2020/21 Manuscript Reviewers

Rona Altrows (literary fiction – short story/novel, creative nonfiction – memoir/personal essays)

Rona Altrows has been writing fiction, creative non-fiction and plays for 25 years, and has been editing professionally since 1981. Her most recent book, At This Juncture, came out in April, 2018 and consists entirely of fictional letters. Fall, 2018 will mark the release of Waiting: An Anthology of Essays, which Rona co-edited with Julie Sedivy. Rona’s previous books include A Run on Hose, a short story collection that won the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize; Key in Lock, another short story collection; The River Throws a Tantrum, a children’s chapbook; and Shy, an anthology she co-edited with Naomi K. Lewis. Rona’s work has appeared in magazines and journals in print and on line and has been produced on CBC Radio. Her 10-minute plays have been produced in Canada and the U.S. She has served as Writer-in-Residence for AWCS and for the Calgary Public Library and was the inaugural Mentor in the Loop for AWCS.


Lexie Angelo (Young Adult, Kidlit, Speculative Fiction, Creative Nonfiction)

Lexie Angelo holds a Master’s with Distinction in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh and has been published in From Arthur’s Seat, a short story anthology, as well as Hypnopomp Magazine, 5 on the Fifth and The Ogilvie in the United Kingdom. She has short stories forthcoming in The Flexible Persona Magazine and Loft on Eighth Press. In 2018, she was awarded the Carlyle Norman Scholarship for Emerging Literary Artists Endowment and completed a residency at The Banff Centre with award-winning writer Ayelet Tsabari. Follow her on twitter @angelolexie


Nancy Bell (young adult – fantasy, contemporary, romance – historical, contemporary)

Nancy M Bell lives near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She works with and fosters rescue animals. She has publishing credits in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction with over 15 novels and numerous magazine articles and poetry. Nancy has worked with young and developing authors of all ages to offer advice and support on their journey to publication. She was thrilled to be chosen as a Story Coach with the Alexandra Writers Centre Society for the 2018/19 session. She writes in the following genres: YA Fantasy, YA, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance and has edited manuscripts in most fiction genres.


Alex Benarzi (literary fiction, absurd, magical realism – novel, short stories)

Alex Benarzi is a Calgary writer and educator. He writes literary fiction with a hint of magic realism. He is fascinated by the absurd, and loves playing with the minute details of grammar and style. Alex is proficient with substantive and developmental editing, and always completes projects according to the agreed upon timeframe. Alex has been published with Coffin Hop Press and Freeze Frame Fiction.


Laurie Fuhr (poetry)

Laurie Anne Fuhr is a poetry instructor, publishing poet, and singer-songwriter based in Calgary, Alberta. Her work merges free verse lyric narrative and experimental surrealism; imagination illustrates the individual experience of reality, using mind-bending moments of magic realism and fantasy to synthesize the absurdities of daily life. Her publications include night flying (Frontenac House, 2018); lens of love (Loft on 8th Press, 2018, chapbook); anthologies like evergreen: six new poets (Black Moss Press 2002, ed. rob mclennan) and Leonard Cohen: You’re Our Man (Foundation for Public Poetry 2009); and magazines and journals such as THIS Magazine, Handheld, Freefall, NoD, and many more. Laurie was Managing Editor of filling Station Magazine from 2008-2011 and hosts the Single Onion OPEN MIC.Connect through @Multimodalpoet on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Other books: lens of love, Loft on 8th Press, 2018 (chapbook)


Vivian Hansen (poetry, creative nonfiction – memoir, personal essays, fiction)

Vivian has published poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction in Canadian journals and anthologies.  Her essay ‘Telling’, was published in Waiting (University of Alberta Press 2018).  Her three full-length books of poetry include Leylines of My Flesh (Touchwood Press), A Bitter Mood of Clouds, and A Tincture of Sunlight (Frontenac House 2013 and 2017).  She has recently published “Design Charette For Blakiston Park” with Loft 112.  Vivian teaches poetry and creative writing in Calgary through the University of Calgary and Alexandra Writers Centre.


Sarah Johnson (speculative fiction – horror, science fiction, fantasy, dystopian – novel, short stories)

Sarah L. Johnson is a writer, teacher, collaborator, and publisher of strange fiction. She’s the author of the sci-fi/fantasy novel Infractus (Coffin Hop Press) and two short story collections, Suicide Stitch (EMP Publishing) and Wall of Fire (The Seventh Terrace) her short stories have been finalists for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Alberta Magazine Publishers Award. You can find her in Calgary where she drinks when she’s happy, smokes when she’s not, runs like a maniac, and mucks about the internet at the-seventh-terrace.com


Lee Kvern (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.


Karen Lee (creative nonfiction – memoir, personal essays)

Karen Lee teaches memoir and writing skills at the Alexandra writers’ Centre. Karen is an experienced editor and manuscript reviewer. She has had two books published, The Full Catastrophe: A Memoir, She Writes Press, April 2016 and Consulting into the Future, Hodder & Stoughton, 2002. She is now working on another book, Tales from a Country Village (working title), a work of creative non-fiction.

