Fawnda Mithrush (Executive Director) is honoured to be Executive Director at Canada’s original and exclusive nonfiction festival. Prior to arriving at the LitFest desk in 2014, she played the role of General Manager for two of Edmonton’s most well-loved theatre companies (Theatre Network and the outdoor Freewill Shakespeare Festival). She pens stories and profiles for the likes of Avenue Magazine, Vue Weekly, Edmonton Journal, ACUA Vitae, and others. Moonlighting as producer and co-host of I Don’t Get It, an award-winning podcast about contemporary dance, she also consults on administration and nonprofit management with local arts organizations. Born and raised in Edmonton, her favourite pastime is being a booster for the city’s writers and artsy folk. She may also talk you to death about books, art, and cheese.
Tendisai Cromwell (Associate Producer) has a background in journalism, filmmaking, and digital media production. Through her production company New Narrative Films, she has directed and produced documentaries that explore diaspora communities, identity, and faith. In addition to being a member of the LitFest family, she is also the festival coordinator for the award-winning documentary “The Last Animals” and has worked in the production department at the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto. She has done reporting in Ghana and Palestine and produced radio segments for CBC’s The Current. Tendisai is also a published writer and poet.
Nisha Patel (Volunteer Coordinator) is a spoken word poet from Edmonton, Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Certificate in Leadership from the University of Alberta. She is also a public speaker, writer, and visual artist, and was named the 2016 Edmonton Indie Slam Champion.
Talicia Dutchin (Operations Manager) is a writer, photographer, and avid traveller who spent two years living abroad and buys too many books when she visits a new country. She has a Bachelor of Applied Communications from MacEwan University and currently works as Communications Specialist and House Manager at Metro Cinema, where she was a volunteer for many years prior to that. She is also a contributor for The In Crowd, on CBC’s Radio Active.
Festival Board & Committees
Tema Frank (Board President) has worked in marketing and customer experience strategy consulting for over three decades, and served in many volunteer and Boardpositions throughout that time. No stranger to nonfiction, Tema is the author of the best-selling book, Canada’s Best Employers for Women: A Guide for Job Hunters, Employees and Employers, and has just released her second book, PeopleShock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule. Her board experience includes time as Chair of the Brian Webb Dance Company board of directors, Chair of the Edmonton Regional Board of Canadian Women in Communications, and she currently serves on the University of Alberta Senate and on the board of the Business Link. For fun she loves to read good books (fiction and nonfiction), talk to interesting people, eat great food and live in other cultures.
Jennifer Cockrall-King (Past President) is a food culture author and speaker. She is a life-long Edmontonian and author of Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution, as well as Food Artisans of the Okanagan. She is currently working on a book about seed banks and seed savers around the world. She lives in Edmonton and Naramata, BC.
Andrea Anderson (Vice President) is a full-time science and health journalist who has written about everything from genetics and neuroscience to Neanderthals and ancient horses for several online publications and print magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Scientific American, Scientific American Mind, and GenomeWeb. Andrea began pursuing journalism after completing a graduate degree in cell biology at the University of Alberta. She subsequently obtained a Master of Arts in journalism through New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program.
Omar Mouallem (Secretary) has been a LitFest board member since 2013. He’s a National Magazine Awards winning writer whose stories have appeared in The Guardian, WIRED, RollingStone.com and Maclean’s. He also edits The Yards, a quarterly magazine for the Downtown and Oliver community leagues, and sits on the board of the celebrated narrative journalism magazine Eighteen Bridges.
Carol Holmes has worked in the arts in a variety of capacities including director, manager, and festival producer. She has worked with the Executive Director of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta since 2008. Prior to that she was the director of literary arts and international agreements at The Banff Centre.
Donna Fong has been a member of the Board of Directors and committees, and a volunteer photographer since the launch of LitFest as Canada’s first nonfiction festival in 2006. She currently serves on LitFest’s 10th Anniversary Committee. Donna is a full-time Research Administrator at the Population Research Laboratory of the University of Alberta and a part-time library assistant at Stanley A. Milner Library of Edmonton Public Library. Active with numerous community organizations, Donna served as one of Alberta’s Centennial Ambassador in 2005 and was a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal that same year.
Jody Crilly joined the LitFest Board in 2016 with the goal of strengthening the Board’s relationship with Edmonton Public Library, and to share her passion for literacy, community development, and event planning. Jody has worked as a Branch Manager with EPL since 2005, with a 2-year sojourn to work for Calgary Public Library. Hailing from a small town in southern Alberta, she understands the importance of cultivating artists and writers in rural communities, and the vital role that public libraries play in supporting local talent. When she isn’t hard at work in the Clareview community providing library programs and services, you may see Jody around town or at festivals performing with the Japanese drumming group Kita No Taiko.
Maureen McGuire is a criminal lawyer who has worked both as a defence counsel and as a prosecutor in courts across the country and in the Supreme Court of Canada. As a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law, she teaches Appellate Practice and Procedure, and previously taught Legal Research and Writing. Since 2011, Maureen has been the author of the NWT Decision Digest for the Arctic Obiter, a publication of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories. Maureen joined LitFest’s Board of Directors in 2016.
Sherrell Steele began her career as a broadcaster, and has subsequently expanded her portfolio with teaching, consulting and educational administration. Sherrell is currently serving as faculty services professional for MacEwan University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications. She has a B.Ed. degree and a Master of Arts in Communications and Technology (MACT) from the University of Alberta. She has been an instructor at MacEwan University since 1999, first teaching in the Digital Arts and Media program and most recently in the Bachelor of Applied Communications in Professional Writing and in the Public Relations program. She also teaches Business Communications and Public Relations at the School of Business at NAIT.
She is a 2004 International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Silver Leaf winner and holds two Capital Awards of Excellence and three Capital Awards of Merit from IABC. In 2010, she was named a Capital Communicator by Canadian Women in Communications and in 2011 was named Communicator of the Year by IABC.