Guest Authors and Performers

Born and raised in Kingston, Ontario, Britta Badour, better known as Britta B., is an award-winning artist, public speaker, and poet living in Toronto. Her work has featured in notable spheres such as The Walrus Talks, Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian Women’s Foundation, as well as literature festivals like the FOLD and LitFest Bergen. She curates an annual showcase called Soundtracks & Stanzas presented by Toronto International Festival of Authors. Britta holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph and teaches spoken word performance at Seneca College. Her debut collection of poetry, Wires that Sputter, is published by McClelland & Stewart (March 2023).

Richard Van Camp is a proud Tłıc̨hǫ Dene from Fort Smith, NWT. He is the bestselling author of 27 books these past 27 years and his novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a feature film with First Generation Films. You can watch it on CBC Gem. Richard is an internationally renowned storyteller whose passion is helping others reclaim their family medicines. You can visit with Richard on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud, YouTube and at his official site:

Jessica Johns is a nehiyaw auntie with English-Irish ancestry and is a member of Sucker Creek First Nation. She is an interdisciplinary artist and award-winning writer who just published her debut novel, Bad Cree.

Photo credit: Madison Kerr

Richard Scarsbrook is the author of ten books, including the 2022 ReLit Award finalist The Troupers, The Indifference League, the National Post Bestseller Rockets Versus Gravity, and the OLA White Pine Award winner The Monkeyface Chronicles. His short stories and poems have appeared in international publications such as The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, Reed, Descant, Existere, Prairie Fire, and NeWest Review, amongst many others.

His first produced screenplay, Royal Blood, was an official selection at many international film festivals, and won Best Short Film at the TIFF-associated Milton Film Festival. He has served as Writer in Residence for the Toronto District School Board, and the Orangeville, Richmond Hill, and the Toronto Public Libraries. He also teaches creative writing at George Brown College and The Humber School for Writers. You can find out more about Richard’s writing adventures at

Laura Deal lives in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and is originally from Nova Scotia. She enjoys writing and many other forms of creative arts.  Laura writes Northern-based storybooks for children who might enjoy seeing a little bit of themselves, or images of a familiar landscape, within their pages. Laura is the author of The Ugly Place, In the Sky at Nighttime, My Ittu, and How Nivi Got Her Names, which is also available as a short film.

Jordan Abel is a queer Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. He is the author of The Place of Scraps (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), Un/inhabited, and Injun (winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize). NISHGA won the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the VMI Betsy Warland Between Genres award, and was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction, and the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize. Abel’s work has been published in numerous journals and magazines—including Canadian Literature, The Capilano Review, and The Fiddlehead—and his work has been anthologized widely, including The Broadview Introduction to Literature. Abel completed a Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University in 2019, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta where he teaches Indigenous Literatures, Research-Creation, and Creative Writing.

Photo credit: Sweetmoon Photography

Katlia Lafferty is Yellowknives Dene First Nation raised in the North. She is currently residing in Victoria where she has recently completed her law degree in Indigenous Legal Orders. She has published three books, all published with Fernwood Publishing, and is working on another fictional novel called “Northern Wildfire” among other collaborative projects

Stephen Kakfwi, northern Dene, is a lifelong leader in Indigenous rights, environmental stewardship, and reconciliation. He served as Premier of the Northwest Territories, and as National Chief of the Dene Nation, representing Chiefs of Treaties 8 and 11. He led community consultations for the “Berger Inquiry” into a north-south gas pipeline proposal across the Dene homeland. He led and hosted the visit of Pope John Paul II to northern Canada. A husband, father and grandfather, he shares his heroes, homeland, and residential school experiences in his songs and stories.

Fran Hurcomb has been documenting the NWT since she arrived in 1975, both with photographs and through writing. She has seven published books, ranging from children’s books to pictorial histories, all set in the North. In 2020, at the height of Covid, she published her first book of short stories, Breaking Trail, which won the 2021 Whistler Book Award for non-fiction. Her most recent book, Chasing Fish, which was released in late 2022, is an in-depth pictorial
history of commercial fishing on Great Slave Lake.

Fran is also the past-president of the Northwords Writers Festival.

Jamesie Fournier enjoys exploring his culture through writing. His work has appeared in Inuit Art Quarterly, Red Rising magazine, Northern Public Affairs, Kaakuluk magazine, and the anthologies Coming Home: Stories from the Northwest Territories & Ndè Sı̀ı̀ Wet’aɂà: Northern Indigenous Voices on Land, Life & Art. His debut fiction, The Other Ones, was published in 2022 with Inhabit Media. A recurrent speaker at the Northwords Writers Festival, Jamesie was also runner-up for Up Here’s 2018 Sally Manning Award for Indigenous Creative Non-Fiction. Born and raised in Nunatsiaq – the Northwest Territories – Jamesie currently resides in Iqaluit, NU learning his culture’s language, Inuktitut.

