Meet this year’s instructors!
Camp Director – Colin Matty
Slam poet, playwright, improviser, actor, performance artist: Colin wears many hats as a creative. When not slinging jokes with Rapid Fire Theatre, Colin runs a poetry shop from Edmonton’s streets, bringing the mysterious power of verse to a weary world and reminding people that “hey, this whole poetry thing is pretty neat.” After teaching at WordsWorth for several years, both the WGA and he are thrilled that he is back again, this time as the Camp Director!
Dr. Derek Beaulieu (Week 2 Instructor – Experimental Poetry) is the author or editor of 16 books, the most recent of which are Please, No more poetry: the poetry of derek beaulieu (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013) and kern (Les Figues press, 2014). He is the publisher of the acclaimed no press and is the visual poetry editor at UBUWeb. Beaulieu has exhibited his work across Canada, the United States and Europe and is an award-winning instructor at the Alberta College of Art + Design. He is the 2014-2016 Poet Laureate of Calgary, Canada.
Isaac Bond (Week 3 Instructor – Spoken Word) is a writer, performer, musician, and grassroots grinder from Saskatoon Saskatchewan. He has been heavily involved in several arts initiatives locally with artists of all disciplines. Nationally, he regularly tours spoken word and has ruckus fun at spoken word festivals. In January of 2013, he founded Write Out Loud, an organization that partners spoken word artists with school and community groups to build collectively through self expression. From the summer of 2013-2015, he has been the Executive Director of Tonight it’s Poetry, hosting a weekly showcase of spoken word artists from across Canada. He values listening as the source of everything we have to say, and he constantly is trying to listen better to you.
Lyndsie Bourgon (Week 2 Instructor – Creating a Zine) writes creative non-fiction for magazines and newspapers from her home in Calgary, and has worked as an editor for various newspapers, magazines and websites. She has written for publications including The Walrus, the Globe and Mail, Slate, Maisonneuve and Corporate Knights, and her reporting has taken her around the world–from Botswana to Cuba to Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Last fall she was chosen to take part in the Banff Centre’s Mountain and Wilderness Writing workshop.
Kris Demeanor (Week 1 Instructor – Songwriting) is a songwriter, theatre artist and poet who has taken his work around the world with the mission of inspiring people to laugh, dance, weep, think and party. He’s released seven recordings of original songs, and was the inaugural Poet Laureate of Calgary. Recent work includes Making Treaty 7, a theatrical presentation involving dozens of both First Nations and non-aboriginal artists, writing songs for CBC’s The Irrelevant Show, collaborating with Ian Tyson on new recordings, and compiling a book of poems and anecdotes from the 2012-14 poet laureate position which will be released in early 2015. Kris consistently does work with young people in schools and literary gatherings, and is a co-founder of the literary collective Re:Act.
Instructor Marcello Di Cintio (Week 3 Instructor – Nonfiction) is the author of three books of creative nonfiction including, most recently, Walls: Travels Along the Barricades. Marcello also writes for magazines such as The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, The New York Times, and Afar. He is a former writer-in-residence with the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program and the Palestine Writing Workshop. Marcello used to be a wrestler, but his wrestling skills don’t make him any better at Death Polo.
Kim Firmston (Week 1&2 Instructor – Pitch It: Selling Your Ideas) has never won a Governor General’s literary award nor has she met Margaret Atwood. Nevertheless, she has published six YA books (the latest due out this September), had numerous plays go on stage around the world and at the Calgary Fringe Festival, and taught many, many youth many, many things for well over two decades.
Sam Jeffery (Week 2&3 Instructor – Writing and Performing Stage Fighting) is an Edmonton-based actor, fighter, and improvisor, amongst other things. She graduated from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program and has since spent her time throwing herself into as much weird experimental theatre/fight/dance/
Award winning poet Ahmed Knowmadic (Week 1 Instructor – Spoken Word Poetry) is a Somali-born Canadian who currently resides in Treaty 6 Territory [Edmonton, Alberta]. He is a full-time poet, writer, actor, comedian, speaker and youth worker. In 2011, Ahmed became the first Somali spoken word champion at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, but shared the honor by being the first Albertan and Edmontonian as well. In 2012, Ahmed was given the RISE award for community involvement in arts and culture. In 2013, he was the Artist in Residence at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute and was among those shortlisted in becoming the Poet Laureate for Edmonton, Alberta. Ahmed’s art has bridged cultural gaps between many communities; he has collaborated on events with the Punjabi, Chinese, Turkish, Palestinian, Eritrean, Sudanese, Tanzanian, First Nations, and LGBT communities, as well as many others.
Jani Krulc’s (Week 1&3 Instructor – Short Story Writing) first collection of short stories, The Jesus Year, was published in 2013. Jani holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from Concordia University and a BA (Hons) in English from the University of Calgary. She is spending three weeks in June writing the fourth chapter of the Penny Dreadful novel, Noir on 8th. When not writing or reading, she practices and teaches yoga, hangs out with her animals, Pinot and Gigi, and travels to far off places like India and Winnipeg. Jani is looking forward to her second year at WordsWorth!
