Natalie Kononenko

NATALIE KONONENKO was Professor and Kule Chair in Ukrainian Ethnography at the University of Alberta until her retirement in 2019. She holds degrees from Radcliffe College and Harvard University. Prior to coming to the University of Alberta, Kononenko taught at the University of Virginia and served as Assistant Dean and Department Chair. Kononenko has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Canada, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. She was awarded the Marius Barbeau Medal for her contributions to Canadian folklore scholarship. Her publications include Slavic Folklore: A Handbook, Ukrainian Minstrels: And the Blind Shall Sing, winner of the Kovaliv and the American Association for Ukrainian Studies best book awards, and Ukrainian Epic and Historical Song: Folklore in Context, winner of the Barbara Heldt translation prize. Kononenko served as editor of the journal Folklorica and has edited books, and written book chapters and numerous articles. Her interests extend beyond folklore into the realm of digital technologies and the presentation of ethnographic data online.

Kononenko was part of the Sanctuary Project. This 10-year effort was the most thorough documentation of Ukrainian sacral culture in Canada. Her role in this project was to conduct interviews about ritual practice: weddings, baptisms, funerals and the rites of the calendar year, especially Christmas and Easter. It is these interviews that provide the material for her book, Ukrainian Ritual on the Prairies: Growing a Ukrainian-Canadian Identity. The goal of this book is to provide information about the many Ukrainians in rural Canada, a population that is often overlooked despite its importance to the country. Kononenko’s work gives voice to people who often go unnoticed, yet are supremely important both to Canada and to the preservation and growth of Ukrainian identity. Ukrainian Canadians on the prairies do not simply preserve their Ukrainian culture; they creatively develop it to suit their lived circumstances, thereby promoting Ukrainian heritage to their children and their non-Ukrainian neighbors.


Myrna Kostash

MYRNA KOSTASH is author of the classic All of Baba’s Children, and of the award-winning Bloodlines: A Journey into Eastern Europe, The Frog lake Reader and Prodigal Daughter: A Journey to Byzantium.  In 2016 she published The Seven Oaks Reader, and most recently in 2022, Ghosts in a Photograph: A Chronicle. Her essays, articles, and creative nonfiction have been widely anthologized. She has been a frequent lecturer at home and abroad and instructor of creative writing as well as writer-in-residence in Canada and the US.

She is a recipient of the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen award for a Life of Writing, and is an inductee in the City of Edmonton’s Arts and Culture Hall of Fame. There’s even a Kostash Boulevard named for her in southwest Edmonton (she would have preferred an alleyway off 118 avenue.)  She is active with the Edmonton-based Indigenous Ukrainian Relationship Initiative, and volunteers with the Mission Outreach Committee of the Ukrainian Orthodox Parish of St Elia (UOCC) and is a member of the Board of St John’s Institute in Edmonton. She also volunteers with the Creative Nonfiction Collective of Canada and is a life member of The Writers Union of Canada. Kostash is the subject of the documentary, Myrna Kostash: Here (2023), part of the series Local Narratives: The Lives, Legacies, and Locales of Edmonton’s Ukrainian Canadian Community, a research project of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre at MacEwan University.


Adrian Lysenko

ADRIAN LYSENKO is the author of Five Stalks of Grain, a graphic novel illustrated by Ivanka Theodosia Galadza that tells a story of tragedy and survival during the Holodomor, the terror-famine that claimed millions of lives in Soviet Ukraine. In his more than 10 years as a journalist, he’s worked in Ontario, Alaska, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. In 2021, Adrian won the Taras Shevchenko Foundation’s 2021 Emerging Writers Short Prose Competition. He’s currently on paternity leave from his duties as the editor of the arts and culture alternative The Walleye Magazine. Adrian lives outside Thunder Bay, Ontario.





