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2021 Horizons Writers Circle Participants Announced

August 30, 2021

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is proud to announce the participants for the 2021 Horizons Writers Circle, its mentored writing program for Edmonton’s immigrant and underrepresented writers. 

In September, twelve Alberta writers will begin their participation in the WGA’s newly-named Horizons Writers Circle. The program will run between the months of September 2021 and March 2022, under the coordination of publisher and writer Luciana Erregue-Sacchi. Writers from diverse backgrounds in the early stages of their career will be mentored by established writers in the city in a free series of workshops and panels. The program aims to introduce these new writers to the wider Edmonton community, make new contacts in the industry, and help them thrive in their writing careers.

This year’s participants are:

  • Meghan Eaker will work with Rayanne Haines on poetry
  • Hala Hussain will work with Janice Williamson on nonfiction
  • Poushali Mitra will work with Jana Pruden on nonfiction
  • Diana Gaviria will work with Jumoke Verissimo on fiction
  • GianMarco Visconti will work with Uche Umezurike on poetry
  • Candice Joy Oliva will work with Adriana Oniță on poetry

Congratulations and all good wishes to all the participants!

For inquiries, contact Horizons Writers Circle coordinator, Luciana Erregue-Sacchi at [email protected]

2021 Horizons Writers Circle Participants

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Click the tabs to learn more about this year’s Horizons participants!

[/tab][tab title=”Meghan Eaker & Rayanne Haines”]

Meghan Eaker & Rayanne Haines – Poetry

Meghan Eaker (she/her) is a poet, registered nurse, and beading artist of mixed European and Cree ancestry. She is a member of the Woodland Cree First Nation in Treaty 8 territory and grew up near amiskwaciywaskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta). She will be starting a PhD program in Nursing in fall 2021, focusing on Indigenous youth mental health promotion.

Rayanne Haines is the author of three books of poetry, The Stories in My Skin (Self-published, 2013), Stained with the Colours of Sunday Morning (Inanna, 2017), and Tell The Birds Your Body Is Not A Gun (Frontenac, 2021) and four genre fiction novels. She is the host of the literary podcast Crow Reads, the Vice President for the League of Canadian Poets, past Executive Director of the Edmonton Poetry Festival and a member of the teaching faculty with MacEwan University. Rayanne is a 2019 Edmonton Artist Trust Fund Award recipient. Her poetry and prose have been shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award and the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Alberta Literary Award. Recent poems have appeared in Fiddlehead, The Selkie and Indefinite Space

[/tab][tab title=”Hala Hussain & Janice Williamson”]

Hala Hussain & Janice Williamson – Nonfiction

Hala Hussain is a Sudanese-born writer who interrogates her Middle Eastern and African identity through her writing. Her writing was featured in Egyptian media and also in the Edmonton Journal. Hala has a degree in social work from Sudan and worked in Egypt. She has been in Canada for three years and is working hard to make Edmonton home alongside her husband and five kids. 

Janice Williamson is an award-winning Professor Emerita of the Department of English at the University of Alberta where she has mentored students for 32 years. She also taught for many years at the Women’s Writing Week in the Faculty of Extension, UofAlberta and York University. Janice has taught creative writing, focusing on nonfiction writing as well as literary and cultural studies. Williamson edited the multidisciplinary and multi-genre anthology Omar Khadr, Oh Canada (June 2012) published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. She has also co-edited with Shirley Serviss Women’s Words: An Anthology featuring the work of 75 women writers from this programme. In retirement, she is resuming her workshops for  women writers.

[/tab][tab title=”Poushali Mitra & Jana Pruden”]

Poushali Mitra & Jana Pruden – Nonfiction

Poushali Mitra is a Certified Inclusion professional in Canada. She has 7 years of experience working in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policies in government, non-profit and private companies. She has a Masters in Journalism and Comparative Literature. A proud Jadavpur University Alumna, Poushali started her career as a journalist with The Indian Express, sharing stories of politics, city council legislative ideas and happenings. Her research work on biased coverage of British tabloids of India’s Independence has been published in investigative journalism school sites, such as The Hoot. Originally from Ranaghat, Poushali has worked in Bristol (UK) and South Africa. She currently lives and works in Edmonton and is passionate about sharing stories of early migration of South Asians in Edmonton. 

Jana G. Pruden is an award-winning feature writer at The Globe and Mail. She is the former crime bureau chief of the Edmonton Journal, and previously worked at the Regina Leader-Post, the Medicine Hat News, the Prairie Post and the Interlake Spectator. She is also a sessional journalism instructor at MacEwan University.

Her writing has also appeared on Longform, Longreads and Byliner, and in magazines such as The Walrus, Reader’s Digest and Sharp.

[/tab][tab title=”Diana Gaviria & Jumoke Verissimo”]

Diana Gaviria & Jumoke Verissimo – Fiction

Diana Gaviria is a second-generation settler of Colombian heritage who speaks fluent English, Spanglish and a little Portuñol! She writes primarily short fiction about attraction, identity, belonging and the many awesome, awkward ways cultures intersect.  

Jumoke Verissimo writes fiction, poetry, and essays. She is the author of two award-winning poetry collections; I am Memory and A Birth of Illusion. Her latest work, A Small Silence won the Aidoo-Synder Prize (2020) and was also shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize in 2020. Her works have been widely anthologized. 

[/tab][tab title=”GianMarco Visconti & Uche Umezurike”]

GianMarco Visconti & Uche Umezurike – Poetry

Gian Marco Visconti is a librarian, urbanist, and writer from Edmonton of mixed Arbëreshë and South Asian ancestry. He was awarded the Glass Buffalo English Poetry Prize in 2016 and longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2018. His writing has appeared in Glass Buffalo, The Polyglot, and Ismaili Canada Magazine.

Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike holds a PhD in English from the University of Alberta. He is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, and literary journalist. An alumnus of the International Writing Program, Iowa, USA, Umezurike is a recipient of the James Patrick Folinsbee Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing from the University of Alberta and the Norma Epstein Foundation Award for Creative Writing from the University of Toronto, among many honours. He is a co-editor of Wreaths for a Wayfarer, an anthology of poems. His collection of short stories, Double Wahala, Double Trouble and children’s book, Wish Maker, are forthcoming from Griots Lounge Publishing, Canada, and Masobe Books in the fall of 2021. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

[/tab][tab title=”Candice Joy Oliva & Adriana Onita”]

Candice Joy Oliva & Adriana Oniță – Poetry

Candice Joy Oliva (she/her/siya) is a Pilipinx immigrant settler rewriting herself on Treaty 6 territory (colonially, Edmonton AB). She honours and celebrates her reclaiming of joy, in both name and life, through her poetry practice. Siya feels closer to home with every word, every shared poem.

Adriana Oniță is a Romanian-Canadian multilingual poet, artist, educator and researcher. She is the Editorial Director of the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Founding Editor of The Polyglot, recently named Alberta’s Best New Magazine. Her poetry and art chapbook, Conjugated Light, was published by Glass Buffalo (2019), and she was the 2019 winner of the Canadian Literature Centre poetry contest. Her recent poems have appeared in The Globe and Mail, the Romanian Women Voices in North America series and in her published poetic inquiry research. She writes poems în limba română, English, español, français, and italiano.


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