Canada Writes



Geri Hall
Geri Hall

This raspy-voiced redhead is a strong and grounded actor, with a terrific comedic sense.

After a quick rise to the Second City Mainstage, Geri has gone on to perform in countless film and television roles, including Ken Finkelman's At The Hotel, the Miramax feature Shall We Dance starring Richard Gere, and the CBC's Little Mosque on The Prairie and The Mercer Report.

Geri picked up 2 Canadian Comedy Awards for Pretty Funny Female Performer and for Pretty Funny Writing in a Television Show along with the writers and cast of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She has also been nominated for a Gemini Award, along with the rest of the cast, for her work on 22 Minutes, as well as for her role on Global's The Jane Show.

Terry O’Reilly
Terry O’reilly

Co-founded Pirate Radio & Television in 1990, specializing in audio production for radio and television commercials. Pirate grows to a staff of over 50 with 8 recording studios in Toronto and New York City.

Has won a few hundred national and international awards for writing and directing. Hosts sold-out radio seminars. Chosen as one of Canada’s “Most Influential” marketing people in Marketing Magazine’s “Power 100 List.” Named sole Canadian judge for the inaugural year of Radio at the 2005 Cannes Advertising Festival. Named Radio Chair of the International Clio Awards in Miami. Hosts the CBC radio series, “The Age of Persuasion.” Given the Les Usherwood Lifetime Achievement Award by the advertising industry in 2006. Is being inducted into the Marketing Hall of Legends in January 2009.

Has a wonderful wife and three lovely daughters.

Who like some of his work.

Darrell Dennis

Darrell Dennis is best known for his roles in NORTHWOOD, THE REZ, and as the host of BINGO AND A MOVIE. Darrell has had two plays produced (TRICKSTER OF THIRD AVENUE EAST & TALES OF AN URBAN INDIAN) and wrote the short film MOCASSIN FLATS that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. That show went on to become the T.V. series MOCASSIN FLATS, which he also wrote for. Darrell is a two time Dora Award nominee for his play TALES OF AN URBAN INDIAN. This play has recently been produced as a T.V. pilot for the A.P.T.N. NETWORK and a feature film version is currently in development. After two years with the SECOND CITY NATIONAL TOURING COMPANY, Darrell co-founded the comedy troupe TONTO*S NEPHEWS. As a comic Darrell has performed his stand up at gala performances for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival as well as numerous appearances on C.B.C radio and C.B.C. Television. Darrell was recently chosen as one of thirteen people selected throughout the world to participate in the prestigious Sundance Writer*s Lab. He is currently the host of the hit radio series REVISION QUEST for C.B.C. Radio. This Aboriginal myth-busting show premiered on C.B.C. Radio 1 in the spring of 2008.


Roman Danylo
Roman Danylo

Originally from Calgary and now living in Vancouver, Roman has been performing professionally for the past 20 years. He is one of only a handful of comedians to have performed in the prestigious Aspen’s HBO Comedy Festival and Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival in the same year. In Hollywood, he starred in the UPN Series “Off Limits,” and has been featured on NBC’s “Late Friday”. He has appeared in the feature films, “Duets” with Gwyneth Paltrow, and “Happy Birthday” with John Goodman. Roman hosted a talk show pilot produced by fellow Canadian David Steinberg, and appeared in a sketch review show with Martin Short. Roman has appeared as a dramatic actor in television shows like “Jeremiah,” “Outer Limits” and “Sliders”.

Back home Roman recently guest-hosted several episodes of CBC Radio`s “The Debaters” and has appeared or starred in several Canadian TV series, including CTV’s “Corner Gas”; CBC’s “Comics,” “These Arms of Mine” and “Made in Canada”; CTV’s “Comedy Now“ and “The Holmes Show”; The Comedy Network`s “Slightly Bent”; ”Just For Laughs Improv Championships”; and many more. Currently, Roman stars in his own sketch comedy series on CTV and Spike TV called “Comedy Inc.” In 2004, Roman won a Leo Award for his performance in CBC’s “Western Alienation Comedy Hour.” He has also been nominated twice for a Gemini for performance in “Comedy Inc.”

Roman enjoys water sports, raisins and some humans.

Mina Shum
Mina Shum

Award-winning feature filmmaker Mina Shum began taking herself seriously as a writer at the age of fourteen, when she found herself on a one-hour bus commute to high school everyday. In order to pass the time, she started to keep a journal, musing philosophically on everything from The Clash’s incisive lyrics (London Calling: calling who, why? And what if who they’re calling doesn’t return their call?) to copying down one innocent conversation about a cupcake recipe and trying to inject it with existential tension (Bake. Eat. Do it all over again. And again. )

These “early works” led to the creation of three feature films that she’s also directed including Double Happiness. She’s also written articles and lectures, songs and way too many love letters. Recently, she wrote a damning letter of complaint to a parking corporation for unjustly towing her car. The manager of complaints is now undergoing therapy and rethinking his entire life’s purpose.

Mina Shum is currently getting her next feature film ready for production.

John Mann
Roman Danylo

I am currently, and have been for 26 years, the lead singer and co-writer for Spirit of the West. The band has been my home, family, creative outlet and travel companion through the UK, USA, Canada and Europe. (You can visit us at

I have two solo albums. Acoustic Kitty came out in 2001 under the name John Mann on the Nettwerk label and December Looms came out in December 2006 under the name Mister Mann. Many of my favourite songs and albums feature individuals singing solo with an acoustic guitar or little accompaniment. Bright Eyes, The Decembrists, Eef Barzelay, Wilco. The songs they sing with the least clutter are often their most immediate songs to me. December Looms, my new record, is getting me naked.