Marc Herman Lynch (Supervisor) is a fiction writer and poet. He’s the Vice President of filling Station magazine and co-runs the flywheel reading series in Calgary, AB. He’s published in numerous journals and received his Master’s of Arts in English at the University of Calgary.
Johnny MacRae (Week 2 Instructor – Spoken Word Poetry) was the 2010 Van Slam Grand champ, and the 2011 Canadian Underground Indies champ. Poet of Honour at the 2013 Victoria Spoken Word Festival, his work has been described as combining “respect for traditional poetic structure with an impishly postmodern sense of humour” (Vince Tinguely, LitLive.ca). In 2010, he founded the UBC Poetry Slam, which he coordinated for its first two years. Having been a workshop facilitator with Vancouver Poetry House’s arts education program, Wordplay, since 2009, MacRae now acts as Wordplay’s program director, as well as co-director of the BC high school poetry slam championship, Hullabaloo.
Susie Moloney (Week 1 Instructor – Raising the Stakes in Storytelling) is the author of Bastion Falls, A Dry Spell, The Dwelling, The Thirteen, and Things Withered, stories. Her novel A Dry Spell was the highest-selling advance in Canada’s literary history. She was one of Maclean’s Magazine’s “100 Canadians to Watch.” Her novels have have been translated into multiple languages. She was the first novelist to appear on the cover of Chatelaine Magazine. Her novel The Thirteen won the inaugural Michael Van Rooy Award for Fiction in 2013. She now writes television and film.
Kim McCullough (Week 3 Instructor – Writing the Fantastical) is a writer and teacher from Calgary, AB. Kim’s debut novel, Clearwater won a 2014 High Plains Award, Kim has twice won the WGA’s Jon Whyte Memorial Essay award (2014 and 2015). Kim mentors for the WGA and UBC’s Booming Ground, and facilitates various writing workshops for teens and adults throughout Western Canada. Kim has work forthcoming in Room magazine.
Brendan McLeod (Week 2 Instructor – One-Person Show/Monologue) has been a WordsWorth instructor for quite some time — going on nearly a decade (phew, he’s old). He’s a novelist, playwright, and musician, who has performed over 400 shows in the past 5 years. He was the 2012 poet of honor at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, and his folk group The Fugitives have been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award. His one hour monologue “The Fruit Machine” was funded by the Canada Council, toured across the country, and was featured in various media outlets, including CBC’s DNTO.
Cathy Ostlere (Week 1&3 Instructor – Great Myths & The Hero’s Journey) recalls a childhood of making up stories while staring out the car window on long drives across the country. She is the author of the memoir, Lost; the play, Lost: A Memoir; and a verse novel for teens, Karma. Cathy lives in Calgary and takes great pleasure in writing in many genres – fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, theatre and film. This is her fourth summer teaching at Wordsworth and is delighted to be back!
Sandy Pool (Week 1&2 Instructor – Microfiction) is a writer, editor and Creative Writing instructor. Her first book, Exploding Into Night was short-listed for the 2010 Governor General’s Award for poetry. Her second book, Undark: An Oratorio was published in 2012, and was short-listed for an Alberta Book Award for Poetry and the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. She also a librettist and voice work artist. Sandy holds a degree in Theatre Performance and English from the University of Toronto, as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University Guelph. Currently, she is a holder of the prestigious Killam scholarship in poetics at the University of Calgary, where she is completing her Phd.
Sebastian Ringuette (Supervisor) is a British/French-Canadian crossbreed that successfully reached maturity in the harsh (although friendly) climate of Western Canada. He is a cartoonist, author, and takes every chance he can get to teach those very practices to kids and teens in lieu of useful skills like farming or brick laying. This is Sebastien’s second year working with camp WordsWorth and has found it to be the absolute best possible use of July ever dreamt of by mortal minds. He is trying really hard to be funny pretty much all the time and considers making people smile the second best thing ever right next to oxygen.
Erinne Sevigny Adachi (Week 2 Instructor – Build Better Books) was a WordsWorth supervisor from 2010-2012. Now with a slew of grey hairs and an auxiliary surname, she is excited to be returning this year as an instructor. Erinne is an editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach, which means she helps writers develop careers and/or books in strategic ways that align with their life and publishing goals. Her business Blue Pencil Consult was formalized in 2014 after she added a post-graduate certificate in publishing to her degree in professional writing. Her 2013 cross-country publishing house tour, which spanned eight provinces and over 20 Canadian presses, was covered by several media outlets including Postmedia, CBC Books, and Quill & Quire. In and around camp you’ll find Erinne working on client books, reading, or weaving and tacking beadwork. You are always welcome to sit down next to her to chat and hang out, so please do!
