5 Canadian emerging writers named Writers' Trust 2022 Rising Stars 

Vanessa Bell, Wendy Bone, Xaiver Michael Campbell, Joseph Kakwinokanasum & Téa Mutonji are this year's cohort

Posted: February 23, 2022
Last Updated: February 23, 2022

This year's 2022 WT Rising Stars from left: Vanessa Bell, Wendy Bone, Xaiver Michael Campbell, Joseph Kakwinokanasum and Téa Mutonji. (Submitted by Writers' Trust)

Vanessa Bell, Wendy Bone, Xaiver Michael Campbell, Joseph Kakwinokanasum and Téa Mutonji are the 2022 Writers' Trust of Canada's Rising Stars.

Launched in 2019, the Rising Stars program is a career development initiative for early-career Canadian writers. Each year, five exceptional emerging authors are selected and mentored by prominent Canadian authors.

The recipients will also participate in a series of career development events and a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre of Arts and Creativity.


The Banff Centre is a partner of the CBC Literary Prizes.

Vanessa Bell is a poet and artist from Quebec City whose work includes a debut collection of poetry, De rivières, published by La Peuplade in 2019. She co-edited l'Anthologie de la poésie actuelle des femmes au Québec 2000-2020 and MONUMENTS and won the 2021 Félix-Antoine-Savard Prize.

Bell was selected by Nicole Brossard, Montreal poet, officer of the Order of Canada and two-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award. 

"Bell's debut collection, De rivières, offers a brilliant and moving new path of reading l'intime — the intimate personal narrative of values, ideas, affection and vision," Brossard said in a press statement.

Wendy Bone was selected by J.B. MacKinnon. Bone is a nonfiction writer of Cree-Métis and Scottish heritage who specializes in literary journalism about the environment and human rights. Her most recent work includes an investigation into crimes committed against Myanmar's Rohingya minority for The Investigative Journal and a piece on land grabs of Indigenous Orang Rimba territory in Indonesia for The Fiddlehead.

Her fiction has appeared in the anthologies Bawaajigan: Stories of Power and Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change.


"Like all the best nonfiction, Wendy Bone's writing positively thrums with a soulful engagement with reality," said MacKinnon, Vancouver journalist and author, in a statement. 

Xaiver Michael Campbell is a Jamaican Canadian writer based in St. John's. His work has appeared in The Malahat Review, Riddle Fence, and in the anthology Us, Now published by Breakwater Books.

Campbell was selected by acclaimed novelist and short fiction Lisa Moore, author of books like FebruaryCaught and Something for Everyone.

"His writing is sensuous, daring, and sometimes wildly erotic — full of wry humour, unexpected insights, tightrope tension, different kinds of families, rambunctious joy, exclusion and belonging," Moore said in a statement. 

Joseph Kakwinokanasum is a member of James Smith Cree Nation. 

Kakwinokanasum's work has been published in the 2022 anthology Resonance: Essays on the Craft and Life of Writing by Anvil Press, the Humber Literary Journal, and Emerge, The Writer's Studio anthology. He was on the shortlist for the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize and his manuscript Woodland Creetures was awarded the 2014 Canada Council for the Arts Creation Grant for Aboriginal Peoples, Writers and Storytellers.


Kakwinokanasum was selected by memoirist Darrel J. McLeod, author of the Governor General's Literary Award winner Mamaskatch and its follow-up Peyakow.

"Joseph Kakwinokanasum's writing is deliberate and skillful, magical and meticulously raw. In a lyrical style that is both intimate and hypnotic, Kakwinokanasum breathes life into his characters at their first mention," Darrel J. McLeod said in a statement.  

Téa Mutonji's debut collection of short stories, Shut Up, You're Pretty, was published by VS. Books/Arsenal Pulp Press in 2019. Born in Congo-Kinshasa and raised in Scarborough, Ont., the writer was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and won the Edmund White Award and Trillium Book Award. CBC Books named Mutonji a writer to watch in 2020

Mutonji was selected by Toronto novelist André Alexis, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2015 and Canada Reads in 2017.

"What I admired most when I read Mutonji's Shut Up, You're Pretty was the subtlety of detail, the way power and longing are related, and the extraordinary control of her language. I feel honoured to be able to read her next work before anyone else and I look forward to learning from her," Alexis said in a statement.

The five recipients participated in a virtual live discussion on Feb. 23 hosted by Canadian author Eddy Boudel Tan, a previous program participant.

The 2022 cohort expressed their gratitude in being selected and how the program will help with their career goals.

The Writers' Trust of Canada was founded in 1976 by Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, Graeme Gibson, Margaret Laurence and David Young. The organization gave out more than $970,000 to support Canadian writers in 2020.