DIANA HAYES was born in 1955 in Toronto and has lived on both coasts of Canada. She studied at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, receiving a BA and an MFA in Creative Writing. She has six published books, her most recent being This is the Moon’s Work: New and Selected Poems. Her narrative photography has been featured in galleries in coastal BC and commissioned for book covers. Her practice of year-round ocean swimming inspired the formation of the Salt Spring Seals in 2002. She lives on Salt Spring Island, home since 1981, with her husband Peter, ginger cat, and myriad water birds and raptors on five forested acres near Little Stevens Lake.
BETSY McGREGOR is a passionate champion of women in politics. Betsy ran for nomination three times and Parliament twice, learning lessons on timing, strategy, and skills, which she shares in running campaign schools, nomination races, and leadership workshops. She spent sixteen years crafting public policy on science, ethics, and gender, including fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Kennedy School. She then entered politics to have a direct impact on issues at the decision table. A member of three women’s leadership boards, Betsy wrote Women on the Ballot to equip, empower, and inspire women by telling her story and the story of over 90 women trailblazers. The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, Canada’s only woman prime minister, has called Betsy “a truly strong role model and an inspiring mentor for future young women leaders.” She lives on Clear Lake in the Kawarthas.
DAVID BOOTH spent most of his career working with — and inspiring — teachers to establish best practices in helping children learn to read and write. As a classroom teacher, consultant, speaker, and writer, he delighted thousands with his energy, enthusiasm, and commitment. He travelled tirelessly delivering speeches and workshops and appeared on countless television and radio programs. He was a champion of literacy for all people — especially children — and he worked with thousands of teachers and students across Canada and around the world to share his passion for reading, writing, and communication.
An icon in the world of education, David was a deeply respected professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, where he was Professor Emeritus and Coordinator of the Pre-Service Program. David held teachers in high regard; Willa’s House was inspired by Willa Pauli, a teacher and friend he greatly admired for her steadfastness, dedication, and advocacy on behalf of her students. David used Willa’s house as his metaphor for life in a small Canadian town: while Canada is growing and changing, somehow little seems to change in small towns. Willa’s House celebrates a life well lived and shows the importance of home and place.
GEORGIA HEARD is a poet, writer, and educator. She received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. She is one of the founders of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Columbia University, where she was an adjunct professor and a staff developer in NYC schools. She has published dozens of books on poetry and writing, along with several children’s poetry books, and her poems have been widely anthologized in magazines and books. She has also served on the committee for the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She gives workshops and keynotes at conferences in the US and around the world. She lives in South Florida with her husband and son.