Writers Featured at the 2019 Wild Words North

Want to find out more? Check out the  Words North Line Up and Schedule for info on events, tickets, and sponsor hotel.

Here are the talented writers from across the region and country who will be giving readings and presentations at the 2019 Wild Words North

Adley and Shannon are a guitar and fiddle playing duo from the Fort St. John area.  Their music is old-time/bluegrass/older country.  Although they do not do original material, very much of their music is quite eccentric, and  Adley is notorious for ballads. The couple enjoys a rural lifesyle, and the outdoors.

Adley and Shannon will be entertaining you at Friday’s Meet and Greet.


Marilyn Belak lives in Dawson Creek and is a nature advocate.  Her poetry is published in literary magazines and online including The Malahat Review, The Antigonish Review, and Leaf Press’ Monday’s Poem. Her work has also appeared in anthologies such as Enpipeline, Boobs and Unfurled through Caitlin Press and in chapbooks. She is an alumnus of Banff Wired Writing, Sage Hill Poetry, Vancouver Manuscript Intensive, and many other writing retreats.  

A winner of PLRAC’s Ekphrastic Writing Contest, Marilyn will be reading at the opening of Wild Words North as part of the Ekphrastic Writing Broadside Launch.

Billy-Ray Belcourt is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. A Rhodes Scholar with a Masters from the University of Oxford and Wadham College, he is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alberta.

Billy-Ray’s debut book of poems, This Wound is a World (Frontenac House 2017) was a national sensation. The book won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize (making him the youngest winner ever) and the 2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize. Named the Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer at the 2018 Indigenous Voices Awards and the best Canadian Poetry collection of 2017 by CBC books, the book was also a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, the 2018 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and the 2018 Raymond Souster Award.

In 2018, Billy-Ray was named by CBC Books as one of “14 Canadian poets to watch,” one of “18 emerging writers to watch,” and a “Writer to know.” His sophomore book, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, is being released in September with House of Anansi Press. His third book, A History of my Brief Body, essays and vignettes on grief, colonial violence, joy, love, and queerness, is due out in May 2020 with Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Canada. 

At Wild Words North, Billy-Ray will be giving a presentation, a reading and participating in a panel discussion.

Dori Braun is a singer/songwriter from the  Dawson Creek area. She is a founding member of Peace Songwriters. She writes and sings about life’s transitions and relationships intermixed with imagery of the Peace River Area’s seasons and weather. Dori has always been a strong advocate of human rights, and her songs reflect her concerns of equality and fairness for all. Along side her music, Dori is also a potter/ sculptor and has taught ceramics since the 1980’s. She currently resides in Beaverlodge Alberta where she runs her own ceramic studio.

Dori will perform at the Thursday night coffeehouse and will entertain you at Saturday’s Meet and Greet.

Pamela den Ouden has been a northerner for more than 40 years, living first at Mile 143 of the Alaska Highway for two years, and then moving to Fort St. John, which still has a tight grip on her. She is an author, poet, letter-writer, journalist, and artist, gathering inspiration from the local milieu and also from travels farther afield.

A winner of PLRAC’s Ekphrastic Writing Contest, Pamela will be reading at the opening of Wild Words North as part of the Ekphrastic Writing Chapbook Launch.

Tamara Dannecker Sunchild is a wrangler, carpenter and spoken word poet. Of Cree descent, she currently resides in Fort Nelson, BC.

At Wild Words North, Tamara will be reading at Friday’s evening event from 7-10 pm.

Wayne Ezeard likes to describe himself as an entertainer, poet and writer who is constantly looking for ways to expand his horizons. He is the recipient of an Editors Choice award from the National Poets Guild of America, and one of his original compositions won the Dawson Creek 50th Anniversary Songwriting Competition. Wayne currently has three CDs, one DVD, and one book of  poetry and prose, with another short novel in progress.

At Wild Words North, Wayne will be performing at Friday’s evening event from 7-10 pm.

