Fiction (Adult)

Valerie Compton

Valerie Compton is the author of the novel Tide Road, a finalist for the 2012 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Her short fiction has been published in literary journals across Canada and shortlisted for the CBC Literary Award. Her non-fiction articles and book reviews have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Gourmet and elsewhere. Valerie has been leading writing workshops and mentoring writers since 2005. Visit her at http://www.narrativeagency.ca

Christy Ann Conlin

Christy Ann Conlin’s debut novel, Heave, was a national bestseller and one of the Globe and Mail‘s top books of 2002. Her second adult novel, The Memento, will be published by Doubleday in April 2016. Her first YA novella, Dead Time, will be come out with Annick Press in 2011. Her fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Best Canadian Stories. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of British Columbia where she wrote and studied fiction, stage and screenplay writing. She also holds a Bachelor of Education from Acadia University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Ottawa. Her essays have appeared in numerous publications including Canadian Geographic, Geist and Chatelaine. Christy Ann is also a regular book reviewer for the Globe and Mail and is an online instructor with the University of Toronto. She lives in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

Binnie Brennan

Binnie Brennan is the author of three books of fiction, Like Any Other Monday (Gaspereau Press),  A Certain Grace and Harbour View (Quattro Books).

Co-winner of the 2009 Quattro Books’ Ken Klonsky Novella Contest, Binnie has also been published in several literary journals. Her novella, Harbour View, was published in the fall of 2009; in 2010 it was shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award and longlisted for a ReLit Award. Her short story collection, A Certain Grace, was published in 2012. Binnie is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, where she was mentored by M.G. Vassanji and Alistair MacLeod.

In 2007 Binnie’s story A Spider’s Tale was adapted for the stage in Halifax, where it received critical and popular acclaim. Since 1989 Binnie has enjoyed a career playing the viola with Symphony Nova Scotia. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 

 

 

Don Aker

A former high school teacher, literacy mentor, and university instructor, Don Aker fell into writing in 1988 after attending the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Writing Workshops, where instructors encouraged participants to write with their students. Encouraged by winning the short fiction and nonfiction categories of the 1989 and 1990 WFNS Atlantic Writing Competitions as well as Canadian Living’s 1990 National Literary Competition, Don went on to publish numerous stories and articles and has written more than 20 books.

Because he taught hundreds of teenagers during his teaching career, it isn’t surprising that young adults are the focus of most of his work. What subjects does he choose to write about? “Things that bother me, that don’t go away,” he says. For example, Don wrote his first novel after a student shared with him that she was being physically abused by her father. Of Things Not Seen tells the story of sixteen-year-old Ben Corbett, who, along with his mother, is physically abused by his domineering stepfather. Besides domestic violence, Don’s novels have focused on peer pressure, bullying, youth crime, suicide, sexuality, teen gambling, and a variety of other social issues. However, he is quick to point out that the strongest stories are never about issues or events–“They’re about how characters are affected by those issues and events.”

Don holds a Master of Education from Acadia University and, besides working as an educator and writer, he has been a freelance reviewer and consultant for various educational publishers, including Nelson Education, Pembroke Publishers, and Pearson Education. He has written several books for classroom use, among them Hitting the Mark: Assessment Tools for Teachers (Pembroke, 1995) and a series of language arts texts for grades 8 to 11 (Nelson Education), and he has had articles and fiction published in The International Journal of Reading, Quill & Quire, Books in Canada, Canadian Living, The Toronto Star, Our Family Magazine, The Pottersfield Portfolio, Dandelion Magazine, The Chronicle Herald, and various anthologies.

The father of two daughters, Don lives with his wife in Bedford.

Kent Baker

Novelist, short story writer, children’s author, broadcaster, and playwright, Kent Baker has taught writing and literature at universities and colleges in both Canada and the U.S. Kent, who has had a variety of creative work published or produced, is currently working on a variety of creative projects.

An MFA graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, Kent also has an Iowa MA in 19th Century English Literature, and a BA in Literature and Theatre from the University of Connecticut. His radio plays and satire were a feature of CBC radio in the 1970s.

