Laura Blaney Photo

Laura Blaney has worked as a freelance visual researcher for film, television, and new media for the past 20 years. In 2010 Laura co-won the inaugural Gemini Award for Best Visual Research for "Reel Injun". Over the years, Laura has spent many seasons either volunteering or working with a variety of film festivals throughout Toronto, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Sprockets and this year at the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film here in Durham, Ontario. She and her family recently moved from Toronto to the West Grey area and is loving the shift to country living and getting immersed in the vibrant artistic community. She is looking forward to applying her skills and experience gained in film festivals to her new role as coordinator of the Words Aloud festival.

Terry Burns Photo

Terry Burns is a writer, visual artist and arts administrator who was Owen Sound Poet Laureate from 2013-2015. From 2011 to 2013 she was co-ordinator of the Words Aloud Spoken Word and Storytelling Festival and is now pleased to be acting in the capacity of Artistic Director. As Poet Laureate she edited Mix Well: A Poetry Anthology (Ginger Press, 2015), which featured the work of 38 writers from Grey and Bruce counties. Her first full-length book of poetry, the quality of light, was also published by the Ginger Press in 2015. From 2013 to 2015, Terry was also the manager of the SweetWater Music Festival, and prior to that worked in administration for the Durham Art Gallery. She is a member of the Walters Falls Group of Artists and sings with the Paisley Concert Choir.

Tanya Coulter Photo

Tanya Coulter, mother of two lovely children, lives on an organic farm with her husband near Durham with cows, horses, ducks and chickens. She works as one of two Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Program Co-ordinators and assists with the Aboriginal Prenatal Nutrition Program at M’wikwedong Native Cultural Resource Center in Owen Sound. She holds a BA in Literature and Cultural Studies and an MA in Canadian Heritage Development Studies, with special emphasis on Storytelling and Education. She is happy to be involved in organizing the Words Aloud children’s program this year.

Ken Dow Photo

Ken Dow is the Words Aloud Web mechanic and a huge fan of the festival. He is a freelance developer, writer and trainer, the father of two, husband of one, and a Shambhala meditation guide and course leader. When he's not coding, he likes to write and perform music, meditate, run, and wonder what that noise is in the chartreuse 74 VW bus. He's looking forward to another weekend of laughter, insight, connection and tears at the 2017 edition of this amazing event.

Kathryn Edgecome Photo

Kathryn Edgecome is a poet who lives in the country and spends much of her time in her writing cabin. She has published: one full book of poetry, Not the First Waltz (Bear Pond Press), an autobiography in verse; a chapbook, Our Selves (Bear Pond Press), poems about women going over sixty; and a soon to be published chapbook, Draw Me To The Flame, love poems. One of the poems from this last collection won first prize in the Open Heart 10 contest, The Ontario Poetry Society. Kathryn was the people’s choice at the Durham Poetry Salon. Her poems have appeared in a number of literary magazines and poetry anthologies. In 2015 she was short listed for Poet Laureate of Owen Sound, Grey/Bruce. She has read her poetry at many music festivals such as Hillside and Summerfolk; literary festivals such as Words Aloud, Elora Word Fest and Wild For the Arts; and other public and private venues.

Diane Ferguson Photo

Diane Ferguson, the media and marketing specialist with the festival, is an accountant by day, an amateur astronomer by night, and a writer by morning. Having just completed her first novel, she’s come to embody the maxim, writing IS editing. Diane and her husband are raising two girls in the wilds of Grey County and are home to 2 dogs and 5 cats, at last count. Diane has been involved with Words Aloud Spoken Word and Storytelling Festival, under various guises, for the past 8 years.

Sandra Howe Photo

Sandra J. Howe (core committee advisor and festival weekend runner) is a travel and magazine article writer, poet, blogger, wellness practitioner, guide and ecotourism specialist who operates her own business, Walk Light and Strong. Sandra is currently the Superintendent at Saugeen Bluffs, and in 2016 she was Lightkeeper at Cabot Head on the Bruce Peninsula, an automated lighthouse which operates as a tourist attraction, museum, and gift shop run by the Friends of Cabot Head, where she was responsible for overseeing these functions as well as maintenance, public relations, social media and more. Sandra is a founding member of the Huron Poetry Collective, and is published in their chapbooks.

Randy Martin Photo

Randy Martin fine tunes the management of the Words Aloud stage with the eye and hand of a craftsman and the ear of a musician/recording engineer.

Steve Morel Photo

Steve Morel is an actor, musician, playwright, improviser, director and producer with many theatre credits to his name. Words Aloud is pleased to welcome him to its core committee as festival coordinator, where his producing experience for such companies as The Funny Ones, Harry Gadsby Theatricals and The Second City will be a great asset. From 1998 to 2012, Steve also wrote, directed, produced and/or performed in many “industrial” theatre and/or video productions for such corporate clients as Labatt’s, Rogers, BMO/Bank of Montreal, TD/Canada Trust, Royal Bank, Nortel, Hudson's Bay Company, Molson Breweries, Bell Canada, HMV and Pfizer Canada. His performance credits include multiple appearances as half of The Funny Ones (the other half being wife Jenny Parsons) in Grey-Bruce and beyond; a recurring role on the Family Channel’s Wingin’ It; and Toronto theatre roles such as the Groom for a Theatre Passe Muraille production of The Drowsy Chaperone; Sparky in Forever Plaid at The New Yorker; and Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls in the Jane Mallett Theatre. Steve has also been nominated twice for comedy direction awards; once for The Second City and again for the Fringe version of The Drowsy Chaperone.

Jenny Parsons Photo

Jenny Parsons is manager of JEST ARTS of Durham, meeting place of poets who need to relax. She is also an award winning magician; teacher of comedic improv; married to a lover of poetry; and secretly, fancies herself a comic book artiste ordinaire.

Kirk Scott Photo

Kirk Scott has been a news reporter in the Grey Bruce area since 1988, both for CKNX TV and CKNX Radio. That could be considered a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your opinion of news reporters. His life prior to 1988 is a long story, too long for this bio. One salient fact is he was co-owner of a second hand bookstore (The Book Brothers) in London Ontario in the early 80's. During those years, The Book Brothers hosted spoken word gatherings on a regular basis. He took Broadcast Journalism at Fanshawe College. In his final year he was named News Writer of the Year. At the awards ceremony he said this, "I got into this business because of my interest in words and their effect." He has been the Words Aloud official videographer since 2009.