WITS grades 10-12

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.

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.

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.

Janice Landry

Janice Landry is an award-winning writer and journalist whose non-fiction work primarily focuses on mental health and wellness.

Landry started writing books to honour her late father, Capt. Basil (Baz) Landry M.B., of the former Halifax Fire Department, now Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE). HRFE is the oldest fire service in Canada. Capt. Landry was awarded the Medal of Bravery by the Canadian government, in 1980, for his part in rescuing an eight-week-old baby from a horrific 1978 Halifax house fire.

Most of Landry’s books include multiple interviews with Canadian first responders, emergency personnel, and their loved ones – as she advocates nationally for better support, education, and pre-emptive training for people across agencies, backgrounds, and careers, who work around trauma.

She has recently completed her fifth book (2019) which focuses on two key cornerstones in mental health and wellness: gratitude and resiliency. That book, “Silver Linings,” is lovingly dedicated to her late mother, Theresa Landry, and friend, Audrey J. Parker, who both died while Landry was working on the project.

“Silver Linings” includes an interview with the person considered to be the world’s preeminent expert and researcher in the field of gratitude, Dr. Robert Emmons, of the University of California – Davis.

Landry freelances under Groundhog Productions. She is a proud graduate (BJ Hons. Distinction) of the University of King’s College, Halifax. Landry spent five months landing the interview with Dr. Emmons in order to honour her late journalism professor, Ian Wiseman, who taught at King’s.

Greg Loewen

G.V. Loewen is the author of over two-dozen books in print and is one of Canada’s leading contemporary thinkers. His non-fiction works include books in education, ethics, health, aesthetics and social theory. He recently wrote an eleven volume adventure saga for young persons and other shorter fiction works. Loewen is apparently also the most prolific scholarly book writer of ‘Generation X’ (1963-1981). He is a student of phenomenology and hermeneutics. Born in Victoria, January 31, 1966, Loewen was educated at the University of Victoria with a BA and MA in anthropology and at the University of British Columbia, receiving the PhD in anthropology in 1997. He held two tenure stream positions in the United States before taking up his academic position in Saskatoon, Canada, in 2005, where he was chair of the sociology department for five years and from which he retired in 2018. Over the course of his career, Loewen won two major teaching awards at two universities and was nominated for four others.

Suzanne Rent

Suzanne Rent has worked in the Halifax media since 2003 and has experience in newspapers, magazines, televsion, and radio. Her work has appeared in The Chronicle Herald, Halifax Magazine, East Coast Living, Halifax Examiner, Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, and many others.

She has experience mentoring students and adult learners in the writing and editing process. When she was the editor of Our Children Magazine, she created a student-correspondent program in which she mentored elementary-age students whose work was published in the magazine. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the Editors Canada Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence for program.

She taught a Journalism 101 program to adult learners at the Dartmouth Literacy Network and the Bedford-Sackville Literacy Network.

Suzanne is currently working on a 10-episode radio show called The Great Nova Scotia Songbook,  which will be launched in November 2018. This series will chronicle the history of music in Nova Scotia, including the music of First Nations communities to today’s hip-hop artists. To date, she’s interviewed 45 musicians and industry talents for this project.

Suzanne publishes Boating Atlantic, an annual guide for the recreational boating in Atlantic Canada.

Suzanne has a special industry in Nova Scotia history, genealogy, music, community news, and the extraordinary stories of everyday people.

Jen Powley

Jen Powley is a 39-year-old prairie girl living in Canada’s ocean playground. She left Alberta after a degree in social sciences at the King’s University College in Edmonton, where she edited the school newspaper. Powley moved across the country to pursue an after-degree in journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax. Following that, in 2001, she moved back to Halifax after a summer in Alberta. She then held jobs at the Independent Living Resource Centre (now Independent Living Nova Scotia) and the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities. Realizing she could not engineer the type of societal change she wanted, Powley returned to school earning her Master’s of Urban Planning at Dalhousie University, and then worked for five years at the Ecology Action Centre. Losing her voice due to her multiple sclerosis, Powley recognized the presentations the job required were no longer feasible so she returned to the University of King’s College to pursue her Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Non-Fiction. In May 2017, Powley released her first and only book, a memoir Just Jen, published by Roseway, an imprint of Fernwood Publishing. 

Cooper Lee Bombardier

Cooper Lee Bombardier is a writer and visual artist originally from the South Shore of Boston. He has been a construction worker, a cook, a carpenter, a union stagehand, a bouncer, a welder, a shop steward, a dishwasher, a truck driver, and a housepainter, among other things, for a paycheck. His writing appears in many publications and anthologies, such as The Kenyon ReviewCutBankNailed Magazine, and The Rumpus; and recently in the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology The Remedy–Essays on Queer Health Issues (ed. Zena Sharman) and Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Speculative Fiction From Transgender Writers, winner of the 2018 American Library Association Stonewall Book Awards Barbara Gittings Literature Award (eds. Cat Fitzpatrick and Casey Plett). The Huffington Post listed Cooper as one of “10 Transgender Artists Who Are Changing The Landscape Of Contemporary Art.” His visual art was recently curated in an exhibition called “Intersectionality” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, and hung recently in shows at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NM, the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco, and at Helltown Workshop in Provincetown, MA. A veteran of the original Sister Spit tours, he’s performed, lectured, and exhibited art across North America. Cooper is the fiction editor at Gertrude Press, an ELL volunteer tutor for immigrant community members at his local public library. He has received fellowships from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Lambda Literary Foundation, and RADAR Labs. Cooper Lee has taught writing at the University of Portland, Clark College, Portland State University, and at various Portland-area high schools as a writer-in-residence through Literary Art’s program Writers in The Schools. He is a 2018 Visiting Writer at the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Critical Studies graduate program.

FB: cooperfrickinleee Twitter: @CooperLeeB  IG: cooperleebomb

Hui Zhou

”It may take time, but dreams can come true.” This speaks to Hui Zhou, a bilingual writer, a freelance interpreter and translator with a long career in natural science. 

Born, eduated, worked, married, became a mother and a respected senior scientist in her home city Beijing, Hui created her next opportunity to Canada. In the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, she researched in her favorite field-entomology and obtained a Master of Scence Degree, dreamed for a long time, from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

Still, Hui explores wider in science, but she never stops writing that had been one of her hobbies for most of her life. Recently she turned writing more into a real career. Thus, one more dream comes true.

Hui writes in two languages, Mandarin Chinese and English. Her articles about St. Margaret’s Bay, winter stories in Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy . . . and many more life stories swarm into multi-medium in Canada and in China.

She had dreamed of publishing books. In May 2018, her first book, Running Wild with Bossy Boy, was self-designed, self-published on Amazon and locally printed. It tells the real stories about chicken’s personalities, or chicken-alities especially to children, but also with adults in mind.

Now Hui plans for her Essay Collections and other non-fiction books for children.

Being a member of Association of Translators and Interpreters of Nova Scotia (ATINS), Hui enjoys interpreting and translating for the Justice System and public/community services in/outside of Nova Scotia.

Gardening, a heritage from Grandpa, remains her favorite pastime.

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