Featured Artists—2011

Cabot Trail Writers Festival


Shauntay Grant

Photo by Raul RinconSHAUNTAY GRANT is a writer, spoken word performer, broadcast journalist, and musician. She has shared her blend of poetry and music internationally at festivals and events, and, as Halifax's third Poet Laureate, she organized Canada's first national gathering of Canadian Poets Laureate (held July 2010 at Halifax).

Shauntay regularly conducts arts workshops and performances for youth and adults. She coordinates the Halifax-based arts-for-social-change project, Poets 4 Change; she also coordinates Wordrhythm, a performance project that encourages collaboration between poets and musicians.

Her own original works of poetry and music have been featured nationally on radio and television, and in several anthologies. Her picturebook memoir Up Home (Nimbus 2008) was short-listed for the 2010 Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Awards, and won a 2009 Best Atlantic Published Book Award.

Shauntay was a Poet of Honour at the 2010 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Ottawa. She serves on the board of Youth Voices of Nova Scotia, and she is the host of CBC Radio's regional music program All The Best.

"…captivates an audience the moment she starts to perform." — Charlene Davis, The Coast

Visit Shauntay on the web at myspace.com/shauntaygrant
and listen to her perform on youtube.com

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Alexander MacLeod

ALEXANDER MACLEOD was born in Inverness, Cape Breton, and raised in Windsor, Ontario. His first collection of short stories, Light Lifting (Biblioasis 2010), won the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, and is currently shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize for the world's best English-language collection of short fiction.

His award-winning stories have appeared in many leading Canadian and American journals, and have been selected for The Journey Prize Stories.

In 2010, Light Lifting was named a book of the year by the Globe and Mail, Quill and Quire, Amazon.ca, The Chronicle Herald, and Maisonneuve Magazine. The collection was also a finalist for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Danuta Gleed Award, the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize, and the Commonwealth Prize (Best First Book, Canada and the Carribean).

Alexander holds degrees from the University of Windsor, the University of Notre Dame, and McGill University. He lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and teaches at Saint Mary's University in Halifax.

"The language here is flayed to the marrow; the movement of the paragraph from the general to the specific… is tightly controlled and deliberately released…" — Steven W. Beattie, That Shakespearean Rag

Read more about Alexander on the web at biblioasis.com/alexander-macleod

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Johanna Skibsrud

Photo by Melissa Skibsrud-RossJOHANNA SKIBSRUD is an award-winning author and poet. Her first novel, The Sentimentalists, originally published by Gaspereau Press in 2009, won the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize. The book continues to garner recognition, including winning the 2011 Atlantic Independent Booksellers' Choice Award, and dual nominations for the 2011 CBA Libris Award, for Best Author and Best Fiction.

She has published two collections of poetry. Late Nights With Wild Cowboys was published by Gaspereau Press in 2008, and was shortlisted for the 2009 Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry by a Canadian poet. I Do Not Think That I Could Love A Human Being (Gaspereau 2010) was shortlisted for the 2011 Atlantic Poetry Prize.

Originally from Meadowville, Nova Scotia, Johanna currently lives in Tucson, Arizona. She is working toward completion of a PhD in English literature at the Université de Montréal. A collection of short fiction, This Will Be Difficult to Explain and other stories, will be published in September 2011 by Hamish Hamilton Canada.

(on "The Sentimentalists"): "As an objective reader, I was engrossed by the elegant plotting and intelligent writing, by the questing after a truth that would never be found. As the adult son of a Vietnam veteran, I was, simply, moved to tears." — Patrick Ness, The Guardian

Check out Johanna on the web at dmpibooks.com/author/johanna-skibsrud

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Gordon Kennedy

GORDON KENNEDY graduated from the Vancouver Art School, now the Emily Carr College of Art, in 1977, having studied metal sculpture and painting. He set up a studio in Vancouver, and worked his way east through Toronto, ending finally in Cape Breton in 1982.

He has exhibited his work at solo exhibitions in venues across Canada, and most recently at the St. FX Art Gallery and the Cape Breton University Art Gallery.

Gordon's work is held in many public and private collections, including the Nova Scotia Art Bank. He is also a talented Snow Sculptor, winning National and Artist Choice categories in International Snow Sculpting at Quebec in 1999, and taking 2nd place for Canada at the 2000 Harbin International Ice Sculpture Contest at Harbin, China.

Along with his wife Carol Kennedy, Gordon owns and operates his gallery, Iron Art & Photographs, on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton.

"There have been many shifts in my work over the years, but the basic underlying drive remains the same; that is to touch and excite the imagination." — Gordon Kennedy

Visit Gordon on the web at ironart.ca
and hear him talk about his work on youtube.com

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Ken Chisholm

Photo by John DoucetteKEN CHISHOLM has long been active on the local arts and culture scene as a singer, songwriter, musician, actor, writer, and director. He has won numerous awards and accolades from the One Act Play Festival held yearly at Cape Breton University, including awards for directing, multiple awards for acting, and the Boardmore Prize for best original script (with his writing partner, Paul MacDougall) on three occasions, for his triumvirate of plays dealing with the lives of Italian women from Whitney Pier. His casts have won awards for ensemble work for these productions.

