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New Brunswick

Darlene Ryan

Darlene Ryan was born in 1958. As a university student she studied biology and education. She has also worked as a radio producer, journalist, and copywriter. Her first teen novel, Rules for Life, began in a workshop with young adult novelist Kevin Major. In 2006, she was named the poet recipient of the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award for her work supporting the literacy development of children under the age of five. Ryan also writes under the pseudonym Sofie Kelly. She resides in Fredericton, NB.

K.V. Johansen

K.V. Johansen was born Krista Johansen in Kingston, Ontario in 1968. She holds a BA in English and History from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, an MA in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto, and another MA in English Literature from the University of Hamilton. Johansen has also lived in St.Andrews, New Brunswick, and Berlin, Germany. She currently resides in Sackville, New Brunswick, with her dog, Pippin, the title character of her Pippin picture book series.

Johansen has been inventing stories from an early age. She told stories to her younger siblings and wrote her first book at the age of eleven. Her favourite book is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, which she rereads every year. She enjoys growing exotic trees and has an arboretum in her backyard. Johansen’s other interests include ancient and Medieval history, dead languages, natural history, and the history of children’s fantasy literature. She is also a fan of anime and manga. Johansen belongs to the Writers’ Union of Canada, The Tolkien Society, and the Early English Text Society.

Molly Bobak

Molly Lamb Bobak, née Lamb, was born in Vancouver in 1922. From 1938 to 1941, she studied at the Vancouver School of Art with J.L. Shadbolt. In 1942, Bobak joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps and was appointed an official war artist with the Canadian army in Europe in 1945. She married Bruno Bobak in 1945, and they returned to Vancouver where Molly taught at the Vancouver School of Art until 1950. In 1960, the Bobak's moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick, with their two children, Alexander and Anny. After spending some time in Europe on a Canada Council fellowship, Molly returned to Fredericton and became an instructor at the University of New Brunswick Art Centre. She held this position until 1977. Her work is displayed at the National Gallery of Canada and in numerous other galleries in Canada and around the world. Bobak resided in Fredericton until her death in 2014.

Robert Rayner

  

 Born in 1946, Robert Rayner grew up in England and worked as a journalist in Cambridge before becoming an educator and settling in Canada. He spent time as a teacher in Glovertown, Newfoundland, and as an elementary school principal in St. George, New Brunswick. Rayner currently lives on the Magaguadavic River in St. George where he continues to write and teach music.


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Sheree Fitch

Sheree Fitch was born in Ottawa, Ontario on December 3, 1956, and she grew up primarily in Miramichi, Fredericton, and Moncton, New Brunswick. She has lived in Washington, DC, and currently resides in Dartmouth and River John, Nova Scotia, with her husband, Gilles. Fitch has a BA from Saint Thomas University in Fredericton, NB. Her MA from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, focused on the complexity of childhood in Dennis Lee’s poems and studied the interaction between the oral tradition involved in the recitation of children’s poetry and the larger community. She holds an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Acadia, St. Mary's University in Halifax, NS, and Saint Thomas University in Fredericton, NB. In addition to reading and writing, Fitch enjoys time outdoors and pursues a variety of interests including theology, going to the gym, yoga, and gardening.
Activism: Fitch is a passionate advocate for education and social justice. She has taught literacy in the Arctic and Bhutan. In addition to participating in many readings and writers’ festivals in Canada, she has read all over the world in countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, China, Belize, and Mexico. Her book, If You Could Wear My Sneakers, was written in association with UNICEF and includes poems about fifteen of the fifty-four articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Locally, Fitch is Honorary Spokesperson for the New Brunswick Coalition for Literacy and for the Nova Scotia Read to Me Program, which encourages and facilitates parents reading to their children. Fitch’s Kisses-Kisses Baby-O! was given to every newborn in Nova Scotia in 2008. Each year Fitch sponsors a writing competition for New Brunswick Youth for NB Writers Federation.

Writing Career: Fitch had her first child when she was seventeen and was a single mother of two children by the age of twenty-four. Her first book, Toes in my Noes, was written for her then two-year-old son, Jordan when she was twenty. After many rejections, during the time she was a single mother of two children, it was published ten years later. Since then she has published many books, and has most recently written an adult novel, Kiss The Joy as it Flies. Her young adult novel, The Gravesavers is currently being turned into a script for a movie.
Fitch believes that reading and writing are important to life. Fitch has “faith in the healing power of narrative and art. To heal. To whole. To tell—to connect. With an other.”
Fitch notes how she does not see the world in an overly cheerful, nonsensical way. Rather, nonsense is necessary precisely because life is so dark. Therefore, it has a redemptive quality: “People think that if you write nonsense, that’s how you see the world,” says Fitch. “I have a different theory: it’s actually a dance in the light in spite of the darkness. I started doing [children’s stories] at one of the lowest times of my life.” (Quill and Quire.)

In responding to questions about writing for children, Fitch clearly notes that writing for children should not be easy and should be held to the same standards as other literature because children, like adults, deserve good literature. She states that language should be used in a way that suits one’s readers: “Words, Words, Words. Not puerile or bombastic, pretentious, precious, or unnecessarily mellifluous just because like me you can become obsessed with word music or sometimes think you need to show off vocabulary skills to prove your worth as a writer. The right word. The only word. The cadence of words. Become a logophile. Fall in love with every letter of the alphabet and see how they slide and swoosh together in words. It's not just what you do with words or what they do for you it's what words do for your readers.”
 

Valerie Sherrard

Valerie (Russell) Sherrard was born in 1957 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She has lived in various provinces including Alberta and Ontario and currently resides in Mirimichi, New Brunswick, in a former funeral home with her husband, Brent, who is also a writer, and their cats. She has two children, Anthony and Pamela, and three stepchildren. Sherrard’s novel, Kate, about a fourteen-year-old dying of a brain tumour, is dedicated to Rebecca, her daughter who passed away at nineteen months of age. Sherrard was the director of a group home for teens for eleven years and has been a foster parent to over seventy teenagers.


As a child, Sherrard lived in Germany where her grade six teacher, Alf Lower, inspired her to write. Characters are important to her, and she will allow the voices of her characters to determine the direction of the plot. Sherrard gives presentations on writing and reading to youth in grades primary to twelve.


Sherrard enjoys reading, writing in the early morning, brain teasers and Sudoku, and playing chess and scrabble with her husband. She has too many favourite books to name, and her favourite movies include The Dead Poet’s Society and Pride and Prejudice.

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