Denise Gardiner’s passion for words started quite early. Children’s stories narrated by her mother; long memorized poems recited by her father; Canadian artists whose stories, poems and songs were filled with emotion woven into the beauty of Nature. Developed in New Brunswick’s bilingual atmosphere, the words stayed, often linked to melody: the ultimate challenge. Words were used in a column called “Horse Tales” written for the Chetwynd Pioneer Newspaper followed by another titled “Fiber Fables.” Writing prose, sometimes poetry, is a daily exercise to keep the writing muscle flexible. And if a worthy one comes into shape, it is recited at a Coffee House or other venue. Always, the goal is to awaken a memory or a dormant emotion and in that manner, touch the listener’s heart.

A winner of PLRAC’s Ekphrastic Writing Contest, Denise will be reading at the opening of Wild Words North as part of the Ekphrastic Writing Broadside Launch.

Theresa Gladue is an outstanding member of the Dawson Creek community and an important advocate for Indigenous people in the area. She has been awarded many distinctions — she was the first Indigenous person to receive Dawson Creek’s Citizen of the Year and the first Indigenous Councillor for the City of Dawson Creek. Co-founder of the Aboriginal Women’s Awareness Resource Society and founder of Ōma Productions (a group that brings together all community members who share an interest in providing entertainment through the arts), her success in recruiting, retaining and rewarding volunteers has greatly enhanced arts and culture in the community. Theresa’s extraordinary ability to mobilize and inspire dedication from community members is evident in everything she does. Theresa has played an instrumental role in helping the community to better understand racism and other important social issues. Theresa is also a well known playwright and producer of plays and concerts which address cultural diversity. She created a drumming song for the Peace Liard Regional Arts Council’s 75th Anniversary of the Alaska Highway Theme Song CD.

At Wild Words North Theresa will present Lessons through Storytelling from 9:30 – 10:00 am Saturday, September 28th.

A sculptor, designer and writer, Ovvian Castrillo Hill is a multi-faceted artist living in Fort St. John, BC. A prolific artist prior to moving to Canada, Ovvian’s work can be found in Manila, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and the United States. Sculptures by Ovvian vary in size, from coffee table size to signature public art (most notable of which is her sculpture PATH TO PROSPERITY, the signature sculpture of the Philippine Stock Exchange). Ovvian hails from a long heritage of artists and thespians who have encouraged her growth as a child of humanities. She has authored numerous English language articles and features for dailies and magazines including the Philippine Panorama, The Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Manila Bulletin. Her book, Goddess in the Mirror: A Book of Self Discovery for the Filipino Woman the World Over, is a testament to her expression as a humanist and a creative artist.

At Wild Words North, Ovvian will be performing her poetry and music at Friday’s evening event from 7-10 pm.

Singer/Songwriter Kym Gouchie is from the Lheidli T’enneh Nation in Prince George, BC. Canada. A self taught guitar player and a traditional hand drummer, she utilizes her eclectic background to inspire her as she combines elements of traditional, folk and country to create a unique voice.  Raised among musicians, it wasn’t until dealing with personal tragedy that she was able to find her voice on her own journey, which is realized with her debut album.

At Wild Words North, Kym will present Giving Back with Voice on Friday afternoon, participating in a panel discussion Saturday morning, and giving a performance on Saturday night.

Kalyn Johnston first found her wings for creative expression through a free verse writing assignment in high school. She’s been a member of the Fort St John Public Library staff for five years, where she has become more acquainted with the alphabet than she ever dreamed possible. Her abecedary expertise frequently makes an appearance in her work.

At Wild Words North, Kalyn will be reading at the Student Reading, Sunday September 29th.

Christy Jordan-Fenton has been an infantry soldier, a bareback bronc rider, a survival instructor, and a wild pig farmer, among other things, and has lived in Australia, South Africa, and Vermont. She has a master’s diploma in Human Rights and Forced Displacement from UPEACE, and is a Vital Voices Lead Fellow. She lives in Fort St. John, BC, but keeps an active traveling schedule. She and her mother-in-law, Margaret Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton, speak with 100 audiences a year, from Anchorage to Havana. Her greatest passions are spending time with her three children (Margaret’s grandchildren), writing, and studying dance. Margaret is not only someone Jordan-Fenton has spent an enormous amount of time with throughout the journey of unearthing Margaret’s childhood stories for four books, and the grandmother of Jordan-Fenton’s children, she is also her best friend and partner in crime. The two have gotten up to many antics in their ten years on the road together sharing Margaret’s experiences. There may or may not be a story about a couple tattoos in there . . .  

