Bryan Mortensen, Executive Director
Bryan Mortensen is a writer, traveller, and administrator who calls the Comox Valley home. He is has a degree in English from the University of Alberta with a minor in Philosophy. Prior to taking on his role at the Federation of BC Writers, he served as Administrative Secretary for the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta, as Founder and Executive Director for the altView Foundation for Gender Variant and Sexual Minorities, and as a Caseworker for the Edmonton John Howard Society. At his core, Bryan believes in advocating for and with people who have been traditionally marginalized.
In his writing life, Bryan is hard at work on edits for his novel which falls into the realm of speculative fiction. He enjoys writing much more than editing. Over the past ten years, Bryan has enthusiastically taken part in the International 3-Day Novel Writing Competition (run by BC's own Anvil press)
9 out of 10 of Bryan's friends describe him as fun and or exhausting.
Greg Blanchette, Co-Chair
I grew up back east, but moved to BC after graduation to work as a design engineer. The West Coast life was full of adventure by bike, sea kayak and sailboat (what i called my “distributed retirement”), along with magazine travel writing, short stories, satire and essays.
My involvement with arts and environmental nonprofits began when i moved to Vancouver Island in 1999—first Ucluelet, later Tofino, and my writing also stepped up. I adopted the stage name "greg blee" when i took up performance poetry, and the lower case in my encounters with Buddhism.
Both arts and nonprofit involvement took a nosedive for four long years while working as an elected municipal councillor in Tofino. That ended in 2019 with a move to Gabriola Island, where i now live with my sweetheart. I am mostly retired, but embarked on a halting return to poetry (performance and page), a book of linked short stories about social issues, and the rewards of working with arts and culture groups like the Federation of BC Writers.
Katherine Wagner, Co-ChairRegardless of the weather, and surrounded by gnomes, gargoyles and poisonous plants, KT Wagner writes Gothic horror and op/ed pieces in the garden of her Maple Ridge home. She teaches writing-related workshops and helps create literary community including write-ins, an annual ghost story writing retreat and co-organizing Golden Ears Writers.
KT graduated from Simon Fraser University’s Writers Studio in 2015 (Southbank 2013). She is an active member of The Horror Writers Association of America (HWA) and SF Canada ( National Association for Speculative Fiction). A number of her short stories are published and podcast in magazines and anthologies. She’s currently working on a scifi-horror novel. KT can be found online at www.northernlightsgothic.com and @KT_Wagner
Meaghan Hackinen Programming & Events Coordinator
Meaghan Hackinen is a writer, ultra-endurance cyclist, and Fund Development & Outreach Associate at the FBCW. Meaghan's two-wheeled adventures have taken her from Haida Gwaii to Mexico’s high plateaus, across Canada and the United States, and from North Cape to Tarifa along Europe’s highest paved roads. Her debut travel memoir, South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels (NeWest Press, 2019) was a finalist for two Canadian book awards. She has an MFA in Writing from the University of Saskatchewan and lives on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Syilx/Okanagan People in Kelowna, BC. Find Meaghan online at meaghanhackinen.com and @meaghanhackinen on Instagram.
Cameron Roe, Treasurer
I was born and raised in the Bella Coola valley and moved all over British Columbia growing up, bouncing between parents, friends, and schools. I’ve always been a very creative person and have found special joy in writing—when I make time for it. Joining the Fed was my commitment to learning more and writing more. I will write anything from songs and poetry to fiction and non-fiction... probably just haven’t found my niche yet.
Peggi Peacock, Secretary
At age 11 Peggi declared she would become a fiction novelist. For years she was distracted from that goal by writing everything but fiction. Her work has been published by The Economist Intelligence Unit, Westworld magazine, The Bangkok Post, BC Business and companies flogging everything from diamonds to dairy products. Since graduating from Simon Fraser University’s Writers Studio in 2015 Peggi has been focusing almost exclusively on writing fiction and is happy as her 11-year-old self. She is currently working on her second novel.