Cassandra (River) Blondin Burt is the grandchild of Georgina Blondin and Duncan Pryde. They are a two-spirit Dene Storyteller, Artist, and Earth Medicine maker. Their work is grounded in the exploration of healing through co-creation with earth and story. Through a deepening relationship with the land-body we call Earth, Cassandra explores a regenerative art and creation praxis that allows them to move through myriad contemporary settler-colonial social structures and ideologies with intent, and curiosity.

Their debut collection of poetry ‘Medicine Earth’ is expected in 2024 from Trail Creek Publishing. Instagram @blondinburt, Twitter @BlondinBurt, Facebook @Cassandra Burt, Website

Sebastian Bernabe was born in Fairbanks, Alaska in 2014, he started reading children’s books at the age of 4. After moving to Yellowknife in 2019, he has developed a routine to go to the Yellowknife Public library to fulfill his wide range of reading interests.

Besides reading and writing, Sebastian is an active participant in sports and music and enjoys playing piano fiddle and is self taught on the  recorder. Sebastian is also starting a children books club in the Yellowknife community. Whenever he travels he explores the local libraries and bookstores. Sebastian has written and illustrated The Alaskan Boy who explored Bush Kids, The rainbow fish, an e-book published by the British Columbia Public Library.  In October 2022, his third book I wish I lived in a library was published in English and French. The xagotseehk’q education in the north journal published one of his northern drawings called Hope. He was awarded by Imagine a Canada national award in June 2022.  He is currently writing a story on his recent trip to Peru.

Amber Henry has always been writing. Starting with sad poetry in high school, plays and scripts in University and a dating column for a BC humour magazine in her 20’s.

After adventuring in Ireland for a few years, where she met her husband, they settled in Yellowknife, where Amber finally decided she was brave enough to share her writing with the world.

Her works include: A Ptarmigan in a Birch Tree, Northern Princess and The Becoming (pen name Lilith Thorn). She is currently working on a graphic novel called “Here. We. Come.”

Robyn Scott is a poet, teacher, artist, and public speaker who has called Yellowknife home for nearly 20 years.

Robyn is most passionate about performance poetry and spoken word, regularly hosting open mics and teaching writing workshops for youth and adults. Her greatest joy is creating opportunities for others to share their creative work and celebrating the success of others in her creative community.

When not painting, writing, or teaching art at the high school, Robyn is busy in her role as president of NorthWords NWT and raising her two children.

You can learn more about her work at

Celine Dewez has lived in Yellowknife for a little over two years now. She started writing when she was eight. In her youth, she mostly wrote poetry as well as sharing what it was like to live with a chronic illness. For the past fifteen years, she mostly wrote travel stories and fiction in addition to her poetry, for which she recently received a prize in Manitoba. Professionally, Celine is a translator and anthropologist, and works with many people from all walks of life. In her spare time, you will find her hiking with her dog, writing, or renovating old hand-cranked coffee grinders. And, of course, working on manuscripts with the rest of the Éditions Présence francophone team!

Matt Fournier was born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. In 2013, he graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and a minor in English Literature. His short stories and poems have been published in a variety of literary magazines. In 2022, Matt published his first children’s book, “the Outlaw Amy Joan,” which he was inspired to write after the birth of his daughter. 

Meet Lana de BastianiM.Ed., a publisher. and children’s book author. Her love for writing and education led her to produce her first book, “The Fox and My Boot,” in 2018. In 2022, she released her second children’s book, “Nick the Northern Special,” in collaboration with Megan Cooper. Her graduate thesis on the significance of familiarity and relatability in children’s literature is reflected in her writing style. She strives to create characters and stories that children can connect with.  She founded Northern Special Books, a publishing house specializing in literature from the north and northern authors. Lana is excited to share her passion for children’s literature and navigating publishing in the north with the audience at NorthWords 2023.

Pat Kane is a photographer in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. He takes a documentary approach to stories about people and life in Northern Canada with a special focus on issues important to Indigenous people, including the relationship between land and identity.

Pat is of mixed Algonquin Anishinaabe and Irish-Canadian ancestry, and is a member of the Timiskaming First Nation.

His work has been published by National Geographic, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Globe and Mail, World Press Photo and many others.

He’s part of the photo collectives Indigenous Photograph and Boreal Collective.

Myranda Bolstad holds a B.A. in English from the Augustana University College (now Faculty of Augustana, University of Alberta) and an MSc in Creative Writing from the University in Edinburgh in Scotland. While her day job is as a communications professional, she has continued to pursue freelance editing opportunities. As an editor, she sees her role as helpingauthors bring out the very best version of their work, whether it’s a newly-mined, raw gem of a draft or a diamond whose facets need a simple polish.

Sarah Kalnay-Watson has been creating stories since the moment she started to babble. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, she moved to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories as a young child and grew up calling Yellowknife home. With wanderlust in her heart, she moved away from Yellowknife multiple times to pursue post-secondary education at Carleton University for film, to Edinburgh, Scotland where she attended the Screen Academy for screenwriting, and to take the leap in the world of film making in Toronto, Ontario. She made her most recent return to Yellowknife in 2012 so that she could start her family. Taking a step back from film, Sarah has turned her focus to the pages of books instead.

Raised in Tobermory Ontario, Kody Ferron has lived in Yellowknife NWT since 2020.  

