2017 Jury Panel

Hal Wake
Returning juror and 2017 Jury Chair, Hal Wake has been engaged with the literary community in Canada for more than 30 years. He has conducted on-stage interviews with Alice Munro, Jonathan Safran Foer, Richard Ford, Sharon Olds, Rohinton Mistry, Michael Chabon, Joseph Boyden and Anne Michaels amongst many others. He has served on granting juries for the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council and the City of Vancouver. Wake is an Honorary Member of the Writers Union of Canada and he is currently the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Writers Fest.

Jan Walter
Jan Walter has spent her life around books: selling, acquiring, editing, publishing, promoting. She began as a bookseller at Mel Hurtig’s store in Edmonton, eventually running her own store there – Fifth Business Books – for a time. She worked first as an editor and then in executive positions with several Canadian publishing companies, including Macmillan and McClelland & Stewart. In 1988, together with writer/editors Gary Ross and John Macfarlane, she started Macfarlane, Walter & Ross, which became one of Canada’s premier publisher of quality nonfiction, publishing over 60 award- winning and bestselling titles. Walter has made her home in Kingston, Ontario since 2004 and is a former Chair of the Kingston WritersFest Board.

John Burns
John Burns is the editorial director of Echo Storytelling Agency, a Vancouver-based custom publishing company that documents the lives and accomplishments of individuals and companies through a range of products, from books and magazines to websites and social media campaigns. Burns worked in journalism for 25 years and his early gigs ranged from community sports editor to managing editor of the Georgia Straight to editor-in-chief of Vancouver Magazine. Along the way, there were side trips into book publishing and book writing, radio broadcasting and university tenure.

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Previous Award Winners