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Meet Bookfest's 2018 Presenters!

We are so excited to share our incredible lineup of presenters this year. As usual we have selected a diverse group of authors and illustrators from across Canada with wide range of styles



Isabelle Arsenault is an illustrator who studied Graphic Design at the Université du Québec à Montréal.  Her passion for illustrated books has increasingly led her to continue pursuing this path. Isabelle has achieved international recognition for her work and has won many awards and distinctions, including the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature three times, Libris Award for Young Readers Book of the Year, and two of her picture books were named as New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year.



Cale Atkinson is an illustrator, animator, and author based in Kelowna, British Columbia. Believing in tea more than sleep, Cale is constantly working on numerous projects. His work can be found in children’s books, animated shorts, television, and games. Cale’s illustrations have appeared in projects for Disney Hyperion, Marvel, Tundra books, OWL Books, Grosset and Dunlap,, Pearson, American Greetings, Hyper Hippo Games, Lerner Books, and Scholastic. These days he’s mainly working on new children’s books.



Darlene Emmerrencianna Gait was born on Vancouver Island and began painting as a child. Her paintings and poetry celebrate her love for her Coast Salish culture and bring to life through beautiful images the rich traditions and oral history of the First People of Canada. Darlene’s art also reflects her passion for protecting the environment and wildlife as well as her beliefs in the oneness of humanity and the beauty of its diversity.  This can been seen in her children’s picture books Who’s in Maxine’s Tree and Secrets of the Dance.  She is recognized internationally, her art is exhibited and held in private and public collections worldwide, and she was chosen as the BCLA Summer Reading Club artist for 2017.


Kim Soo

Kim is  a member of the Lakota Woodmountain reserve in Southern Saskatchewan.  Her Lakota heritage gives Kim great pride and self worth. Kim has spent decades storytelling and teaching art, in schools and in the community, for both children and adults. She is a prolific painter whose environmental concerns, coupled with teaching art, led her to create ART ZONE. The need for positive First Nation's educational and entertaining TV, led her to create dozens of episodes of WAKANHEJA, and to publish The ABC’s of Our Spiritual Connection and 1234 First Nations Explore. Her spiritual quest has guided Kim's creative energy, and her family is very important to her. She has been recognized for her achievements with a Children’s Choice award and a Scholastic award for teaching practicum.

Faith Erin


Faith Erin Hicks is a Canadian writer and artist. She worked in the animation industry for several years before transitioning into writing and drawing comics full time in 2008. Her first published work was Zombies Calling in 2007. Since then, she has published a number of other graphic novels, including The War at Ellsmere, Brain Camp, Friends with Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, The Adventures of Superhero Girl, The Last of Us: American Dreams, and the Bigfoot Boy series. Faith has won two Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards, two Joe Shuster Awards, and an Eisner Award.



Illustrator and designer Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, China, and later moved to France and then Montreal before settling in Toronto. She grew up surrounded by paintings, and it became second nature for her to express herself through art. Qin graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and other works. From very early on, she has loved to portray the innocence of children and has developed a passion for children's books. She has published numerous picture books in Canada, the United States, the UK, France, Sweden, Hong Kong and South Korea. Her books have been nominated for numerous prizes, including the prestigious Governor General's Literary Award.



Barbara Reid, a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, is the author/illustrator of over 35 children’s picture books, including Picture the Sky, Picture a Tree, Read Me a Book, and The Subway Mouse, using plasticine to create relief images, which are then photographed for print. She has illustrated books for many outstanding authors, including Kenneth Oppel and Joanne Oppenheim. In 2013, Barbara was appointed to the Order of Canada for her contributions to children’s literature and 2015 became the Honorary Chair of Family Literacy Day. She has won numerous awards, including Libris Children’s Picture Book of the Year, CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens, and IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People With Disabilities.



Margriet Ruurs lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, and is the author of 35 books for children. With a Master of Education degree from Simon Fraser University, she teaches writing workshops at elementary schools across North America. "I love to use my imagination and to dream up stories" says this creator of many books for children.  She also loves to work in schools - talking to children about being a writer and to sharing her love of playing with language.  Her books also include historical fiction, fictional picture books and books on writing for educators. Many of her books have won awards, including the Storytelling World Award Honor and the Moonbeam Children's Book Award.

Robin Stevenson is an award winning author of twenty novels for kids and teens. Her writing has been translated into a number of languages and published in many countries, including Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, and Slovenia. Her novel A Thousand Shades of Blue was a finalist for Canada's top literary honor, the Governor General's Award.  Robin's nonfiction book -- Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community--is a 2017 Stonewall Honor book, and was selected for the USSBY Outstanding International Books list, the Rainbow List, the Tri-State Review Committee Books of Note and OLA Best Bets.



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