Plenary Speakers

The International Conference on the Book will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

George Elliott Clarke Gordon Rixon
Arthur R. Crivella
Michael Geist
Mark McGowan

Garden Conversations

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations – unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

The Speakers

George Elliott Clarke
George Elliott Clarke, inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, was born near the Black Loyalist community of Windsor Plains, Nova Scotia, and raised in Halifax. The son of William and Geraldine Clarke, Clarke holds an Honours B.A. in English from the University of Waterloo, an M.A. in English from Dalhousie University and a Ph.D. in English from Queen’s University. He practices poetry, politics and journalism.

George’s poetry is written in a lyrical style, frequently alluding to religious, Black Loyalist heritage. While he has studied the Black literature of many countries, he gives special attention to Nova Scotia. The editor of a two-volume anthology of local Africadian writing, Fire on the Water (Pottersfield Press, 1991), George has written lyrics for the folk-gospel quartet Four the Moment. His poetic Whylah Falls was part of the 1996 CBC Radio Drama series and an acclaimed stage play in 1997 and 2000. It was also staged, in Italian, in Venice, Italy in 2002.

In 1998, he was the first recipient of the prestigious Portia White Prize, an annual award from the Nova Scotia Arts Council. Named after one of Nova Scotia’s pre-eminent musical pioneers, the Prize recognizes cultural and artistic excellence. In commenting on the prize winner, the Honourable Russell MacLellan, Premier of Nova Scotia, said, “Dr. Clarke was selected because he represents one of our best. As such, he is honoured with the most prestigious award that can be presented in Nova Scotia to a Nova Scotian artist.”

In 2001, Clarke won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry for his collection Execution Poems , published by the Gaspereau Press. The Canada Council for the Arts poetry jury commented the “Execution Poems is raging, gristly, public – and unflinchingly beautiful. Clarke plays with rhyme, theatre and the shape of the book showing us justice as official speech perpetrates it and as ordinary speech registers it. He harnesses the pain in the history of racism and pours it into explosive, original language.”

His books have been translated into Chinese, Romanian, and Braille.

Arthur R. Crivella
Art Crivella is CEO and Co- Founder of Crivella West Incorporated an advanced analytics and investigational research company. Art has over 30 years of experience as a businessman, designer, inventor and engineer. Art’s discernment of some of the basic inequities and inefficiencies in the litigation process has led to many changes in the way the legal industry approaches discovery. Recently he has championed and enabled public access to primary source materials available through freedom of information requests so that the public can be better informed in civil discourse and investigators and analysts can be empowered with modern methods for finding useful, actionable information.

Art also has been creating and developing technologies and methodologies to reinvent how scholars and librarians will find, use, and preserve information in the 21st century. His vision is not a digital version of an analog business model, but a new system where scholars and librarians will have access to previously inaccessible information and knowledge and multiple ways to integrate and synthesize ideas. He has been invited to speak about the new era of digital research in the humanities at leading universities in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In addition to his professional activities, Art has served as an advisor or on boards of many community organizations, including the National Institute for Newman Studies, the Gettysburg Museum, the Community College of Allegheny County and First Night International.

Michael Geist
Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He has obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees from Cambridge University in the UK and Columbia Law School in New York, and a Doctorate in Law (J.S.D.) from Columbia Law School. Dr. Geist has written numerous academic articles and government reports on the Internet and law and was a member of Canada’s National Task Force on Spam. He is an internationally syndicated columnist on technology law issues with his regular column appearing in the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, and the BBC. Dr. Geist is the editor of In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law, published in 2005 by Irwin Law, the editor of several monthly technology law publications, and the author of a popular blog on Internet and intellectual property law issues. Dr. Geist serves on the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Expert Advisory Board, on the Canadian Digital Information Strategy’s Review Panel, and on the Information Program Sub-Board of the Open Society Institute. He has received numerous awards for his work including the Les Fowlie Award for Intellectual Freedom from the Ontario Library Association in 2009, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 2008, Canarie’s IWAY Public Leadership Award for his contribution to the development of the Internet in Canada and he was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2003. More information can be obtained at

Mark McGowan
Mark McGowan is a full professor in the History Department at the University of Toronto and has just completed nine years (2002-2011) as Principal of St. Michael’s College. During his tenure as Principal he founded the Book & Media Studies program, the first such undergraduate program of its kind in the English language. He is a specialist in the religious, ethnic, and educational history of Canada and is currently writing a history of religious broadcasting in Canada. He has received both national and local awards for his books on the history of the Catholic Church and on the Irish diaspora in Canada. He is also the recipient of four university/college teaching awards. Currently, Mark is on administrative leave from the University of Toronto. He lives in Whitby, Ontario, with his wife Eileen, and their family.

Gordon Rixon
Gordon Rixon, S.J. is the Tuohy Professor of Lonergan Studies and Dean of Regis College in the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) at Regis College/University of Toronto, and a Doctorate in Theology (Ph.D.) at Boston College. His research and publication has focused on the integration of spirituality, theology and social action. He is active in a collaborative project with the Kelly Library of the University of St. Michael’s College and Crivella-West Inc of Pittsburgh in the application of advanced analytics to digitized texts. Gordon joined the Regis faculty in 1996 after working on the program staff at the Jesuit Center for Social Faith and Justice in Toronto. He has been a Senior Resident at Massey College at the University of Toronto and a Scholar in Residence at the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research at St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He is the Director of the Lonergan Research Institute at Regis College and serves as a trustee for the literary estate of the Canadian Jesuit philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan. Gordon represents the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Churches’ Council on Theological Education. He complements his academic work by doing popular religious education, often in conjunction with exhibits of the Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible.