power List” by Maclean’s magazine as one of the most influential individuals in Canada. In 2018, he won Canadian columnist of the year at the National Newspaper Awards for his bi-weekly columns in The Winnipeg Free Press and is a featured member of the Friday “Power Panel” on CBC’s Power & Politics. 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).

AMBER HENRY is an author with two names. She’s written two children’s books as Amber Henry and something a little more grown up using the name Lilith Thorn. Her first book, A Ptarmigan in a Birch Tree, was written in 2016. It’s a parody of the 12 Days of Christmas with a Northern theme. If she offers to sing this story to her children, they beg her to read it, instead. Her more recent book, Northern Princess, was inspired by a conversation on leadership, the Niven Lake trail and her desire to slow down winter’s arrival. In between both of these books, The Becoming was written. It’s a novella that tells a dark, story about love, marriage and the hope for escape. Find Amber’s work at

JAMESIE FOURNIER, an Inuk in Denendeh, enjoys exploring his culture through writing. His work has been in Inuit Art Quarterly (IAQ), Red Rising Magazine, & Northern Public Affairs.  He was a guest author at the 2018 & 2020 NorthWords Festival and runner up for the 2018 Sally Manning Award for Indigenous Creative Non-Fiction. His first publication was in the NorthWords Anthology “Coming Home: Stories from the Northwest Territories”. His brother, Zebede Tulugaq Evauardjuk-Fournier, illustrated two of his projects with the IAQ. His first book, ‘The Other Ones’, will be published with Inhabit Media in the fall of 2022.

ISIS ESSERY is a NorthWords award-winning author and a Juno award-winning graphic designer. Not possessing the ability to stop creating, Isis started writing her first book, I Love You More Than the North Is Vast, with her sister Rhiannon when her baby was just 6 weeks old. Over the last year, I Love You More Than the North Is Vast has far exceeded their expectations, becoming a much-loved children’s book being sold across Canada.

KODY FERRON is an Ontario born, Yellowknife based comic artist. Over this past year, Kody successfully KickStarted his creator owned, Sci-Fi comic series: INFERNAL: the Dying Sun. The INFERNAL creative team includes: Damir Rošić of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Matt Clark of Georgia Atlanta, and the artist, Kody Ferron. INFERNAL examines the nature of being and humanity’s deepest flaws, through the fast-paced and action packed lenses of an intergalactic Sci-Fi adventure. Influences include comics of the North-American tradition, such as Spawn and Watchmen, as well as Cyberpunk Manga, such as BLAME! and AkiraINFERNAL also finds its influence in Sci Fi films of the 70’s and 80’s, like Star Wars and Alien.

MEGAN WOOD is the author of the Naidisbo, an epic coming of age fantasy novel. The Naidisbo is Megan’s first novel-length published work. Previously Megan has written academically and creatively for media and professional organizations as related to her education and background as a nurse in Mental Health and Addictions. Megan moved to Yellowknife in 2015. As a working wife and mother of two young girls, she writes in her little spare time. When not writing she can be found living life as enthusiastically as possible.

SEBASTIAN BERNABE From a very young age, Sebastian has had a keen interest in words and reading. He developed a love of reading through children’s books at the age of 4. After moving to Yellowknife in 2019, he began a routine of visiting the Yellowknife Public library to fulfill his wide range of reading interests, currently in graphic novel books and novels. Sebastian is currently working on an e-book project with the BC Public Library, The rainbow fish, which he has written and illustrated. Besides reading and writing, Sebastian is an active participant in sports and music in the community.

ISABELLE CARON HÉBERT is originally from Saint-Joseph-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick, Canada. She completed her Bachelor of Social Work at the Université de Moncton in 2007. Specializing in adoption, Isabelle has worked as a social worker in various organizations and sectors in New Brunswick, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, Canada. Since 2014, Isabelle has made her home in the city of Yellowknife, located on the traditional territory of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. When she is not busy spending time with her family and exploring the vast North, she writes children’s books.

LANA DE BASTIANI was born and raised in Yellowknife. Lana has a Master’s in Education and wrote the NWT bestselling book The Fox and My Boot as the product of her thesis. Lana is an endorsed facilitator with the International Association of Facilitators. By day Lana manages oral health promotion in the NWT and is producing a children’s book about oral health, Our Ever Awesome NWT Oral Health Book: A Guide to a STRONG, HEALTHY and CLEAN mouth, set to release Fall 2022. Lana is also working on her own second children’s book, Nick the Northern Special, which is set to release November 2022.

MIRANDA CURRIE is a northern indigenous artist living and working in Sombe K’e, more widely known as Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, among the Dene people. She walks in two worlds, with one foot in her Swampy Cree heritage and the other foot in her Euro-Canadian ancestry. Her company CuRiouS CoNNectionS creates northern indigenous content that is accessible to children and families.

