Sharon Bala’s bestselling debut novel, The Boat People, won the 2020 Newfoundland & Labrador Book Award and the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, was short listed for several awards, and is in translation in four languages. In 2017 she won the Writers’ Trust/ McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for her short story “Butter Tea at Starbucks” and had a second story on the long-list. Sharon is a member of The Port Authority, a St. John’s writing group. Visit her at: sharonbala.com
Sharon Bala is the 2020-2021 Writer in Residence at Memorial University of Newfoundland. For more information and details on her upcoming workshops, visit: https://www.mun.ca/english/more/place/WriterinResidence.php
Eddie Dust is a graduate student at Memorial University, working towards a master’s degree in English. A recent import from New Brunswick where he earned his English degree, Eddie has won numerous awards for his work, including the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize, the Marshall D’Avray Prize in English Literature, and the Muriel Miller Award for Creative Writing.
Sharon King-Campbell is a writer, theatre artist and storyteller. Her writing has appeared in Riddle Fence, WORD, and on stages across Newfoundland and Labrador. She holds a BFA Theatre and a Master's in Creative Writing from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and is currently pursuing a PhD English. She was a winner in both the 2019 and 2020 Arts & Letters Awards, was longlisted for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize, and won the 2017 Rhonda Payne Award in recognition of her theatre work. Her first book of poetry, 'This Is How It Is', will be published by Breakwater Books in 2021. www.breakwaterbooks.com/books/this-is-how-it-is/
Lisa Moore is the author for four novels, Alligator, February, Caught and Flannery. She's written three short story collections, Degrees of Nakedness, Open and Something for Everyone. She is at work on a new novel and is a co-librettist, along with New York composer Laura Kaminsky, based on her novel February, about the sinking of the Ocean Ranger, commissioned by Opera on the Avalon. She is the editor of the short story anthology Us, Now, forthcoming in the spring of 2021. Lisa teaches creative writing at Memorial and believes the imagination is the most important organ in our bodies, nestled half way between the heart and the brain, and we all need to take it out for a walk, off leash, at least once a day, in order for us humans to have hope.
Photo: Ritche Perez
William Ping is an emerging writer in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. He recently completed his MA in English at Memorial University. His work has previously been featured on CBC, in Riddle Fence, and in the forthcoming anthologies Us, Now and Corner Stor(i)es.
Michelle Porter is an academic, poet, and journalist. She is a member of the Manitoba Metis Federation. Her fourth book, a creative nonfiction exploration of home, mental illness and mobility called Scratching River, will be published with Wilfrid Laurier next year. Approaching Fire, published in 2020, is about her great-grandfather the Métis fiddler Bob Goulet. She currently lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Caighlan Smith is a PhD student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She received a BA (Hons.) from Memorial University and an MLitt in Fantasy from the University of Glasgow. Her short fiction has been published on Tor.com and her fifth novel, Children of Icarus, won the Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2018. Her latest story, “Monocarpic,” was published in the Winter 2020 issue of Queen’s Quarterly.
Heidi Wicks received the Cox and Palmer Creative Writing Award at SPARKS Literary Festival in 2019, along with the Landfall Trust Writing Residency at Kent Cottage in Brigus. She has written for CBC, Newfoundland Quarterly and The Globe and Mail. She is featured in Breakwater Books' creative nonfiction anthology, Best Kind and Bridget Canning's fiction anthology, What's Written in the Ladies. Her debut novel, Melt, is available now from Breakwater.
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.