2016 National Finals Host & Judges


Marie-Célie Agnant

Marie-Célie Agnant has published well over a dozen works, including four novels with Éditions du Remue-Ménage. A short story writer as well, her first collection of short stories, Le silence comme le sang, (Éditions Remue-Ménage, 1997), was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. Agnant’s poetry is both intimate and socially engaged; her second book of poetry, Et puis parfois quelquefois..., was published in 2009 by Éditions Mémoire d’Encrier. Between 1999 and 2001, Montreal publishers Éditions Hurtubise released four children’s books by Agnant that were very successful with their target audience. She is also a storyteller and has published illustrated fairytales for children. [...] Her work has been translated into different languages and is studied in universities in America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Poèmes sans âge, her third collection of poetry was published by Éditions de la Pleine Lune in March 2016.

(From Colette Boucher & Thomas Spear. (2013). Paroles et silences chez Marie-Célie Agnant, L’Oublieuse mémoire d’Haïti. Paris: Khartala.)



Denise Desautels

Born in Montreal, Denise Desautels has published more than forty books of poetry, essays, and visual art, both in Quebec and abroad. She has won numerous prizes including the Governor General’s Award, the Athanase-David Prize and the Prix de Littérature Francophone Jean Arp. In 2014, she was awarded, for the second time, the Québecor Grand Prize of the Festival international de la poésie de Trois-Rivières for her collection entitled Sans toi, je n’aurais pas regardé si haut _Tableaux d’un parc. In 2015, she received the Hervé-Foulon Prize for her autobiographical essay Ce fauve, le Bonheur. Denise Desautels has long had close ties to visual arts and has worked with many artists. Several of her limited edition books produced with artists are now part of significant museum and private collections. She is a member of the Académie des lettres du Québec and the Order of Canada. 



Mathew Henderson

Mathew Henderson's first book of poetry, The Lease, was published by Coach House Books in 2012. It was nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and praised by publications including The New York Times. His poems have appeared in The Walrus, Maisonneuve, and Brick. Originally from Prince Edward Island, he now lives in Toronto, where he is working on a new collection.



Sonia Lamontagne

Originally from northern Ontario, Sonia Lamontagne has contributed to a variety of publications with writers, visual artists, and actors. She also runs poetry workshops in schools. Her first book of poems, On Butterfly Wings (Bookland Press, 2013), won the 2012 Trillium Prize in the original French edition, À tire d’ailes. Her second book of poems, Comptine à rebours, was published in February 2015. Sonia Lamontagne currently works for l’Association des auteures et auteurs de l’Ontario français in Ottawa.



Anne Michaels

Anne Michaels’ books are published in over forty countries and have won dozens of international awards, including the Orange Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, and the Lannan Award for Fiction. She has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize (twice), the Governor General’s Literary Award, and longlisted for the IMPAC Award (twice). Her novel Fugitive Pieces was adapted as a feature film. Her latest book of poetry, Correspondences, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2014. She is Toronto’s Poet Laureate.



Daniel David Moses

Daniel David Moses hails from the Six Nations of the Grand River. Among his plays are the 1991 Governor General's Award nominee Coyote City, his best known — it’s in the Norton Anthology of Drama, 2014 — Almighty Voice and His Wife, and the James Buller Award Winner The Indian Medicine Shows. Recent publications are A Small Essay on the Largeness of Light and Other Poems (Exile, 2012) and, from Oxford University Press, An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English, Fourth Edition, 2013, which he co-edited. In 2015 he received the Ontario Arts Council’s Aboriginal Arts Award. He’s an associate professor and a Queen's National Scholar in the School of Drama and Music, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. 



Johanne Blais

Johanne Blais

Johanne Blais is a word maven. She is a trained translator as well as a professor of writing and grammar, a public speaker, and a columnist. Perfectly bilingual and a passionate admirer of the languages of both Shakespeare and Molière, Johanne Blais spent 17 years sharing her passion each week with thousands of Canadians as CBC Radio C’est la vie’s “Word Lady,” through her language segment “Word of the Week.” Johanne Blais’s sparkle and humour combine with her gift for explaining words in their individual daily context. She teaches with great warmth and a smile in her voice. Her love for French has also led her to write engaging columns on the breadth and variety of French as it is spoken in Canada. Johanne Blais is one of Canada’s best-loved voices, listened to with pleasure across the country. 



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