Blanca Baquero

Blanca Baquero’s origins are Spanish and French. Born in Chicago in 1944 and raised in New York, her family moved to Canada in 1959, making Montreal their new home.

Blanca has been writing for the past fifteen years. Her poetry has been published (in both the English and French languages) in a number of literary magazines, university works, and anthologies in Canada and in the United States. In 2001, the Canadian Authors Association chose two of her poems (Repletus and Child’s Play) to be published in their anthology. In 2001 she was the winner of the literary contest organized by the Salon du Livre de la Côte Nord in the province of Quebec.

For the past seven years the poet has been studying a Japanese form of poetry known as Haïku. In 2002, 2004, and 2005 several of her haïkus were published in Quebec by Les Éditions David of Ottawa. Additional highlights include: honourable mention in the Betty Drevniok Award 2005 organized by Haïku Canada; the publication of two of her haïku in Belgium in 2006; and third place winner in a haïku contest organized in Paris, France by l’Association française haïku.

Blanca is a member of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, The Quebec Writers’ Federation, the League of Canadian Poets, Haïku Canada, Haïku Society of America, and the Association Française de haïku (France).

The writer moved to Nova Scotia in November 2002 and lives on the North Mountain near Canning where she is continually inspired by the pastoral beauty of the Annapolis Valley for her poetry and haïku.

 

Née à Chicago d’une mère québécoise et d’un père espagnol, Blanca Baquero réside au Canada depuis 1958. Poète anglophone depuis quinze ans, plusieurs de ses poèmes ont été publiés dans des revues littéraires, des anthologies, et des ouvrages universitaires.

En 1997, elle est déménagée à Sept-Iles au Québec. Déterminée à s’intégrer à la population francophone, elle s’est jointe à des ateliers d’écriture en français. Grâce à ces ateliers, elle est tombée amoureuse du haïku. En 2002, 2004 et 2005, elle été publiée par Les Éditions David d’Ottawa dans les recueils dirigé par Francine Chicoine intitulés Dire le nord, Dire la faune et Dire la flore. Haïku Canada lui a décerné une mention honorable dans le concours Betty Drevniok 2005. En 2007, elle a gagné le troisième prix du concours organisé à Paris par l’Association française de haïku.

Blanca Baquero est membre de la Nova Scotia Writers Federation, de la League of Canadian Poets, de la Quebec Writers Federation, de Haïku Canada, de la Haïku Society of America et de l’Association française de haïku en France. Elle habite en Nouvelle-Écosse depuis 2002. Écrire est pour elle un joyeux délire ainsi qu’une véritable aventure.

Jane Baskwill

Jane Baskwill was born in Queens, New York, but has lived most of her adult life in rural Nova Scotia. There she has watched foxes steal pears from beneath the trees in her back yard, listened to red-tailed hawks argue over a recently caught meal, smelled the arrival of a family of skunks, and tasted the wild blackberries that grow in the fields and by the roadside.

Jane appreciates and respects the beauty of nature in all its forms and all its moments. She is a strong advocate for equity and social justice and works with schools to promote Peace and Environmental education. She shares this with her husband and three children, and with others through her teaching, writing and poetry.

She has authored many professional books and articles for teachers in addition to an award-winning video series. She has also authored a book of poetry for children and three picture books: Somewhere (1996), Touch the Earth (1999), and If Peace Is… (2003), (Mondo Publishing, New York). Her latest book, Together in Time (2012, InSync Books) a novel for children 8 to 12 years old, is set in the abandoned settlement of Roxbury in the Annapolis Valley.

She is a former teacher and principal and is currently on the Education Faculty at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax.

Jane is a six-time recipient of the Education Quality Award from the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union and received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America for her series of articles in Teaching K-8 Magazine.

During the 2007/08 school year Jane completed a school-wide writing project with Holland Road Elementary School that resulted in the publication of a picture book: A Kid’s Guide to Making and Being A Friend, used as a school fundraiser.