At Wild Words North, Christy along with Margaret, will be reading at Friday’s Evening of Words.

Hi, I’m Ly Le, an international student from Vietnam. Currently, I am pursuing Associates of Arts Degree at the Northern Lights College. Writing makes me understand myself and calms my soul. My works focus on slices of life, the beauty in simple things and how destiny ties people together. Attending this festival, I want to challenge myself with poetry, which isn’t my usual style. Hope you all enjoy my work!

At Wild Words North, Ly Le will be reading at the Student Reading, Sunday September 29th.

Melanie Mason (notmewriting.com) is a northern roots writer, poet and sketch artist. Her serial story, Temerarious Tabias, prints weekly in The Alaska Highway News. Between writing, editing, reading and drawing, Melanie also works full time at the local hospital. With four children to manage and three dogs to walk, it was writing that was her an escape. A member of Writers of the Peace, Melanie is currently focusing on novel writing and prose contests.

A winner of PLRAC’s Ekphrastic Writing Contest, Melanie will be reading at the opening of Wild Words North as part of the Ekphrastic Writing Chapbook Launch.

First released in 1989, Shirlee Smith Matheson’s This Was Our Valley won the Alberta Culture Nonfiction prize and a Silver medal for the Roderick-Haig Brown BC Books award. Chronicling the construction of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, Matheson’s book brought to light the environmental and social changes wrought by the project. With the announcement of Site C, Matheson, in a new edition published in 2019, continues to register the voices that demand to be heard.

Karl Mattson is a self-taught, multimedia artist.  Karl’s life has been fuelled by his compulsion to create and speak through art, which has always played a central role in his life.

Jenna Morland is the author of Empress Unveiled published by Oftomes Publishing, released September 3, 2018. Jenna is a Canadian born author, song writer, and mother of two who lives under the Northern Lights. Slytherin to the core, Jenna’s ambition to write her debut novel happened somewhere between training for a triathlon and putting her kids to bed. But it was her determination to follow through that landed her a publishing deal. Growing up, her wild imagination thrived off of reading and her most desired hobby was to let a book completely consume her. Unlike most writers, Jenna never wrote in a diary. She dreaded English class and she never dreamt that one day she would write a novel. Until she did.  

At Words North, Jenna will be sharing her knowledge of building an author social platform.

Erín Moure (erinmoure.strikingly.com) is a poet and translator of poetry, based in Montreal and Kelowna. Recent works include Kapusta (Anansi 2015), Planetary NoiseSelected Poetry of Erín Moure (Wesleyan 2017, ed. by Shannon Maguire), a translation of Brazilian Wilson Bueno’s Paraguayan Sea from portunhol (Nightboat 2017, finalist for Best Translated Book Award), and the memoir Sitting Shiva on Minto Avenue, by Toots (New Star 2017, finalist for both the Mavis Gallant Award for Non-Fiction and for the City of Vancouver Book Award). 2018 saw a 30th anniversary reissue of Furious (Anansi, Governor General’s Award 1988) and a regional and family history of the North and South Peace, Century in the North Peace: The Life and times of Anne and John Callison (Zat-So). In 2019, Erín will be launching three new books: her translation of Galician poet Lupe Gómez’s Camouflage (Circumference Books, USA), a co-translation with Roman Ivashkiv of Ukrainian poet Yuri Izdryk’s Smokes (Lost Horse Press, USA), and her own The Elements, a book in homage to her late father (Anansi, Toronto).

At Wild Words North, Erin will be participating in the panel discussion Histories, Presences, Places: How can Regional History best be Transmitted to Future Generations in our Communities and Elsewhere? She will also be leading the workshop Bring Paper. Bring One Word. Let’s Make Poetry! and giving a reading from her work Saturday evening. Erin will also emcee the student reading Sunday morning.

Brenda Neil

Brenda McQueen Neil is a fluffy, fabulous, and fifty-something writer from
Northern BC with a weakness for chocolate and a predilection for novels of dubious distinction. She writes thrillers, mysteries, and cozies. At present her latest novel, Out of the Woods, is in the query trenches.

Rebekah Rempel studied creative writing at the University of Victoria. Her poems have appeared in a number of literary journals, including Prairie Fire, Room Magazine, and Contemporary Verse 2, as well as the anthologies Refugium: Poems for the Pacific (Caitlin Press), Force Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia (Mother Tongue Publishing), and Unfurled: Collected Poetry from Northern BC Women (Caitlin Press). She recently contributed a poem to Bimblebox 153 Birds, a project that engages artists with the bird species found on the Bimblebox Nature Refuge in Queensland, Australia. Earlier this year, she was selected to participate in Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poet-in-Residence program. She lives near Dawson Creek.

At Wild Words North, Rebekah will be reading from her work at Saturday’s evening performance from 7-10 pm.

Seanah Roper is a BC based writer of fiction and poetry.  She completed her BA in English Literature at Thompson Rivers University and holds an MA in Adult Education and Cultural Studies through Athabasca University. She has been published in various journals and anthologies including Undercurrents Anthology, OnSpec Magazine, Writing Without Direction Anthology and Filling Station Magazine.She lives in Fort Nelson, BC with her partner and small son where she is the Executive Director of a non profit literacy society. 

A winner of PLRAC’s Ekphrastic Writing Contest, Seanah will be reading at the opening of Wild Words North as part of the Ekphrastic Writing Broadside Launch.

I am Mili Patel, a 27 year old, dynamic energetic and creative child by heart. I have accomplished dual degrees back in my home land of India. Being a registered nurse and Business personnel with IT major, I am very much passionate about writing poetry and short stories. My hobbies include dancing, cooking, acting, adventure sports and writing. I am an international student at the Fort St. John campus of Northern Lights College pursuing a Post Degree Diploma in Business.

At Wild Words North, Mili Patel will be reading at the Student Reading, Sunday September 29th.

Margaret Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton was born on Baille Island in the Arctic Ocean, en route with her nomadic family to their winter hunting grounds on Banks Island. Being Inuvialuk, her young childhood was filled with hunting trips by dogsled and dangerous treks across the Arctic Ocean for supplies in a schooner known as the North Star. At the age of eight, she traveled to Aklavik, a fur trading settlement founded by her great-grandfather. There, she attended the Catholic residential school—an experience she documented with her daughter-in-law, Christy Jordan-Fenton, in four award-winning children’s books. Unlike most children, she begged to go to the residential school, despite the horrific reputation of such institutions. There was nothing she wanted more than to learn how to read. In her early twenties, while working for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Tuktoyaktuk, she met her husband-to-be, Lyle, and followed him south to Fort St. John, BC to become a cowboy’s wife. Together, they raised eight children. Margaret is very active, speaking across Canada sharing stories of resilience, the path to reclaiming cultural identity after residential school, and traditional Inuvialuit culture. She is featured in Keith Secola’s music video “Say Your Name”, and is the subject of a successful touring musical, starring Sarain Carson-Fox. She is a traditional language keeper, and is well known for her beadwork, embroidery, and bannock.

At Wild Words North, Margaret, along with Christy, will be reading at Friday’s Evening of Words.

Jillian Ridington received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of British Columbia.  She has fifty years of experience in writing and editing on Women’s issues and First Nations ethnography.  Her work includes articles and monographs on violence against women, pornography, prostitution and issues facing women with disabilities.  Since 1978,  Jillian has collaborated with Robin Ridington to document the culture of the Dane-zaa First Nation.  This work has resulted in several video documentaries, many audio documentaries and a large audio archive, thousands of photographs, numerous written publications, and an extensive and comprehensive genealogy of the former Fort St. John Band. Jillian also collaborated on the website Dane Wajich: Dane-zaa Stories and Songs. produced by the Doig River First Nation, Kate Hennessy and Amber Ridington for the Virtual Museum of Canada.  At the request of the Doig River First Nation, Jillian and Robin Ridington researched and wrote Where Happiness Dwells: A History of the Dane-zaa First Nations, published by UBC Press in 2013.

