Meet Your 2020/21 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: novels, short stories | memoir

Rona Altrows writes fiction, essays, plays, and hybrid pieces. She is also a long-time editor. Her short fiction collections are A Run on Hose, Key in Lock, and At This Juncture. With Naomi K. Lewis she co-edited the anthology Shy, and with Julie Sedivy she co-edited the anthology Waiting. Rona’s next anthology, You Look Good for Your Age, will be out soon. She has taught and mentored for AWCS and has served as its Writer in Residence and Writer in the Loop.



young adult/adult: fantasy, romance, historical fiction

Nancy M Bell is a proud Albertan and Canadian. She lives near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She works with and fosters rescue animals. Nancy is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. She has publishing credits in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.



literary fiction, young adult, upmarket | memoir

Ali Bryan is an award-winning novelist and creative nonfiction writer based in Calgary, Canada. Her first novel Roost (Freehand, 2013) won the Alberta Literary Awards Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia 2014. Her second novel, The Figgs, was released in May 2018 and was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. She twice long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction prize for her essays “Asshole Homemaker” and “Mints After The Meal.” “Mints After The Meal” was also shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Awards Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award in 2015. “Let’s Talk” was nominated for the same prize in 2016. She is a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards 2018 Emerging Artist recipient. Her debut YA novel, The Hill, will be released in the fall of 2020 from Dottir Press.



creative nonfiction: memoir, travel writing, other nonfiction

Marcello Di Cintio is the author of four books, including Walls: Travels Along the Barricades and, most recently, Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense. Both of which won the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. Di Cintio is also an accomplished magazine writer and teacher of creative nonfiction. His current project is a book about the secret lives of Canadian taxi drivers.



middle grade, young adult, adult: general fiction, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, urban fantasy

Kim Firmston has six published novels, and has one in translation. She won the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens in 2014, and shortlisted for the Stellar Award – Red Cedar Young Reader’s Choice Awards. Kim loves writing widely, including humour, and flipping topics on their head. She has devoted her life to empowering writers, elevating their projects into publishable works, and helping authors find their own unique voice.



middle grade, young adult, adult: science fiction, fantasy, mystery, historical fiction

Susan Forest is a SF/F writer, and an award-winning fiction editor for Laksa Media. Her novel, Bursts of Fire, came out in 2019, followed by Flights of Marigolds (2020). She has published over 25 short stories in Canadian and international publications. A four-time Aurora Award finalist for her short fiction, she has appeared at many international writing conventions. Susan loves travel and has been known to dictate novels from the back of her husband’s motorcycle.



memoir | poetry

Vivian has published poetry, essays and memoir in Canadian journals and anthologies. She has four poetry books: Leylines of My Flesh (2002), A Bitter Mood of Clouds, and A Tincture of Sunlight (Frontenac 2013 and 2017). Vivian teaches creative writing with Mount Royal University, the University of Calgary, and Alexandra Writers Centre. She is currently Writer in Residence with the Canadian Authors Association – Alberta Branch.



creative nonfiction: memoir, personal essays, roman a clef

Karen is an experienced group facilitator, public speaker, instructor, management consultant, writer/author, world traveler, and retired clinical psychologist.

She has authored two books – The Full Catastrophe: A Memoir (2016) and Consulting into the Future (2002), as well as non-fiction articles about consulting, historical and academic topics, memoir and domestic abuse.

In addition to writing, she teaches the course, “Writing Memoir When Your Story is Difficult,” at the Alexandra Writers Centre in Calgary. She has developed her own course 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.



literary fiction: novel, short stories | poetry

Judith Pond holds an M.A. in German Literature from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She has published fiction and poetry in a wide range of Canadian literary magazines, including Malahat Review, Grain, Prairie Fire, Event, and Ryga, A Journal of Provocations. With Oberon Press of Ottawa, she has published fiction (Coming Attractions) and four collections of poetry (An Early Day, Dance of Death, Lovers and Other Monsters, A Shape of Breath). Her work has appeared in Combats Magazine (Seine-Saint-Denis, France, The Globe and Mail, and on CBC Radio. She is represented by The Rights Factory, Toronto, and currently holds the position of Writer in Residence at the Alexandra Writers’ Society Center, Calgary.



young adult: fantasy

Suzy is a Book Coach, Editor and Speaker. She is also the Calgary Bestselling Author of The Fountain, and The West Woods, Books 1 and 2 of The Fountain Series, published by Evil Alter Ego Press. This fantastical Young Adult Series has received two Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel, as well as Five Stars from both Readers’ Favorite and San Francisco Review of Books.

Suzy lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband and three children and is an involved member in the writing community. Currently, she is the Program Manager, Young Adult/Children’s Programming for When Words Collide (WWC), a literary festival held in Calgary each August. Suzy is also the founder of WriteIt! creative writing programs in schools, building young writers, and an instructor at Alexandra Writers Centre Society (AWCS) in Calgary.