Aara Macauley (Artistic Director)

Aara has a B.A.H in Classical Studies and an M.A. in Latin Literature from Queen’s University. She 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 past Chairperson on the Reelout Arts Project Board of Directors​, where she served for 8 years,​ and champions 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.

Claire O’Connor (Administrative Assistant)

Claire is a Kingston local studying computer science and sociology at McGill university. She has found herself working for nonprofits in a number of roles, ranging from finance to childcare. She enjoys reading, writing, painting, and riding her bicycle.

Our Festival Team

Knowles, Tricia

Tricia Knowles (Director of Marketing)

Tricia is an artistic producer, arts promoter, and freelance writer. Tricia creates events that encourage sustainable development of the arts and culture with a passion for interactive, immersive events that inspire residents to re-examine their relationship to the land and to each other; to be part of the change they want to see in their community. Tricia is also a promotions and marketing professional with 20 years of experience working in media including on-air radio positions with many prominent broadcasters for 14 years. She has sat on various city working groups and holds a certificate in Cultural Planning and Development from UBC.

Y.S. (Ying) Lee

Ying Lee (Education Manager)

Ying was born in Singapore, raised in Vancouver and Toronto, and lived for a spell in England. She is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. Ying earned a Ph.D. in Victorian literature and culture from Queen’s University.


Moira Demorest (Volunteer Manager)

Moira is a musician, concert promoter, event organizer, and educator. As an event facilitator, Moira has worked with the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, Wolfe Island Music Festival, and JUNOFest, and co-operates a local concert production company, KPP Concerts.
A passionate musician and educator, Moira co-funded the RAD (Renaissance Artistic Development) for inspiring young musicians. Moira continues to produce and perform local theatre with various volunteer organizations.


Amanda Di Vito (Box Office Services Manager)

Amanda is a Toronto native but moved to Kingston as a teen. She started with the festival as a volunteer in 2012 and has been excitedly coming back every year since. She has over 10 years of customer service and cash handling experience in various jobs in retail and working with children. An extremely avid reader, Amanda used to like to hold books (usually upside down) before she could even read because liked to imagine that she already knew how.


Jeremy St-Onge (Assistant Box Office Manager)

Jeremy wasted his youth daydreaming, watching cartoons, reading books and playing with toys. Today, he calls that career research. With an education in film and a specialization in Children’s Media, Jeremy has spent most of his adult life working on, thinking about or writing children’s television & books. Jeremy has volunteered with a diverse range of organizations including Kingston WritersFest, the Regent Park Film Festival, and the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Professionally, Jeremy has written through his company, Just Ducky, for clients such as CBC Kids, Radical Sheep, and 2D Labs. Jeremy lives and writes in Kingston, along with his wife and adorable cockapoo.


Bill Penner (Production Manager)

Bill has been working in presenting theatre and technical production for more than 35 years; creating events, running venues, and working in both the not-for-profit and the commercial theatre sectors. In 2010 , he acted as Director of Production for Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto before moving back to Kingston to work on planning the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning, a City of Kingston initiative that is now open and very busy. Bill is also involved with Theatre Kingston and The Kick and Push Festival.


Claire O’Connor (Administrative Assistant) 

Claire is about halfway through a B. A. in computer science from McGill university, but has often found herself working for nonprofits and the arts. She can often be found riding her bicycle to the library or daydreaming.

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.