Writers' Guild of Alberta
Check out this year's list of keynote speakers, panelists and special guests! Click one of the names below for more information on this year's line-up.
I am an aspiring seventeen year old poet and writer who aims to be a novelist one day. I am a student from Calgary, Alberta. The school that I attend is Sir Winston Churchill. Whenever I write poems, the genres I express my interest are free verse and sentimental poetry. Whenever, I write short stories I often write about fantasy, adventurous fiction, and sometimes horror.
Hi! My name is Ore. I write stories- mostly for myself. Sometimes I write stories to share with other people, but that's usually just when I feel in a sharing mood. I can do many things at once- like breathe, blink, and keep a steady heartbeat. On Saturday mornings (when its not foggy) I fly. I own several things like a journal, books, and a phone (in order from most important to least). I hate apple juice because its too sweet, but I don't mind orange juice as long as it doesn't have pulp. I like warm days...but I don't mind cold days. When it is cold I close my eyes and pretend I'm a snow queen. Some, or all of these things may be true. Some, or all of these things may be a lie. You do not know which. But that does not matter. My words are made of iron.
Kelsey Attard is the managing editor of Freehand Books, a literary imprint in Calgary. She reads a lot and has a Master of Publishing degree.
I am a thirteen-year-old writer, currently attending Branton School in Calgary, Alberta. I write science fiction, fantasy, and general fiction short stories. I am an avid reader of Shirley Jackson’s short stories and a lover of Thomas Wharton’s books. I play the clarinet in my school band and am in a professional children’s choir.
Nancy lives on an acreage near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. She enjoys writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Nancy is a Senior Acquisition Editor with MuseItUp Publishing Inc.
Theanna Bischoff is a novelist and registered psychologist who currently lives in Calgary, Alberta. She is the author of two novels: Cleavage (NeWest Press, 2008), which was shortlisted for both the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book – Canada & the Caribbean, and the 2009 Re-Lit Awards; and Swallow (NeWest Press, 2012), shortlisted for the 2012 W.0. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize.
Ali Bryan is the author of the novel Roost and a personal trainer who grew up in Halifax. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s University and completed a graduate certificate in creative writing from the Humber School for Writers with Paul Quarrington. She recently completed a second novel, The Figgs, and a pair of children’s picture books: Wake Me Up When You Get Home and Sometimes the Cheese is White. She is currently working on a Middle Grade fiction trilogy. Ali lives in Calgary with her husband and three children. When not writing she practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
With a background in photography, writing, and web design, Kristy launched Highline Magazine in the Fall of 2008 as the publisher, creative director and editor-in-chief. Highline is a semi-annual magazine based in Canmore that celebrates authentic mountain culture and community from Jasper to Fernie, Canmore to Revelstoke and everywhere in between.
Kris Demeanor is a song-writer, theatre artist and poet who has taken his work around the world with the mission of inspiring people to laugh, dance, weep, think and party. Career highlights include taking the award winning short film based on his song ‘I Have Seen the Future’ to the Sundance and Toronto film festivals, collaborationg with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on the 2011 event ‘Acres of Dreams’, and sharing a beer with David Byrne. Kris is the first Poet Laureate of the City of Calgary.
My name is Camryn DeSantis, and I am a 15 year old attending Ascension of Our Lord Junior High School. I enjoy writing poetry, playwriting and short stories. My favourite author is John Green. I aspire to become a novelist, and one day to travel the world. But until then, I plan on continuing writing and finding inspiration in the small treasures in life like the lake by my school and the love of my family.
Marcello Di Cintio is the author of three books of creative nonfiction including, most recently, Walls: Travels Along the Barricades.Walls won the 2013 Shaugnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, the Wilfred Eggleston Award for Nonfiction and The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. Di Cintio is also a magazine writer whose work can be found in publications such as The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, and Afar. Di Cintio is a former writer-in-residence with the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program and the Palestine Writing Workshop.
Glenn Dixon has written two travel books and has had articles published in National Geographic magazine, the Globe and Mail, The Walrus and many others. He has travelled through 70 countries now. His latest book, Tripping the World Fantastic, is about music around the world. He is a musician himself and has also worked on documentary films, shooting in Tibet, Peru, Russia, Turkey and the deep Amazon. He lives and works in Calgary, Canada.
