Meet this year’s Words on the Water stable of writers

Attending this year’s festival at the Maritime Heritage Centre will be another stellar stable of writers

Charlotte Gill is the author Eating Dirt, a tree-planting memoir nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize, the Charles Taylor Prize, and two B.C. Book Prizes. It was the 2012 winner of the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. Her previous book, w, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and winner of the B.C. Book Prize for fiction. Her work has appeared in Best Canadian Stories, The Journey Prize Stories, and many magazines. She lives on the Sunshine Coast.


Madeleine Thien is the author of three books of fiction, including her most recent novel, Dogs at the Perimeter. She is a previous finalist for the Kiriyama Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, and won the 2006 Amazon First Novel Award and the 2010 Ovid Festival Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, Granta, PEN America, Five Dials, Brick and the Asia Literary Review, and her novels have been translated into eighteen languages. Since 2010, she has been part of the international faculty in the City University of Hong Kong’s MFA program. Born in Vancouver, she lives in Montreal.


Fred Wah was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan in 1939, but he grew up in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. He studied music and English literature at the University of British Columbia in the early 1960’s where he was one of the founding editors of the poetry newsletter TISH. After graduate work in literature and linguistics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and the State University of New York at Buffalo, he returned to the Kootenays in the late 1960’s where he taught at Selkirk College and was the founding coordinator of the writing program at David Thompson University Centre. He retired from the University of Calgary in 2003 and now lives in Vancouver. He has been editorially involved with a number of literary magazines over the years, such as Open Letter and West Coast Line. He has published seventeen books of poetry. His book of prose-poems, Waiting For Saskatchewan, received the Governor-General’s Award in 1986 and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry in 1992. Diamond Grill, a biofiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese-Canadian cafe was published in 1996 and won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction. A collection of critical writing, Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity (2000) was awarded the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Writing on Canadian literature. Recent books of poetry include Sentenced to Light, is a door, and a selected edited by Louis Cabri titled The False Laws of Narrative. He is the current Parliamentary Poet Laureate.


JJ Lee wrote The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, published my McClelland & Stewart. The memoir was shortlisted for the 2011 Governor-General Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction, and the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize. Lee is an essayist and fashion writer appearing in The Vancouver Sun and ELLE Canada. He also presents a style column for CBC Radio in Vancouver.


Rawi Hage was born in Beirut and lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war. He is a writer, and a visual artist . He resides in Montreal. His first novel, De Niro’s Game won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was translated into several languages. It also won the McAuslan First Book Prize and the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Writers’ Trust Award, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Cockroach, his second novel, was a finalist for many prestigious awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His writing appeared in Walrus, Granta, Tin House, Brick, Five Dials, TOK, and The Kenyon Review. His eagerly anticipated new novel Carnival (2012) is about the beautiful, twisted existence of life in the modern city, told from the perspective of a taxi driver.


Matthew Hooton holds degrees in creative writing from the University of Victoria (BA), and Bath Spa University (MA). His first novel, Deloume Road, was published in 2010 by Knopf Canada and Jonathan Cape UK. He has also written creative non-fiction for venues such as the CBC, Geist, Reader’s Digest and Monday Magazine. After years of working as a freelance editor and writer in South Korea, he now lives and writes on Vancouver Island, where he teaches Creative Writing part-time at the University of Victoria, and sits on the fiction editorial board of The Malahat Review.


Anakana Schofield writes fiction, essays, and literary criticism. She has also written for several Canadian newspapers, including The Globe and Mail, and contributed to CBC Radio. She has a background in theatre and film and has collaborated on a number of performance art pieces throughout Vancouver and Victoria. Her first critically acclaimed novel, Malarky, has been described as darkly comic and wildly funny. She currently resides in Vancouver with her partner and son.


Janet Marie Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from the Six Nations band in southern Ontario. She was born in Vancouver and has been living on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Victoria) since 1994. Rogers works in the genres of poetry, short fiction, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poems with music and script writing. Janet has three published poetry collections to date; Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007, Red Erotic, Ojistah Publishing 2010, Unearthed, Leaf Press 2011. Her 2nd poetry CD titled Firewater 2009, gained nominations for best spoken word recording at the both the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and the Native American Music Awards. You can hear Janet on the radio as she hosts Native Waves Radio on CFUV fm and Tribal Clefs on CBC fm in Victoria BC. Her radio documentary “Bring Your Drum” (50 years of indigenous protest music) won Best Radio at the imagaine NATIVE Film and Media festival 2011. She was also commissioned to create a radio art piece by the same company that same year. Ojistah Publishing (Mohawk word for star) is Janet’s publishing label. ikkwenyes or Dare to Do is the name of the collective both Alex Jacobs and Janet started in 2011.