The Canadian Book Club Awards Advisory Board

Kristain Oliveira-Barnes
CBCA Program Director | Manager, Campaign Services, Rakuten Kobo
With a strong background in campaign services, Kristain brings invaluable experience in digital marketing and a deep understanding of the publishing industry.

Megan Williams
CEO, The Self Publishing Agency
As the CEO of the Forbes featured publishing house, The Self Publishing Agency, Megan has extensive expertise in supporting independent authors and navigating the self-publishing landscape.

Nathan Maharaj
Director, Content Marketing, Rakuten Kobo
Nathan’s proficiency in content marketing and dedication to promoting literary works will significantly enhance the CBCA’s outreach efforts.

Ariel Hudnall
Managing Director, ZG Stories / Festival Marketing Director, Vancouver Writers Fest
Ariel’s dual roles in managing ZG Stories and directing marketing for the Vancouver Writers Fest position her to provide CBCA with literary award insights.

Nicole Magas
Publicist, ZG Stories
Nicole’s public relations acumen in the publishing industry will be vital in maximizing the timing and pacing of communication and outreach throughout the award season.

Katie Bieksa
Educator / Award-Winning Author of the National Bestseller, Newport Jane (2022) & Cedar (2023)
Katie’s extensive board experience brings fundraising, sponsorship experience at an executive level

Anna Solnickova
CPA, CGA / Fractional CFO / Executive Officer, Terry Fox Foundation
Anna’s financial expertise and executive experience will support the CBCA’s efforts in financial growth and organizational sustainability.

Bill Morrison
Bestselling Author of Lions in the Grass: A Marketing Insider’s Guide to Mass Persuasion (2020) / Newterra Marketing
Bill’s knowledge in marketing and mass persuasion will enhance the CBCA’s large-scale strategic marketing initiatives

Jody Holford (also known as Sophie Sullivan)
Award-Winning Author of A Convenient Christmas (2021), Lessons in Love (2022), How to Love Your Neighbor (2023), and Ten Rules for Faking It (2022)
Jody’s successful career as a prolific author brings an invaluable outlook into what authors experience in the publishing industry

Ira Vergani
Operations Officer, The Self Publishing Agency
Ira’s background in law and operational insights in the publishing sector will be instrumental in enhancing the CBCA’s strategic initiatives.

Devora Winston
National Retail Promotions, Starbucks
Devora’s expertise in brand development and cultural campaigns will provide a fresh perspective on enhancing CBCA’s national presence and impact with readers and authors.

Statement from the Board

Traditionally, literary awards focus on specific genres and are judged by a select panel of personalities. While these awards add great value by acknowledging significant literary works, they can limit opportunities for diverse genres and authors.

As Canada’s largest readers’ choice award, The Canadian Book Club Awards addresses this industry oversight by ensuring the judges are “everyday” readers. This democratized process reflects the true preferences and interests of Canadian readers.

The goals of the CBCA Advisory Board are:

  1. Expand Literary Recognition:
    • Broaden the scope of recognition across all genres and publishing platforms, ensuring inclusivity and representation through a diverse range of voices.
  2. Engage Canadian Readers:
    • Leverage expertise from all corners of the publishing industry to engage readers and celebrate the full spectrum of literary contributions, highlighting the rich diversity and creativity of Canadian literature.
  3. Promote Inclusivity:
    • Ensure all deserving books and authors, regardless of their publishing background—whether from large publishing houses, small presses, or independent authors—have the opportunity to be recognized and celebrated for their contributions to written works in Canada.
  4. Support the Literary Community:
    • Play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the awards, continuing to honour and support the vibrant Canadian literary community.

The CBCA is confident that the new advisory board will significantly impact the awards, fostering a more inclusive and representative literary landscape in Canada.