Photo Credit: Frances Raud
Steven Galloway is the author of four novels, most recently The Confabulist, a story about fame and ambition, reality and illusion, and the ways that love, grief and imagination can alter what we perceive and what we believe. Galloway has won the Borders Original Voice Award, the OLA Evergreen Award, and the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature and been nominated for various prizes including the Internation IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and Scotiabank Giller Prize. His work has been published in over thirty countries and optioned for film. He is Acting Chair and Associate Professor for the UBC Creative Writing Program and lives with his wife and two young daughters in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Julia Gaunce is a lawyer at Code Hunter LLP, a premiere boutique litigation firm in Calgary, Alberta. Her practice focuses on civil dispute resolution and advocacy, representing both individual and corporate clients, plaintiffs and defendants. She has worked in a range of areas including employment, commercial, natural resource and aboriginal law. She is the author of the novel Rocket Science (Pedlar Press, 2000); her short fiction has appeared in The Danforth Review, Descant, This Magazine, and filling Station. She is formerly the Humanities Editor at Broadview Press, and holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Calgary.
I am fourteen years old and I aspire to be a world renowned author with a passion for poetry, short stories and novels. My favourite genres of writing in all likelihood are Romance and Drama, and my two favourite authors being Neil Gaiman, the author of my favourite book “American Gods”, and John Green, who’s every book I have read. I currently reside in Calgary, Alberta, but one of my greatest desires is to travel the world: England, France, Egypt, Brazil, Beijing, Italy, Greece… Everywhere. Along with traveling, I do hope to live in Europe for a portion of my life, and perhaps pick up inspirations for my writing. One of my many hobbies is watching movies. I enjoy watching movies and films and being moved by the story, and because of this I hope to one day be a screenwriter for a film.
Hazel keeps her career fresh and her writing lively by alternating between picture books and middle-grade/YA novels. She has worked repeatedly with four major Canadian book publishers as well as Viking U.S., Oxford U.K. and OWL magazine. A past winner and current nominee of the AWG Children's Literature Award for The Great Bike Rescue, her work has also won the Marilyn Baillie, Shining Willow Young Reader's Choice and Mr. Christie Silver as well as appearing on short lists for Governor General's, Norma Fleck, Forest of Reading and Hackmatack. Her work is found in translation in various corner of the world. Hazel, herself, is found in Canmore.
Jessica Kluthe—recently named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40—holds an MFA from the University of Victoria. Her stories have appeared in publications including The Malahat Review, Little Fiction, and Red Savina Review as well as three recent anthologies: Eat It: Food, Sex and Women’s Writing and 40 Below: Edmonton’s Winter Anthology, and Telling Truths: Storying Motherhood. Her first book, Rosina, the Midwife, was on The Edmonton Journal’s best sellers list for ten weeks, and a chapter was shortlisted for the WGA's James H. Gray award in 2011. Jessica teaches full time for MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Communication Studies program.
Photo Credit: Leo Aragon
Naomi K. Lewis is a novelist, short story writer, editor, and creative writing instructor. She wrote the 2012 story collection I Know Who You Remind Me Of and with Rona Altrows co-edited Shy: An Anthology (2013).
Anne Logan is the Donor Relations Recognition and Engagement Specialist at the University of Calgary. Prior to that, she was the Programming Manager at WordFest: Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival for four years, helping to program the Festival and scout for new talent at local readings. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, and her Postgraduate Certificate through the Humber Creative Book Publishing Program in Toronto. Before moving to Calgary, she worked as a publicist for Cormorant Books. She currently reviews books on ivereadthis.com and can occasionally be heard on CBC Radio's Homestretch speaking about the latest in Canadian book news. She is also a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta Board of Directors. Obviously, she spends most of her free time reading.
Born and raised in Calgary, Crystal has been writing for over fifteen years. She studied creative writing in both fiction and poetry at Mount Royal University. As a prose editor and Circulation Manager at FreeFall Magazine, she is lucky to be a part of many young writer’s first publications. Crystal is most inspired in her own writing when exploring the Rocky Mountains or the banks of the Bow River.
My name is Rita, I’m fourteen, and I like videogames and food. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and I have some interesting stories about my pets I wrote when I was eight. I write mostly action or funny stuff because to me dramatic stuff is boring and too mainstream. I tend to write a lot, like in school when I don’t feel like doing math, and most of my writing is fiction. Any kind of fiction, I’ll write any genre. So…that concludes my bio.
