Instructors at the Alexandra Centre have a wide variety of teaching and writing experience,
with backgrounds as creative writing instructors, editors, and writers of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and other genres.
Susan Calder is the author of Deadly Fall and Ten Days in Summer, books 1 & 2 of her murder mystery series set in Calgary. Susan has also published poems, non-fiction articles and short stories in magazines and anthologies, including AB Negative, Long Lunch/Quick Reads, and Passport to Murder. She is a past president of the Alexandra Writers Centre Society, has taught numerous AWCS courses and workshops and serves on the board of Calgary’s When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers. Susan is currently seeking a publisher for her suspenseful literary novel and is working on book # 3 of the Paula Savard Mystery Series.
Marty writes books for kids and plays for adults. His plays have been produced around the world and his kids books have delighted children of all ages. The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul won the 2007 Diamond Willow Award. The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate was nominated for an Aurora Award for Best YA Steampunk Novel. Marty was the 2016 writer-in-residence for the Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries. He continues to live and work in Edmonton with his wife Michelle and their two cats.
Dwayne uses his knowledge and experience as a police officer and paramedic in his crime thrillers. He is the author of the First Aid for Authors newsletter and the Monthly Show that helps fiction writers incorporate accurate medical and police procedures in their writing. Dwayne is the co-author of four paramedic textbooks, and he has spoken internationally at EMS conferences and writing conferences. In 40 years in Emergency Services, Dwayne has served as a police officer, a paramedic, tactical paramedic, an educator, and as an EMS Chief. His first novel, Crisis Point, was a finalist for the 2015 Crime Writers of Canada, Unhanged Arthur.
Kim Firmston warps young minds in her Reality is Optional Creative Kids’ Programming, atWordsWorth Writing Camp and through the ACS Dramantics Theatre Camp. Her short story, “Life Before War”, was short listed in the 2008 CBC Literary Award and published in FreeFall Magazine. Her children’s plays (many of which were co-written with children) have been produced across North America and as far away as the UK and Egypt. Kim is dedicated to sharing writing with children of all ages including those not able to write yet and promoting youth who wish to make it their career.
Four-time Prix Aurora Award finalist, Susan Forest is a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and fiction editor for Laksa Media Groups. Her stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Tesseracts, and OnSPEC Magazine, among others. Her collection of short fiction, Immunity to Strange Tales, was published by Five Rivers Press. Susan acted as judge for the Endeavour Award and the Robin Herrington Memorial Short Story Contest, and she contributes to Calgary’s annual literary festival, When Words Collide.
Laurie Fuhr’s poetry has appeared in anthologies including Rogue Stimulus: The Stephen Harper Holiday Anthology for a Prorogued Parliament (2010) and Leonard Cohen: You’re Our Man (2009) as well as numerous periodicals, most recently Free Fall and most notably THIS Magazine. In 2016, she was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry judged by George Elliott Clarke and attended the Banff Centre Writing Studio. Laurie has been active as a poet, organizer, and instructor. She was managing editor of filling Station Magazine for 4 years and serves on the Single Onion Poetry Society board.
Janet Gurtler is the author of over twenty books including the bestselling YA Novel, I’m Not Her (2011), shortlisted for the Rita Awards for young adult fiction. Her books have been chosen for the Junior Library Guild Selection (ALA) and as Best Books For Teens from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. In 2012, Janet was invited to travel on a Ten Cities in Ten Days book tour across the United States, from Seattle to New York City, to promote her work. Her nonfiction work has also been featured in magazines including Calgary’s Avenue Magazine, Today’s Parent and Westword Magazine.
Lori Hahnel is the author of two novels, Love Minus Zero (Oberon, 2008) and After You’ve Gone (Thistledown, 2014), as well as a story collection, Nothing Sacred (Thistledown, 2009), which shortlisted for an Alberta Literary Award. Her work has been published in over forty journals in North America, Australia and the U.K.; her credits include CBC Radio, The Fiddlehead, Joyland and The Saturday Evening Post. Lori teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University as well as AWCS and is currently on the board of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.
Vivian Hansen is poet and creative nonfiction writer. She teaches creative writing with the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and the Alexandra Writers Centre. She has two chapbooks: Never Call It Bird – the Melodies of AIDS, and Angel Alley – the Victims of Jack the Ripper. Her first full length book Leylines of My Flesh came out in 2002. A Bitter Mood of Clouds (2013) chronicles the life and times of Arne Petersen, a transgender Dane who received sex reassignment in Denmark in 1953. A Tincture of Sunlight is forthcoming with Frontenac in 2017.
