Staff

Hal Wake

Hal Wake

Artistic Director

Hal has been engaged with the literary community in Canada for more than 30 years. He has conducted on-stage interviews with Alice Munro, David Mitchell, Rohinton Mistry and Michael Chabon, amongst many others. In the mid 80’s he was the book producer for CBC Radio’s Morningside with Peter Gzowski.

He left the CBC in 1997 after hosting the Vancouver morning program, The Early Edition. He has moderated hundreds of literary events at Festivals in Vancouver, Victoria, Sechelt, New York, London (UK), Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney (Australia). He is an Honorary Member of the Writers Union of Canada and has been the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Writers Fest for more than a decade. He is also hopelessly addicted to baseball on TV.

Nicole Nozick

Nicole Nozick

Executive Director

Nicole joined the VWF team in June 2015 after directing Vancouver’s JCC Jewish Book Festival for eight years. Prior to that she served as the BBC’s Middle East bureau producer in Jerusalem producing large scale media events for television and radio broadcast.

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Nicole is learning to love Vancouver’s rain. In her spare time, you’ll find her fog-hunting on the beaches with her brood of three, jamming on the piano or curled up in her fave armchair with a book and a cup of tea.

Leslie Hurtig

Leslie Hurtig

Incoming Artistic Director

Leslie was born into a house of books and has made her career from various points within Canada’s book industry. She has worked for some of Canada’s best bookstores, acted as a sales representative and publicist for some of North America’s great publishers, and worked as a foreign rights and contracts manager at Raincoast Books.

Leslie sat on the Vancouver Writers Fest’s Board of Directors for 18 years, filling many roles, and is most excited to embrace this newest role as Artistic Director. When not at work, Leslie can be found at play with her three sons, two cats, one dog and husband.

Andrew Forshner

Andrew Forshner

Director of Development

Andrew hails from Edmonton, but migrated westward to attend UBC just after the turn of the century. In his adopted province, he has overseen fundraising events and campaigns for the Victoria Film Festival and Variety – The Children’s Charity.

Andrew is a Director of Rumble Productions and when not engaging in philanthropy, you can find him on a curling rink, in a yoga studio or, more frequently, in one of Mount Pleasant’s many breweries or cafes.

Zoe Grams

Zoe Grams

Marketing & Publicity Manager

Zoe is Principal of the marketing agency ZG Communications. Following an MA in Philosophy, Zoe began her career at a trend-marketing agency in London, UK, before moving to Canada where she worked with some of Vancouver’s top PR firms, followed by D&M Publishers.

She has conceived and executed marketing campaigns for award-winning authors, publishers and charities across North America and writes regularly for publications on both sides of the Atlantic. Zoe is Co-Chair and Director of The KidSafe Project, and a Director of WORD Vancouver. When she is not immersed in books, Zoe travels, walks, and seeks out new varieties of pungent cheese. 

Clea Young

Clea Young

Artistic Associate

Originally from Victoria, Clea moved to Vancouver to complete an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. She has worked with the Festival since 2007 and recently published her first collection of short stories, Teardown (Freehand Books, 2016).

Her work has also been included in The Journey Prize Stories three times and she has twice been shortlisted for the award. A devotee of the short story form, Clea is always thrilled when a new collection crosses her desk.

Arielle Spence

Arielle Spence

Communications Coordinator

Arielle Spence is an aspiring writer and arts administrator originally from Coldstream, BC (Okanagan Territory). After moving to Coast Salish Territories in 2010, they completed a BA from the University of British Columbia, and started work at the Writers Fest in 2015.

They are an editorial board member at Room magazine, and in 2017, served as the Festival Director of Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival.

Kathryn Fowler

Kathryn Fowler

Volunteer Coordinator

Kathryn loves the Vancouver Writers Fest, its celebration of words, the discoveries it offers and the communities forged anew every year. A VWF volunteer for 11 years beginning in the mid-90s, she also oversaw volunteers for The Playhouse for three seasons before joining the festival staff in 2006.

Kathryn reads, walks and sings and is always keen to renew friendships from festivals past and to take on challenges of the next.