Our Instructors

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.

A-E | F-J | K-O | P-T | U-Z


Rona Altrows

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.

Susan Calder

Susan Calder

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 working on book # 3 of the Paula Savard Mystery Series.

Dwayne Clayden

Dwayne Clayden

Dwayne 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.

M. Jane Colette

JANE COLETTE writes tragedy for people who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for men and women who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken; ditto the constraints of genres.

She’s the author of the erotic romance Tell Me, the erotic tragedy (with a happy ending) Consequences (of Defensive Adultery), and the steamy rom-coms (that’s a genre) Cherry Pie Cure and Text Me, Cupid: a (slightly filthy) love story for 21st century adults in four episodes (coming December 2018), as well as the non-fiction collection of essays Rough Draft Confessions: Not a Guide To Writing and Selling Erotica and Romance But Full of Inside Insight Anyway. // mjanecolette.com.

Kim Firmston

Kim Firmston

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.

Susan Forest

Susan Forest writes SF, fantasy and horror, and is an award-winning fiction editor for Laksa Media. Her novel, Bursts of Fire, will be out in 2019, followed by Flights of Marigolds. She has published over 25 short stories, contributes to When Words Collide, and 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.

Laurie Fuhr

Laurie Fuhr

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

Janet Gurtler

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

Lori Hahnel

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

Vivian Hansen

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.

Phyllis Heltay

Phyllis Heltay

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.

Sarah L. Johnson

Sarah L. Johnson

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 April 2018 by Coffin Hop Press.

Ellen Kelly

Ellen Kelly has had short fiction and creative nonfiction published in magazines and literary journals. Her personal essays have been shortlisted twice for the Jon Whyte Essay Prize. She teachers at the AWCS (creative writing, short fiction, creative non-fiction, and various motivational creativity courses) and conducts private workshops on a contract basis. Ellen is also a freelance journalist, columnist, avid quilter and crazy dachshund lady. She lives and works in Airdrie and is thankful to be able to follow her passion on a daily basis.

Jani Krulc

Jani Krulc

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.

Lee Kvern

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.

Karen Lee

Karen Lee

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.

Josephine LoRe

Josephine LoRe

Josephine LoRe is an emerging poet and writer. She has been published in a number of Canadian and American reviews including Haiku Canada, Wax Poetry & Art, and Still Points Arts Quarterly. She has featured at Woolf’s Voices, the Single Onion’s Café Blanca, the Filling Station’s Flywheel series, Unspoken and Poetry at La Pâtisserie. She has an upcoming feature and chapbook through Loft 112. She has an MA in Comparative Literature from l’Université de Rouen in France and a BA in Modern Languages and Literature from the University of Toronto.

Maraya Loza Koxahn

Maraya Loza Koxahn

Maraya is an 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 a stickler for grammar and a member of the punctuation police. She believes in learning the rules before you break them.

Colin Martin

Colin Martin

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.

Sandra McIntyre

Sandra McIntyre is a writer and book editor. Her short fiction has been published in Prairie Fire and she is writing a novel. As an editor, she has worked both in-house and freelance, bringing to print more than two hundred titles in a range of genres. She is the editor of two anthologies of short fiction—Everything Is So Political: a collection of short fiction by Canadian writers (2014) and The Vagrant Revue of New Fiction (2007)—and recipient of the HRM (Halifax) Mayor’s Award for Cultural Achievement in Literature.

Sharon McLeay

Sharon has authored three memoirs and has been published widely in both the public and business press. A former news magazine editor and business communicator, she is the recipient of one international and two national IABC awards. She writes creative non-fiction and poetry and has taught English, public relations, journal writing and creativity courses at the University of Calgary, Mount Royal College and AWCS. She enjoys showing others how to begin/enhance writing and boost creativity through the use of journal writing and connecting with ‘The Muse’.

Anne Metikosh

Anne Metikosh

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

Kirk Miles

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

Brett Morrison

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

Carrie Mumford

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.

Rosemary Nixon

Rosemary Nixon

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 MFA 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

Olyn Ozbick

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

Carolyn Pogue

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.

Sebastien Ringuette

Sebastien Ringuette

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

J. Jill Robinson

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.

Wilma Rubens

Wilma Rubens

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

Madelaine Shaw-Wong

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.

Leanne Shirtliffe

Leanne Shirtliffe is the author of the memoir, Don’t Lick the Minivan and  five picture books, including The Change Your Name Store, I Love Sharks Too, and Saving Thunder the Great: the True Story of a Gerbil’s Rescue from the Fort McMurray Wildfire. When she’s not trying to put words in some semblance of order, Leanne can be found teaching high school or hanging out with her family in the suburbs of Calgary. She used to travel.

Bradley Somer

Bradley Somer holds degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology and spent many years tromping through the wilds of Canada and the US, the scrub brush of Australia, and along the beaches of the Caribbean looking for artifacts to fill in the hidden stories of human prehistory. He now just makes up stories because it’s easier. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Lieutenant Governor General’s award for Emerging Artist.

His writing has appeared in dozens of literary magazines and anthologies. His first novel, Imperfections, was published by Nightwood Editions in Canada. His latest novel, Fishbowl, has been published in more than fifteen countries and five translations around the world, was awarded the Georges Bugnet Award for fiction, and longlisted for the Alberta Readers Choice Awards. 

Emily Ursuliak

Emily Ursuliak

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 van Eck

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, Alberta Views and most recently, Lamplight and the Waiting Anthology. She is currently shopping her first novel and deep into her second manuscript. For more information: www.robinzvaneck.com

Doreen Vanderstoop

Doreen Vanderstoop

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.

Philip Vernon

PJ Vernon holds a PhD in immunology and published science before turning his hand to publishing fiction. PJ is an insatiable reader of suspense and domestic noir. His writing―and love of all things unsettling―is influenced by Gillian Flynn, SJ Watson, and the late ASA Harrison. PJ’s debut novel, WHEN YOU FIND ME, has sold in multiple countries and languages and releases October 9, 2018. He is represented by CookeMcDermid Literary Mgmt.