Ken has written a number of children's plays including the recent CBU Dramagroup revival of Robin Hood. He has also written plays commissioned by various community groups on subjects such as the Canadian Navy's service in protecting convoys in the Second World War, the sinking of the Newfoundland ferry "Caribou," and Boston marathon winner Johnny Miles.

He has mentored dozens of budding actors, writers, directors, and musicians, and worked with many seasoned professionals throughout Cape Breton. He has written about the arts in Cape Breton in the Cape Breton Post, What's Goin On in both its print and online versions, Boardwalk magazine, and Pottersfield Portfolio. He is familiar to CBC Radio listeners as a member of the local Information Morning Book Panel. Ken has written many original songs, including Brothers In the Saddle and Company Town, both of which were featured in the stage productions and recordings of the Cape Breton Summertime Revue.

Ken was appointed the Cape Breton Regional Library's first-ever Storyteller-in-Residence in June of 2011. The appointment is for two years.

Check out some of Ken's written work at the Cape Breton Post

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Eric Favaro

DR. ERIC FAVARO is a passionate education advocate who has devoted his entire career to helping teachers gain a better understanding of the importance of an education in and through the arts. He is respected nationally and internationally as an nnovator and advocate for effective programs in Arts Education.

Trained as a music educator, Eric has taught all the arts disciplines in schools and universities, and spent the latter half of his career as an arts education administrator, at both the school district and ministry levels. He has played a key role in arts education initiatives across Canada and beyond, and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of innovative curricula.

Now retired from public education, Eric operates his consulting firm, Artscape Consulting, and is in demand as a lecturer and workshop facilitator. He was recently appointed a Visiting Fellow to the Ministry of Education in Singapore, where he serves in an advisory capacity as they develop their arts education programmes in schools. Eric continues to serve on many national and international boards.

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Mike Hunter

MIKE R. HUNTER is Editor-in-Chief of Cape Breton University Press. He holds an MA in Communication and Culture, and has overseen the Press's rejuvenation since 2003. A native of New Brunswick, Mike has lived in Cape Breton for nearly thirty years, and currently resides in Port Hawkesbury.

Connect with Mike on the web at cbup.ca/blog

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Kate Kennedy

KATE KENNEDY is an in-house editor at Nimbus Publishing. She was previously Editor at Gaspereau Press.

Kate is currently at work on her first collection of poems. Her poetry has appeared in The Fiddlehead, Grain Literary Magazine, The Antigonish Review, and Ryga. Kate was born and raised in Lillooet, BC, and attended Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"endlessly patient with me, and genuinely understanding of how important decisions about each word, comma, and line-break felt for me" — Johanna Skibsrud, working on "Late Nights With Wild Cowboys"

Visit Kate on the web at katekennedyeditor.com

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Wendy Martin

WENDY MARTIN began her career in radio when she was 16, in her hometown of Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, spinning records on the all-night show. Given that her grandfather owned the radio station, it was no surprise that she would land the job. She's since earned a degree in journalism from Carleton University, and worked in radio and television newsrooms in Ontario and Nova Scotia. In her spare time, Wendy likes to read, and tries to run and swim.

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Angelo Spinazzola

ANGELO SPINAZZOLA is a Cape Breton-born singer/songwriter and very capable instrumentalist, at home on guitar, harmonica, harp, and flute —and then some. He has combined his love of travel across the globe with his music, bringing his unique perspective to new friends along the way, and new experiences home to Cape Breton in his music.

A recording artist, Angelo's 2006 CD Release garnered a 2007 East Coast Music Award nomination. His latest, Beautifully Imperfect, was released this summer.

When he's not writing, performing, recording, or touring the globe, Angelo operates North River Kayak Tours from his office on the North River. He's a busy guy!

Visit Angelo on the web at spinazzola.ca

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The Synchronics

Making a fresh sound that follows the will of the beat, THE SYNCHRONICS have been making waves on the Halifax jazz scene. Comprising some of Halifax's most exciting cross-over musicians, including trumpet man and organist Matt Myer, guitarist and North River native son Alec Frith (both also members of jazz fusion band Gypsophilia), saxophonist Sean Weber, and drummer Paul Keddy (the latter three also members of reggae band Verbal Warnin'), this group is anything but ordinary.

With an eclectic repertoire full of original tunes and journeys back into the jazz, blues, and funk charts of the 60s and 70s, the Synchronics "lay down a groove so heavy they could back up Mayfield himself!"

The quartet released its new CD, Whenuindo, in June of this year.

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