Here are the participants of the 2014 WGA Mentorship Program:
J. Jill Robinson/Gregory Koop
Mentor – J.Jill Robinson is the author of four collections of stories, the most recent of which is Residual Desire. Her work, which has appeared in many Canadian literary journals, has won the Prism International fiction contest, Event’s creative nonfiction contest (twice), two Western Magazine Awards, two Saskatchewan Book Awards, and the Howard O Hagan Prize for short fiction. Born in Langley B.C., Jill became a writer while living in Calgary (1979 – 1993), before moving to Saskatoon (1993 – 2009). She returned to Alberta in 2009, and now lives in Banff. She has served as a writer-in-residence at the Saskatoon Public Library, Red Deer College, the Alexandra Writing Centre, the inaugural Virtual Ink!, Southern Alberta Libraries video-link program, and currently as one of two writers in residence for the CAA (Alberta branch). She has led many weekend and daylong writing workshops throughout Saskatchewan. She was the Editor of Grain magazine from 1995 – 1999, and a teacher of English Literature, Composition, and Creative Writing at the University of Calgary; University of Saskatchewan; St. Peter’s College; SUNTEP; and First Nations University of Canada. For more information: writersunion.ca/ww_profile.asp?mem=391&L=R&N=J. Jill Robinson.
Apprentice – Gregory Koop grew up on the border of central Alberta and Saskatchewan. Living the life of Garp, Gregory cares for his daughter, practices Muay Thai, and writes. A finalist for a 2010 Alberta Literary Award, Gregory has also been a resident of The Banff Centre’s 2011 Writing Studio. His work has been featured in Carte Blanche, Drunk Monkeys, The Nashwaak Review, Other Voices Journal of the Literary and Visual Arts, paperplates, and Raving: The Raving Poets Magazine. He is working on a novel.
Anne Sorbie/Heidi Grogan:
Mentor – Anne Sorbie was born in Paisley, Scotland and she lives and writes in Calgary. Most recently, her work has appeared in the top 20 stories on CBC Canada Writes (Bloodlines 2013), and in the anthology, The Calgary Poetry Project (Frontenac 2014). Her first novel, Memoir of a Good Death, (Thistledown Press) was listed for the 2012 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award.
Apprentice – Heidi Grogan’s passion for writing was kick-started by first winning a 2008 Novice Writing Award from The Word Guild and then, later, taking a class at the Alexandra Centre with Betty-Jane Hegerat and at the University of Calgary with Barb Howard. Her writing attends to events that break and shape lives; women in the sex trade, children with anorexia, breast cancer, adoption. She has published in Room Magazine (From Scar to Sacrament, 2011) and is a regular contributor for Weavings in Nashville (Kiln-Fired Hope, 2012, Adoption: A Kaleidoscope Community, 2012, Cry of the Streets, 2013 and This is My Body, 2014.) Adoption: A Kaleidoscope Community was short listed for The Word Guild’s awards in two categories. In 2013, Climber Boy, was shortlisted to the quarter-finals in a contest offered by Ruminate in Colorado. Closer to home, The Alexandra Centre awarded What Took You So Long second place in their 2013 short short story contest. For 15 years Heidi hosted the weekly Servants Anonymous Society creative writing classes for women leaving the sex trade, and with Marcello DeCintio initiated the SAS Author’s Circle, which sees authors supporting women wishing to find their voice with confidence and skill.
Alison Hughes/Jennifer Walsh:
Mentor -Alison Hughes has lived, worked and studied in Canada, England and Australia. Her juvenile fiction novel, Poser (Orca Book Publishers) was released last spring, and her next novel, On a Scale from Idiot to Complete Jerk (Orca) will be released in the spring of 2014. Two picture books and an early-reader chapter book are forthcoming in 2015 from Orca and Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Alison won the gold medal for the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Arts for her B.A. in English (U of A), after which she earned an LLB (McGill) and an LLM (Cambridge). She won the Writers’ Union of Canada’s Writing for Children Award in 2009, and her short stories have been short- and long-listed for the Writers’ Union Short Prose Competition and the CBC Literary Awards. Alison lives with her husband and three children in Edmonton, where snoring dogs provide the soundtrack to her writing.
Apprentice – When Jennifer Walsh was in high school, she wrote a story—great literature it was not—and the friends who centred in the story loved it, and demanded she write more. From that moment, she was hooked on writing. For the last seven years, she’s worked as a writer for a publishing/ technology, as a teacher, science educator, and COW bus driver, and has traveled all over Alberta, teaching children the joy of learning science. She loves writing novels, mainly for young adult audiences, and if she could do this for the rest of her life (and get paid to do it), she’s be the happiest gal alive.
Jacqueline Dumas/Melissa Morelli Lacroix:
Mentor – Jacqueline Dumas was a participant in Edmonton’s cultural life for many years – as writer, teacher, organizer, and independent bookseller. Her work includes two published novels, a children’s book, a play, and various video scripts. Her first novel, Madeleine and the Angel, examines a claustrophobic family in 1950s franco-Alberta and is a past winner of the Georges Bugnet Award. Her second novel, The Last Sigh, moves between 15th and 20th-century Spain while also looking at Canadian cultural identity. Her play, Secrets, was produced at the 2013 Edmonton International Fringe Festival. She is also a past coordinator of Edmonton’s Writer-in-Exile program, and former owner of Aspen Books and Orlando Books in Edmonton. One of her great pleasures remains connecting writers with their potential readers. She has recently moved to Nova Scotia and continues work on a resistant third novel.
Apprentice – Melissa Morelli Lacroix is an Edmonton-based writer. She studied creative writing at Lancaster University (M.A.) at the University of Alberta (B.A.). Her work has appeared in Canadian, American and British print and on-line publications such as The Prairie Journal, Ars Medica, Other Voices, Legacy, In the Red, Wascana Review and The Dawntreader, as well as in anthologies published by Red Claw Press, United Cultures of Canada Association, Capital BookFest Books and the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension. Melissa’s fiction and drama have been read and produced by CBC Radio, the University of Alberta, Walterdale Theatre and Rabid Marmot Productions. Her first book of poetry, A Most Beautiful Deception, will be published by the University of Alberta Press in Spring 2014. In addition to writing, Melissa facilitates writing groups for seniors and teaches piano to children. She will be working on a novel during the mentorship program.
Lee Kvern/Sarah Johnson:
Mentor – Lee Kvern is the award-winning author of short stories and novels. Her novel, Afterall, was selected for 2013 Canada Reads (Regional) and also nominated for Alberta Books Awards while, The Matter of Sylvie, was nominated for Alberta Book Awards and Ottawa Relit Award. Her short stories are also well celebrated; she was as a national winner of the CBC Literary Award, winner of the Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize, the Howard ‘O’ Hagan Award, and the Western Magazine Award for Fiction. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, published in Event, Descant, Air Canada enRoute. subTerrain; on-line: Joyland.ca, Foundpress.com and LittleFiction.com Her short story collection, 7 Ways to Sunday, is due out Spring 2014 and her fourth book, Love Songs for Street Girls, is coming soon. www.leekvern.com.
Apprentice – Sarah L. Johnson lives in Calgary where she reads, writes, runs, and occasionally overuses the word ‘perpendicular’. Her work has appeared in Canadian journals such as Room Magazine, and Plenitude, as well as several anthologies including Dark Visions and Freshwater Pearls.