Main Faculty – May 31st to June 4th, 2017
YASUKO THANH is the author of the novel Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, winner of the 2016 Roger’s Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the collection Floating Like the Dead, which includes her Journey Prize-winning title story. In 2013 the CBC hailed her as a “Writer to Watch.” Yasuko’s short stories have appeared in literary magazines across Canada, and her work has been translated into three languages. Her memoir, Mistakes to Run With, is due out with Penguin in 2018. She is a frequent contributor to BRICK. She lives in Victoria with her two children and plays in a punk band in her spare time.
Photo Credit: Helene Cyr
CARMEN AGUIRRE’s first memoir, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, won CBC’s Canada Reads 2012 and is a #1 national bestseller. Her second memoir, Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution, is a Globe and Mail bestseller and was one of a CBC’s Best Books of 2016. Carmen is also is an award-winning Vancouver-based theatre artist who has written and co-written 25 plays. She has over 80 film, television, and stage acting credits, and has taught acting and writing for over two decades. She is a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop facilitator and a graduate of the prestigious acting program Studio 58. www.carmenaguirre.ca.
DENNIS FOON has received a Gemini, two Writer’s Guild Awards, and four Leos for his screenplays, which include Little Criminals, A Shine of Rainbows, White Lies, Torso, The Terry Fox Story, Life Above All (Oscar shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film) and most recently, On The Farm, 2016 Leo winner for best screenplay and production. He has written over 60 hours of episodic television, including Cracked, Cold Squad, Friday the 13th, and 2030 CE (a series he created for YTV). Also an internationally produced playwright, his plays have received the British Theatre Award and two Chalmers awards. Dennis’s latest feature film, Indian Horse (based on Richard Wagamese’s bestselling novel) is in post-production with Screen Siren Pictures.
SHELLEY YOUNGBLUT connects people to life-changing ideas as the General Director of Wordfest (curating Calgary’s International Authors Festival and presenting innovative word-based events year-round). In partnership with the Calgary Public Library, she is transforming Alberta’s oldest library into a vibrant arts and culture hub. Shelley was the founding editor of the award-winning Swerve magazine and has created magazines for ESPN, Cosmopolitan, Nickelodeon, and The Globe & Mail. A former pop culture correspondent for ABC World News Now and Canada AM, she is unconventionally opinionated on CBC Calgary’s Eyeopener. She’s taught publication design, branding and packaging, and is a passionate advocate for transforming ideas into innovative objects. Shelley lives in YYC.
MATT TURNER has been building stories in the game industry for ten years and nerding-out on them for triple that. He’s been nominated twice for the Writer’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Video Game Writing and won for his work on the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Matt has spent his career exploring what stories in games can do differently than other mediums and trying to zero in on what it is that makes them so powerful. He is up for a 2017 Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Award and works at EA Canada as Narrative Creative Director on a new project. Matt lives in White Rock, BC, with his wife, daughters, and a mangy mutt.
Carmen Aguirre – Private People in Public Spaces: Performance for Writers
SUSIN NIELSEN is the award-winning author of five young adult novels: Word Nerd, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (winner of the Governor General’s Award), We Are All Made of Molecules and 2017’s Optimists Die First. Susin got her start writing for the hit TV series Degrassi Junior High, and has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her books have won critical acclaim, multiple awards, and made Rolling Stone’s list of top YA novels, as well as having been translated into many languages. Susin was recently described as “the John Green of Canada.” She lives in Vancouver with her family and two naughty cats. http://susinnielsen.com/
ZSUZSI GARTNER is the author of the acclaimed story collection All the Anxious Girls on Earth, editor of the award-winning Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow. Her second book, Better Living through Plastic Explosives, was a Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist. She has won National Magazine Awards for Fiction, most recently in 2016. Zsuzsi has taught MFA students at the University of British Columbia, and mentored fiction & non-fiction writers through the Banff Centre’s writing programs. She was the inaugural Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow in Cork, Ireland for 2016, and is a member of the 2016/2017 Expert Advisory Group on Canadian culture for the Minister of Heritage. Zsuzsi created Writers Adventure Camp in 2014 and lives in Vancouver. www.zsuzsigartner.com
Photo Credit: Catherine Kirwan