EMWF Showcase: Emerge!

Thursday September 10, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. EST (online)

The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival is a proud supporter of emerging writers. During this session you’ll hear from some of the most exciting upcoming writers from The University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA program, and our Read at the Fringe contest winners.

This event includes closed captioning.

READ AT THE FRINGE is the EMWF's long-standing contest for emerging writers that awards winners the opportunity to read their work at the festival. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of judges through a blind process, and a winner is selected in each of the three categories (Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry). The Fringe has a long tradition of winners who have gone on to great success, returning to the EMWF as published authors, including Anthony DeSa, Kim Echlin and Alison Pick. We’re thrilled to showcase and celebrate the work of our 2020 Read at the Fringe winners. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

A chapbook of the winning Fringe entries will be produced by PS Guelph.


Elise Arsenault is a writer and musician in Hamilton, Ontario. She has recently published poetry in HA&L Magazine, begun an MFA in creative nonfiction with the University of King’s College, and received the Terence L. Bingley Songwriting Award for her single “In the Velvet.” Find Elise writing on the porch by day and strumming for neighbourhood cats at night.

Elise Arsenault placed first in the nonfiction category for "Field Notes in a New House".

Lis Jakobsen, a retired public relations consultant, has returned unexpectedly to her hometown, Hamilton Ontario.  After a 30-year absence, during which she did a lot of job writing, no one is more surprised than she to find herself where old familiar fictions clamour to be heard over new ones.

Lis Jakobsen placed first in the fiction category for “Me Too, Leda, Me Too”.

Chantal Vallis enjoys writing poetry and is working on her first novel. Her writing has appeared in the anthology Out Proud: Stories of Pride, Courage, and Social Justice. She recently completed the University of Waterloo’s creative writing class with Claire Tacon where she started writing her poetry collection Cookbooks for Compasses.

Chantal Vallis placed first in the poetry category for "Cookbooks for Compasses".

THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH CREATIVE WRITING MFA is one of the premier graduate writing programs in this country. Among our graduates are such Canadian literary notables as Jael Richardson, writer, commentator and artistic director of The Festival of Literary Diversity; Ayelet Tsabari, winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for International Jewish Literature; Liz Howard, winner of the Griffin Prize for Canadian Poetry, Governor General’s Award-winning dramatist Robert Chafe; and Canadian Screen Award-winning Canadian director and screenwriter Kathleen Hepburn, among many others who are remapping the Canadian cultural landscape. Join us for a series of short readings by six current MFA students. Prepare to be tantalized, awestruck, thrilled – and left wanting more. Get a taste of the work of some phenomenal emerging writers and say that you heard them here first.

The University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA, part of the University of Guelph’s College of Arts, is located at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. Learn more.

Britta Badour, better known as Britta B., is a Kingston-born, Toronto-based spoken word poet, emcee and artist educator.  She has mentored thousands of youth through arts programs initiated by organizations like UNITY Charity, JAYU (pronounced JAH-YOU), Poetry In Voice, Prologue Performing Arts and The Power Plant. Britta is an alumna of the Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab and a member of the League of Canadian Poets.

Nathanya Barnett is a poet and playwright. Her work explores her queer rural roots, what has grown from them, and lately, grief. Her goals in life are to fill rural stages with queer stories and to constantly make choices that would disappoint Freud.

Farah El Bakkouri is a Moroccan-Canadian wordsmith whose works in poetry and non-fiction attempt to capture the complexities and contradictions in individual and societal identities in a world that prides itself on singularities.

Natasha Greenblatt is a playwright, performer, and the co-artistic director of Two Birds Theatre. Natasha won a Dora award for her performance in Get Yourself Home Skyler James by Jordan Tannahill (Roseneath Theatre). Her first play The Peace Maker was published by Playwrights Canada Press as part of the anthology Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas. She is currently developing The Apocalypse Plays, a new work about feminist legacy and climate grief, in collaboration with her mother Kate Lushington.

Nadia L. Hohn’s award-winning first picture book, Malaika's Costume was published in 2016, Malaika's Winter Carnival in 2017, and Malaika’s Surprise in 2021 by Groundwood Books. Nadia is also the author of Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, an early reader by Harper Collins. Nadia was named one of six Black Canadian Writers to Watch in 2018 by CBC Books.  In summer 2019, Nadia was the writer in residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, British Columbia, and for Open Book. Nadia is currently working on middle and young adult novels, a play, and more picture books.

Deepa Rajagopalan writes fiction and non-fiction. Her writing focuses on themes of family, the immigrant experience, friendship, and mental health. She is working on a novel set in Saudi Arabia and India during the First Gulf War, drawing from her childhood. She is the new host and organizer of the Emerging Writers Reading Series in Toronto. She lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Thank you to our supporters:
The Angel Gabriel Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Department of Canadian Heritage, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, League of Canadian Poets, Open Book, The Ontario Arts Council, The Pollock Family Fund and Wellington County.