Jillian is SaskBooks’ Executive Director. She began her time with SaskBooks as the Marketing and Technology Intern, and was, before Brenda Niskala’s retirement in 2020, Director of Marketing and financial officer. Jillian still stick-handles technical requirements for the association, 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 completed her University education in English and Linguistics, with follow-up courses in structural grammar, database design and administration, and other nerdy things as they come along. She is currently working toward certification as a professional editor and does provide freelance editing and publishing consultation. 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 2011. Jillian serves on the board of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, her local school community council, 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. She is an avid gamer and has produced a number of modules for tabletop and live action roleplaying games, in addition to her work as an editor, consultant, and playtester in the gaming industry.
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 – Daniel is the Captain of SaskBooks’ Display program and he is our Reviews editor and the editor of [email protected], our bi-weekly membership newsletter, so if you have good news in publishing, send it his way!
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.
Emily is the Communications Officer for SaskBooks, which is the professional way of saying that she talks the most out of everyone in the office. If you’ve ever had a fifteen-minute conversation when you were just planning on a quick phone call, or heard someone ask a suspiciously specific question while you were visiting, there’s a good chance that was Emily.
Emily graduated from the University of Regina with a degree in Linguistics, focusing on Indigenous languages, and dabbled in poetry seminars on the side. She started with SaskBooks as an Intern, organising Book Week, and she liked it so much that she kept asking for other things to do. Fortunately, SaskBooks hasn’t stopped indulging her. Emily helps with the Crossing Borders research project, Professional Development sessions, the Teach Saskatchewan catalogue, and whatever else slides across her desk.
In the past, Emily has worked at Chapters/Indigo and the Saskatchewan Book Awards, and is about to start her tenure on the SBA board. She’s volunteered for the Canadian Linguistics Association, tutored undergrad students, and run creative writing workshops. Her skill set includes getting excited about Saskatchewan books and personifying all the office electronics.
Recently Retired Executive Director
Brenda is a poet, fiction writer, arts administrator, and mentor. Brenda was the Executive Director for SaskBooks for more than 27 years, and is active with the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, the Association of Creative Industries of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Book Awards, Sage Hill Writing Experience, 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 counsellor, 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 Riverwas 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.
Brenda retired from SaskBooks in March 2020.
Harriet is the office photocopier/scanner/fax machine/collator and stapler. She began her tenure with SaskBooks in 2017, replacing Printcess, who served the organisation well for more than ten years. Harriet is a diligent and cooperative member of the SaskBooks staff.