Richard Harrison is the author of 6 books of poetry, among them the Governor-General’s Award-nominated Big Breath of a Wish; Hero of the Play, the first book of poetry launched at the Hockey Hall of Fame; and, most recently, On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood, winner of the 2017 Stephan G. Stephansson Prize for Poetry. Richard teaches English and Creative Writing at Mount Royal University, and for 15 years has led the Thursday Group poetry workshop.
Phyllis Heltay is a Calgary award winning screenwriter and playwright. She won a Praxis Screenwriting Fellowship (Simon Fraser University) for the comedy feature screenplay, “Stealing Jesus”, and was a bronze prize winner of the Page International Screenwriting Awards for “Peripheral Vision”, a supernatural thriller. Her short drama “Magpie” was a first place winner of the American Gems screenwriting competition, and she has had numerous options with international production companies for her sci-fi and animation scripts. She currently has an independent comedy feature in development to be produced in Canada.
Barb Howard is a past editor of FreeFall magazine and a past president of The Writers’ Guild of Alberta. Her books include a short story collection and three novels, and she is co-editor of an anthology of creative nonfiction essays. Her work has been published in magazines and journals across Canada, including Room, Alberta Views, Grain, The New Quarterly, Broken Pencil and The Dalhousie Review. She is a 4-time nominee at the Alberta Literary Awards, a winner of the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story, and a winner of the Exporting Alberta Award.
Axel Howerton is the author of the Arthur Ellis Award nominated Hot Sinatra; the modern Gothic fairytale Furr; the Noirvella Con Morte; and the forthcoming Wolf & Devil series from Tyche Books.
Axel is a columnist, speaker and creative writing instructor. His short fiction and essays have appeared in publications the world over. He is the Publisher and Managing Editor of Coffin Hop Press and the Calgary chair of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, and the organizer behind one of Canada’s first recurring Noir At The Bar reading events, #NoirBarYYC. Find him at Axelhow.
Sarah L. Johnson is an obsessive reader, ultra-marathon runner, and literary events wrangler at Calgary’s oldest indie book store. She writes in a variety of genres and her short fiction has appeared in Room Magazine, Plenitude Magazine, the Bram Stoker nominated Dark Visions 1: A Collection of Modern Horror (Grey Matter Press). Her short story collection Suicide Stitch was released in 2016 by EMP Publishing, and her first novel, Infractus, will be published in October 2017 by Driven Press.
Rajni Mala Khelawan is an emerging Indo-Fijian Canadian writer. In addition to being a visiting writer at The University of the South Pacific, Fiji Islands in August 2011, Khelawan was profiled on hit TV and radio shows such as Bollywood Boulevard, CBC Radio, Omni South Asian News, Asian Magazine TV, and NUTV. Her two novels are The End of the Dark and Stormy Night (2008) and Kalyana (2016).
Jani Krulc’s first collection of short fiction, The Jesus Year, was published in 2013. She has an MA in English and Creative Writing from Concordia University and a BA (Hons) in English from the University of Calgary. Jani’s fiction is forthcoming in a collaboration with the Alberta Printmakers Society. She is at work on her second book, a collection of interconnected stories that explore toxic masculinity and immigrant mythology. Jani has been practicing Ashtanga yoga since 2009. Her yoga practice informs her writing practice, and vice versa. Jani has written about yoga and writing for the Ottawa Poetry Newsletter.
Karen Lee is the author of two books, Consulting into the Future, and The Full Catastrophe, a memoir of her two marriages, widowhood, and healing after trauma. She publishes non-fiction on the psychology of management, consulting, historical pieces, and dealing with abuse. She developed the course “Writing Memoir When Your Story is Difficult” by focusing on the courage it takes to deal with difficult writing topics, self-care, writing skills and the journey of change we all go through in our lifetimes. She creates a safe environment so writing students can open up at their own pace in order to dig deep and write their truth.
Maraya is a published and award-winning author of poetry, short story and essay, with several articles published in national and international magazines and online. She writes travel-related blogs. She is currently working on her memoir called Love, Death & Tango. Maraya holds a BFA in Art Education and a BA in Psychology from the University of Calgary. Maraya has been a teacher and therapist for many years – working one to one and with small groups. As a freelance editor, she’s bit of a grammar nazi and a member of the punctuation police. She believes in the importance of learning the rules before you break them.
