Board Members & Staff

Board Members


Kathryn E. Shoemaker, PhD., is the illustrator of over forty books for children, among them, the recent award winning, critically acclaimed Seeking Refuge by Irene N. Watts.  As well she has illustrated hundreds of educational materials. Shoemaker has experience as a curriculum specialist, filmmaker, fund raiser, and event planner.  For the past fifteen years she has taught children’s literature with a specialty in sequential visual narratives at the University of British Columbia. In the community she has served on boards including the Vancouver Writers Fest, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Volunteer Vancouver and she is active in associations that support children’s literature.


Rob Bittner (PhD) recently completed a SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UBC iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies). He is an active member of a number of literary and library organizations and has served on quite a few awards committees, such as the Newbery Medal, the Michael L. Printz Award, as well as the Sheila Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. His work focuses mainly around LGBTQIA2+ representation in Children’s and YA literature. You can find out more about him at


Jo-Anne Naslund is a retired academic librarian from the University of British Columbia. Her education career involved working as a teacher and teacher-librarian in schools in Alberta, British Columbia, and Melbourne, Australia. Her research passions include support for Canadian culture and literacy, Canadian children’s literature, adolescent reading, school libraries, inquiry and teacher education. She has authored school library publications, a book on Problem Based Learning in Teacher Education and has taught courses in teacher-librarianship at the Universities of Melbourne, Alberta, and British Columbia. Her previous board experience has been as President of the Board for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, and member of Big Sisters Education Advisory Board , Moving Images Distribution, and Society for Excellence in Education and.  She serves as part of review committees for children’s books for the publication Best Books for Kids and participates as a volunteer with the Vancouver Fringe Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, PUSH Festival and Canadian Cancer Society.


Michelle Chang is the VP Finance at Native Shoes, a Vancouver based shoe company making beast free shoes. She has extensive experience with overseeing large accounting and finance teams in growing organizations with experience in construction, P3’s, and private education. Previously, she was a commercial lender and articled to be a Chartered Accountant. She has also sat on the Board of BC Ultimate as Secretary and Vice-President and is on the future leaders committee of St. Paul’s Hospital foundation.

Michelle is an avid ultimate player, balloon animal artist and former dumpling eating champion.

At Large

Rajha Al-Hashmi is a Jordanian-Canadian entrepreneur. In 2007, she co-founded Readers bookshop, Jordan’s first and largest bi-lingual (English/Arabic) bookshop. Rajha directs the management of Readers remotely from her home in Vancouver. Raised in Jordan and educated in the UK, Rajha brings a global perspective to Canada’s literary landscape. An avid reader her whole life, Rajha graduated from SOAS, University of London with a degree in History of Near and Middle East. She has worked in publishing, graphic design, as well as editing and copywriting. Rajha is an active volunteer with the Vancouver branch of Soup Sisters and the BC Heart & Stroke Foundation. Together with her husband she parents three children and a faithful Vizsla.

Tara Borin is a queer settler poet living in traditional Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in territory, Dawson City, Yukon. Their debut poetry collection, The Pit, will be published with Nightwood Editions in March 2021. Tara is a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio online, and is a founding member of Yukon Words Society. You can learn more about Tara and their work at

Noreen Ma is a librarian and a Branch Head at the Vancouver Public Library. She has served on the Red Cedar Book Awards board and is also the BC representative for the Pacific Northwest Library Association’s Young Reader’s Choice Awards. Noreen is a great supporter of local authors and Canadian publishing.

Michael Murphy currently works as the Manager of Alumni Engagement for the Faculty of Education at UBC. He has over 20 years hospitality experience with a strong focus in managing large scale events. He is passionate about learning new ways of thinking and being. Michael considers social justice to be at the core of all of his work and he weaves in issues of Gender, Race, and Sexuality in every area of his life. Michael respectfully acknowledges that he was born and raised on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation (Squamish Nation).

Susan Safyan, BA (SFU), MLS (UBC). She/her. Books are my life. I joined the Board of the BC & Yukon Book Prizes in January 2020, and I’ve also served on the boards of the Editors’ Association of Canada, BC Branch, and the BC Library Association. My first career was as an academic librarian. For ten years I was the in-house editor at Arsenal Pulp Press in Vancouver, where I edited award-winning fiction and non-fiction titles, including anthologies; novels; poetry; cookbooks; graphica and graphic novels; gender, race, and intersectionality studies; history; YA fiction; short stories; memoir; and erotica. I’ve been a freelance editor for a variety of publishers, writers, and organizations across Canada since 2002. In 2012, my local-history book All Roads Lead to Wells was published by Caitlin Press. I currently tweet for The Ormsby Review, BC’s online book review journal.



Don English
Lisa Jean Helps


Executive Director

Sharon Bradley | Get in Touch


Director of Audience Development

Megan Cole | Get in Touch