When Natasha Deen’s family moved from Guyana to Canada, she was given strict instructions from her parents. “Get an education,” they said, “it’s the key to unlocking all this world has to offer.”
Natasha set out to do to exactly what her parents told her to do…except she ran into some trouble. Stories. They were on TV, in the theatre, and the libraries, and they were tonics when the world got ugly, when the kids bullied her, and when she felt invisible because she couldn’t see a reflection of herself in this new land.
Stories were a way into other worlds and she loved all the twisting, exciting roads they led her down. Being a story-teller, a writer, would have been the best job in the world. Unfortunately, no one around her knew how to do that, so she kept her head down and got good marks, and decided to be the kind of grown up she was supposed to be.
She went to university to get a Master’s in Psychology, but she ran into even more trouble. Stories. They were everywhere. So, after she got her B.A. in Psychology, she abandoned any pretence of being a “mature adult,” and went after her dream of being a writer.
In 2007, she had her first short story published. Since then, she’s written for kids, teens, and adults. Her books have been nominated for awards and won a few. In 2013, she was the inaugural Regional Writer in Residence for the Metro Edmonton Library Federation.
Natasha’s most recent works include Lark and the Diamond Caper, and Game’s End. Thanks to her writing and stories, she’s been able to meet people, hear their stories, and discover how amazing the world is. Best of all, she’s discovered that being a grown-up who pursues their dreams is the best kind of grown-up to be.
If she’s not writing or hosting workshops for schools, libraries, or other organizations, she’s at home, trying to convince her dogs and cats that’s she’s the boss of the house. Visit her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and on her website. You can also view a list of Natasha's books that are available at EPL.
Even though Jim Sellers has been a professional writer for 20 years, he’s just getting started.
He came from the field of television and film production, working behind the scenes in editing, camera and sound in drama, music videos, commercials and news. He started writing screenplays for TV drama and documentaries in 1994. His work includes Mentors, a series shot in Edmonton, and several projects with the National Film Board of Canada.
The switch to writing fiction came when he was a single dad and started reading the books his kids were into. The YA book industry was changing with the success of Harry Potter and other books that broke from the tradition of “classic children’s stories.” He remembered losing interest in reading fiction as a boy because most of the books available seemed too old and irrelevant to him. He began to make up his own stories to tell to his children. They challenged him to come up with more ideas, to create longer stories and answer the question “then what happened?” This became a nightly ritual and the ones that they asked to hear again, he wrote down.
The first of these stories, Jacky the Brave, was published in 2013. It took 10 years of pitching, editing and rewriting until the book was finally picked up by a small Ontario press. Another of the stories was originally written as a screenplay for a children’s TV pilot, which won a screenwriting prize but has yet to be published as a book.
Jim has published several short stories on websites in the UK and one in a short story compilation published by the University of Alberta in 2016. His most recent YA novel, A Death of Cold, was launched in September 2017.
Jim has been working in Communications for not-profit organizations, government and universities. He wrote a number of articles for the University of Alberta’s Computer and Electrical Engineering magazine and website, including one article that won a Silver Award for writing; and for the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Alumni magazine. He also has an upcoming article in Write Magazine, put out by the Writers Union of Canada.
He has participated and moderated in panels at When Words Collide writers conference in Calgary and participated in the Surrey International Writing Conference.
When not writing, working, renovating the house or walking the dog, Jim is a musician with three original songs on iTunes and music streaming services.
To learn more about Jim Sellers please visit his website.
Tololwa M. Mollel
Tololwa M Mollel is a seeker, facilitator and animator, maker, and sharer of stories. He has published stories in English and Swahili in books, anthologies, and magazines, for children and for adults. Some of his stories have been translated into Korean, Serbian, and other languages. He is currently writing his life story, “Why We Have Two Ears and Only One Mouth: A Tanzanian Memoir”. Tololwa is also known for performing stories he writes, solo and/or with other performers, for his story workshops, and for his plays in which he sometimes acts. He has been an actor in his native Tanzania and in Canada.