Rachel Muller, Community Engagement Associate
Rachel Dunstan Muller is an author, editor and oral storyteller with a passion for creating community. She’s been crafting tales in one form or another for more than two decades and has published four children’s novels and over a hundred essays, articles and stories for adults. She is also the producer of two podcasts: Hintertales: Stories from the Margins of History, and Sticks and Stones and Stories. Find Rachel online at https://racheldunstanmuller.com.
Kamal Parmar, Director
Kamal has been passionately involved in writing for the last twenty years. Her main objective is to assist the Federation in providing incentives to both emerging as well as professional writers, in order to showcase their talent and hone their skills so as to raise their regional and national profile. Kamal is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets, a member of The Writers Union of Canada, The Canadian Authors Association, as well as Haiku Canada. She is the 2021-2023 Poet Laureate for the City of Nanaimo.
Suzanne Venuta, Director
Suzanne is a mental health educator, advocate, consultant, writer, mentor and inspirational speaker. She does this through the lens of lived experience and has been speaking to public and professionals about living with a mental illness, her healing journey, the importance of compassion, and the power of connection for the past 16 years
Suzanne speaks to post secondary, psychology, nursing, and social work students as well as parents and teachers. Professional developments, transition society, and various youth groups have been highlights over the years. She councils’ doctors on how to best support patients with mental health challenges, and better understand the implications of adverse childhood experiences.
Suzanne has been featured on C.B.C. Radio “Out Front”, various podcasts, and has written magazine articles. In 2018 she received the Coast Mental Health Courage to Come Back Award, in the Mental Health category. Suzanne is part of the Child and Youth Matter Comox Valley. She is also an avid Outward Bound Canada Alumni, and preparing to deliver a TEDxSurrey talk.
Diana Skrepnyk, Design Director
Diana previously led marketing and communications design and design teams at Royal Roads University and, for many years, at the Banff Centre. Her superpower is visual communications, combining a writer’s finely crafted words with graphics and/or images to create messages that attract and inform readers. Her writing prowess is mostly limited to short, catchy headlines, but she LOVES to read – there are always a handful of books on her night table. She also makes visual art, mostly of birds, and enjoys riding trails and running errands on her bike Frankie, a Franken-bike made from recycled parts.
Wiley Wei-Chiun Ho, Director
Wiley (she/her) is a Taiwanese-Canadian writer of short stories, personal essays, and memoir. Privileged to live on the unceded territories of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations otherwise known as North Vancouver, she works as a technical writer and blogs for North Vancouver Recreation & Culture. Her short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies. She is working on her first book.
Craig Copland, Director
Craig Stephen Copland had the great good fortune of being an English major at the University of Toronto, where he studied under Northrup Frye and Marshall McLuhan. Further learning at both the Masters and Doctoral level led him into an adventurous career as a teacher, camp director, humanitarian aid volunteer and executive, and business consultant. During those years, he was blessed to visit over 100 countries and meet an exceptional variety of incredible people. He published many short pieces and letters to the editor in local press, countless reports, business plans, marketing plans, grant proposals, fund-raising letters and field reports.
In 2014, Craig entered a contest hosted by the Sherlock Holmes Society of Canada to write an original new Sherlock Holmes story. Although he had never before written fiction, he entered the contest and was lucky enough to be one of the winners. Since that time, Craig has written over seventy short novels and short stories, some of which were commercially published and many others self-published. A few years ago, he and his wife, Mary, followed a dream and moved to BC. When they are not living overseas, Craig lives and writes from Vernon, in the singularly fabulous Okanagan Valley.
Emma Turner, Executive Assistant
Emma Turner works for the FBCW as Executive Assistant. She is a voracious reader, rarely seen without a book in hand. Originally from Norwich, England, she moved across the world in 2018 and now lives on Vancouver Island. When she isn’t reading or working for the Federation, she is tutoring students from K-12, where she specialises in teaching phonics, Literacy and English.