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Didier Leclair (Didier Kabagema) was born in Montreal to Rwandan parents. He grew up in Africa—Gabon, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast and Congo-Brazzaville—and returned to Canada in 1987. Since then, he has been living and writing in Toronto. In 2000, his novel Toronto, I Love You won the Prix Trillium, and he has also been a finalist for the Trillium in 2011, 2016 and 2018. His second novel, Ce pays qui est le mien, was shortlisted for the 2004 Governor General’s for French-language fiction, and its English translation, This Country of Mine, was a finalist for the 2018 Toronto Book Awards.

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Anthony Morgan is an entrepreneur, game designer, PhD researcher. He’s the former host of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet and one of the current hosts of CBC’s The Nature of Things. He’s spent close to 20 years working across multiple disciplines in science communication including live engagements at the Ontario Science Center, web series production for Asap SCIENCE and SciShow. He serves on the steering committee for Science Up First – a national organization for countering misinformation. His PhD research explores strategies and tools to reduce polarization and improve conversations around controversial science. He was recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 millennial change-makers by the CBC.

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Valerie Blackmore is the President and CEO of Wyndham Forensic Group, a private forensic biology and DNA testing laboratory in Guelph, Ontario. Valerie’s career as a forensic biologist began in 1994 at the Government of Ontario’s Centre of Forensic Sciences following improvements to the justice system after the Paul Bernardo murders. In 2009, Valerie founded Wyndham Forensic Group and assists both police and defence counsel, cold case investigations and wrongful convictions. Her development work takes her to other places in the world. Valerie is currently working with the United Nations to develop forensic sciences in the occupied West Bank.

Valerie Blackmore's headshot

David Demchuk has been writing for print, stage, digital and other media for nearly 40 years. His debut horror novel The Bone Mother, published in 2017, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, the Toronto Book Award, the Kobzar Book Award and a Shirley Jackson Award in the Best Novel category. It won the 2018 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in the Adult Fiction category. It was listed in the Globe and Mail‘s 100 best books of 2017, came in at #22 in the National Post‘s top 99 books of the year and became a #1 bestseller on Amazon.ca.

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As a Senior Programmer at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Steve Gravestock is responsible for the organization’s Canadian programming initiatives, including Canada’s Top Ten film selection and the year-round See The North programme, which offers a free showcase of homegrown classics. As a programmer for TIFF, Gravestock has selected Canadian feature films since 2004 and is responsible for selections from the Nordic Region. In 2022, he programmed the film component of Nordic Bridges, a nation-wide year-long celebration of Nordic culture, art, thought, literature and music. He has written extensively on cinema for many publications and has published two books, Don Owen: Notes on a Filmmaker and His Culture (TIFF, 2005) and A History of Icelandic Film, edited by Andrew Tracy (Wilfrid Laurier University Press / Indiana University Press, 2019).

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Born in Montreal, Neil Besner grew up in Rio de Janeiro, has taught and travelled widely in Brazil, and is fluent in Portuguese. He taught Canadian literature at the University of Winnipeg for thirty years. He has written and edited books on Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro and Carol Shields, as well as numerous articles. His award-winning translation into English of a Brazilian biography of Elizabeth Bishop was a major source for the 2013 feature film Reaching for the Moon. An avid fisherman and an amateur musician, he spends 4 months each summer on Lake of the Woods in Northwestern Ontario.

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Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast-journalist at CBC Radio, currently the host and a producer of The Next Chapter, the award-winning program devoted to writing in Canada. In 2011, she was inducted as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Also that year, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Shelagh is Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Victoria.

She is honoured to be at TIFA’s MOTIVE Crime and Mystery Festival talking with Thomas King about his novel Deep House. This occasion marks the 20th time Shelagh has interviewed Thomas King.

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Liam Hendrikse was born in Nassau, Bahamas, and raised in the Toronto area. He graduated from McMaster University in 1995, and King’s College University of London in 1998. He was a British Home Office Forensic Scientist from 1998 until 2006, where he specialized in firearms and ballistics. He now resides in Hamilton, acting as a consultant to criminal lawyers in North American and beyond, on matters relating to firearms and ballistics, in addition to working with post-secondary institutions on developing and delivering their Forensic Science programs.

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Jonathan Rudin is the Program Director at Aboriginal Legal Services. He is a lawyer and has appeared before all levels of courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Jonathan has written and spoken widely on issues of Indigenous justice. His book, Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System won the Walter Owen Book Prize from the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research in 2019. A second edition of the book will be released this summer. He also plays the mandolin and sings with Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room, a group that plays regularly in Toronto and has a number of videos on YouTube.

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Giulia De Gasperi was born in Italy and has lived in Canada, Scotland and the USA. She is currently a freelance editor and literary translator working in English and Italian, and curates Collana Canada (Italian translations of Canadian literary works) for an independent Italian publisher. She is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and of the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers. She is also the Chair of the AICW Bressani Literary Prize Committee. She is currently working on her first collection of trilingual poems. She lives in Dublin, Ireland. 

Giulia De Gasperi's headshot