Meet Your 2019/20 Story Coaches

We are pleased to offer prospective Story Makers the opportunity to choose the Story Coach they would like to work with. Review this years coaches and pick your top three favourites. If chosen to participate in the program, we will do our best to match Story Makers with their top Story Coach.


Literary Fiction – Novel/Short Story & Creative Nonfiction 

Rona Altrows writes fiction, personal essays, plays, articles on writing, and cross-genre pieces. She is also a long-time editor and an anthologist.. Rona is the author of two short story collections, A Run on Hose and Key in Lock. With Naomi K. Lewis she co-edited the anthology Shy, and with Julie Sedivy she co-edited a second anthology, Waiting. Her latest fictional work, At This Juncture, is a book of letters. She has taught and mentored for AWCS before and has served as its Writer in Residence.


Literary Fiction – Novel

Theanna Bischoff‘s first novel, Cleavage, was shortlisted for both the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Canada/the Caribbean) and the 2009 Re-Lit Awards. Her second novel, Swallow, was shortlisted for the 2012 W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. Her latest novel, Left, was published by NeWest Press in 2018. Theanna holds a Concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Calgary (2006) and a PhD in Educational Psychology (2012).



Poetry, Literary Fiction – Novel – Historical, Contemporary

Each writer’s voice is unique and engaging. Building trust, valuing unique perspectives and asking clarifying questions to illuminate this voice, Story Coach Pam Clark will guide writers pursuing their novel manuscript or developing a collection of poetry. Pam is a novelist, freelance writer, poet and mentor who believes in the power of writing to incite change, both on a personal and global scale. Her novel, Kalyna, won the Canadian Author’s Association Exporting Alberta Award and she most recently worked with The Shoe Project and Borderlines as a writer-mentor. She believes that writing is the catalyst for deeper human connection.


General Fiction – Novel – Speculative Fiction, Young Adult – all genres

Kim Firmston is an author of six published YA novels. Her novel, Stupid, (also translated into French) was the winner of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens. Kim loves humour, flipping topics on their head, and all kinds of genres. She has been a writing instructor for over a decade with the AWCS and the Writers Guild of Alberta. Her ongoing work with teens gives her a unique insight. Kim works closely with authors to establish goals, acknowledge weaknesses, and plan for growth. She offers feedback, and is happy to answer all questions, and encourages learning. Kim has devoted her life to empowering writers and walking with them as they turn their projects into publishable novels, each with their own unique twist and voice.


Speculative Fiction – Novel/Short Stories

Susan Forest is a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror and a three-time Prix Aurora Award finalist. Her novel Bursts of Fire, the first in a seven-volume YA epic fantasy series, the Addicted to Heaven Saga, will be out in 2019 from Laksa Media, followed by Flights of Marigolds. She has published over 25 short stories which have appeared Asimov’s, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless SkiesOnSPEC Magazine, and her collection, Immunity to Strange Tales, among others. Susan has co-edited three anthologies (Aurora-winning Strangers Among UsThe Sum of Us, Shades Within Us) on social issue-related themes with Lucas K. Law. Susan is the past Secretary for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), contributes to Calgary’s literary festival, When Words Collide, teaches creative writing at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre, and has appeared at many local and international writing conventions.


Literary Fiction – Novel/Short Stories.

Lee Kvern specializes in literary short stories and novels. Her short stories in 7 Ways To Sunday have garnered the national CBC Literary Award, Western Magazine Award, Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize, and the Howard ‘O’ Hagan Award. Novels: Afterall selected for Canada Reads (Regional), and also nominated for Alberta Books Awards, The Matter of Sylvie nominated for Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award. Lush Triumphant finalist 2018.  Nominated for Best of the Net 2018. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, published in numerous anthologies and literary magazines.


Fiction – Novels/Short Stories – Literary, Historical, Mystery, Romance & Creative Nonfiction

Anne Metikosh enjoys working one-on-one with writers, encouraging them to develop ideas and foster their own writing voices. Practical elements of the craft are important: discussing what works and what doesn’t and exploring ways to improve what’s on the page. But the art of writing matters, too. Anne will help story makers clearly articulate their message in the most effective way. A student recently said she joined AWCS because of Anne’s Mapping course. Another said, You’ve answered questions I hadn’t clearly formulated but somehow knew had to be addressed.”

Anne is a regular instructor at AWCS, the most popular being on novel structure. She is also a manuscript reviewer for the WGA and AWCS. She has 4 novels published, as well as numerous articles and short stories in The Globe and Mail, Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul, The Prairie Journal, and Beginnings, an anthology of Canadian history. Her novels range from historical fiction (Terra Incognita) to mystery (Undercurrent), creative non-fiction (Chance) and romantic suspense (Trial Run).


General Fiction – Novel/Short Stories – Romance, Speculative Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult, Middle Grade, New Adult

Suzy Vadori’s enthusiasm for all things writing is infectious. Her experience coaching businesses as well as writers means she’ll help you develop your goals as a writer as well as your story.

Suzy is the bestselling author of the award-winning The Fountain Series, represented by Naomi Davis – Bookends Literary Agency, a two-time Aurora Award nominee and the recipient of a bronze medal from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.

In addition to writing and editing, Suzy is a Program Manager for When Words Collide, Public Speaker, Writing Instructor at AWCS and the Founder of WriteIt! writing programs for schools.