TANYA SNOW is a writer and throat singer living in Yellowknife. This year she was selected as a mentee for the futures/Forward mentorship program with the International Centre of Art for Social Change. She has written for Canadian magazines and is currently working on a children’s book with Inhabit Media.

RYAN McCORD Mostly known in Yellowknife as a musician, Ryan began to take an interest in creative writing while in university in his early twenties. Writing mostly for personal interest, he enjoys documenting his travels and some of his creative projects. While he has written stories for Edge and Kanawa magazines, The Snowcastle is his first book.

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 sub Arctic 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 titled ‘Ramshackle, A Yellowknife Story’ (2015) explored 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) was a graphic travelogue based on six months of travel North of 60 with her partner and their small child. Both books were published by Conundrum Press. Alison also occasionally contributes shorter pieces to magazines or group projects, most recently to the anthology The Northern Gaze which won the Best Comic with the Broken Pencil Zine Award in 2021.Alison is currently working hard at finishing another graphic novel for big people and is excited to be starting a new fun book for middle-grade readers. In her spare time, Alison enjoys walking the dogs, biking and drawing short comics about her three little kids.

JESSE REID loves art, reading, writing, and the natural world. Originally from a small town in Ontario, she has lived in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for over a decade. Jesse works as a Communications Officer, and has additionally worked for over 7 years in the NWT music and arts industry as a music manager supporting local artists and musicians in grant funding, album launches, touring management, and promotion. She is set to publish her first book in the summer of 2022. Her book is about a naked raven searching for a change. Bran Finds His Feathers is a silly and heartfelt story about being brave enough to try new things, and learning how to be happy with who you are.

You can connect with Jesse on Twitter and Instagram @talkingravennwt

OLLIE WILLIAMS worked as a reporter for BBC News and BBC Sport before moving from London, England to Fort Liard as a volunteer in 2012. He made Yellowknife his home in 2014 and helped to establish Cabin Radio in 2017, where he runs the newsroom.

MUNYA MATARUSE is an Artist born in Zimbabwe, now based in Yellowknife Northwest Territories, Canada. He started his music career professionally in 2005 at Pakare Paye Arts Centre, an arts organization formed and managed by Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, a Zimbabwean Music Super Star. Munya’s music is a unique blend of styles ranging from Afro Jazz, Katekwe and Shangara, the local traditional Zimbabwean genre. His sound is recognizable with intensely catchy Zimbabwean melodies and smooth vocals. Munya has recorded 2 albums, Denguremhodzi and Pashangara, under TUKUMUSIC/ PAKARE PAYE label.  Munya performs with an energy that engages audiences, creating an uplifting musical experience.

Dëneze is Dehcho and Denesuline Dene from Denendeh. He is a strong advocate for Indigenous knowledge systems, particularly Dene ways of knowing. As one of the founding members of Dene Nahjo, he works at encouraging and supporting connections/re-connections to land, language and culture. Dëneze is a public speaker that recognizes and actively confronts the impacts of colonization through Dene methods of decolonization. He has over a decade’s worth of experience in northern media and communications. Dëneze is originally from Liidlii Kue but now lives in Yellowknife with his family.

CHRIS JONAH is a self proclaimed “displaced east coaster” who has been involved in the YK music scene since 2006.  Various projects he has been in include, The Skinnys, Los Flacos Locos, The Dirt, Rollin’ Hitch, as well as solo work. He believes in using music to create unity and help people forget about their troubles for a moment.

JAMES McDONALD has been a musician for over 40 years and has played professionally throughout  Western Canada for 20 of those years on drums, bass and guitar. He has been associated with several professional projects and hobbyist projects as well, and has spent time in the studio as a session player and recording his own music. He also plays piano, harmonica and mandolin, and writes and records his own music.

James has had the privilege of playing in the Branch #4 Legion pipe band on snare drum which led to him playing in the Band of the Ceremonial Guard on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. His drumming career continued in the lower mainland and moved inland to the Okanagan, and he was in several B circuit cover bands as well as being asked to record in Little Mounain Music and Mushroom Studios in Vancouver.

James’s musical career progressed and changed to include bass guitar and rhythm/lead guitar as musical demands required, he has played both instruments professionally in the Okanagan and Alberta circuits. James has also had the opportunity to share a stage with some of Canada’s highest caliber musicians including 54-40, Matt Minglewood, Prism and Jeff Healy; his musical experience includes the genres of rock, classic rock, country, reggae, orchestral/concert and pipe band. 

“Music is a passion and a lifestyle choice. I am grateful for the players and people I have met in my musical journey. My life is infinitely more enriched because I have been able to play with amazing and talented people. Some of my closest friends are musicians whom I would not have met if not for music.”   James McDonald