Staff - SaskBooksSaskBooks
Brenda Niskala

Brenda Niskala

Executive Director

Brenda is a poet, fiction writer and an arts administrator. Brenda is one of the Co-Executive Directors for SaskBooks, and is active with the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, the Association of Creative Industries of Saskatchewan, writing group(s), and an untold number of other activities in the community and abroad.

In previous lives, she’s been employed as a crisis counselor, bush plane lawyer, writer-in-residence and as a branch representative for ACTRA.

In 1998 she toured across Canada, from Fredericton to Nanaimo, with four other poets and their co-authored collection, Open 24 Hours (1997, Broken Jaw Press). Her book of poetry, Ambergris Moon (Thistledown Press), came out in 1983. Brenda’s work has been published in several anthologies: Lodestone (Fifth House), Sky High (Coteau), Dancing Visions (Thistledown), Heading Out (Coteau), Bridges 4 (Prentice-Hall), What is Already Known (Thistledown), in chapbooks, and in numerous magazines. Brenda has recently released a novella, Of All The Ways to Die (Quattro Books), and a collection of short fiction, For the Love of Strangers (Coteau Books), which was selected as one of the Canada Bookshelf books on CBC Radio in 2011. Her most recent (and hand-bound!) book of poetry, How To Be A River was published by Wild Sage Press in 2012. Brenda is currently working on a book about pirates, or physics, or pirate physicists. It’s very complicated.

She has served on the editorial boards of Grain, Briarpatch, and NeWest Review magazines, as well as Coteau Books, the executive of the League of Canadian Poets and the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. Brenda represented writers on the Canadian Reprography Collective (CanCopy), the Minister’s Advisory Committee for the Status of the Artist in Saskatchewan, the Film/Video Professional Development Co-ordinating Committee and the Regina Arts Commission. She taught Creative Writing for the University of Regina Extension Department, and Sage Hill Writing Experience and presented hundreds of readings and workshops in schools and libraries throughout the province over the last twenty years. She was the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Electronic Writer in Residence in 1994 and 1995, but hardly beeps at all anymore. Sometimes Brenda seems to be best at hoarding all the pens and pencils in the office.


Jillian Bell

Marketing and Finance

Jillian is SaskBooks’ Director of Marketing and is its financial officer. She also stick-handles technical requirements for the association, and social media connections. She is the editor of SaskBooks’ catalogue, and does the creative and much of the design work for print and online advertising.

Jillian is a writer and freelance editor who has been working with SaskBooks since 2001. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and completed an advanced certification in Linguistics. She is currently working toward professional certification as an editor. Jillian has worked as a farm hand, a ranch hand, a nurse’s aid, a technical writer, writing and developing software and hardware documentation, as a freelance editor, a music teacher, an English tutor, and for several non-profit organisations. She has done a little bit of very many different kinds of things.

Jillian was the host of the “Bookchick” radio programme on 91.3FM since the station’s first broadcast day in November of 2001 until June of 2010. Jillian serves on the board of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, and worked on the board of the Saskatchewan Book Awards for seven years. She has been an active board member of her regional Library board, Radius Communications, Wascana Daycare Co-operative, and the Flatland Regional Association of Gamers. Jillian has had poetry published in A Gift of the Prairie (Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre), and has had poetry and fiction published in other collections. Her non-fiction has been published in “Freelance”, and she has had several articles published in regional newspapers. An interesting but little-known fact about “the Bookchick” is that she wishes she had a vestigial tail.

In the seventh grade, Jillian won a writing contest and attended a writing workshop held at the local high school. One of the presenters at that workshop was none other than Brenda Niskala.

Captain Daniel Parr

Programs and Services Pirate

Daniel is a graduate of the University of Regina, and he arrived on our doorstep in a three-piece black suit, with a book in his pocket. How could we say no?

Since 2008, Daniel has been an indispensable addition to the team. He began his Internship doing research for the Saskatchewan Book Archive Database, and he conducted a Programs Survey for our members. After working with Daniel, it became obvious that he was such a welcome addition to the SaskBooks team that we could not bear to let him go. Thus were we blessed with the new Programs and Services Pirate. Er. Officer. His experience working at Chapters/Indigo shows in the changing rotation of books on permanent display at our office, and at book displays. As the manager of the Weekly Book Picks Program, Daniel makes sure our reviewers’ eyes are crossed and commas aren’t spliced, and he makes sure all the latest books published in the province are reviewed and submitted to teachers, librarians, weekly newspapers, other media, and to the people who sign up to receive book reviews each month. One more thing – Captain Dan is the editor of [email protected], our bi-weekly membership newsletter, so if you have good news in publishing, send it his way!

Whether it is at book tables at one of our many displays throughout the province (or across Canada), at the office answering publishers’ questions, or making sure the Database is up to date, Daniel is an enthusiastic, professional, approachable fellow.

Once, Daniel commandeered a ship in full-blown mutiny through the turgid waters off the Rock of Gibraltar. Tragically, the spoils were lost after a night of playing ‘knuckles’ to settle the question of where to moor.