2021 North Island Writers Conference


  • January 8 – 29, 2021
  • Co-hosts: Comox Valley Writers Society & North Island College
  • Location: virtually via Zoom










Workshop details, dates and times to come very soon.




Derek Hanebury

Derek Hanebury is a Vancouver Island writer of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. His first book of poetry, Nocturnal Tonglen (Ekstasis), will soon be followed by his second collection, Voluntary Blindness. He just launched a book of short stories called Both Sides Now (RCN Media) with a solo collection coming out in 2021. His poems and stories have been published in many magazines and broadcasted on CBC radio; and his first novel, Ginger Goodwin: Beyond the Forbidden Plateau, (Arsenal Pulp) went to a second printing. He has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from UBC and taught writing at North Island College on Vancouver Island until his retirement in 2017.

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Jeanette Taylor

Jeanette is a historian and writer who formerly worked at the BC Archives, the Museum at Campbell River, and latterly as the executive director of the Campbell River Art Gallery. She has five nonfiction books in print, including the BC Bestseller Tidal Passages, A History of the Discovery Islands. Her current projects are in the emerging genre of creative nonfiction, and include a biography. Her most recent book, a history of Twin Islands, BC, received accolades for storytelling and design in a recent Writers Digest Magazine self-published book competition. Taylor is the co-ordinator of a writers’ cooperative The Scribes, Comprehensive Writing Services, providing editorial reviews, draft manuscript consultations, and one-on-one mentorship. She writes a blog about writing, posted on her website, www.thescribes.ca.

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Jennifer Manuel

Jennifer Manuel’s literary novel, The Heaviness of Things That Float, won the 2017 Ethel Wilson Prize and has been optioned for a television series. She has been a Western Magazine Finalist for short fiction and CBC named her a Writer to Watch. She has published two children’s novels. Her first Young Adult novel is out in February 2021 and her next literary novel, The Morning Bell Brings the Brokenhearted, is out Fall 2021. Jennifer’s innovative approach to deep revisions has helped many writers achieve publishing success.

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Judy LeBlanc

Judy LeBlanc moved to Fanny Bay from Victoria in 2012. She’s worked as an outreach counsellor for youth and families and an ESL teacher in an immigrant settlement program. These experiences inform her stories as does her deep attachment to the landscape of Vancouver Island where she’s lived most of her life. She began writing between work and single parenting, and in 1999 she was selected as a writing delegate to the Festival of the Arts in Prince George. Later that year, Other Voices published a story and Reference West, a chapbook collection of her short stories. This was soon followed by a publication in Grain.

In 2011 Judy completed a MFA in creative writing at the University of Victoria with Bill Gaston as her supervisor. Since then her short stories have been published in numerous literary magazines including Geist, Malahat Review, Prism, Antigonish Review, Filling Station. She won the Islands Short Fiction Award in 2015, the Antigonish Review’s 2012 Sheldon Currie Fiction contest, was longlisted for the CBC short story prize in 2013 and was a runner-up for the Malahat 2011 Open Season Award and the Room Short Forms contest in 2018. Her reviews have been published in The Coastal Spectator and the Malahat Review. In 2017 Oolichan Books published her collection of short stories, The Promise of Water. She currently has a novel under consideration at a publisher. In 2019 she received a BC Arts Council grant to write a collection of personal essays conflating grief from her mother’s death and the loss of connection with a Coast Salish ancestry on her mother’s side.

Judy is the founder and former artistic director for The Fat Oyster Reading Series and has taught all genres of creative writing at North Island College since 2014.

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Lynne Knight

Lynne Knight is the author of six full-length poetry collections, three of them prize winners, and of six chapbooks (three of them also prize winners). Her work has appeared in many journals, including Poetry and Southern Review. Her awards and honors include publication in Best American Poetry, a PSA Lucille Medwick Memorial Award, a RATTLE Poetry Prize, and an NEA grant. In 2018, she became a permanent resident of Canada.


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Rachel McMillen

Rachel (R.J.) McMillen, was born in England, raised in Australia, and spent three years in Greece before moving to Canada in 1968. She is the author of the popular “Dan Connor” mystery series published by Touchwood Editions, which includes Dark Moon Walking (2014), Black Tide Rising (2015), Green River Falling (2016) and Gray Sea Running (2019).

Previous work, including non-fiction, (Driving Baja – 2005), poetry and freelance articles, have appeared in such publications as Write, WordWorks, Pacific Yachting, B.C. Outdoors, Greyzine and Seasons Magazine and Ojo de Lago. Her short stories have been included in All My Words Needed Saying and What But the Music.

She is currently working on the fifth Dan Connor novel, Pale Mist Drifting, due for release in the fall of 2021, and has a literary novel, The Colour of Love, due for release in early 2022.

“For me, writing is an expression of my personal beliefs and, in many ways, a form of political and environmental activism. I am opposed to racism. I believe we can and should embrace and learn from every culture. I believe that we are a part of nature. I am opposed to destructive industries such as open-pit mining, fracking and fish-farming. I believe in kindness and friendship. I am honoured when people read my books and tell me they have learned from them and been influenced by them.”

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Registration will open early in December. Stay tuned!