Speakers

Headlining Presenters

Monique Gray Smith

A Storyteller’s Journey
Saturday, April 6 | 11:45am–12:45pm

Monique Gray Smith is a Cree, Lakota and Scottish storyteller. She has been sober and involved in her healing journey for over 27 year, and is well known for her storytelling, spirit of generosity and focus on resilience. Her Canadian Bestselling books range from children’s picture books to a novella, and non-fiction Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation. Monique will also read from her latest release, Tilly and the Crazy Eights, an epic road trip with Indigenous Elders from Vancouver to Albuquerque for a Pow Wow.

Erin Moon

The Art of Narration
Saturday, April 6 | 2:00pm–3:00pm

Erin Moon (Felicity Munroe for all Romance) is a AEA/CAEA/SAG-AFTRA actor and multiple time AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator of well over 200 novels. She narrates everything from YA/Children books to Adult and Romance and is celebrated for her facility with accents. Erin has also narrated nonfiction for world-renowned yoga and holistic health authors. After 13 years in NYC she now lives, records and teaches narration in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Instagram: @mooneybooks

Lindsay Wong

Writing the Personal: Lindsay Wong with JJ Lee
Saturday, April 6 | 3:15pm–4:15pm

Lindsay Wong holds a BFA in Creative Writing from The University of British Columbia and a MFA in Literary Nonfiction from Columbia University in New York City. Wong has been awarded fellowships and residencies at The Kimmel-Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, Caldera Arts in Oregon, and The Studios of Key West, among others. The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug-Raids, Demons, And My Crazy Chinese Family is her debut memoir. It was a finalist for the Writers Trust 2018 Hilary Weston Prize in Nonfiction and is a 2019 Canada Reads contender, to be defended by style-icon and media personality, Joe Zee. Her debut YA novel, The Summer I Learned Chinese, is forthcoming from Simon Pulse in 2020.

Darrel McLeod

Strength and Resilience through Storytelling:
Darrel McLeod with Alexander Dirksen
Saturday, April 6 | 4:30pm–5:30pm

Darrel J. McLeod is Cree from treaty eight territory in Northern Alberta. Before pursuing writing in his retirement he was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. He holds degrees in French Literature and Education from UBC. Darrel is working on a second memoir, Peyakow, following the events in Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. Darrel lives, writes, sings and plays jazz guitar in Sooke B.C. and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Panelists & Hosts

Grant Lawrence

Literary Trivia Quiz
Friday, April 5 | 7:30pm–9:30pm

Grant Lawrence has long been a leading voice in Canadian arts and entertainment. He is a host on CBC’s Radio 3, and a frequent columnist on CBC Radio One. In 2014 he won a Canadian Screen Award for his work with CBC Music presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Session. Lawrence is the author of two bestselling and award-winning books, Adventures in Solitude and The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie.

North Shore Writers Association Panel with Sonia Garrett, Mahtab Narsimhan, Rod Baker, and Wiley Ho

Finding Your Audience
Saturday, April 6 | 10:05am–11:30am

Mahtab Narsimhan is the award-winning (Silver Birch Fiction Award, 2009) author of The Third Eye, a fantasy-adventure based in India and the first book in the Tara Trilogy. She is also the author of The Tiffin, based on the dabbawallas of Mumbai, received critical acclaim and was shortlisted, among others, for the SYRCA, MYRCA and Red Maple Fiction Awards. Mission Mumbai and Looking for Lord Ganesh were published in Spring 2016 by Scholastic Inc. and Lantana Publishing, respectively. Her latest novel, Embrace The Chicken, was published by Orca Book Publishers in January 2019. Mahtab lives in Vancouver and is deeply committed to representing diversity in her stories. www.mahtabnarsimhan.com.

Rod Baker left home at 16 to join the merchant navy and at 21 migrated to Canada. He worked on the tugboats but in December 1968 the tug he was working on hit a reef in the Haida Gwaii Islands, was crushed by the barge it was towing, and sank. He decided to find employment ashore and work as a boatbuilder, marine repair shop owner, psychotherapist and ran two non-profit mental health organizations. Since retiring, he became interested in writing and has self published three books — Constant Traveller, I Need My Yacht by Friday, and Where is Belize. A fourth book is underway. www.rodbakerbooks.com

Wiley Ho was born in Taiwan. Her family immigrated to Canada when she was 8 years old. Wiley identifies herself as Generation 1.5, inhabiting that curious place between the here and there-ness of two countries. She is working on a collection of short stories about her Taiwanese-Canadian childhood. Professionally, Wiley is a Technical Writer. She also blogs for the North Shore Recreation and Culture Commission for which she writes weekly articles on topics from fitness and wellness to everyday heroes in the community. This is Wiley’s third year with the North Shore Writers’ Association and she is their current Newsletter Editor.


Sonia Garrett has worked as a dancer, clown, actor, and Drama Teacher. She has run her own business as a franchise owner for Gymboree Play and Music, which means she did all the jobs that no one else wanted to do. And now she seems to have settled down to being a Mom, Montessori Teacher, storyteller and writer. She is always up for an adventure and has found herself working in Morocco, riding camels in India, turning on Christmas Lights dressed as the White Power Ranger, and being photographed with a tiger. She was born in England, moved to California when she was three weeks old, went to school in Australia, and spent most of her adult life in England where she graduated from the University of East Anglia with a BA (Hons) in Drama and English. She lives in the gentle chaos of books, film and outdoor paraphernalia, cooking ingredients and gardening equipment in Vancouver, Canada with her stunt performer/co-ordinator husband, Rich, and their daughter, Jacquie. “Maddie Makes a Movie” is Sonia’s first book. She is planning more.


