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Ali Hassan is a stand-up comedian, actor, and professional chef. He is the host of CBC’s Canada Reads and Laugh Out Loud. He is also a guest host on CBC q. His comedy has been performed at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and Toronto’s JFL42. He is a Canadian Comedy Awards nominee, and his show, Muslim, Interrupted, was performed at the world’s largest comedy festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has appeared in the award-winning films, Breakaway, French Immersion, and Goon, in addition to other film and TV roles, most recently CBC’s Run the Burbs. He and his family live in Toronto. Follow him @StandUpAli or StandUpAli.com.

Stephen Marche is a novelist and culture writer who has written for the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, Esquire, and pretty much everywhere else. His books include three novels, The Hunger of the Wolf, Raymond and Hannah, and Shining at the Bottom of the Sea, as well as The Unmade Bed and How Shakespeare Changed Everything. He lives in Toronto with his wife and children.

Iain Reid is the author of four previous books, including his New York Times bestselling debut novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which has been translated into more than twenty languages. Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman wrote and directed the film adaptation for Netflix. His second novel, Foe, is being adapted for film, starring Saoirse Ronan, with Reid cowriting the screenplay. His latest novel is We Spread. Reid lives in Ontario, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @Reid_Iain

Zarqa Nawaz is a Canadian producer for film and television, a published author, public speaker, journalist, and former broadcaster. She is the author of the memoir Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, which was shortlisted for the Leacock Medal for Humour, the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and two Saskatchewan Book Awards. She also created the hit CBC comedy series Little Mosque on the Prairie, the world’s first sitcom about a Muslim community living in the West, and is the creator and star of the forthcoming series Zarqa. Zarqa lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, with her loving but long-suffering family.

Debra Thompson is an associate professor of political science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is an internationally recognized, award-winning scholar of the politics of race and holds a Canada Research Chair in Racial Inequality in Democratic Societies. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto, held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, and taught in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University before moving to the University of Oregon to help build its Black Studies program. She is the author of The Schematic State: Race, Transnationalism, and the Politics of the Census, which received three major awards from the American Political Science Association. She has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and is a regular commentator in print and on television on the state of race and racism in Canada and the United States. Connect with her on Twitter @DebThompsonPhD.

Robert Rotenberg is the author of several bestselling novels, including Downfall, Old City Hall, The Guilty Plea, Stray Bullets, Stranglehold and Heart of the City. He is a criminal lawyer in Toronto with his firm Rotenberg, Shidlowski, Jesin. He is also a television screenwriter and a writing teacher. Visit him at RobertRotenberg.com or follow him on Twitter: @RobertRotenberg.

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Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theater, and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written critically acclaimed short stories both for children and adults, as well as the bestselling novels Unraveling Oliver and Lying in Wait. She lives in Dublin. Little Cruelties is her latest novel. Visit her at LizNugent.ie or follow her on Twitter at @Lizzienugent.

Liz Nugent’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Culture Ireland.

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Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead, published in 1997, won the Ellis Award for Best First Novel and was an international bestseller. Cold, Cold Bones is Kathy’s twenty-first entry in her series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Kathy was also a producer of Fox Television’s longest running scripted drama, Bones, which was based on her work and her novels. One of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Kathy divides her time between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal, Québec. Visit her at KathyReichs.com or follow her on Twitter @KathyReichs.

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Eliza Reid is a journalist, editor, and cofounder of the annual Iceland Writers Retreat. Eliza grew up on a hobby farm near Ottawa, Canada, and moved to Iceland in 2003, five years after meeting the man who later became her husband, Gudni Th. Jóhannesson. When he took office as President of Iceland on August 1, 2016, Eliza became the country’s first lady. In that capacity, she has been active in promoting gender equality, entrepreneurship and innovation, tourism and sustainability, as well as the country’s writers and rich literary heritage.

Eliza Reid’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Icelandair.

Sophy Henn is an award-winning picture book author and illustrator with an MA in Illustration from the University of Brighton. She is the creator of the much-loved Bad Nana fiction series, the Pom Pom series, the Ted board book series and most recently the Pizazz series. She has also created the non-fiction titles Lifesize, Lifesize Dinosaurs and All Kinds of Families. Her debut picture book Where Bear? was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Sophy was the World Book Day Illustrator in 2015 and 2016.

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