Coffee Chats advisor

Maureen St.Clair

Maureen is an artist, peace educator, community facilitator, conflict resolution trainer, activist, writer and life-long learner.Maureen is deeply passionate about connections, entanglements, intersections, unravelling and weaving of relationships and the power of deep receptive compassionate listening in transforming interpersonal and community based conflict. As a collaborator, Maureen co-creates courageous inclusive spaces enabling people collectively to do the work of self and community building and healing with a social justice and trauma informed lens. Maureen’s novel, Big Island, Small was published by Fernwood Publishing in 2018 and won the Nova Scotia Atlantic Writers Award and the Beacon Award for Social Justice Literature.

Nina Munteanu

Nina is a Canadian ecologist and novelist. She worked for 25 years as an environmental consultant in the field of aquatic ecology and limnology, publishing papers and technical reports on water quality and impacts to aquatic ecosystems. Nina has written over a dozen eco-fiction, science fiction and fantasy novels. An award-winning short story writer, and essayist, Nina currently lives in Toronto where she teaches writing at the University of Toronto and George Brown College.  Her book “Water Is…” (Pixl Press)—a scientific study and personal journey as limnologist, mother, teacher and environmentalist—was picked by Margaret Atwood in the New York Timesas 2016 ‘The Year in Reading’. Nina’s most recent novel is “A Diary in the Age of Water”—about four generations of women and their relationship to water in a rapidly changing world—released in June 2020 by Inanna Publications.

John A. Read

JOHN A. READ is a telescope operator at the Burke-Gaffney Observatory a member of the Halifax Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and recently graduated with a degree in astrophysics from Saint Mary’s University. In 2020 he was presented with an RASC award for Excellence in Science Communication. John also cohosts RASC’s series “Explore the Universe Online.” He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

John J. Guiney Yallop

John J. Guiney Yallop is a Two-Spirited writer and academic. His writing and research includes poetic inquiry and narrative inquiry. John is interested in stories of lived experience, identities, emotions, communities and gratitude. His most recent book is OUT of Place.

Clare O’Connor

Clare O’Connor lives in Halifax with her family. She is the author of Skateboard Sibby, a middle-grade novel about an 11-year-old super skateboarder dealing with lots of changes, including the loss of her identity as a skateboarder. When not writing, Clare works as a communications consultant and is a past recipient of a Halifax-Cornwallis Canadian Progress Club Women of Excellence Award in Communications and Public Affairs. Clare is a former Director of Public Affairs for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and received the Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair’s Award for outstanding contribution.

She is a member of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, CANSCAIP, and SCBWI.

Genevieve Graham

Genevieve Graham moved to Nova Scotia in 2008 and fell in love with the integral history woven into every aspect of this province. Almost immediately, she realized how little she knew about the history, not only of this province but of all of Canada, and she embarked on a mission to correct that. Using her love of historical fiction as a palette, Genevieve began in-depth research into the Halifax Explosion, life on Nova Scotia’s home front during both World Wars, the reality of German U-boats skulking around our rocky coves, and the Acadian Expulsion, weaving compelling, heartbreaking, yet hopeful fictional stories into the facts. Those three Nova Scotia-based novels (“Tides of Honour”, “Come From Away”, and “Promises to Keep”) spent numerous weeks on the Globe & Mail bestsellers list, bringing Nova Scotian history to thousands of Canadian readers. Determined to reach beyond Nova Scotia, she turned her attention to the West Coast, where she delved into the Klondike Gold Rush and the early Mounties (NWMP) in “At the Mountain’s Edge”. Having already achieved a following of historical fiction readers across the country, “At the Mountain’s Edge” became an “instant bestseller” on the Globe & Mail bestseller list. Most recently, Genevieve focused her research and passion on the dark, little known story of Canada’s British Home Children in “The Forgotten Home Child”. Despite bookstore shutdowns across the country due to COVID-19, “The Forgotten Home Child” became an “instant #1 bestseller” and remained on that list for 19 weeks – 11 of those at #1.

Genevieve Graham is prolific and determined, dedicated to bringing Canadian history to life through the popular, mainstream market of commercial historical fiction. Having started writing relatively late in life (in her forties), she has already published five novels with Simon & Schuster Canada in five years, and is eager to keep on that same track for years to come.

Nina Newington

Nina Newington’s first novel, Where Bones Dance, won the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Georges Bugnet Award for Novel in 2008. Guernica Press is publishing her second novel, Cardinal Divide, in September 2020. She is currently finishing a memoir about living illegally in the US for twenty years.

A former Kennedy scholar with an MA in English Literature from Cambridge, she makes her living designing gardens and building things. She is an active member of Extinction Rebellion in Annapolis County. English by birth, she and her American wife immigrated to Canada in 2006. They raise sheep on unceded Mi’kmaw territory near the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.

Virginia Konchan

Virginia Konchan is the author of the poetry collections Any God Will Do (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020) and The End of Spectacle (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2018), a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017), and four chapbooks, That Tree is Mine (Gaspereau Press, 2020), Empire of Dirt (above/ground press, 2019), The New Alphabets (Anstruther Press, 2019), and Vox Populi (Finishing Line Press, 2015).  She holds degrees from Beloit College (BA), Cleveland State University (MFA), and the University of Illinois-Chicago (Ph.D).  Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Best New Poets, The Believer, and The New Republic, her essays and criticism in Kenyon Review Online, Boston Review, Jacket2, and Guernica, her translations in The Brooklyn Rail, Asymptote and Circumference, and her fiction in StoryQuarterly, Joyland, and Memorious, among other places.   Her work has been anthologized in several collections, and her honors include grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow, The Banff Center, and Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice.  Co-founder of Matter, a journal of poetry and political commentary, and Associate Editor for Tupelo Quarterly, she currently lives and works in Halifax.

Andy Verboom

Andy Verboom is publisher of Insomniac Press and Collusion Books, co-founding editor of long con magazine, and author of six poetry chapbooks, most recently DBL (knife fork book, 2020).

His poetry has won Frog Hollow’s Chapbook Contest and Descant’s Winston Collins Prize, been shortlisted for CV2’s Young Buck Prize and Arc’s Poem of the Year, and appeared in CAROUSEL, Prism, The Puritan, Vallum, and elsewhere.

Thibault Jacquot-Paratte

From the Annapolis Valley. Travelled across North Amrica, Europe, India, Japan, Cameroon, Tunisia. Bachelor’s of Nordic studies from the Sorbonne in 2016, Master’s in sociology in 2017; year of study in Tromsø, Norway, Study certificate from the University of Vaasa (Fi.), and The Askov Folkehøjskole (DK.).

Started publishing poetry in 2010, has since published poetry, short stories, essays, and theatre in both English and French, in Canada and in Europe. His first three plays were published in Paris in 2016-2017. In 2017, co-directed and co-wrote one film (in Denmark) ; Tallinn, hvor smuk du er. Also a musician and a songwriter, has had the opportunity to play in Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, India and japan, and has produced a certain number of recordings. He has also been invited as an official poet as certain events, such as one of the official poets of the SNA at the 2019 CMA, in Moncton. 

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