Her recent articles include: “An Ordinary Woman,” to be published in the book, Love and Loss, a collection of short stories to be published by Exisle Publishing in April 2020.  And “THE IMPORTANCE OF MEMOIR An exploration of time, place and memory” Westword Magazine, June 2019.

Past articles include personal essays, history, psychology and management consulting.


Randy McCharles (crime, mystery)

Randy has been publishing short stories and novellas since 2007, and in 2014 began writing fulltime, producing novels such as Much Ado about Macbeth and Capone’s Chicago. In 2015 he began a non-speculative crime series featuring Peter Galloway, soft-boiled detective, the 1st five novels of which will be published in late 2019 and early 2020. He is a recipient of several Aurora Awards (Canada’s most prestigious award for speculative fiction) and in 2013 his short story Ghost-B-Gone Incorporated won the House of Anansi 7-day Ghost Story Contest. Randy is a long-time member of IFWA (the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association) and participates regularly in manuscript critiques and writing workshops. He has led workshops on various topics, taught novel writing, and been a beta reader for numerous published authors, including Robert J. Sawyer. In addition to writing, Randy organizes various literary events including the award-winning When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers. www.randymccharles.com


Kirk Miles (poetry, dramatic scripts)

Kirk’s poems have been produced on CBC’s Alberta Anthology and his poetry has been published in journals across Canada. As a playwright he has earned recognition for his work including a playwriting award from Alberta Culture for co-writing the critically acclaimed Juggler on a Drum and in June of 2009 Kirk Miles won the Writers Guild of Alberta Screenwriters Award for a screenplay entitled Shadow Maker. A book of poetry: The Last Six Minutes of Elvis, was published by Touchwood Press in 2002, and in 2009 of ash of brick of water, was published by Plan-B House. In the fall of 2007 Bravo aired a half hour special on his life as a poet, playwright and clown. His spoken word show with Ken Sinclair is call midnight yoga for alcoholics and has been seen at several festivals and events through out Alberta. A frequent participant of the Banff Leighton Artist Colony, Hotel on the Cliffs on the Heart was completed in 2011 and published by B House publishers. In 2012 Kirk Won the Golden Beret Award a lifetime achievement award in poetry presented by the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival. Moving Dust, a manuscript of poems about the Holocaust was published in the winter of 2015. In 2019 he received an Alberta foundation grant to adapt a novel to a screenplay. He has been nominated three times for the Calgary Poet Laureate Position and short-listed twice.


Joy Norstrom (women’s fiction, commercial, chicklit)

Joy Norstrom is a Calgary based author and social worker. She enjoys writing stories about the human experience, hiking with family and reading late into the wee hours when she should be asleep.

Joy’s humorous Women’s Fiction novel, Out of Play: An Unromance (2016) was published by Crooked Cat Books. Her short stories: Salt (2016) and Monday Mourning (2014) both appeared in The Commonline Journal.

Joy has taught story writing elements to elementary students and spoken about the transformative power of storytelling to university students. She is a regular panelist at the When Words Collide Festival, has been a judge in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association’s annual Rising Star Award.


Meghan Perry (speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy / literary fiction – short stories, novels)

Meghan grew up in the frozen wilds of Labrador, listening to too much symphonic metal and writing really bad poetry. Lured across the country by the promise of love and money, she instead found the AWCS and has been an active member for the past seven years, including a two year stint as a board member. Meghan has publications with Morning Rain Publishing, Coffin Hop Press, and the Antigonish Review, has spent two years as part of the Banff Centre Residency Program, and is slogging through the final draft of her first novel. A lover of all things fantastical, Meghan has experience writing and critiquing in both literary fiction and most genre fiction, with the glaring exception of horror (blame the nightmares). When not crying over the editing process, you can find Meghan hiking across far-flung continents, teaching yoga, and still writing questionable poetry.


Suzy Vadori (Young Adult/Adult – Speculative Fiction)

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.


Robin van Eck (literary fiction, contemporary, commercial, upmarket fiction, horror, dystopian – short stories, novels, creative nonfiction – memoir, personal essays)

Robin’s short stories and personal essays have been published in numerous anthologies and journals in Canada and internationally. Most recently her story, Unspooled, was published by Lamplight Magazine (a magazine of literary horror). She writes commercial/upmarket fiction with a literary style. Her first novel, Rough, will be published in the Fall 2020 by Stonehouse Publishing.


Philip Vernon (commercial/upmarket fiction – mystery, psychological thriller)

P. J. Vernon writes psychological suspense and is “a name to watch in the thriller genre” (Booklist). Library Journal and Book Riot compare his critically acclaimed Gothic debut When You Find Me to Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. His debut has sold in multiple countries, languages and formats. He regularly mentors authors, teaches both craft and industry, and provides funds development consulting for non-profit organizations. He is represented by CookeMcDermid and resides in Calgary with his partner and two wily dogs. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @pjvernonbooks.