Meet Your 2021/22 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.

This year we are excited to have coaches representing all genres of fiction – short story collections or novels, creative nonfiction – personal essay collections/memoir and playwriting/screenplays.


Nancy Bell (Adult/Young 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 Writers Guild of Alberta. She has publishing credits in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

Katie Bickell (literary fiction, contemporary/upmarket fiction – short story collection or novel)

Katie Bickell is the author of the novel, Always Brave, Sometimes Kind. The book and earlier versions of its interlinked, short-story chapters have won the 2021 Georges Bugnet Fiction Award, the 2017 WGA Emerging Writer Award, the 2015 Howard O’Hagan Award, and the 2014 Alberta Views Fiction Contest. Always Brave, Sometimes Kind was also shortlisted for the 2020 ReLit Awards for Novel. Katie lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta, with her husband and young daughters.

Thea Bowering (contemporary/upmarket fiction/biofiction – short story collection/novel, creative nonfiction – personal essay collections/memoir)

Born in Vancouver, Thea Bowering lives in Edmonton and holds an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta. She writes creative nonfiction and short and long-form biofiction. In 2014 her story collection Love at Last Sight won an Alberta Book Publishing Award. She has run workshops in film studies, fiction, and essay writing, and been a mentor with the Blue Pencil Café. In 2018 she joined the board of NeWest Press as an editor and manuscript reader.  

Sarah L. Johnson (literary, contemporary/upmarket, speculative fiction – horror, science fiction, fantasy, dystopian – short story collections/novel, creative nonfiction – personal essay collections/memoir)

Sarah L. Johnson is a curly hair gladiator, creative writing instructor, literary events wrangler, and queer fictioneer. Her stories have appeared in Vastarien, Room Magazine, Plenitude, On Spec, Shock Totem, Crossed Genres, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Vol. 2 (Red Room Press), and the Bram Stoker Award nominated Dark Visions 1(Grey Matter Press) and Twisted Book of Shadows (Haverhill Press). She’s the author of Suicide Stitch: Eleven Tales (EMP Publishing) the blasphemous apocalyptic thriller, Infractus (Coffin Hop Press), and co-author of Wall of Fire (The Seventh Terrace). 

Ellen Kelly (creative nonfiction – personal essay collections)

Ellen Kelly has lived in Airdrie for the past 41 years and is honoured to be a settler on the lands of the people of Treaty Number 7. Her husband is a retired CPS member and reflection on being the partner of a first responder influences her writing as does her prairie roots – open skies, unpredictable weather, broad expanses and the tough characters she’s met along the way.  Ellen has published creative nonfiction, personal essays, short fiction and poetry. She also freelances and is grateful for this experience which has allowed her to meet many interesting and talented individuals. Ellen teaches creative writing, conducts small group workshops on request, and freelances.

Katherine Koller (general fiction – novel, playwriting, screenwriting)

Katherine Koller writes for stage, screen and page. Her first plays were for CBC radio. Her Alberta LandWorks Trilogy includes Coal Valley: The Making of a Miner, The Seed Savers and Alberta Playwriting Competition winner, Last Chance Leduc. Her opera, The Handless Maiden, received a recital reading in Vancouver and Hope Soup, for radio, was recorded at the 2019 Edmonton Fringe. Riverkeeper, her new play, was a Finalist in the Jane Chambers Award and the 2020 Alberta Playwriting Competition. Her web series, about Edmonton youth changing their world, is at sustainablemeyeg.caArt Lessons, her novel, was a finalist for the Edmonton Book Prize and the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award. Winner of a High Plains Book Award and the Exporting Alberta Award, Winning Chance is her recent collection of short stories.

Karen Lee (creative nonfiction – memoir)

Karen is an author, writing instructor, public speaker, workshop leader, a retired clinical psychologist and management consultant. She has authored two non-fiction books, Consulting into the Future 2002 about management consulting, and The Full Catastrophe 2016, a memoir of marriage, widowhood, and healing after trauma. She has also authored articles that range from psychology and management, journal articles, memoir and history. She is presently working on another manuscript – a combination memoir/research project of creative non-fiction about pedophilia in an Ontario village.

In addition to teaching writing at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre, Karen has taught graduate level business and psychology students, corporate executives, and worked as a freelance management consultant. She has lived and worked in Canada, Hawaii, and England with assignments that took her to many countries including Eastern and Western Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and Peru. She now lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Anne Metikosh (general fiction, mystery, historical fiction – novel)

Anne Metikosh is the author of 4 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 ten years, she has been teaching novel-related courses at AWCS, as well as doing manuscript reviews for both AWCS and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.  When she isn’t helping other writers beat their prose into shape, she’s working on several projects of her own.  

Rosemary Nixon (literary, contemporary/upmarket – short story collection/novel)

Rosemary Nixon is the acclaimed author of a novel, two short story collections, a hybrid novel/collection, the latter nominated for The Frank O’Conner International Prize, and North American Forewords IndieFab Award.

A passionate creative writing instructor, Rosemary has been a popular writer-in-residence and mentor at universities and libraries from Alberta to Ontario. She recently received Alberta’s Lois Hole Excellence in Editing Award for her work on Freehand Book’s Dazzle Patterns.