Ivanka Galadza

IVANKA THEODOSIA GALADZA is an illustrator living in Ottawa. She completed her BFA in Printmaking at Concordia University in Montréal. Ivanka’s recent work includes illustrations for Project Sunflower Ukraine, an initiative that raised funds for victims of war in Ukraine. Five Stalks of Grain is her first full-length graphic novel. More of her work can be found at








Barbara Joan Scott

BARBARA JOAN SCOTT is a descendant of Saskatchewan homesteaders who immigrated to Canada from Ukraine in the early 20th century. Scott’s grandfather arrived in 1924 as a young man. They homesteaded in Saskatchewan for the early years of their marriage and raised three daughters, of whom Scott’s mother was the eldest.

Scott’s first book, The Quick, won the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Book Prize, and the WGA Howard O’Hagan Award for Best Collection of Short Fiction. She has a BA and MA in English Literature, and for many years taught and edited creative writing. In 2015 received the Lois Hole Award for Editorial Excellence. Her first novel, The Taste of Hunger, published by Freehand Books in 2022, won a bronze medal for the Western Canada region from the Independent Book Publishers Awards, and was shortlisted for Trade Book of the Year by the Alberta Book Publishers Association. In his review for the Miramichi Reader, Ian Colford says: “Barbara Joan Scott tells a story filled with fierce passion, wayward desire and thwarted dreams…. The Taste of Hunger also provides a compulsive read and leaves us pondering the darkness that resides in every human heart.” The Taste of Hunger was a Quill and Quire book of the year for 2022.


Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

MARSHA FORCHUK SKRYPUCH is the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of twenty-five books for young people. Her books are published in many editions and languages worldwide. Her career spans several decades, and she has broken barriers for other writers by tackling the kinds of subjects that others find daunting. For example, she wrote the first commercially published works of literature on WWI internment (Silver Threads, 1996) and the Holodomor. (Enough, 2000). Her hugely popular six novel set on WWII (Making Bombs for Hitler trilogy plus Don’t Tell the Nazis trilogy) cover a range of Ukrainian experiences never seen in popular literature before, including Ukrainians enslaved under Nazi rule, the Lebensborn program, Soviet atrocities, the UPA, Babyn Yar, Soviet repatriation, and Jewish-Ukrainian relations.

In addition to her Ukrainian-themed work, Marsha is considered an honorary Armenian for her ground-breaking trilogy of young adult novels set during the Armenian Genocide (Daughter of War trilogy) and her two illustrated chapter books (Aram’s Choice, Call Me Aram) about the first 50 Georgetown Boys, Armenian orphans rescued by Canada in 1923.

Marsha also authored four works of narrative non-fiction with Vietnamese Canadians who were young refugees of the Vietnam war. Her 2016 picture book, Adrift at Sea, written with Tuan Ho, was the first picture book to be published that showed the perspective of a Vietnamese child escaping by boat.

Marsha’s books have received more than a hundred award nominations. Her books have won awards internationally, nationally, and provincially. Stolen Girl was the inaugural winner of the Crystal Kite Award for the Americas, awarded by her peers. She won the TD Children’s BookCentre Bilson Award for Historical Fiction once and has been shortlisted numerous times. She has been a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, and a White Raven. And in 2008, President Yushchenko honoured her with the Order of Princess Olha. She has won the following provincial readers’ choice awards: BC Red Cedar Award (x2), the Saskatchewan Willow Award, the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award, the Ontario Silver Birch Award (x2), the Ontario Yellow Cedar Award, the Ontario Golden Oak Award. Her books are frequently selected as Best of the Year by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.


Andrew Stobo Sniderman

ANDREW STOBO SNIDERMAN is a writer, lawyer and Rhodes Scholar from Montreal. He has written for the New York Times, the Globe and Mail and Maclean’s. He has also argued before the Supreme Court of Canada, served as the human rights policy advisor to the Canadian minister of foreign affairs, and worked for a judge of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.








Douglas Sanderson

DOUGLAS SANDERSON (AMO BINASHII) is Beaver Clan, from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. He is a Fulbright Scholar, and holds the Prichard Wilson Chair in Law and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. Professor Sanderson has served as senior Advisor to the government of Ontario, in the offices of the Attorney General and Aboriginal Affairs.