Colin has published six poetry chapbooks and numerous poems, stories, and articles in various North American journals. He has a PhD in Canadian Literature from the University of Calgary, and teaches literature and academic writing for several Calgary-area universities. The founding Editor of NōD Magazine, and a former President of Filling Station Magazine, he currently serves on the Board for the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society.
Research, writing, and reading tours take Shirlee Smith Matheson to schools, libraries and museums, and into the homes and hangars of aviation heroes whose stories are found in her 20–soon to be 21–published books. Nonfiction books recall true tales of adventure and misadventure, while her young adult novels appeal to readers of all ages. Shirlee has served as a writing instructor/manuscript evaluator for WGA, AWCS, ACAD, MRU, and various schools and libraries. Website: www.ssmatheson.ca.
Anne Metikosh is the author of four published novels as well as numerous articles and short stories in a variety of genres, including mystery, historical fiction, and creative non-fiction. For the past several years, she has been teaching novel-related courses at AWCS and doing manuscript critiques for the Writers’ Guild. When she isn’t helping other writers beat their prose into shape, she’s working on some projects of her own.
Kirk Miles’ poems have been produced on CBCs Alberta Anthology and his poetry and short stories have been published by several journals in western Canada. He won an Alberta Culture award for co-writing the critically acclaimed Juggler on a Drum. In 2002. In the fall of 2007 Bravo aired a half hour special of his life as a poet and clown. In June 2009 Kirk Miles won the Alberta Screenwriters Award for a screenplay entitled Shadow Makers. He has published four books of poetry. Kirk has been nominated twice for Calgary Poet Laureate and last year he was short-listed.
Brett Morrison is currently in the midst of pursuing a concurrent degree in both Education and History at the University of Calgary. Brett encourages creativity and passion in learning, and emphasizes the necessity of expressing oneself in their work. Brett is a self-described concert aficionado, history buff, and writer. He has travelled across the globe several time, fuelled by his dedication and love for music and history. In his spare time, Brett plays guitar, continues writing his novel, collects vinyl (and CDs) and volunteers with Reality is Optional Kids’ Writing Club.
Carrie Mumford is a writer, marketer and editor living in Calgary, Alberta. Her short fiction has appeared in Full of Crow Fiction, the Bella Online Literary Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, the WCDR’s Whispered Words anthology and other fine journals. Her vignette, “The Blemish Collector”, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2012. In 2013, her short story “Ashes to Ashes” was short-listed for the Room Magazine contest. She is currently looking for a home for her first book–a mature YA fiction–while beginning her second novel.
Irene Naested is an artist, published author and a locally and nationally recognized art teacher. She daily practices meditative journaling with word and image. For more information on Irene please check out her website.
Rosemary Nixon is a pre-eminent short story writer, novelist, free-lance editor, and creative writing teacher presently working on her fifth book. Her books have been a Nunatak Fiction imprint, winner of the Howard O’Hagan Award, shortlisted for the Georges Bugnet Award, nominated for the Frank O’Conner International Short Story Collection Award, and the North American Forewords IndieFab Award and long-listed for the ReLit Award. Rosemary has her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UBC. She has served as writer-in-residence at universities and libraries across Canada and judged numerous literary competitions. She is an editor at Freehand Books.
Olyn Ozbick’s fiction has been shortlisted for a CBC Short Story Prize, and published in anthologies, audio and online in the US, Canada, and the UK. A former journalist, magazine editor and publisher, she is the recipient of 5 International Association of Business Communicators Awards, an International Graphis Design Annual Award, and 3 Hygeia Awards. Her nonfiction is widely published. She teaches fiction and non-fiction writing at The Alexandra Writers Centre and has taught Journalism at Mount Royal University. She loves the outdoors, and is an adventurer and traveler.
Carolyn Pogue is the author of 14 books for adults, teens and children, some nominated for The WO Mitchell Book Prize, recommended by the Children’s Book Centre, aired on CBC. She writes a twice-monthly blog for a national magazine and enjoys facilitating workshops, such as Raising the Dead and Writing for Reconciliation. Carolyn has enjoyed terms as Writer-in-Residence in schools and at AWCS. Variety keeps Carolyn’s life interesting–her recent work includes workshops at Gift from the Sea, a yoga/writing retreat for women in Melaque, Mexico, YouthWrite, a teen writing camp in the Rocky Mountains and Convergence, a writers’ conference in New Denver, BC.
