2018 Cabot Trail Writers Festival
Featured Artists


Madeleine Thien

is a Canadian short-story writer and novelist who was born to a Malaysian Chinese father and Hong Kong Chinese mother. Her debut novel, Certainty, won the Amazon First Novel Award, and her most recent novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, about musicians studying Western classical music at the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s, and about the legacy of the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations, won the 2016 Giller Prize and Governor General’s Award and was also shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. Her books have been translated into more than 25 languages. She lives in Montreal, Canada.


Linda Spalding,

Kansas-born Canadian fiction and nonfiction writer, often explores world cultures and the clash between contemporary life and traditional beliefs. Her 2012 novel, The Purchase, won the Governor General’s Literary Prize for Fiction that year. Spalding is also well known for Who Named the Knife(2007), the true story of the murder trial of Maryann Acker, a teenager sentenced to life in prison for a murder committed while on honeymoon in Hawaii. Spalding, who served on the jury, tracks down Maryann 20 years later in order to reexamine the murder and the question of Maryann’s innocence. Spalding’s most recent novel is A Reckoning, a sequel to The Purchase released last September. Spalding lives in Toronto with her husband, Michael Ondaatje, her dog Jasper and her cat Jack.


Shalan Joudry

is a writer, performance artist and storyteller. Her poetry has been published in literary journals and the Mi'kmaq Anthology II. Her first book, Generations Re-merging was published by Gaspereau Press in 2014. Shalan also works as a cultural interpreter and community ecologist at Bear River First Nation, Nova Scotia, where she lives with her two daughters.

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Phonse Jessome

is an award-winning Canadian Journalist and bestselling author. He has covered some of the biggest stories in Canada and abroad over the past thirty-five years. His book Murder at McDonald’s was lauded as one of Canada's best true crime titles. Somebody's Daughter takes readers inside the deadly world of human trafficking. Jessome lives in Halifax, where he is now taking decades of experience covering crime into the field of crime fiction. 

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Sharon Bala

 lives in St. John's, Newfoundland. She is a member of The Port Authority writing group. Her first novel, The Boat People, has spent 10 consecutive weeks on the Canadian bestseller lists and was a 2018 CBC Canada Reads finalist.

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Oisín Curran

grew up in rural Maine. He received a BA in Classics and an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University (where he was the recipient of a national scholarship and a writing fellowship), and a diploma in Translation (French to English) from Concordia University. He is the author of Mopus (2008) and was named a “Writer to Watch” by CBC: Canada Writes. His new novel, Blood Fable, was a Globe & Mail pick for Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2017, and is shortlisted for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize. Curran lives in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, with his wife and two children. 

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Jared Bland

is the publisher of McClelland & Stewart, and a vice president of Penguin Random House Canada, where he works with a broad range of authors such as Margaret Atwood, Linda Spalding, Michael Ondaatje, Omar El Akkad, Sharon Bala, and many more. Prior to joining M&S, he was the Arts editor of The Globe & Mail. Additionally, he’s worked as a senior editor at House of Anansi press, and was the managing editor of The Walrus magazine. He was born in Springfield, Illinois, but both his father and his partner are from Antigonish County. He will host the 2018 Cabot Trail Writers Festival.

Additional featured artists will be announced shortly.
Check back soon!