Kingston WritersFest Board of Directors

The Board, Artistic Director and Administrative Coordinator in the KWF office.


Jeanie Sawyer, Chair
A career in post secondary education and non-profit organizations included a role as former VP Academic at St. Lawrence College and Executive Vice President, Junior Achievement of Canada, a national non profit organization. She now works as a consultant with the non-profit sector. Jeanie has extensive experience in organizational assessment, board governance and director training programs, risk management and volunteer management. She has served on a number of boards and was Volunteer Manager of Kingston WritersFest in 2013.

Michael Robinson, Vice-Chair
Owner/operator of Kingston landmark S&R Department Store until the store’s closure in 2009. Michael is a past board member of the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Association, and recipient of The Len Dover Award from Downtown Kingston. He has been inducted into the Kingston Business Hall of Fame. Michael is on the board of University Hospital Kingston Foundation, and serves on two committees with the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area.

Larry Scanlan, Secretary
Author, Journalist
The author or co-author of eighteen books, including The Man Who Listens to Horses (which spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list and was internationally published) and A Year of Living Generously (chosen as a Globe and Mail Best 100 book in 2010), Larry is also an accomplished journalist whose work has garnered three National Magazine Awards.

Sadaf Ghoreshy, Treasurer
Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant
Sadaf is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant), and is the Corporate Treasurer at Homestead Land Holdings Limited.  Sadaf has worked with a wide variety of not-for- profit organizations and charities.  She was the Chair of the KPMG Easter Seals Beach Volleyball Tournament from 2010 to 2015, fundraising for Easter Seals Ontario, and in 2012 earned the Easter Seals Ontario Service Award.

Billyann Balay, Director
Billyann was a dancer, teacher and director before joining the Ontario Arts Council in 1991 as Dance Officer. She was then Director of Granting Programs for 11 years. When she retired in 2013, she and her husband were delighted to make Kingston their home. Billyann also serves on the Kingston Arts Council board and on the Community Engagement Committee of the Tett Centre for Learning and Creativity.

Judith Brown, Director
Judith is a dedicated, dynamic, innovative and fun-loving teacher with 30+ years of experience in numerous roles. Judith has worked as an Employment Equity Committee Coordinator, and has been active in numerous committees and community initiatives. She is the co-founder and current Director of the Afro-Caribe Community of Kingston, President of Probus Frontenac, President of the Afro-Caribe Community Foundation, and a Board Member of Kingston Frontenac Public Library.

Zoë Harris, Director
Marketing Communications
Zoë was educated in English Literature at Queens University and is currently pursuing her graduate degree at St. Lawrence college in Interactive Marketing Communications. A passion for the arts brought her to teach at 4cats studio and she spends her evenings as a craft beer specialist at the Brooklyn. In her spare time, she stage-manages for local play companies.

Barbara BellBarbara Bell
Artistic Director, Kingston WritersFest
Non-voting Board member
Barbara has extensive experience in programming, event planning and production, including several years as Events Coordinator with Chapters Bookstore. She has produced numerous stage plays and several independent short films. She is also an award-winning actor and playwright, and for two seasons programmed, produced and hosted a monthly television book club–Page Turners–for TVCogeco.

Make a Difference in the Literary Arts

Kingston WritersFest is inviting nominations for its Board of Directors and Committees.

Kingston WritersFest, a charitable cultural organization, brings the best of contemporary writers to Kingston to interact with audiences and other artists for mutual inspiration, education, and the exchange of ideas that literature provokes.

Our Vision is to be the organization in our community that celebrates the power of the written word by connecting writers and readers in conversations that inspire, engage, and change our worldview.

We’re seeking 4 new members for our Board of Directors and ad hoc standing committees, particularly with skills and experience in fund development, marketing, and board governance.

Want to join us? Find out more: Contact Jeanie Saywer, Board Chair, at