S.R. Ringuette – AKA Sebastien Ringuette – is a British/French-Canadian crossbreed that successfully reached maturity in the harsh (although friendly) climate of Western Canada. His mission has always been to create entertaining content in some form or another, and began publishing his cartooning work online in 2007. He is the creator of multiple web comics: Exploding Wumpus, The Aversion Bureau, Gamer Roommates, and IT HAS PICTURES. In recent years, Sebastien has directed his primary creative focus towards novel writing and teaching. He believes free time is a luxury afforded only to the sane.
J. Jill Robinson is the author of the novel More in Anger (Thomas Allen) and four collections of short stories. Her fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in many magazines and literary journals and have won numerous awards including the Prism International fiction award, National and Western Magazine Awards, and two Saskatchewan Book Awards. She holds an M.A. in American poetry (University of Calgary), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (University of Alaska: Fairbanks). She has served as a writer-in-residence many times, and has taught, mentored, edited, and led workshops in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Aaron F. Roe studied philosophy at Mount Angel College and creative writing at Spalding University and the University of Louisiana. He has published in the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Encyclopedia, Calgary Yellow Pages, and Alberta Trophy Hunters. Aaron teaches English composition and communications at Bow Valley College and creative writing at the Alexandra Writer’s Centre. His debut novel, Saints and Martyrs, will be released in 2018.
Wilma G. Rubens is a poet and creative nonfiction writer. She authored a poetry book Entangled Enchantments and has published articles in magazines in Australia and Canada. She has completed her memoir Circling The Edge. She is a creative facilitator. She teaches Conflict Resolution for the Workplace and Life Writing with the Calgary Board of Education, AWCS and Canmore Learning. She inspires people to write, to claim their unique life story and wisdom. She loves to work with diverse learners and intergenerational groups as they share their stories and insights.
Madelaine Shaw-Wong is co-author of Cradling the Past, a Biography of Margaret Shaw, which was taken into Glenbow Museum’s permanent collections in Calgary. She won Freefall Magazine’s Chapbook contest for her short story “Flee the Rising Sun”. She also published short stories in The Copperfield Review, Dark Gothic Resurrected, Toska Magazine, Mused, the Shy Anthology and others. A former school teacher, Madelaine is a passionate about writing and has two novels currently in the works.
Joan Shillington is a Calgary poet and reads as one of the Poetry Editors of FreeFall Magazine. Her poems have been published in The Antigonish Review, Room, CV2, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Prairie Fire and FreeFall. As well, she has placed 1st, 2nd and Honourable Mention in FreeFall’s annual Poetry and Fiction Contest. Her second book, Folding the Wilderness Within (Frontenac 2014) was shortlisted for the City of Calgary WO Mitchell Prize. Joan has judged the AWCS Freshwater Pearls Anthology (2011), Pat Lowther Memorial Award (2015) and Stephen G. Stephenson Award for Poetry (2016).
Emily Ursuliak writes both fiction and poetry. She has recently released her debut collection of poetry, Throwing the Diamond Hitch, with the University of Calgary Press. Currently, she is the host and producer of CJSW’s literary radio show Writer’s Block. In the past she held a number of roles with filling Station magazine: she was a member of the board, the fiction editor and also the facilitator of Hot Dates with Blank Pages, a monthly community writing event. She was awarded the 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association for her work with filling Station.
Robin grew up in British Columbia and moved to Calgary in 2000. Fiction is her world. Her work has appeared in FreeFall Magazine, Freshwater Pearls Anthology (Recliner Books, 2011), Prairie Journal, Crack the Spine, Maudlin House, and Alberta Views and various other online and print publications both in Canada and internationally. She is currently working on her first novel.
Doreen sings, plays guitar and tells stories of all kinds in the ancient oral tradition. She performs in seniors homes, at parties, church gatherings, conferences, festivals and special events. She is a member of TALES (The Alberta League Encouraging Storytelling) and Storytellers of Canada. Doreen’s stort fiction has appeared in Prairie Fire Magazine and online at Montreal Serai, prairiejournal.org, epiphmag.com, and Alexandra Writers’ Centre, among others. Doreen is currently working on her first novel.
Cara Violini is currently working on her MFA thesis (UBC), a YA novel called Sidewinder. She also has an MA in Literary Studies, a Bachelor of Education, a BA in English, and received the University of Calgary’s Certificate in Creative Writing. Cara reads for Arc Poetry Magazine and was on the prose board for Prism International. For ten years she taught high school English and most recently taught composition at Athabasca University. Cara writes fiction, poetry and screenplays. Her short story “The Embrace” was published in FreeFall Magazine.