Aara Macauley (Artistic Director)
B.A.H, M.A. Queen’s University
Aara has been involved with Kingston WritersFest in various capacities since 2011 – from a patron, to archivist to box office coordinator. In 2014, she joined the staff in an administrative role, becoming Operations Manager in 2017, and, in December 2020, Artistic Director. For four years she owned and operated a boutique selling primarily local, Canadian, and independently created art, clothing, and jewelry. Aara has been involved in the fundraising, event planning, and promotion committees for various local cabaret, film, and arts festivals. She is a proud member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and served as Chairperson on the Reelout Arts Project Board of Directors for 8 years. She currently sits on the City of Kingston Arts Advisory Committee, the Art in Public Places Working Group, chairs the Poet Laureate Working Group, and was a founding member of the steering committee for the Canadian Association of Literary Festivals. Aara’s goal is to champion greater access to and awareness of our community’s diversity through the arts.
Jennifer Stefanopoulos (Operations Manager)
Jennifer has a B.A.H in English Literature from Concordia University and an M.B.A. from the University of Toronto. She is passionate about the literary industry and has over 5 years’ professional experience in operations and customer success for not-for-profits. She has volunteered for multiple organizations in the past, including TIFF & Word on the Street since 2015. An avid reader in her free time, she also enjoys travelling and has lived in Colombia and the UK.
Tricia Knowles (Director of Marketing)
As an arts promoter and cultural curator, Tricia has a passion for creative placemaking and for crafting interactive, immersive events which inspire residents to be part of the change they want to see in their community. She holds a certificate in Cultural Planning and Development from UBC and a diploma in Radio and Television Arts (Broadcast Journalism) from NSCC.
Tricia has more than 20 years of experience in media, marketing, and promotions working with Radio and Television and on several festivals such as Skeleton Park Arts Festival, Kick & Push Theatre Festival, and Wavelength Music’s Summer and Winter festivals in Toronto. She is currently the Marketing & Communications Manager for PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver in addition to her role as Marketing Director with Kingston WritersFest.
Amanda di Vito (Volunteer Manager)
Yume Wu (Administrative Assistant)
Yume Wu is a student and educator. They hold a B.A.H in English literature and French studies from Queen’s University, and is working their way to completing a B.Ed and OCT certification. Yume has volunteered for charities and event hosting in the past. They are particularly passionate about mental health and disability advocacy, and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. In their spare time Yume teaches music and visual art, and especially loves writing comic books, tabletop games, and animation.
Eric Irwin (Advertising Sales Agent)
Eric is a marketer from Stouffville, Ontario who came to Kingston to study in 2013 and fell in love with the city after attending both Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College. Previously he has worked with local not-for-profits and businesses such as The Spire as well as Braveburn Crafted Goods. Passionate about all forms of storytelling and community he is excited for the opportunity to work with this amazing group.
Our Community Liasons
Oscar Malan (Festival Bookseller)
Oscar is the owner of Kingston, Ontario’s celebrated independent bookstore, Novel Idea. He was granted Honourary Membership in the League of Canadian Poets in 2012.
Kimberly Sutherland Mills (Library Liaison)
Kimberly is the Manager of Programming and Outreach at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library. A graduate of the Master of Library of Information Science program at Western University, Kimberly has more than 20 years of program and special event experience, and has served as a juror for both the Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Book Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction. This is her second year as liaison with Kingston WritersFest.