Clem Martini is an award winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter with over thirty plays, and nine books of fiction and nonfiction to his credit, including the Calgary Book Award-winning Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness and his most recent anthology, Martini With A Twist. His texts on playwriting, The Blunt Playwright, and The Greek Playwright, are employed in universities and colleges across the country. He is currently a professor in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.
Cheryl Foggo is an award-winning author and historian who has been published and produced extensively as a journalist, screenwriter, poet, playwright, writer of fiction and non-fiction and young adult novelist, with a particular interest in the stories of Alberta’s Black pioneers. She received the Sondra Kelly Screenplay Award from the Writers Guild of Canada and was named Professional of The Year by the Black Gold Awards Society of Alberta, both in 2013. Her works have been seen and heard nationally on CBC television and radio, and on PBS in the US, and as a lecturer she has addressed thousands of adults and children nation-wide and abroad. Her latest children’s book is Dear Baobab and her latest play, The Devil We Know, co-written with Clem Martini, premiered at the Blyth Theatre Festival in 2012. She is working on a theatrical piece and a film based on the life of cowboy John Ware, a collection of essays and a new novel.
Kim McCullough is a writer and teacher from Calgary. Her novel, Clearwater, was published by Coteau Books in 2013, and her lyric essay "Night/light" is shortlisted for the 2014 Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award. She has work forthcoming in both Room and Grain. Kim has facilitated various workshops for teens and adults. She will be teaching at Wordsworth this summer, as well as Moose Jaw's Sage Hill Teen Writing Experience. Kim is a member of PRISM Magazine’s editorial board, a contributor to PRISM’s website, and a mentor at UBC’s Booming Ground.
Stuart Ian McKay is a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta and the League of Canadian Poets. Stele of Several Ladies - a long poem, his first book of poetry, was published in 2005. His second book, a cognate of prayer, a series of long poems celebrating the lives of people living with disabilities, was published in the fall of 2013. He is a two time winner of CBC's Alberta Anthology. His current project is Make my heart shudder its own eclipse, a long poem examining memory, place and language. Stuart lives in Calgary.
Jodi McIsaac is the author of the bestselling contemporary fantasy series, The Thin Veil, as well as the short story "A Cure for Madness." She grew up in New Brunswick, Canada. After stints as a short track speed skater, a speechwriter, and fundraising and marketing executive in the nonprofit sector, she started a boutique copywriting agency and began writing novels in the wee hours of the morning. She currently lives with her husband and children in Calgary, where she is at work on her next novel, a thriller.
Janet McMahen is a private practice psychologist, teacher and writer. Her practice specializes in depression, anxiety, relationship issues and communication. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Counselling and Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City, she returned to Calgary to focus her practice on counselling and writing. She has written regularly for FFWD magazine and contributed articles for Calgary’s Child Magazine. She was the recipient of a Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award at Mount Royal College, and is a past winner of the Alberta Anthology Writing Contest. Despite the devastating impact of the flood on her neighbourhood last year, Janet resides stubbornly in Calgary’s Flood Fringe with husband and kids.
Hilary McMahon represents a diverse list of fiction, non-fiction and children’s authors, including John Bemrose, Lewis DeSoto, Charlotte Gray, Eric Hill (creator of the Spot books,) Richard Gwyn, Pauline Holdstock, Malalai Joya, Susan Juby, Dennis Lee, Susin Nielsen, John Lawrence Reynolds, Thomas Trofimuk, Michael Turner and Lucy Waverman. After graduating from Carleton University with a double major in journalism and English, she worked in public relations and the magazine industry, but jumped at the opportunity to join Westwood, and has been at the company for more than 15 years. She represents the company on trips to American publishers, and the Frankfurt and London book fairs. Hilary is a shareholder and Executive Vice President of Westwood Creative Artists.
Peter Midgley is a writer and storyteller from Edmonton. Counting Teeth: A Namibian Story, an account of a two-month journey he and his daughter made to country of his birth, will be released in September 2014. Peter has performed his stories and poetry in Africa, Europe and North America and has published three children’s books. One of these, Thuli’s Mattress, won the International Board on Books for Young People/Asahi Award for Literacy Promotion and has been translated into 27 languages. He is also the author of two plays and a collection of poetry. Among other things, he is a citizen of three countries (Canada, South Africa, and Namibia), and he is the president of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. A second collection of poetry, Unquiet Bones will be published by Wolsak & Wynn in 2015.
