Valerie B-Taylor Young Writers Awards Judges


Ursula Vaira has a passion for kayaking and for poetry, having found the two go well together. Her poems are strongly located in landscape; her journeys attempt the wilderness within. She published three chapbooks: And See What Happens, a 30-day paddle in a Coast Salish canoe from Hazelton to Victoria; Last One to Get There, kayaking and wilderness camping from Port Hardy to Zeballos, and Frog River, a stay in an isolated trapper’s cabin in the northern Rockies. Caitlin Press published her first collection And See What Happens in 2011. Ursula is the founder and publisher of Leaf Press, publishing poetry in print and online since 2000.


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M.A.C. Farrant is the author of fourteen works of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and over one hundred book reviews and essays for the Vancouver Sun and the Toronto Globe & Mail. Her play, My Turquoise Years, premiered with the Arts Club Theatre in 2013.  The World Afloat – Miniatures, a collection of very short fiction, was published by Talonbooks in the spring of 2014 and won the City of Victoria Book Butler Book Prize for that year. A new work of fiction will appear from Talonbooks in 2016.


Non Fiction: Judy Millar -low res web version_cropped

Judy Millar is a Nanaimo-based writer, storyteller and song lyricist. Her humorous essays
appear frequently in Reader’s Digest Canada and elsewhere, and she enjoys telling her tales to appreciative B.C. audiences.  A winner of the John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award, and two-time winner of the Islands Short Fiction Award, she was also a recent finalist in the Mark Twain House & Museum’s 2015 Royal Nonesuch National Humor Contest. She has co-written over 100 published songs for children.

Judy is the author of Beaver Bluff: The Librarian Stories. Visit her at

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