Jane also helps schools and communities start their own Family Literacy publishing house. Publish It! has produced over 500 non-fiction picture books written by children and their parents and illustrated with photos they have taken.

Sophie Bérubé

 

Sophie Bérubé, born and raised in Québec city, and long-time resident of Nova Scotia, is a writer, performer, and yoga teacher. Most of her work—for children, young adults, and adults—is written in French. Le chef d’oeuvre de Lombrie won the 2002 won the Lilla Stirling Award and La trombe sacreé, also 2002, won the Prix France-Acadie 2003. Le projet Persée, her first youth novel, 2010, was a finalist for 2012 Hackmatack prize. Her most recent book Car la nuit est longue was published by les éditions David in 2015. A natural performer, Sophie studied at Jacques Lecoq in Paris, and has over ten years experience in theatre performance, creation and direction; she was part of the Artssmart Program from 2003 to 2015. She has been involved with many productions and has collectively written many plays. Sophie coordinates various literacy projects and workshops in schools and the community, including Publish It and creative writing sessions at Open Arms, which support families and individuals living on the margins of society to write their own books. She is currently working on a three-part fiction based on historical figures.

Laura Best

Laura lives in East Dalhousie, Nova Scotia with her husband, Brian. A member of the Parkdale/Maplewood Museum Society, Laura has a strong interest in local history, and participates in the school group program at the museum. At the age of ten, she wrote her first play and she’s been writing ever since. She is also a member of CANSCAIP.

Laura’s first young adult novel, Bitter, Sweet,  was  published in 2009 and was short listed for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. It also made the “Best Books for Kids and Teen 2011” list. Her middle grade  novel, “Flying With a Broken Wing,” was name one of Bank Street College of Educations Best Books for 2015. Her book “Cammie takes Flight” was nominated for a 2018 Silver Birch Award and made the Best Books for Kids and Teens 2018 list. In 2020, Laura’s first novel for adults,“Good Mothers Don’t” was published.

Jenni Blackmore

A new season just beginning! Definitely time to upgrade my bio; even though some things never change life’s experience continually morphs and expands. Have to love that 🙂

Part of me is still the kid from Manchester, England, who always wanted to be a writer, a painter and a farmer, living by the ocean, and much to my amazement, here I am, living my dream on a small island just east of Halifax. Of course I’m greatly influenced by the coastal environment and references to this locale have a way of sneaking into most of my work. I love my reality but I usually can’t resist adding a twist or two of magic to my work, especially my favorite genres of poetry, adult short fiction and childrens fiction.

As an illustrator and writer, I like to combine both these forms of expression, especially in my books for children. Recently, however the denizens of QuackaDoodle Farm, who take up a fair amount of my attention, have been demanding their space on the page and this has resulted in, Permaculture for the Rest of Us (New Society Publishing) a factual account of life here at QuackaDoodle,  my blog site  QuackaDoodle.Wordpress.com and occassional posts on the Mother Earth News Site.

My latest book The Foodlovers’ Garden (New Society) is scheduled for release May 2017 and I was delighted to be able to illustrate this with thirty+ illustrations and forty digital images, all celebrating the wonders of homegrown food. Yum! And oh so colourful.

The second edition of Gully Goes to Halifax flew into my life recently. The story remains mostly unchanged but this edition has twice the page size and all the illustrations are in full colour, so I’m delighted about that.

I believe everyone is writer at heart because of course we all have things to say, ideas to share. This is one of the reasons why I particularly enjoy leading writing workshops for both children and adults but mostly, it’s about the stories that get shared. Surely story is the thread that binds us all together while, equally importantly, poetry tends to magnify and perhaps suggest a new way of seeing both the mundane and the magical.

Please visit me at: Quackadoodle.wordpress.com for sporadic but ongoing news of life down here on the farm

 Jenni has been mentioned in “Our Choice Book List” and “Outstanding Canadian Children’s Books” by the Children’s Book Centre, Toronto. Her recent novel Island of Dead Souls came first in the Atlantic Writing competition YA category.

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