Young writer fan, serial email checker and excellent parallel parker, Lisa earns her keep working with WGA's youth as Director of WordsWorth Creative Writing Residency and Teen Mentor. This allows her to write, dream and scour thrift stores to furnish Loft 112 with inexpensive and funky writerly items.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi is currently serving his second term and is Calgary’s 36th mayor.
Originally from Vancouver, I moved to Calgary, Canada when I was very little. From the time I was first taught how to write I had a love for it, and by grade two was already writing stories about a multitude of characters, settings, and adventures. As time progressed, I came to be fascinated with the mysteries of the old world and worked to incorporate them and their stories into my own; lost treasure, ancient philosophy and prophecy, and of course, the monsters of old. I have always loved the story style of thriller and for the past couple years been writing poems, short stories, and a novel in this genre. I enjoy travel, and so strive to include interesting settings into my writing, and with a head for facts and detail, work to make sure that the world is as vivid for the characters as it is for the reader. I believe that a good story involves having a movie rolling inside the readers head, and that the story should be interesting, exciting, and fun, as well as meaningful and symbolic.
Photo Credit: Dawn Candy
Blaine Newton is an award-winning Alberta playwright with numerous productions across Western Canada and a total audience of well under a million people. His short fiction and poetry have been featured on CBC Radio and published in several Alberta anthologies. When not bragging about himself in the third person, he is a regular contributor to WGA's Westword and a writer/performer of sketch comedy. Assuming the cheques have cleared, he's a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, a past-president of the Writers' Guild of Alberta, and presently serves on the board of Alberta Playwrights' Network.
Leslie Greentree is the author of two books of poetry, guys named Bill and go-go dancing for Elvis, and a collection of short stories, A Minor Planet for You. In 2004, go-go dancing for Elvis was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and in 2007 A Minor Planet for You won the Howard O’Hagan Prize for short fiction. She has recently completed her second collection of short stories and is now at work on a third. Stories from these collections have won the CBC Alberta Anthology competition and the 2013 Little Bird short fiction competition. In 2012 Leslie and Blaine co-wrote a play, Oral Fixations, while drinking Mai Tais in Maui; they’re excited about its world premiere in Red Deer this fall. The author image is by artist Dawn Candy and is part of a series she did of adults playing children’s games.
I am a 14 year old girl who loves to write creatively. This includes fiction of all sorts, poetry and songwriting. I am very involved in music and writing. I enjoy singing and playing the piano. I currently attend the congregated gifted program in junior high school and will be attending high school next year. My favorite genres include fantasy and science fiction, especially fictional novels set in dystopian societies. I am currently working on a novel set in a dystopian society and a fantasy story. I love to write poetry including haikus, sonnets, couplets and limericks.
I am a Seventeen year old aspiring speculative fiction author who lives in Okotoks, Alberta and is currently attending the Foothills Composite High School and Alberta School of Fine Arts. Among my favourite contemporary authors are William Gibson, my primary interests laying in the science fiction genre as while as the derivative genre of Steampunk. I am a Post Modernist, Futurist, Transhumanist and parttime Christian who is currently just begun laying down the groundwork for a cyberpunk novel I have yet to title.
Sakura Seberg is a creative individual from Calgary, AB who enjoys writing in all its glorious forms—poetry, fiction, screenplays, songs, spoken word, editorials—she's dabbled in it all. Sakura is also a Grade 12 student at Crescent Heights High School and looks forward to the upcoming year as she will be taking a gap year to fully grasp her writerly potential and finish that novel she started in Grade Seven. In addition to writing, Sakura enjoys being in the Great Outdoors and spends her summers at Kamp Kiwanis in Bragg Creek, AB, where she is both a Kamp Kounsellor, galavanting around grand campfires, singing about coconut cream pies in the sky, and a participant at the amazingly wonderful young writers residency called WordsWorth, which she has been attending since 2009.
Theresa Shea is a mother, novelist, freelance writer, and university lecturer. Her debut novel, The Unfinished Child, explores the complex ethical issues surrounding human reproduction in the 21st century. It has been shortlisted for the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and for the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award (2014).
Shea is currently working on her second book, a novel set in Washington D.C. that deals with the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Jill Shillabeer is the Arts Development Consultant responsible for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Individual Projects Grants in Literary Arts and Film & Video Arts. In previous incarnations, she worked for the University of Alberta's Faculty of Arts and Department of English & Film Studies, assisting with grant application, adjudication, and management.