At Wild Words North, Jillian will be giving a presentation, a reading, and participating in a panel discussion.

Naomi Shore is a folk/roots artist from Northern BC, a lover of storytelling and sad songs. Her songwriting is honest, vulnerable and relatable. Her debut solo album Piece by Piece was released in early 2019. With her duo project, Twin Peaks, Naomi has had the good fortune of touring most of Canada as well as the East Coast of Australia. In 2015 Twin Peaks were awarded the Western Canadian Music Award for Roots Duo/ Group Recording of the Year for their album Trouble.

At Wild Words North, Naomi, along with Ryan Domico Sebastiano, will host the opening night coffee house Thursday September 26th.

Lorissa Scriven grew up in a small town set deep in the yawn of the peace River Valley. Her northern life has been one of music and wild places. She chooses to be inspired every day, whether by a winding conversation, a fleeting moment of light, or a wayward feather found in the woods; beauty is everywhere.

With silky-sweet vocals and a rich cast of instrumentals, her music feels like the fondest road trip memories; like a golden afternoon’s dreams.

At Wild Words North, Lorissa will be performing at the opening night coffeehouse starting at 8 pm Thursday September 26th.

Joseph te Bulte
is a singer-songwriter from BC’s Peace country. His songs shed light on the stories of real life and real people. Stories that compel the artist and listener alike. He’s the front man of the Folk Rock band Last Horse Standing. They released their debut album in 2016. 

At Wild Words North, Joseph will be performing at the opening night coffeehouse starting at 8 pm Thursday September 26th.

An internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author, Richard Van Camp was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, and is a member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Dene Nation. He acted as a cultural consultant for CBC Television’s North of 60. A graduate of the En’owkin School of Writing in Penticton, he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing at the University of Victoria and completed his Master’s of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. His baby book Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns was the official selection of the Books for BC Babies program and given to every newborn baby in British Columbia in 2008. Richard was awarded Storyteller of the Year for both Canada and the US by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. His most recent novel, Moccasin Square Gardens, was published in 2019.

At Wild Words North, Richard will be giving a screening of his film, Three Feathers, reading from his work and participating in a panel discussion. Richard will also be giving readings at the Dawson Creek and Fort St. John campuses of Northern Lights College.

Ben Waechter believes music is the universal language, and the songs he writes are written to connect with different people at different moments in time. The idea that music has the ability to make you forget everything or remember everything is the goal with each song he writes. Not too flashy of a guitarist but the four chords he plays, he plays well. 

Heavily influenced by Steve Earle, in 2017 he went to Camp Copperhead in Big Indian New York to spend a week learning from the man. “I was hoping he would give me the secret formula for writing classics,” says Ben, “but it turns out it’s work mixed with the up and downs of life and trying to ingest as much art as you can. Then, if you let it, it just kinda pours out.”

At Wild Words North, Ben will be performing at the opening night coffeehouse starting at 8 pm Thursday September 26th.

Hardworking singer/songwriter Adam Winn has his roots firmly in folk and rock, but delve deeper and you’ll find musicality that draws from both classical training and a driven self-taught aesthetic. The Creston, BC, native has worked as a professional firefighter for the past 11 years, protecting the community of Fort St. John that supports his music. Winn transmutes his life experiences into songs that truthfully and profoundly connect with his audience, addressing the fragility of life and relationships gone bad or remarkably good. Alternately husky and soaring, Winn’s voice melds with his folky acoustic guitar to create the perfect outlet for his timeless stories.

At Wild Words North, Adam will be performing at the opening night coffeehouse starting at 8 pm Thursday September 26th.

The PLRAC sincerely thanks all of the sponsors for the 2019 Words North.