Several concerns governed our choices of participants, including representation of various stakeholders (authors, publishers, educators, scholars), geographical reach, and a privileging of the participation of Indigenous and racialized participants. (For detailed bios of participants see Appendix B.)
As organizers, we collectively drew on several key networks and communities, prioritizing people working with BC-based book and magazine publishers, SFU-affiliated writers and teachers, and people affiliated with Canadian Women in the Literary Arts. Thus our participants included Adèle Barclay, who was CWILA critic-in-residence, as well as CWILA editors Shazia Hafiz Ramji and Fazeela Jiwa and CWILA co-founder Laura Moss. BC book publishers were represented by Cynara Geissler (Arsenal Pulp Press) and Greg Younging (Theytus Books), while magazine editors were represented by Karla Comanda (Ricepaper Magazine) and Jónina Kirton (Room Magazine). Finally, we invited Jordan Abel, David Chariandy, Leanne Johnson, and Deanna Reder from SFU. Hazel Millar (Book*hug, Toronto), Ashley Opheim (Metatron, Montreal), and Kateri Akwenzie-Damm (Kegedonce Press, Neyaashiinigmiing Reserve) were invited to ensure that small presses of various geographical locations, ages, and publishing approaches were represented. Finally, we invited Léonicka Valcius, Phoebe Wang, Vivek Shraya, and Jael Richardson due to their high-profile public activism on the topic of equity and diversity in Canadian publishing (Ms. Shraya and Ms. Richardson were unfortunately unable to attend due to personal conflicts).
Of course many of these participants play multiple roles in relation to Canadian publishing, but this brief description gives a sense of how decisions were made regarding who to invite. It should also be noted that not all invited participants agreed to attend, nor were we able to invite everyone we would have ideally liked to include; as mentioned in the previous section, budget and time posed restrictions as well.