Leanne Shirtliffe is a humor writer and the author of two parenting books, Don't Lick the Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I'd Say to My Kids (2013) and Mommyfesto: We Swear…Because We Have Kids (November 2014). Her debut picture book, The Change Your Name Store, is available early May, 2014. Leanne is the woman behind IronicMom.com, a blog with the motto “If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids”; it was named to Babble’s Top 100 list in 2013. Leanne writes for Nickelodeon’s NickMom.com, blogs for the Huffington Post, and co-runs StuffKidsWrite.com (“Like Stuff Adults Write. But Funnier.”) She’s been published by the Globe and Mail, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Calgary Herald. Leanne once won the caber toss championship in Bahrain and chased transvestites in Bangkok. She and her family live in Calgary because they like complaining about the weather.
Bradley Somer's short fiction has appeared in tens of literary journals, reviews and anthologies over the past eleven years. His debut novel, Imperfections, was published in Fall 2012 by Nightwood Editions. Imperfections earned a starred review from Quill & Quire magazine, won the 2013 CBC Bookie Award for debut of the year, was one of the Canadian Bookseller’s Top 8 Picks for 2012. Bradley’s next novel, Fishbowl, was acquired by St. Martin’s Press and will be published in 2015. His writing would be a weak little baby without the input and critiques of his writing group, of which he has been a member since the hazy dawn of time (or at least twelve years). Bradley Somer is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Agency.
Sara Tilley’s work bridges writing, theatre, and Pochinko Clown Through Mask technique, with each discipline informing the others. After graduating with a BFA in Acting from York University in 2001, Sara founded the feminist theatre company She Said Yes! and received the Rhonda Payne Theatre Award in 2006, which acknowledges the contribution of a woman working in theatre in Newfoundland and Labrador. She’s written, co-written or co-created eleven plays. Skin Room, her first novel (Pedlar Press, 2008), won several awards in Newfoundland and Labrador. Sara also teaches Neutral Mask and Pochinko Clown through Mask, and works as a movement and vocal coach for actors. She is the current Writer in Residence at the Calgary Distinguished Writers’ Program, University of Calgary, and is working on a new novel, DUKE, due out in Spring 2015 with Pedlar Press.
Tyler Trafford was raised in Calgary during the oil boom following the discovery of the Leduc field. He graduated from The University of Calgary where he raced on the ski team. He worked for many years as a reporter and editor, first with The Calgary Herald, then in Australia with The Australian and several weekly outback newspapers, and later as a financial columnist for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. Over the years, he’s worked on ranches in Alberta, cattle stations in Australia, and on seismic survey ships and construction crews. The work was exciting and occasionally more than thrilling. Tyler began writing full-time in 1993, beginning with books commissioned by engineers, drillers, businessmen, construction innovators, and ranchers. The Story of Blue, his first novel, was published in 2004 and was a Grant MacEwan Literary Award finalist. Goose Lane Editions released Almost A Great Escape in April 2013.
Photo Credit: Trudie Lee Photography
Aritha van Herk is the author of five novels, Judith, The Tent Peg, No Fixed Address (nominated for the Governor General’s Award for fiction), Places Far From Ellesmere (a geografictione) and Restlessness. Her critical work is collected in A Frozen Tongue and In Visible Ink. Her popular and irreverent Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta frames the permanent exhibition on Alberta history at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Her latest works, In This Place and Prairie Gothic (with George Webber) develop the idea of geographical temperament as tonal accompaniment. She is Professor of English at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Deborah Willis is the author of Vanishing and Other Stories, published by Penguin (Canada) and nominated for the Governor General's Award. She was the 2012-2013 Calgary Distinguished Writers Program writer-in-residence at the University of Calgary, and her fiction has appeared in PRISM International, Grain, The Walrus, and Zoetrope.
Paul Zits received his MA in English from the University of Calgary in 2010, completing his creative thesis, Massacre Street (UAP 2013) under the supervision of experimental Canadian poet Christian Bök. Since, he has served two terms as Writer-in-the-Schools at Queen Elizabeth High School in Calgary, teaching Creative Writing to students in the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, and taught at the WGA’s WordsWorth Camp at Kamp Kiwanis. Zits is the editor and publisher of the Calgary-based small-press 100 têtes Press and the Managing Editor of filling Station.
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