The Whistler Independent Book Awards 2021 Judges

Ava HomaFinalists’ Judge for Fiction

Critically-acclaimed author of Daughters of Smoke and Fire (HarperCollins, 2020), Ava Homa is an activist and a journalist. She holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Windsor. Her collection of short stories, Echoes from the Other Land, was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Prize, and she is the inaugural recipient of the PEN Canada-Humber College Writers-In-Exile Scholarship. You can connect with her at

Darcie Friesen HossackFinalists’ Judge for Fiction

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and, for eleven years, wrote food memoir for various western Canadian newspapers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the 2011 Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize and the 2012 OLA Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. She is at work on the second draft of a novel, Strange Fruit, which marries Seventh-day Adventists into the Mennonite homescapes for which she’s already known.

JJ LeeFinalists’ Judge for Non-fiction

JJ Lee is a well-known author, journalist and broadcaster. In 2014, he hosted the CBC radio show, Head to Toe (now available in podcast). His fashion and personal essays are published in ELLE Canada. His memoir piece, “ELLE First: You are beautiful”, tied for Gold at the 2011 National Magazine Award for Best Short Feature. His debut book, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the BC Book Prize Huber Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. It was longlisted for the 2018 Canada Reads.

Eve LazarusFinalists’ Judge for Non-fiction

Eve Lazarus is a reporter, author and true crime podcaster. Her passion for non-traditional history has led to nine books including the BC bestsellers Murder by Milkshake; Blood, Sweat, and Fear; Cold Case Vancouver and Sensational Vancouver. Eve’s latest book is Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City’s Hidden History. She blogs obsessively at Every Place Has a Story