2017 presenters

Our presenters (listed here in alphabetical order) appear in our evening events and take part in the Saturday panel discussions. Watch this space as our lineup develops!


Jane Byers lives in Nelson. Acquired Community, her second book of poems, was released in October, 2016 by Caitlin Press-Dagger Editions. Her debut poetry collection, Steeling Effects is published by Caitlin Press in March, 2014. Jane writes about human resilience, lesbian and gay issues, sexism, local geography, and health and safety in the workplace. A recipient of the 2014 Richard Carver Emerging Writer Award and an honourable mention in the 2013 Lena Wilson Endicott Poetry Prize, Jane has had poems and essays published in various literary journals in Canada, the U.S. and England, including Best Canadian Poetry 2014. Jane is a featured author in EMLF’s 100-Mile Opening Gala.



Leesa Dean  teaches English and Creative Writing for Selkirk College’s University Arts and Sciences department. Her fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and interviews have been published in Matrix, Lemon Hound, and The Headlight Anthology, among others. She’s been a finalist for literary awards such as the Irving Layton Award, the Litpop Award, and the Quebec Writing Competition. She is a regular contributor to The New Quarterly and is a former Interviews Editor for The Humber Literary Review. Her debut short story collection, Waiting for the Cyclone, was published by Brindle & Glass in October 2016 and has been shortlisted for the Trillium Award. Leesa is a featured author at EMLF’s 100-Mile Opening Gala.



Robin DuPont is a contemporary ceramic artist working from his home-based studio in the Slocan Valley. Specializing in atmospheric fired pottery, Robin primarily uses wood as the fuel to fire his work, creating functional and decorative art while purposing by-products of the local forest industry. A ceramic artist since 1996, Robin’s education includes training from four institutions in three different countries. He holds an MFA and has undertaken research and work studies in Canada, the USA, Australia and Korea. Robin has taught ceramics at Kootenay School of the Arts, Alberta College of Art and Design and the University of Manitoba. Robin appears on the panel Finishing: What to Do, and How?



Joy Kogawa, one of North America’s most celebrated writers, is the award-winning author of three novels, seven collections of poetry and two books for children. Obasan, which the New York Times called “a tour de force…brilliantly poetic in its sensibility,” continues to be taught across North America, and the opera based on her children’s book Naomi’s Road has toured in Canada and the United States. Kogawa has worked to educate Canadians about the history of Japanese Canadians and is a long-time activist in the areas of peace and reconciliation. In 2010, the Japanese government honoured her with the Order of the Rising Sun. Her latest book, Gently to Nagasaki, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Hubert Evans Nonfiction Prize.  Joy takes the stage at our Saturday Night Live! event.



Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, where she writes about books and publishing, as well as film, TV, visual art, theatre, dance and other cultural matters. Born and raised in Toronto, Marsha moved to Vancouver in 2007, when she joined The Globe. Before that, Marsha worked for CBC Radio, where she held a variety of positions, including National Arts Reporter. Prior to joining CBC, she worked as a private radio talk show host, reporter and news anchor. She has degrees from Ryerson and York University. She says one of the best things about her job is getting paid to read and write about books. Marsha will interview our Saturday Night Live! authors on stage.



Thomas Loh received his bachelor of Architecture with honours in 1988 from the University of Toronto with medals awarded for academic excellence. Since 1997 he has been running his own practice in Nelson with a mandate to promote sustainability in architectural planning and design. Notable local projects include Touchstones Nelson, Oso Negro, and the NDN Building, among many others. He is actively involved in Nelson’s artistic community in dance, theatre, film, and visual arts. Thomas appears on the panel Rituals, Attitudes, and the Role of Fear in Creativity.


Lee Maracle is the a member of the  Sto: Loh nation and the author of many award winning and critically acclaimed literary works, including: Sojourners and Sundogs, Daughters Are Forever, Bent Box, Memory Serves, Celia’s Song, and Talking to the Diaspora, and has co-edited a number of anthologies and scholarly works. Lee serves as an instructor at the University of Toronto, is the Traditional Teacher for First Nation’s House, and is an instructor with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Lee has received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Thomas University and  the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work promoting writing among Aboriginal Youth. She has received the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Ann Green Award. Lee takes the stage at EMLF’s Saturday Night Live!



Dr. Micheline Maylor is Poet Laureate of Calgary. Her collection Little Wildheart was short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch award for experimental poetry. She teaches at Mount Royal University. She was the Calgary Public Library Author in Residence in the fall of 2016. She serves as poetry editor at Frontenac House Press and as the Past-president and co-founder of Freefall Literary Society and remains a consulting editor. She says: “Poetry connects, it rallies, it grieves, it seduces, it explores, it captivates. It takes your hand in rapture, exaltation, depression, when you’ve lost hope, when you have faith. Poetry is the stuff of life. It will wring you out, then save you.” Micheline is a featured participant in EMLF’s Saturday panel discussions.



Emily Nilsen was born and raised in Vancouver. Otolith, her first book of poetry, was published in spring 2017 by Goose Lane Editions. On the publisher’s website, the book description reads: “Born in the fecundity of British Columbia’s coastal rainforest, these poems are full of life and decay; they carry the odours of salmon rivers and forests of fir; salal growing in the fog-bound mountain slopes.” Emily has published poems in PRISM, Lake, and The Goose, and in a chapbook entitled Place, No Manual. Nilsen was a finalist for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2015, and has been longlisted for the prize on three separate occasions. Her work has also been longlisted for the UK National Poetry Prize. Emily is a featured author in EMLF’s 100-Mile Opening Gala.



Eileen Delehanty Pearkes explores landscape and humanity in her books The Geography of Memory, The Inner Green (with K.L. Kivi), River of Memory, (ed. William Layman) and The Glass Seed, a memoir. Her guest-curated exhibit for Touchstones Museum of Art and History on the Columbia River Treaty won the Canadian Museum Association’s Award of Excellence. Born in the United States and a Canadian resident since 1985, Eileen’s research interests support her bi-national perspective. A River Captured: the Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change was released in fall 2016. In December 2016, she was named Nelson’s 2017 Cultural Ambassador. Eileen is a featured author in EMLF’s 100-Mile Opening Gala.



Fred Stenson has written 19 books and 150 films and videos. His novel Who By Fire was published by Doubleday Canada in 2014 and was long-listed for the IMPAC Award. Other fiction titles include the historical novels The Great Karoo, Lightning and The Trade. The Trade won the WGA George Bugnet Novel Award, The City of Edmonton Book Prize, and the Grant MacEwan Writer’s Prize, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. The Great Karoo won the Grant MacEwan Writer’s Prize and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Fred was the director of the Wired Writing Studio at The Banff Centre for 15 years; his book on the craft of fiction, Things Feigned or Imagined, is available from Banff Centre Press. He was the 2015-16 Writer In Residence at the University of Alberta. Fred joins us as EMLF’s Writer-in-Residence and Saturday Night Live! featured author.



After completing a BA from York University, Margaret Tessman moved to Nelson in 1981 to attend David Thompson University Centre. She has worked as a bookseller, small business owner, adoption support worker, freelance editor, M.P.’s assistant and librarian. In 2001 she moved back to Toronto for a year to complete the certificate program in publishing at Ryerson, after which she worked as an editor for University of Toronto Press, among others. Since 2006 Margaret has been the editor of ARTiculate magazine, a publication of the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council, assigning stories, managing deadlines and juggling details. In her spare time she does freelance editing for Harbour Publishing, including Arthur Black’s humour collections and Gwen Sjogren’s O Canada crossword puzzle books. Margaret is a featured participant in EMLF’s Saturday panel discussions.