Art has always been his passion. He began pursuing art full time as a career in May of 2021. 

The artist’s work attempts to understand and express an identity; most often through explorations of the unconscious, the mythic, and the surreal. 

His first book, INFERNAL: The Dying Sun, is available at the Yellowknife Book Cellar. His second book, What Happens When You Kill Yourself?, is set to release in early 2024.

Alison McCreesh is a graphic novelist, illustrator and fibre artist who has called Yellowknife home 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 McCreesh is the creator of three books. Her debut full length graphic novel was titled ‘Ramshackle, A Yellowknife Story’ (2015) and explored the reality of living off grid in what is otherwise a modern government town – and was the winner of the Northwords Prize that year. Her second book, ‘Norths, Two suitcases and a Stroller around the Circumpolar World’ (2018) was a fully illustrated travelogue based on six months of travel North of 60 with her partner and small child.

Alison is currently working hard on the finishing touches of a hefty graphic memoir titled ‘Degrees of Separation’ that will be be published in the winter of 2024. In her spare time, Alison enjoys reading, biking and drawing short comics about her three little kids.

Author Dawn Doig, M.Sc., M.Ed, is the author of 15 children’s picture books on a variety of topics including childhood hearing loss, bullying and forgiveness, dysgraphia, learning English as an additional language, and positive self-image.  Some of her books are just plain silly and prone to giggles.  She has been blessed with two extremely rewarding careers working with children as an audiologist and as an English as an additional language teacher in different parts of the world including way up north in the Canadian arctic, Kuwait, England, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, and Cameroon.  Dawn has two grown children who live in Vancouver.  She gets her inspiration for her children’s books from her family, the children she has the pleasure of working with, general life experiences, and her feline friends.  Dawn is also a passionate baker who loves to share her homemade goodies with others. 

Shirley McGrath moved to Yellowknife in late 1981 and worked for GNWT (Systems & Computer Services). She completed her BBA (1987) from UNB Fredericton; concentration in Marketing; Outstanding Business Student of the Year Award.

Following that, Shirley had a career in small business management, including DragonFly Enterprises, Yellowknife Inn; City Cab (1993) Ltd. She was the first woman President of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce (1991-92), and has also has participated in various volunteer positions, most recently as the Vice-President of the Yellowknife Seniors Society (2021-2022).

Shirley has written and produced 2 plays for the NACC’s Festival of the Midnight Sun (“Charlie’s Day”, 1998 and “EVER After?!”, 1999). Her most recent publication is “Cat of the North and Other Tales”

Elaine Gillespie has been a resident of Yellowknife for over 20 years, and has become a regular contributor at Northwords Open Mic events with her poetry and stories. She is a board member of Northwords and is a great lover of words and language. She has written many hundreds of bad poems and a few good ones.

Grace Guy, born and raised in Yellowknife, is excited to join Northwords as an MC and Moderator in June. You may recognize her from around town — whether it be from her job at the Yellowknife Book Cellar, her book review column in the Yellowknifer, or her work as a Northwords NWT board member, she is always looking for new ways to promote reading and writing in the north. A lifelong literature advocate, Grace completed her undergraduate at UBC before moving on to her Masters of English Literature at the University of Alberta.

Jessica Davey-Quantick has a degree in journalism from the University of King’s College and a master’s in Cultural Studies from Queen’s. She’s a former Yellowknifer reporter and editor, as well as former editor of Time Out Doha and Up Here. Her work has been published by the CBC, Vice, Vox, the Globe&Mail, Reader’s Digest Canada and more. She is currently the managing editor of the Xàgots’eèhk’ǫ̀ journal, with the Aurora Research Institute and Aurora College.

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.

Hilary Bird hosts CBC North’s flagship radio show, The Trailbreaker every weekday morning from 6-8 a.m.

For the past twelve years, Hilary Bird has been an integral part of the CBC North team as a reporter. Recognized for her exceptional storytelling ability that connects the community, her hard work and commitment has won her several national and international awards. This dedication can be found in more than just accolades. This is very apparent in the fact that since starting her career she has had hands-on experience with almost every role at CBC North.

Where the romance of train hopping, the coziness of a Yellowknife shack and the crackle of an old country record on the stereo meet you have the makings of a Ryan McCord show.  With a studied knowledge of the finest in classic country and a well-developed voice of his own his songs are sometimes true, sometimes made up, and sometimes made for dancing.  With two solo albums under his belt, his music will make you feel like two-stepping. 

Rob Elo is a jazz pianist and multi-instrumentalist from Nanaimo, British Columbia, who now resides in Yellowknife. He has his diploma in Jazz Studies from Vancouver Island University, and has done years of study with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada. Rob’s piano stylings range from original folk and pop influenced compositions, to funk, soul, and blues, to traditional jazz standards in the style of Red Garland and Bobby Timmons.

Jessie Wilson is an Old Town resident and former water squatter.  She wrote Gabby the Magic Poodle as a dedication to the memory of her late dog and as an homage to the beauty of winter on Yellowknife Bay.

……and many more!

Thank you for your support!