Valerie Compton is a writer and editor whose first novel, Tide Road (Goose Lane Editions, 2011), was a finalist for the 2012 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Her fiction and non-fiction pieces have appeared in publications across Canada. Originally from PEI, she lives and writes in Halifax, where she also works as an editor and writing instructor through Narrative Agency.
October may be the busiest month ever at the Writers’ Fed. Here’s a look at what’s going on:
Mystery writer Anne Emery is the author of ten novels. Her most recent book, Though the Heavens Fall, is due to be published by ECW Press in October. Her books have won prizes such as a silver medal in the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards, the 2011 Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, and the 2007 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel for Sign of the Cross.
Bretten Hannam is a screenwriter, director, producer, and fiction writer. His short and feature-length films have been featured in festivals across Canada and abroad, including the Atlantic Film Festival, the Kashish Mumbai LGBT Film Festival, Los Angeles Cinefest, the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Hannam’s feature-length film North Mountain won awards including the Best Feature Film Awards from both the Two Cliffs Film Festival and Screen Nova Scotia (2016).
Marq de Villiers is a journalist and the author of more than a dozen books. His latest title, Back to the Well: Rethinking the Future of Water (Goose Lane Editions, 2015), was shortlisted for both the Donner Prize for Best Public Policy Book by a Canadian and the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction. He has a new title, Hell and Damnation: A Sinner’s Guide to Eternal Torment, forthcoming from University of Regina Press (2019).
Sean Howard is the author of three collections of poetry, Local Calls (Cape Breton University Press, 2009), Incitements (Gaspereau Press, 2011), and The Photographer’s Last Picture (Gaspereau Press, 2016). His fourth book, Ghost Estates, is due to be published by Gaspereau Press this fall. Howard lives in Main-à-Dieu, Cape Breton, and teaches political science at Cape Breton University.
Father Joseph Murray Abraham was a Canadian Jesuit missionary who dedicated his life to giving education and agricultural opportunities to the poorest people of Kuseong, India. His name lives on through the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award, administered by the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia to recognize the best book of poetry published in the Atlantic Region each year.
Sarah Sawler is an award-winning journalist and the author of three books, 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia (Nimbus Publishing, 2016), 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada (for Kids) (Nimbus Publishing, 2018), and Be Prepared! The Frankie MacDonald Guide to Life, the Weather, and Everything, which she wrote in collaboration with Frankie MacDonald (Nimbus Publishing, 2018).
John Wall Barger is the author of three books of poetry, including Hummingbird (Palimpsest Press, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2013 Raymond Souster Award. His latest title is The Book of Festus (Palimpsest Press, 2015), and he has a new collection, The Mean Game, due to be published by Palimpsest Press next year. In the following, he talks to us about taking the writing chair even when you don’t feel like it, travel poems, and what he loves about Nova Scotia.