Alexander Dirksen

Strength and Resilience through Storytelling: Darrel McLeod with Alexander Dirksen
Saturday, April 6 | 4:30pm–5:30pm

A proud member of Métis Nation BC, Alexander has diverse experience as a researcher, facilitator, public speaker and strategist. From contributing to the development of national awareness building efforts to exploring tangible acts of reconciliation with individuals and organizations, his work is driven by a fierce personal commitment to decolonization and the meaningful advancement of reconciliation. Alexander currently serves as Program Director for Community Knowledge Exchange, where he is supporting innovative, decolonized and inclusive social change practices in Canada. He also serves on the board of Apathy is Boring. Alexander has served as Manager of Strategy and Engagement with the First Nations Technology Council, Government Relations and Strategic Engagement with Reconciliation Canada, Operations Manager for the Banff Forum and as a researcher at the Centre for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, where he explored transitional justice and reconciliation in the context of Timor-Leste.

JJ Lee

Writing the Personal: Lindsay Wong with JJ Lee
Saturday, April 6 | 3:15pm–4:15pm

JJ Lee is the author of The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit. It was shortlisted for the 2011 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-Fiction. In 2012, he was awarded a GOLD for Best Short Feature by National Magazine Awards for his essay “ELLE First: You are beautiful.” In 2014, he hosted the CBC Radio summer show, Head To Toe. In 2015, he served on the jury for Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Non-Fiction.Lee contributes to ELLE Canada and currently is writing a sequel to The Measure of a Man.

Local Authors Book Fair

Saturday, April 6 | 12:30pm-4:30pm

Check say hello to these local authors at the Local Authors Book Fair, located outside of the Community Room at Lynn Valley Library.

Row 1: Andrew Warner, Diana Stevan, Diane Chubb
Row 2: Farbod Fadee, Gerhardt Winkler, Karen Harmon
Row 3: Lili Molavi, Patrick Hill, Sharon McInnes
Row 4: Bernice Lever, Arshia Sorourian

Diane Chubb‘s inspiration for Hello World! came from watching her bright-eyed little girl and wondering about where she might travel to in her imagination. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Diane is an Education Assistant and lives in Ladner, BC with her husband Jamie, and their daughter, the very curious, Taylor May.

Farbod Fadaee is a 10 year old who was assigned the task of writing a story at school. He picked up his pencil and paper and wrote Everest Wave all by himself. It is his first book.

 Local Vancouver writer Karen Harmon, writes passionately in her recent memoir Looking for Normal . Her recollections are based on her parents meeting in 1945 at the Cave Super Club in Vancouver B.C. and her own personal experiences of growing up in the 1960’s. Taking the reader on a memorable journey throughout 1930 to 1978.

Patrick Hill has written four books: So Where do You Go At Night?, EXLPORE THE ALASKAN COAST, French Silk on Water and Travel with Me. He was a professional engineer and director, travelling extensively in South America, South East Asia, South Africa, and Australia. www.patrickhillcruising.com 

Bernice Lever, a Bowen Island resident, has been active in North Shore Writers Association for 15 years and has been a Life Member of the National League of Poets since 2000. She has 10 books of poetry & a few prose published – and enjoys helping others get their books into print.  She is an active international Peace Poet. Her full bio can be viewed here.

Sharon McInnes’ debut novel, Across a Narrow Strait, was released in October 2018. She is a past board member of the Federation of BC Writers and is on the board of the North Shore Writer’s Association. Sharon is now at work on a series of short stories and a memoir. 

Lili Molavi is an author, entrepreneur, and registered health practitioner. She has worked with well-known mentors: Sheryda Warrener, UBC poetry professor, and Jeff Brown; Lili has completed his “Writing Your Way Home” program. She has been inspired to write self-help, non-fiction, and poetry content to convey messages of health and happiness. 

Arshia Sorourian started writing from age 8. He is eleven years old now and has 3 books. He lives in north shore and he is part of the North Shore Writers Association from 2017. Not only did he publish 3 successful books but also managed to market his books by himself.

Author Diana Stevan has worked as a family therapist, teacher, actor, and CBC sports reporter. She’s published poetry, a short story, newspaper articles, a novelette The Blue Nightgown and novels, A Cry From The Deep and The Rubber Fence. She lives in West Vancouver and Campbell River with her husband.

After becoming the youngest poet to win a provincial and national spoken word poetry championship in the same year (2014), Andrew Warner has published four collections of poetry, toured in 25+ cities, graduated college at 19, and created his first cinematic poem, Mangoes, on Button Poetry, the world’s largest online channel for spoken word.   

Gerhardt Winkler was born in Berlin, Germany and described his experiences from birth to 1957 in a book titled: My First Life. The last sixty years, as a new member of the Canadian society, are told in his book:  LANDED. Coming to Canada was the best decision of my life.