Sharon Bala is a member of The Port Authority writing group. The Boat People is her debut novel. Her short fiction has been published in: The Journey Prize 29, Hazlitt, Grain, PRISM International, The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, The Newfoundland Quarterly, Room, Riddle Fence, and in a collection called Racket. Visit her at: sharonbala.com.
Colin Barrett was born in Canada and grew up in Mayo, Ireland. His debut collection of short stories, Young Skins, was first published in 2013 and won the Guardian UK First Book Award, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize. Colin's fiction has appeared in Stinging Fly, Granta and The New Yorker, among other magazines and journals.
Stan Dragland hails from Alberta and now lives in St. John’s. He is Professor Emeritus from Western University, London, Ontario, and is the founder of Brick magazine and Brick Books, a poetry publishing house. He has served as editor and/or mentor for various people and places, including Banff Spring Writing Studio and the Banff Fall Wired Workshop. His latest book, Gerald Squires, is about the life and work of Newfoundland’s best-loved artist.
Originally from England, Dyer holds a M.Sc. in physical geography from Memorial University and lives in St. John’s. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Fiddlehead, Riddle Fence, Grain, The Newfoundland Quarterly, Grimm, The Nashwaak Review and The Cuffer Anthology, and her audio storytelling has aired on CBC Radio. Her work has twice won the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts & Letters awards. Dyer’s debut poetry collection, I’d Write the Sea Like a Parlour Game, was published by Breakwater Books in 2017.
Robert Finley lives in St. John's, Newfoundland, where he teaches literature and creative writing at Memorial University. His books, translations, and collaborations include The Accidental Indies; A Ragged Pen; and K.L.Reich.
Jamie Fitzpatrick is a writer and broadcaster in St. John’s, and a member of the Port Authority writing group. His debut novel, You Could Believe in Nothing, won the Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers in Newfoundland and Labrador. His short story "Like Jewels" was included in the short story anthology Racket. His most recent novel is The End of Music published by Breakwater Books..
Sue Goyette lives in Halifax and has published six books of poetry and a novel. Her latest collectionh4 Penelope, in first person, was published by Gaspereau Press in 2017. She has been nominated for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize, the Governor General’s Award and has won several awards, most recently the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award, the Relit, and the 2015 Lieutenant Governor of NS Masterworks Award for her collection, Ocean. Sue teaches creative writing at Dalhousie University.
Pam Hall is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar based in St. John’s. Her visual art has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally and appears in major public collections. She has won awards for children’s book illustration, direction and production design in film, and for her longstanding contribution to Newfoundland’s arts community. Her most recent collaborative public project, Towards an Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge, was recently co-published by ISER and Breakwater Books.
EL JONES is a poet, educator, and activist. She was Halifax’s fifth Poet Laureate from 2013-2015, is a two-time national poetry slam champion, and was a fellow of the International Writing Program in Iowa in 2015. El is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a radio show created with prisoners. She writes the Saturday Morning File for the Halifax Examiner, which analyses local news through a Black feminist lens. El is the 15th Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. Her first book is Live from the Afrikan Resistance! (Fernwood, 2014).
Andrew Loman has published stories and articles in Exile: The Literary Quarterly, PMLA, the Journal of American Studies, and Children’s Literature. His scholarship has appeared in American Gothic Cultures and Fueling Cultures. He is the author of Song of Stone and curator of the 48 Months of Finasteride play-reading series. Cod Tongue: A Romance is his first novel, based in part on his father’s concentration-camp experiences in World War 2 and the Indonesian National Revolution.
Lisa Moore has written two collections of short stories, Degrees of Nakedness and Open, and three novels, Alligator, February and Caught, as well as a stage play, based on her novel February. Her most recent book is a young adult novel called Flannery. Lisa’s novel Caught is being adapted into a CBC miniseries to air February 2018. She is hard at work on a collection of short stories. Lisa teaches creative writing in the English department at Memorial University.
Michael Redhill is a novelist, poet, and playwright who lives in Toronto. His work has won a Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Toronto Book Award, the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Prize and has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize and the Giller Prize. He received the 2017 Giller Prize for his novel Bellevue Square. His work has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize and twice for the Giller Prize.
Anna Swanson is a writer and public librarian living in St. John’s. She studied creative writing at the University of Victoria and Memorial University. Her first book of poetry, The Nights Also, won a Lambda Literary Award and the Gerald Lampert Award. Her writing has also appeared in several anthologies, including In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry and The Best Canadian Poetry in English.
Mary Walsh was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She studied acting at Ryerson University and is the creator of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which has won numerous Gemini, Canadian Comedy and Canadian Screen Awards. She is a versatile actress and has appeared in both dramas and comedies, including the Gemini Award-winning Hatching, Matching and Dispatching, which she wrote and starred in. Recently, Walsh has performed in Sensitive Skin, Rookie Blue and Slasher, and has several feature films in development. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and has received a Governor General's Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
Heidi Wicks has profiled and critiqued local theatre, film, television and music for The Telegram, The Independent, and CBC Radio. Through creative writing study at Memorial University, she has written plays, short stories, film scripts, collaborated on two podcast series, and found her writing family in the form of the Naked Parade Writing Collective. Currently completing the Masters of Arts (creative writing) program at Memorial University, her creative thesis is a novel titled, Melt.
The SPARKS Literary Festival was founded in 2009 by poet and professor Mary Dalton, who served as the festival's director for the first 6 years. Now organized by Memorial's Department of English with ongoing support from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, SPARKS continues to celebrate the literary creations of Newfoundland and Labrador and showcase writers at various stages of their creative lives. It is what Dalton has called a "word spree." The festival also makes available displays of books and journals published in Newfoundland and Labrador and a mini-bookstore featuring works by the authors reading at the festival.