Michelle Alfano is a former Associate Editor with the literary quarterly Descant and the co-organizer of the annual Love Poetry Festival. Her novella, Made Up Of Arias, was the 2010 winner of the Bressani Award for Short Fiction. Her short story “Opera”, on which the novella was based, was a finalist for a Journey Prize anthology. Her fiction and non-fiction work has been widely published in Canada in major literary publications. She is currently at work on two projects: a personal memoir entitled The Unfinished Dollhouse (to be published by Cormorant Books in 2017) and the novel Destiny, think of me while you sleep. Blog: alitchick.blogspot.ca
Sandra Battaglini is an award winning stand-up comic, actor and writer. She is the 2013 Canadian Comedy Award winner for her solo show, Classy Lady, directed by Phil Luzi, that premiered in Toronto in 2012 and most recently was voted 'Best Female Standup’ by NOW Magazine. Past performances include, Hard Headed Woman (Canadian Comedy Award Winner, 2007), Small Battalion of Soldiers (Canadian Comedy Award Nomination, 2005). She tours with national comedy club chain, Yuk Yuks and co-hosts two of Toronto’s most alternative comedy nights, Family Slides and The Sal & Sandy Show with Phil Luzi. Sandra appears in David Cronenberg's latest feature, Maps to the Stars that premiered at TIFF in 2014, CBC's sketch show Humantown, NBC Seeso's flagship web series, The Amazing Gayle Pile and upcoming episodes of medical drama Saving Hope and Odd Squad. She is currently in development and on original concepts, including Knitterati and Family Slides with Phil Luzi. Not only has she performed throughout Canada, she has also been invited to perform in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and was a semi-finalist in the She Devil Comedy Competition in NYC. Website: sandrabattaglini.net
After working for many years as a public servant in Ontario, Lucia Cascioli has returned to her love of creative writing. Her books include: Struck (2011); Shifters (2011); Spiral (2011) – Finalist, Next Generation Indie Book Awards; From Scratch to Finish (2012); Letters to the Grave (2012) – Honourable Mention, Whistler Independent Book Awards; WTF? Tales from the Burbs(2013); The Getaway Book (2015); and Markers of Descent (2015). Her work has also appeared in Stile Magazine. Lucia enjoys participating in readings, lectures and book fairs and is currently working on her next book. Website: www.luciacascioli.ca
Carmela Circelli was born in Southern Italy and grew up in Montreal. She holds a PhD in philosophy from York University and has been teaching in the Humanities and Philosophy departments of York University since 1990. She also has a private practice as a psychotherapist in Toronto. Recently she published a philosophical memoir called Sweet Nothing: An Elemental Case for Taking out Time with Quattro Books. She is currently working on a novel titled The Last of the Daydreamers.
Isabella Colalillo-Katz is a poet, writer, editor, translator and professor based in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of three books of poetry: Tasting Fire (Guernica), And Light Remains (Guernica) and Marlene Dietrich’s Eyes (Ekstasis, 2014). Isabella has translated Elio Vittorini’s prose poem novel, Conversazione in Sicilia/Sicilian Conversations parts of which were published in Sweet Lemon 2, (Legas, 2010). Her poetry, short stories, critical essays on writing and creativity and book reviews appear in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies, such as Exploring Voice (Italian Canadiana, 2016). She is the poetry editor for Braided Way journal.
Sonia Di Placido is a poet and writer, completing her MFA from UBC. A graduate of the Ryerson University Theatre School with an Honours BA in Humanities from York University, Sonia has experience as a Supernumerary with the Canadian Opera Company, is a member of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers and The League of Canadian Poets. She has published chapbooks, poetry, profile pieces, interviews and has written reviews for literary print/online journals and various anthologies: Poems and Reviews can be found in Carousel, The Puritan, Jacket2, Canthius and The California Journal of Women Writers. Exaltation In Cadmium Red, her first book was published in 2012. A second book of poetry is forthcoming with Guernica Editions in 2018. Website: www.diplacido.wordpress.com
Caroline Morgan Di Giovanni grew up in suburban Philadelphia, PA., and came to Toronto as a student at St. Michael’s college, Univ. of Toronto. Her studies concentrated on English language and literature, with a course in Italian grammar and a one-year course in Dante. She met Alberto Di Giovanni, and after graduate studies they married. She has lived and worked in Toronto ever since. She was elected as a school board trustee, and then as a city councillor. With support from Centro Scuola e Cultura Italiana she edited 3 anthologies of Italian Canadian poetry and prose; she also has produced 2 collections of her own poetry. She is the proud mother of 3, and happy Nonna to 3 grandchildren.
Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews has written five collections of poetry: The Whispers of Stones, Sea Glass, The Red Accordion, Letters from the Singularity and A Jar of Fireflies. Nature and one's place in it, as well as memory and social justice are her muse. Her poems The Red Accordion and Emerald City were shortlisted for Descant's Winston Collins Best Canadian Poem Prize and The Malahat Review's Open Seasons Award respectively. In 2015, her poem Ghost received first prize in Toronto's Big Pond Rumours Journal Contest. Josie is the author of two non-fiction books: How The Italians Created Canada and In the Name of Hockey. She is the host and
co-ordinator of the Oakville Literary Café.
Bianca Lakoseljac’s second novel, Stone Woman, is set in Toronto—and it relives Toronto's 1967 summer of love. Bianca is also the author of a novel, Summer of the Dancing Bear; a collection of stories, Bridge in the Rain; and a book of poetry, Memoirs of a Praying Mantis. Her work has been featured in various literary journals and anthologies such as 50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot, and Inanna Publications Literary Quarterly. She is the liaison for the National Reading Campaign of the Writers Union of Canada; and is past president of the Canadian Authors Association, Toronto. She has judged various national literary competitions. Bianca was the Open Book Toronto Writer-in-Residence for November 2016. She has taught at Ryerson University and Humber College.
Darlene Madott is a Toronto lawyer and award-winning writer. Author of seven books, her short fiction has garnered literary awards, including the title story of her seventh book, Making Olives and Other Family Secrets (Ripasso), which won the Bressani Literary Award in 2008, and also included Touching Calabria, a winner in an Accenti Magazine competition. Her collection of linked short-stories Stations of the Heart (Exile Editions, 2013) again won the Bressani Literary Award in 2014. That collection included Waiting, short-listed for the Vanderbilt/ Exile Short Fiction Competition 2011-12 in the established writer category. Website: darlenemadott.com
Gianna Patriarca is an award-winning author of eight books of poetry, one children’s book and a collection of short fiction. Her work is extensively anthologized in Canada, Italy and the USA and appears on University courses in all three countries. Her work has been adapted for stage and radio drama and featured in numerous documentaries. Her first book, Italian Women and Other Tragedies, is in its fourth printing and recently was translated into Italian and launched at the University of Naples Orientale and Bologna. Website: giannapatriarca.com
Tina Tzatzanis is a teacher-librarian at an elementary school in Toronto. She is currently on sabbatical, working furiously to complete the first draft of her first novel about a young woman in a small Greek village during the 50s, 60s, and 70s whose life, heavily influenced by patriarchal forces, the politics of the times, and fate, frays into three distinct paths. She is of Greek and Irish descent and lives with her husband, her two almost adult children and a cat that thinks she is theirs.
Nigel Barnes began playing the guitar at a young age. He has played in multiple cover and original bands over the years and has gone on to share his talent with musicians such as Don Kerr, Rheostatics, Ron Sexsmith, Lester McLean, Ellen Carol and musical director and composer Andrew Craig. In 2006, he released It Is What It Is. He is currently recording new music. Music is his passion, his dream and his refuge.