I am also an actor. I studied at Studio 58 in Vancouver in the early 80*s, gave up the thought of it when I joined the band and then dove back into it eight years ago. My theatre credits include: Of Mice and Men at the Vancouver Playhouse (I played Witt, one of the hired hands, and I created the soundscape); The Three Penny Opera with the Vancouver Opera (I played Macheath); and Miss Saigon at The Arts Club Stanley Theatre. Film and TV credits include: Intelligence, the CBC drama (the CSIS agent James Mallaby); Dead Zone; Whistler; Battlestar Galactica; and Reefer Madness.


Shaun Majumder
Shaun Majumder

In 2008, this Gemini award-winning actor/comedian starred in the Farrelly Brothers Fox comedy entitled “Unhitched and had his own “Comedy Central Presents” special on Comedy Central. Shaun’s television career has included appearances on Fox's “24”, “Cedric the Entertainer Presents”, and he has been a cast member of the critically acclaimed CBC series “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” for more than 5 years. Shaun was recently a guest star on “Robson Arms” on CTV, the new series “Less Than Kind”, which debuted last fall on City TV, and “Da Kink in My Hair” on Global TV. His film credits include, “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle”, “The Ladies Man”, “Pushing Tin”, and “Purpose” and most recently, “Bob Funk” alongside Rachel Leigh Cook and Olympia Dukakis. Shaun also regularly appears at Montreal's Just for Laughs Comedy festival and has hosted the TV series for three seasons.

Shaun Majumder grew up in Burlington, Newfoundland and now resides in Los Angeles.

Rose Cousins
Rose Cousins

It's hard to imagine that Halifax singer-songwriter Rose Cousins has only been playing guitar and performing live for a decade now. However, with a host of awards and nominations to her credit, this PEI native has emerged as one of the premier songsmiths in the country. Cousins' high demand and growing popularity across Canada and the US isn't hard to explain: her warm and crisp guitar playing, crystal clear voice, heartfelt lyrics and quick wit weave together to provide insight into her oh so human heart. Before you know it, you'll be laughing, crying, and hanging on her every word (and note).

Josh MacDonald
Josh MacDonald

When Josh isn’t writing plays, television shows or movies, he is usually somewhere watching plays, television shows or movies. He is therefore very pale and not particularly good at kicking a soccer ball. He does, however, know who the key grip was on Annie Hall, and is sufficiently socialized to have found and married his wonderful wife Francine Deschepper (though she is an actress, and so he still met her in a darkened theatre).

Josh’s play Halo has been produced from Halifax to Vancouver, from New York State to Los Angeles, CA. Halo is published by Talon Books-- as is Josh’s second play Whereverville -- and a feature-film adaptation of Halo is going into production this April (unless this turns out to be some kind of elaborate April Fool’s Day joke). Josh has a second feature screenplay, The Corridor, which he’s also hoping will go into production before the end of 2009... but now he’s just getting greedy.

Josh also works as a teacher and an actor, bringing him into the occasional sunlight and leading him to such experiences as being the playwriting instructor at Dalhousie University and appearing for 38/100th of a second in the blockbuster movie Titanic.

How It Works

  1. Write In!

    Out of hundreds and hundreds of entries, just twenty Canadians made it to the Short List and won themselves an audition with Canada Writes. Then eight semi-finalists were picked to play in the Eastern semi-finals and Western/Northern semi-finals.

    Read their winning songs, blogs, ads, rants and movie pitches!

  2. Tune In… or Join Us!

    On March 14th and April 4th, tune in to GO! on CBC Radio One at 10 am (10:30 am NT) for the Eastern and Western/Northern semi-final games in Halifax and Vancouver. The finals will be held in Toronto on April 18th. Or join us at any of the three shows to root for the contestants in person. Go to for tickets.

  3. Play Online!

    The Canada Writes 09 Online Challenge is now over. Thanks for playing!


(Toronto, April 25, 2009)

Canada Writes Finalists

It was a very tight race in the end. Our four finalists fought it out by blog, song, ad and a three-line story. First, they each drew a blog topic, from “the best hundred dollars I ever spent” to “one fact I would like to ‘un-know’”. Challenge number 2 was to re-write a song by Queen, with Valerie Stanois from the musical We Will Rock You bringing power vocals to their surprising new words. Then judges Geri Hall, Terry O’Reilly and Darrell Dennis sent Kaveh Mohebbi through the infamous Trap Door. Challenge number 3 was the radio ad. Clever ads for Cornhobbler’s Crematorium and Juice Bar (obviously not a real business) and Christmas greetings from the makers of Flank Chainsaws won Katie Sanders and Laurie Schwartz a last chance at writing glory, but it was Margaret Beach’s turn to go through the Trap Door. Finally, Laurie and Katie had to come up with the first two lines of a three-line story… on yellow writing pads on their laps…and in 90 seconds….

After weeks of effort and tension and achievement -- from the writing contest in January, through the auditions, the short list, the semi-finals and the finals – it was all over in a couple of minutes. Katie pulled ahead by a crucial point -- and became the winner of Canada Writes 09! Listen to the show! Read the blogs!

Canada Writes Judges

For more photos, go to

Winner of the Online Challenge! Ontario's Heather Smith is the winner of this year's People's Choice Award. Her winning entry was a re-write of the ABBA song 'Waterloo.' Take a look!

Canada Writes Blog

David Tracey (Vancouver, BC)
David TraceyWestern semi-finalist 09

If I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, “Dave, you write such wildly creative things, where DO you get your ideas?” I’d have…let’s see…hang on… Okay, nothing.

Read full blog post

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