Julia Seymour (Supervisor) began her involvement as part of the WordsWorth Creative Team back in the summer of 2010. Way back when the world was a very different place — a world that had not yet invented Candy Crush, or added ‘bae’ to the oxford dictionary; a world where Twilight was still a thing, and a Game of Thrones tv show was nothing but a distant dream. And now, after a brief WordsWorth hiatus in 2014, Julia is excited to be back again for her 5th summer as part of the WordsWorth team. She is a graduate of Grant MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts Program and a lover of Death Polo. After spending a couple of years in Vancouver working as a tour guide and pursuing further studies in Canadian History she moved back to her homeland of Edmonton in September. Since that time, she has had the great fortune to work at Fort Edmonton Park in the education department where she spends most of her days somewhere between the year 1846 and 1905. She is a theatre artist, playwright, and television nerd and is excited to be entering into her first year of a French Immersion Education Degree at the Campus St. Jean in September. Among other things, she is the winner of the 2012 Edmonton Fringe’s 24 Hour Playwriting Competition for her play, Passing and her work has been featured as part of North Vancouver’s Sacred Space Festival. Her favorite writing procrastination activities include: watching theme songs from 90s cartoon series, and practicing writing in the third person.
Jessie Tollestrup (Supervisor) is a musician and spoken word artist from Milk River, Alberta. They are in the second year of their Jazz and Contemporary Piano Diploma at Vancouver Community College. As a solo act, they perform experimental folk, incorporating guitar, harmonica, and a looping pedal. In August of 2014, Jess teamed up with spoken word artist Sebastien Wen, touring from Calgary, AB to Sherbrooke, QC. Jess is a member of the 5 piece rock-a-billy/surf/country/doo-wop group The Speakerphones, who will be releasing their debut album in September. Jess’ poetry has been published in Grip, Capilano University’s ‘The Liar’, and Lethbridge Fourth Wave Freaks. Jess was a camper at WordsWorth for many years, and is thrilled to be returning as a Creative Team Member for the second time.
Erin Emily Ann Vance (Supervisor) is a poet and freelance writer from Black Diamond, Alberta. Her articles have appeared in Grip, Edmonton Women’s Magazine, and Calgary Senior News, and her poetry has appeared in literary journals all across North America and Indonesia. She works with children and adults on the autism spectrum, and runs a creative writing program out of the Autism Aspergers Friendship Society. She is approaching the end of her BA Honours in English with a creative writing concentration at the University of Calgary, and is completing a verse memoir about mountaineering for her thesis. Erin currently works in the University of Calgary Archives and Special Collections. She is the editor of Honey Pot: A Journal of Intersectional Feminism and the Creator of Bright Star Literary Jewelry.
David Walker (Week 1&3 Instructor – Improv) is a playwright, poet and theatre artist from Edmonton currently based between Edmonton and Toronto. He runs a theatre company called DuckRabbit, with whom he produced his play Beware Beware last summer. His most recent play, You Can Change Anything Whenever You Want, is an experiment in multi-media theatre that was shortlisted for the Wildfire National Playwriting Competition and will be produced sometime in 2016. David is the former poetry editor of The Void magazine in Montreal. His poetry and criticism have been published in places like The Quietus, Lemonhound, Metatron, Headlight Anthology and Soliloquies. He has also worked and trained as an actor, dancer, and musician, and he spent several years improvising with Rapid Fire Theatre in Edmonton. David is in incoming graduate student at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. He holds a BA (Hons) in English & Creative Writing from Concordia University in Montreal. Current projects include a new play called one of us must know, and the libretto for an experimental electro-acoustic operetta (for a soprano, a harpist, a dancer, and four laptops) that will be performed in Toronto this coming November.
David Wilson, B.Mus, M.Mus, (Week 2&3 Instructor – Creative Flow and the Writer’s Voice) is a Singer, Conductor, Voice Teacher, Yoga Instructor, Breath Therapist, and soon-to-be-author. He is recognized across Canada as a leading authority on the use of yoga and breath therapy to aid proper singing technique. He has most recently conducted Mikado and RENT, and sung in Into the Woods. David currently teaches voice for Grant MacEwan Theatre Arts, Edmonton Musical Theatre, and the University of Alberta. At his Edmonton teaching studio, David offers Professional Voice Lessons, Functional Vocal Transformation, Empowerment & Confidence Training, Performance Tuning, Creative Flow Work and Body, Breath & Voice Integrative Therapy. He tours regularly, offering workshops to singers, actors, teachers and professionals on vocal power and respiratory health. David is THRILLED to be returning to WordsWorth! He is currently working on a book/DVD entitled The Wilson Technique of Singing. His website is body-breath-voice.com.
Paul Zits (Week 1&3 Instructor – Experimental Poetry) received his MA in English from the University of Calgary in 2010, completing his creative thesis, Massacre Street (UAP 2013) under the supervision of experimental Canadian poet Christian Bök. Since, he has served two terms as Writer-in-the-Schools at Queen Elizabeth High School in Calgary, teaching Creative Writing to students in the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program. Zits is the editor and publisher of the Calgary-based small-press 100 têtes Press and the Managing Editor of filling Station. This is his second year teaching at the WGA’s WordsWorth Camp.