2017 Presenters

Our goal, as always, is to offer a cross-section of interesting, helpful people with a wide range of experiences, to help you make great connections and help you along your writing and publishing journey, whatever your goals may be. We received such wonderful applications for the 2017 conference, we had a tough time whittling down our list. Here’s our line-up:

Caitlin Hicks

Caitlin is an author, international playwright, and acclaimed performer. Her award-winning debut novel A Theory of Expanded Love was an iBooks Best New Fiction pick; as a playwright she has toured internationally, and monologues from her plays were featured in Smith & Kraus’ series Best Women’s Stage Monologues. Singing the Bones debuted at the Montreal World Film Festival to stellar reviews and screened around the world. A former writer for CBS and NBC radio, Caitlin has performed her fiction and non-fiction for CBC national radio, and we’re excited to have her host this year’s Friday evening variety show.  More at caitlinhicks.com

Caitlin will be offering one-on-one extras (blue pencil sessions). Details to come.

elma-martens-schemenauer-credit-robert-s-schemenauer2Elma (Martens) Schemenauer

Author, editor and publishing consultant Elma has written 76 books including the 1940s-era Mennonite novel Consider the Sunflowers and YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure (Borealis Press). Born in Saskatchewan, Elma worked in publishing in Toronto for many years and now lives on a sagebrush-dotted hillside in Kamloops. Elma’s delivery of effective and practical suggestions at a Federation of BC Writers AGM inspired organizers to invite her to OVWF. She has also presented to The Word Guild, CANSCAIP, and The Writers’ Union of Canada. More at elmams.wix.com/elma.

Jennifer Manueljennifermanuel

CBC named Jennifer a 2016 Writer to Watch. Touring with her recent novel The Heaviness of Things That Float brought her through the Okanagan, and we wanted her to come back. Jennifer has received acclaim as a Western Magazine Finalist and recipient of The Storyteller’s Award at the Surrey International Writers Conference. Jennifer teaches writing through The Story Intensive, and runs The TRC Reading Challenge, an effort to get people to read The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. More (including praise from Diana Gabaldon) at jenmanuel.ca.

Jennifer is offering one-on-ones (fiction consultations). Details on our “Extras” page

Lorna Schultz NicholsonLorna Nicholson

Lorna is full-time writer who has published over 30 books, including children’s picture books, middle grade fiction, YA fiction, and non-fiction; this spring, she’s touring with her latest, Superhero Ninja Wrestling Star (January) and Bent Not Broken (March). Her books have been nominated for the Golden Eagle Award, Diamond Willow Award, Red Cedar Award and the prestigious Red Maple Award. Many have also been chosen as Best Books for Kids and Teens with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Her Puckster picture books are also Globe and Mail Bestsellers. More: lornaschultznicholson.com

Lorna is offering one-on-ones (blue pencil sessions). Details on our “Extras” page

Michelle BarkerMichelle Barker

Michelle is an award-winning author whose fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in literary reviews around the world. A chapbook, Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii, was published by Leaf Press (2012). The Beggar King, a YA fantasy, came out in 2013 (Thistledown Press). A Year of Borrowed Men, a historical picture book (Pajama Press) was a 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards finalist. Michelle has an MFA in creative writing from UBC and works as a workshop leader and editor.  More: michellebarker.ca.

Michelle is offering one-on-ones (blue pencil sessions). Details on our “Extras” page

PJ ReecePJ Reece

PJ was first a hydrologist and then a filmmaker. After trading camera for keyboard in the late 1980s, Reece made a living writing screenplays, only to return to documentary to write and direct scores of programs for most of the big television networks. Three of Reece’s prose works are traditionally published—two novels and a ghostwritten memoir of escape from Iran. More recently he self-published Story Structure to Die For and its sequel, Story Structure Expedition: Journey to the Heart of a Story. His “Meaning of Life” blog is a radical examination of how fiction really works: www.pjreece.ca/category/blog/

Robert Mackwoodrobert mackwood

Robert is a publishing veteran with over 30 years in the industry. As owner and principal agent for Seventh Avenue Literary Agency, he represents over 50 authors. His agency has negotiated over 200 book contracts for clients; their consulting service also works with authors to provide guidance and insight for their projects. He recently started his own imprint, Brilliant Idea Books, is on the faculty of UBC’s Creative Writing Department, appears on panels and at workshops, and contributed the successful launch of  OVWF in 2016. More: mackwoodpublishingconsultants.com; seventhavenuelit.com.

robert-w-mackay2-2Robert W. Mackay

Robert spent thirteen years in the Canadian navy with service in destroyers and submarines. Since then he has taught school, practiced law, and became a bestselling author with Soldier of the Horse, set in the Canadian cavalry in WW I. His latest, Terror on the Alert, is a thriller set in a Canadian submarine during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His current project is a police procedural. Find out more at Robert’s website, robertwmackay.ca.


simon-roseSimon Rose

Simon is author of ten novels and more than 80 nonfiction books for young adults, including several writing guides. He’s also an instructor with the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, and through online workshops and courses for children and adults. His programs cover the writing process, editing and revision, character development, historical fiction, and the publishing world. Simon also provides services for writers, including editing and coaching, plus copywriting for the business community. Simon’s pleased to cover the popular sci-fi/fantasy for us this year. More: simon-rose.com.

Simon will also offer one-on-one (blue pencil sessions). Details on our “Extras” page

Suzanne Andersonsuzanne-anderson

Author of Self Publishing in Canada: A complete guide to designing, printing and selling your book, Suzanne self-published her first book in 1997, and we’re pleased she’s returning to the Okanagan to help writers with this very popular topic. She presents workshops on Vancouver Island and has been a guest speaker at Word On The Street (Vancouver) and the Independent Publisher’s Association of Canada in Calgary. She is on the board of the Federation of BC Writers and is currently the Area Rep for Cowichan Valley, where she works as a publishing consultant and book coach. More about Suzanne at selfpublishing.ca.

Suzanne will be offering one-on-one sessions (publishing consults and blue pencil sessions). Details on our “Extras” page

 Sylvia Taylor   sylvia-taylor

Sylvia is an award-winning freelance writer, editor, educator and consultant with a passionate commitment to communication. “Literary midwife” to some, “hired pen” to others, she helps bring what needs to be said into the world. Her prose, poetry and articles have appeared throughout North America, and she has edit-coached over 120 manuscripts in all genres, working extensively with Canadian and international authors through all stages of writing and publishing. Author of The Fisher Queen, she will release her next book Beckoned by the Sea: Women at Work on the Cascadia Coast (Heritage House) in May. More: sylviataylor.ca.

Sylvia will be offering one-on-ones (blue pencil sessions). Details on our “Extras” page