Festival Staff


Fawnda Mithrush (Executive Director) is honoured to be Executive Director at Canada’s original 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 has penned stories and profiles for Avenue Magazine, Vue Weekly, Dance Current, Edmonton Journal, ACUA Vitae, and others. Moonlighting as producer and co-host of I Don’t Get It, an award-winning podcast about performance in Edmonton, she also consults on administration and nonprofit management with local arts organizations. Born and raised in YEG, her favourite pastime is boosting the city’s writers and artsy folk. She may also talk your ear off about art, books, and cheese.   



Alberta Book Fair Society
Board of Directors


Andrea Anderson (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 AmericanScientific 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.



Maureen McGuire (Vice President) 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. Maureen joined LitFest’s Board of Directors in 2016.





18988a7c-dc3f-4221-95c1-ccd4a1b3f648Tema Frank (Past 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.


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, WIREDRollingStone.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.





Jennifer Cockrall-King 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 B.C.




b2a937eb-0ccb-482f-b341-ba0363b2bff1Carol 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 is Chair of the Society’s Fund Development Committee. Now retired, Donna is a former Research Administrator at the Population Research Laboratory of the University of Alberta and 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.

 Terese Brasen is a strategic communicator and the author of the Viking novel KAMA, out recently from Outpost 19, a forward-thinking press located in New York and San Francisco. She has a master’s degree in creative writing from Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania and is accredited as a communications strategist through the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). She is currently working on a collection of short stories, several of which have been shortlisted for literary prizes. She also provides editing, writing and marketing services to various startups.

Tej Swatch (Treasurer) lives and works as a finance professional in Edmonton and has sat on the LitFest Board since 2016. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant, an avid reader and is working on a memoir of growing up as a Sikh in Canada in the age of the Air India bombing, Indo-Canadian gangs and a community coming into its own.



Azim Jeraj

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