Leif Gregersen was born in the early 70’s in St.Albert and developed a love of libraries and reading from an early age. Even in his elementary school years, Leif would walk to the St.Albert library after school almost each and every day to get a fresh book. Leif also began writing in elementary,
trying to entertain his classmates with comic book stories he wrote and illustrated. Leif lived in St.Albert in the same house with his parents until he was 18 when he left for Vancouver to seek out new options and to try and escape his situation of being in poor mental health. After going to flying school for a while and hitch-hiking to California, Leif returned home to complete school and was accepted to a journalism program that was later cancelled. Leif spent a great deal of his time over the next years reading all the quality literature he could get his hands on and working on and off on his first book, “Through the Withering Storm.” Around this period in his life, he found a job he loved working with the most amazing people he had known as a stage hand and security guard for IATSE, the union that handles entertainment. Through the help of a friend’s sister, Leif was able to get his book edited after working on it for nearly 20 years and it has now turned into what could easily be considered a self-publishing success. After finding out how to complete the self-publishing process, Leif went on to write four poetry collections, two short story collections, two young adult novels and a sequel to his first memoir which has now been revised and re-published in a second edition. Leif now lives in McCauley and has said he wouldn’t move away for the world, he loves the people and the culture every bit as much as he loved St.Albert.
To learn more about Leif Gregersen please visit his website.
Don't forget to check out the list of Leif's books that are available at EPL.
SG Wong holds a B.A. (Honours) in English Literature from the University of Alberta. She speaks four languages—at varying degrees of proficiency—and usually only curses in one of them. She is a member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, Crime Writers of Canada, and Sisters in Crime (National). She is currently the President of the Sisters in Crime—Canada West chapter.
From 2012-2016, SG Wong was Vice President of the Get Publishing Communications Society. From 2014-2015, she served as Conference Co-Chair and Programming Chair for the Words in 3D 2015: Intersections literary conference, held in May 2015.
She has been Head Writer for the environmental social enterprise, Verdigo, since 2012.
SG Wong has moderated panels, been a panelist, and has presented at such diverse events as the Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo, the Edmonton Comics and Entertainment Expo, the PureSpec Science Fiction Festival, the When Words Collide readers festival, the Bloody Words XIII mystery convention, the Words in 3D 2015 literary conference, and Word on the Square (as part of LitFest, Canada’s only non-fiction literary festival). She has been on various Edmonton Public Library panels, hosted by different writers-in-residence, since 2014. As a member of the Young Alberta Book Society, SG has led a 2-day writing/editing workshop for grade 7 students. Most recently, she co-designed and co-presented a self-publishing workshop as part of LitFest 2016, and presented as part of the inaugural Indie Author Day 2016.
SG Wong’s debut novel, DIE ON YOUR FEET, was originally published in 2013 as an ebook, by Carina Press. It was a finalist for a 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing for Best Crime First Novel.
SG Wong has since parted ways amicably with Carina Press and now publishes the Lola Starke series as an indie author. The second Lola Starke novel, IN FOR A POUND, was nominated for a 2016 Whistler Independent Book Award. Her short story, “The Fix,” is published in Sleuth Magazine, while “Movable Type” is included in the anthology, AB NEGATIVE (Coffin Hop Press, 2015). “Movable Type” was a finalist for a 2016 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story. The third Lola Starke novel, DEVIL TAKE THE HINDMOST is her latest release.
SG Wong has also published in Avenue Edmonton magazine and has been a “Blue Pencil” mentor for the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta. She recently completed a term as a mentor with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Borderlines Writers Circle, working with Nepali-born writer, Anamol Mani.
She lives in Edmonton with her family. There are also LEGO. And light sabres. And cookies.
Don't forget to check out the list of her books that are available at EPL.