The AfterWords Literary Festival is the creation of a small volunteer group of professional writers keen to bring the very best Canadian and international writers to audiences in eastern Canada. We’re primarily interested in presenting (and being in the audience for) conversations among writers about the ideas that push them forward, the experiences that formed them into writers, and what writing can tell us about how to be human. Our mission is to give those writers who choose to join us the very best experience that Halifax has to offer. We are dedicated to presenting authors from across a wide spectrum of background and experience, with a commitment to panel parity that broadly reflects gender, race, and ability.
AfterWords Literary festival would like to acknowledge that it is taking place on the unceded and traditional homeland of the Mi’kmaq People. We do land acknowledgements as a part of the reconciliation process. In order for this festival to exist, for Canadians to enjoy the lives that they have, Indigenous people were removed, displaced and killed. This truth is an uncomfortable one but, one that is necessary to face if we, as fellow Canadians, are to understand our whole history. We honour the Mi’kmaq, whose stories have been shaped by Mi’kma’ki.
The second annual festival will take place in Halifax from Wednesday September 30 to Sunday October 4, 2020. The festival offers a mix of readings, conversations, celebratory events, public workshops, and workshops geared to professional writers, and brings together international, Canadian, and Nova Scotian writers. At this juncture our programming is focused on writing for adults—poetry and fiction primarily, non-fiction to a lesser extent. We are not at this point programming anything for kids, or children’s writers.
The founding members are co-executive directors Ryan Turner and Stephanie Domet, with support from board members Stephens Gerard Malone, Sue Goyette, Rebecca Thomas, Liesl Mulholland, and Tracy Picha.
Ryan Turner‘s stories have been published in The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, and other reputable Canadian journals. His first story collection, What We’re Made Of, was shortlisted for the ReLit Award. His latest collection, Half-Sisters & Other Stories, was published by Gaspereau Press in November 2019. He is the co-founder and co-director of the AfterWords Literary Festival in Halifax.
Stephanie Domet is the author of two novels, and is at work on a third. She lives in Halifax where she is a freelance writer and editor who teaches creative writing in her dining room to little kids, sews her own clothes, and absolutely wants to make you supper when you’re in town.
Stephens Gerard Malone loves Chow Chows and sometimes writes. He’s the author of four novels, is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, and is a past president of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. He’s also on the board of the Sable Island Green Horse Society.
Rebecca Thomas is an award winning Mi’kmaw poet. She is Halifax’s former Poet Laureate (2016-2018) who has been published in multiple journals and magazines with upcoming stand alone literary works to be published in 2019. She has coordinated the Halifax Slam Poetry team from 2014-2017, leading them to three national competitions with the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. She has performed with Juno award winning A Tribe Called Red, voted bronze Best Activist in the Coast in 2017, and with select keynote speaking engagements that include the Indigenous Women’s Symposium (2018); A New Path, a Shared Vision, a New Direction -Tetpawtihkene [Wolastoqey], Ilsu’teka’tiqw [Mi’kmaq] at St. Thomas University (2017); Canadian Association for University Continuing Education at Simon Fraser University (2017); Vanier College Humanities Symposium (2017); UPEI Multidisciplinary Graduate Research Conference (2016). She currently works as a Senior Consultant for the Nova Scotia government.
Sue Goyette lives in Halifax and has published six books of poems and a novel. Her latest collection is Penelope (Gaspereau Press, 2017). She has been nominated for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Award and has won several awards including the 2015 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award for her collection, Ocean. Sue teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Dalhousie University.
Liesl Mulholland is a love refugee. She moved to Halifax for work in 2013, met a handsome, young-ish man and the rest is….still unfolding. Originally from the Caribbean —born in Guyana (only English-speaking country in South America) and grew up in Barbados (best friends with Rihanna, if only in her head)—Liesl has been trying to embrace Nova Scotia. After running away back to the Caribbean every winter, she’s grudgingly accepted that she enjoys learning to ski and skate….however, nothing beats curling up with a good book, any season.
Tracy Picha is a Halifax-based freelance writer and editor who, after a couple of decades in mass market print media, works at fiction writing in hopes of learning how to become a better human while remaining eternally flawed.